The U.S. State Department has made public so-called watch logs detailing the government’s response to the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It released the documents as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request made by Veterans for a Strong America, a small, Republican-leaning advocacy group based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The watch logs detail the exact times actions were taken by government entities, including the State Department, after the assault on the consulate in Benghazi Sept. 11, 2012. The 24 pages of watch logs show the attack was first recorded around 4 p.m. EDT and that the initial actions were taken 15 minutes later, Politico reported Saturday.
Controversy centered on the responses of both the State Department and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the assault has been a constant theme throughout the year, with the House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi conducting a lengthy hearing in October to determine whether there had been any missteps or wrongdoing by U.S. officials in the aftermath of the attack on the consulate.
Now a Democratic presidential candidate, Clinton has been criticized for an alleged lack of foresight and organization in her response to the assault on the consulate that killed four people, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens. Many of those criticisms have been made by members of the Republican-controlled Congress.
The watch logs document that authorities issued an alert about a possible attack on the consulate at 4:06 p.m. They also indicate the White House convened a meeting in the Situation Room for a briefing on the event and consideration of the government's next steps by 4:21 p.m.
— The Hill (@thehill) November 3, 2015
The watch logs covering the next several hours detail a series of alerts, calls and meetings among various U.S. and international authorities. Clinton spoke with then-CIA Director David Petraeus by 5:30 p.m. The watch logs did not document Stevens’ death until the next day around 2 a.m.
Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador to be killed while serving in his position since Ambassador to Afghanistan Adolph Dubs was slain in Kabul in 1979. Stevens’ death aroused the ire of many American citizens and politicians over whether the attack on the consulate could have been prevented by U.S. intelligence agencies, which led to a series of congressional hearings as well as Freedom of Information Act requests related to Clinton’s private email account.