Today marks three weeks to the day after the deadly terrorist strike on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and yet the scene of the crime remains "unguarded" and the FBI has yet to do an investigation on the ground there, much to the confusion and dismal of local residents of Benghazi, Washington Post staffers Anne Gearan and Michael Birnbaum reported in today's Washington Post.
Yet the article, headlined "U.S. pulls all personnel from eastern Libyan city," was buried on page A12 of the October 2 edition of the Post.
Gearan and Birnbaum opened their 14-paragraph story by noting that "The Obama administration has withdrawn all official government personnel from Benghazi."
"[A]ny diplomatic outreach to Libya's second-largest city is [now] being done remotely," they added, going on to quote State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland and noting that "she knew of no other U.S. government employees in the city to help investigate the attack or perform other work."
And it's not just diplomatic work that's being done remotely, it's also investigative work, as the FBI is interviewing witnesses after transporting them to Tripoli, but has no presence on the ground in Benghazi (emphasis mine):
The main compound used by the American diplomats was unguarded Monday, although the gate was locked. In the first days after the attack, looters, curiosity-seekers and journalists roamed the burned-out buildings.
The FBI has been unable to set up operations in Benghazi as part of the investigation into the deaths of Stevens, information manager Sean Smith and government contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. The absence complicates efforts to gather evidence and interview witnesses.
Several Libyans who provided security for the U.S. post said they have not been questioned by U.S. or Libyan authorities about the Sept. 11 assault. Others said that some witnesses had been flown to Tripoli, the capital, where U.S. officials say the FBI team is conducting its investigation.
"I don't know why the Americans don't come here," said Wissam Bin Hamid, commander of the Libyan Shield Brigade, a militia that came under sustained attack while helping defend the second compound on Sept. 11. "Maybe they are afraid."
It's 21 days after a deadly al-Qaeda-connected attack and yet a) the FBI hasn't done a thorough investigation b) the consulate remains unsecured c) witnesses are not being interviewed and d) crucial evidence from the attack may have gone missing.
Luckily the late ambassador's journal -- in which he recorded his fears about poor security and death threats -- was found in the burned-out consulate by journalists, but even that story was underreported.
That this scandal is being downplayed and underreported by both print and broadcast media is quite simply atrocious and impossible to imagine playing out in a similar fashion in a Bush or McCain administration.