William J. Boudreau of Seabrook Island has won The Post and Courier’s Golden Pen award for November for his letter to the editor “Benghazi questions need answers.”
Mr. Boudreau, as a retired Foreign Service officer, drew on his experience in the State Department in raising concerns about what happened before, during and after the Sept. 11 terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
He pointed out that OpCenter, “located in the office of the secretary of state and is staffed around the clock (24/7) by seasoned foreign service officers,” has “direct lines of communication to all American missions around the world.”
He added: “The OpCenter has direct secure communication lines to the White House Situation Room, the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon and the CIA’s OpCenter.”
And: “Having worked as a watch officer at the OpCenter, I know that any information that indicates a threat to the safety of American citizens overseas is passed on to the other agencies mentioned above. ... My point is the White House and the president, through the Situation Room, are provided meaningful information on world events on a continuing basis.
“There can be no doubt that all messages emanating from Benghazi and Tripoli on the invasion of American grounds and the murder of our four dedicated Americans, including an ambassador, were received by the White House as they were transmitted.”
Mr. Boudreau asked “what was so important that” Ambassador Christopher Stevens “needed to be in Benghazi on such an infamous anniversary, with our consulate so inadequately protected?”
And: “Why weren’t Marine guards posted in Benghazi in the first place?”
He concluded: “When an ambassador moves about, away from the embassy, the State Department is always informed and is responsible for raising questions if there are perceived problems.
“This also points to an abysmal lapse in management that caused a fatal breach in a trust that all diplomats hold Washington accountable in supporting them when on a mission representing the president and the United States.”
Golden Pen winners are invited to an annual luncheon with the editorial staff.