Saturday, September 29, 2012

Source: State Dept. OSAC Report is Behind Subscriber Wall

    Since September 12, 2012, the day after the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, I have been following the story of a report issued by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), part of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security under the U.S. Department of State.  The report was originally issued on 9/6/12, five days before the attack, and a summary of the report appeared on the OSAC website in a menu of available reports as follows (entitled "Terrorism and Important Dates"):

    However, on September 14, three days after the attack and two days after my original post, that item disappeared from the menu of available reports and remains missing through the present.  From the beginning, I have allowed the possibility that the report was simply placed behind the subscriber wall on the site.  Certain reports are only available to "constituents". (The OSAC site says "OSAC constituency is available to any American-owned, not-for-profit organization, or any enterprise incorporated in the U.S. (parent company, not subsidiaries or divisions) doing business overseas.")  I did, however, think this was unlikely as summaries of other reports available only to subscribers remained in the site menus (for instance, one entitled "Narco-roadblocks in Colima and Jalisco" from 8/31/12; go back to 8/31 in the menu, and the summary is still listed; but to view the full report requires logging in.)  In my comparison of present menus with Google-cached versions of the same menus from earlier dates, I could not find a single report that was once listed that was subsequently removed as the report in question.

    Despite all this, I received confirmation today from an OSAC website subscriber that the Terrorism and Important Dates report is still available behind the subscriber wall via the original link address.  Although I admit my inner-conspiracy-theorist was somewhat disappointed at the news, it helps bring the remaining issues into focus:
  • Why was the State Department downplaying the possibility of a 9/11 anniversary attack overseas and implying fears of such attacks were media creations?  (From original summary [emphasis mine]: "Often times, these concerns are the result of increased media attention to the issue, rather than credible evidence of a terrorist plot.")
  • Why was the summary and link removed from the list of available reports on Friday, September 14th, three days after the attack, and placed behind the subscriber wall?  And who at the State Dept. removed the report or instructed that it be done?
  • Is the tone of the memo indicative of a wide-spread attitude in the Obama administration that would explain the reluctance of administration officials to label the Benghazi incident a "terrorist attack" until days after many independent observers had already reached that conclusion?
    As of today, my inquires to the State Department/OSAC remain unanswered.

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