Boehner Ducks: Should Congress Probe Why No Marines Protected Diplomatic Posts in Libya?

By Elizabeth Harrington | September 21, 2012 | 5:00 PM EDT

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). (AP Photo)

( – House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would not say whether Congress should investigate why no Marines were stationed at the diplomatic posts in Libya, where a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed, and who made that decision, saying only that he suspects the ongoing investigation by the FBI “will take a look at that.”

On September 11, in what the Obama administration now says was a “terrorist attack,” the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya and a nearby safe house were attacked and Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other embassy personnel were killed. There were no Marines stationed at the consulate or at the main U.S. embassy in Tripoli, despite the fact that Libya was in political transition after a revolt that overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011.

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The FBI is investigating the attack in Benghazi and the State Department announced yesterday that a 4-person investigating committee would review and write a report about the terrorist attack.

At a Capitol Hill press conference on Friday, asked Boehner, “Speaker Boehner, do you think Congress should investigate why there were no Marines at our diplomatic posts in Libya and who made that decision?”

Boehner said, “I suspect that part of the investigation underway will take a look at that. While we typically have Marine detachments at our embassies, that isn’t always the case when it comes to our consulates.”

“And so I’m sure there will be a review of that and a discussion about whether that’s wise going forward,” he said.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said there were no Marines in either Tripoli or Benghazi prior to the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate there. According to news reports, Stevens had feared he was on an Al-Qaeda hit list.

“There are not Marines in every facility.  That depends on the circumstances. That depends on the requirements,” Rice said on Sept. 16.  “Our presence in Tripoli, as in Benghazi, is relatively new, as you will recall. We’ve been back post-revolution only for a matter of months.”

For the first time, on Thursday, the administration described Benghazi as a “terrorist attack,” after previously blaming an obscure anti-Islamic film that prompted what they called a “spontaneous” protest.

“It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. “Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials. That is self-evident.”

When asked a day earlier during the White House briefing who decided that no Marines would protect U.S. diplomatic posts in Libya, Carney referred the question to the State Department.

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“I think security at diplomatic facilities is overseen by and run by the State Department, so I’d refer you to them about how decisions are made and what the allocation of resources was in Benghazi and elsewhere. I think they’re the best people to answer that question,” Carney said. sent an e-mail to Speaker Boehner’s office asking if he wanted to clarify whether he thinks Congress should investigate the issue of no Marines stationed at the Libya diplomatic posts, but his press office did not respond before this story was posted.

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