Republicans are challenging a host of statements made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Democratic allies during Wednesday's heated Libya testimony -- claiming that complaints about a lack of funding are bogus and questioning the secretary's insistence she never saw urgent cables warning about the danger of an attack.
Assertions that State Department posts are left vulnerable because Congress has decided not to fully fund security requests pervaded Wednesday's hearings.
"Shame on the House for ... failing to adequately fund the administration's request," Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., said
Democratic New York Rep. Eliot Engel repeatedly said Congress had "slashed" diplomatic security requests.
Budget numbers, though, actually show the overall diplomatic security budget has ballooned over the past decade.
Democrats point to modest decreases in funding in recent years, and the fact that Congress has approved less than was requested. But Congress often scales back the administration's requests, and not just for the State Department.
And the complaints tend to overlook the fact that the overall security budget has more than doubled since fiscal 2004.
It's difficult to tell how much was specifically allocated for Benghazi. Tripoli was the only post mentioned in the department's fiscal 2013 request -- funding for that location did slip, from $11.5 million in fiscal 2011 to $10.1 million the following year.
Another pivotal issue Wednesday dealt with an Aug. 16 cable. That cable summarized an emergency meeting the day before by the U.S. Mission in Benghazi and warned the consulate could not defend against a "coordinated attack."
That cable is seen as one of the vital warnings sent out of Libya in the months leading up to the attack. But, to the dismay of lawmakers, Clinton repeatedly said she never saw it.
"That cable did not come to my attention. I have made it very clear that the security cables did not come to my attention or above the assistant secretary level," Clinton said.
"I'm not aware of anyone within my office, within the secretary's office, having seen the cable."
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