Mr. Biden’s answer to debate moderator Martha Raddatz: “We weren’t told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security.”
But as Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler reported Friday, “Biden’s bold statement was directly contradicted by State Department officials just this week, in testimony before a congressional panel and in unclassified cables released by a congressional committee.”
“All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources,” said Eric Nordstrom, the top regional security officer in Libya earlier this year. A Utah National Guardsman who led a security team, Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, said: “We felt great frustration that those requests were ignored or just never met.”
The story changed, Biden tried to explain, as more information became available.
“We said exactly what the intelligence community told us that they knew,” Biden said. “That was the assessment. And as the intelligence community changed their view, we made it clear they changed their view.”
That is probably true, and it’s no doubt true that security at diplomatic facilities around the world is handled by the State Department, not the White House.
Still, the buck stops with the president. And Obama no doubt will be faced with the same kind of questioning Biden was when he meets Mitt Romney for the second presidential debate – to be held this coming Tuesday in town hall format and scheduled to include questions on foreign policy and national security.