May 19, 2014 | Quote

Sen. Johnson: Clinton’s State Dept. Cut Security in Libya Before Deadly Terror Attacks

With the launch of a new Benghazi investigation, Republicans will once again scrutinize the actions of Hillary Rodham Clinton's State Department in the months leading up to the deadly terrorist attacks in that Libyan port city.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson signaled as much on May 6, 2014, two days before the GOP-led House of Representatives voted to open what by some counts is the eighth Benghazi investigation.

In an opinion article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Johnson alleged that a “dereliction of duty” by Clinton contributed to the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

It wasn’t the first time the Wisconsin Republican took on the Democrats’ front-runner for president in 2016. One of Johnson's high-profile moments in the Senate occurred during a testy exchange with Clinton, then the secretary of state, at a 2013 hearing on Benghazi that led to Clinton’s oft-quoted “What difference does it make” comment.

In his opinion piece, Johnson singled out the State Department leadership in Washington in saying that “the greatest outrages occurred before the attack.”

“The State Department not only failed to honor repeated requests for additional security, but instead actually reduced security in Libya. Although no one can say with certainty, I firmly believe a relatively small contingent of armed military guards would have prevented the attack, and those four lives would not have been lost.”

Is Johnson right — that before the attacks, the State Department “failed to honor repeated requests for additional security” and “actually reduced security in Libya”?

“There are disagreements about whether State acted reasonably, but that it didn't honor requests for additional security is established fact,” said Georgetown University adjunct assistant professor Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, who is also a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which focuses on foreign policy and national security.  

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