On the Fox News show Special Report with Bret Baier, Steve Hayes of the Weekly Standard reported that he had spoken with a senior State Department official who was responsible for security in Libya and for our consulate in Benghazi.
This individual indicated that as late as 8:30pm (local time), Ambassador Stevens had walked a guest out to the street, and at that time there was no evidence of any mob, crowd, demonstration, or disturbance to be seen.
He further reported that there had been no indications of any unusual activity at any time during the day in the area near or around the consulate. Benghazi has a population (as of 2011) in excess of 650,000, packed into an area of only 121 square miles. That works out to a population density of about 5,400 people per square mile. Not as crowded as New York or Tokyo, but definitely an urban density level.
With that many people in the city surrounding the consulate, how often will there not be a least a fair number of people in the vicinity?
It brought to mind how I felt when my kids were very young and were being very quiet. I instinctively knew that they were up to no good.
If the foot and vehicular traffic around the consulate was unusually low, it seems that the locals were being, in the words of Elmer Fudd, “vewy, vewy quiet.” This is not like my kids being busy using a newly painted wall as their latest artistic canvas; rather, it suggests something more along the lines of a preternaturally quiet wilderness area. It suggests that the more defenseless creatures in the area are lying low and trying not to be noticed by the dominant predator on the prowl.
If the neighborhood was advised to stay indoors that night, and to definitely stay away from the consulate to avoid becoming “collateral damage,” it might explain why the area did not seem threatening.
I can speak only from my personal experience in Viet Nam when I say that any change in behavior of the surrounding population must always be viewed as a sign of a threat. Hearing gunfire is a dead giveaway that even Obama would figure out fairly quickly, but silence is just as telling a signal.
The question must be asked of State Department security types: what were they thinking? Did they think al-Qaeda took the night off to go to a wedding or something? Did they breathe a sigh of relief that all was quiet and figure that they could look forward to a good night’s sleep? If those were their responses, one can infer that not only was the number of security personnel in Benghazi inadequate, but the few that were on hand were either incompetent or clueless.
Originally published on American Thinker.