In his statement announcing his intent to form a new select committee to investigate the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, got the most basic information wrong.
Boehner’s statement said the Obama administration’s defiance of lawmaker subpoenas “compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen.”
The only problem is there was no “consulate” in Benghazi. The attacked facility was not a consulate but a U.S. special mission.
A consulate typically refers to the building that officially houses a consul, or an official representative of the government of one state located inside the territory of another.
Consulates at times function as junior embassies, providing services related to visas, passports and citizen information.
Government documents released by the State Department-sponsored Accountability Review Board (ARB), congressional and senatorial investigations, the White House, the Pentagon and the intelligence community carefully label the facility a U.S. special mission and not a consulate.
The ARB divulged the mission was so special it possessed a “non-status,” making security provisions to the facility difficult. The ARB said the State Department made a decision “to treat Benghazi as a temporary, residential facility.”
The ARB report contains information that clearly contradicts any claim that the special mission existed to serve as a consulate. It documents that the local Libyan government did not know about the presence of the mission.
The U.S. facility in Benghazi was unique in almost every aspect as far as security was concerned, according to the State Department’s Libya desk officer, Brian Papanu.
“Well, Benghazi was definitely unique in almost every – I can’t think of a mission similar to this ever, and definitely in recent history,” Papanu stated.
The diplomat’s quotes were contained in the 98-page interim report on the Benghazi attack by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Regarding the unusual nature of the U.S. facility in Benghazi, the House report stated: “The State Department was operating a temporary residential facility in a violent and unstable environment without adequate U.S. and host nation security support.”