WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Anyone who paid attention to a hearing in Congress this week knew that the administration had been implored to beef up security at the U.S. Consulate in Libya before the deadly terrorist attack there. But in the vice presidential debate Thursday night, Joe Biden seemed unaware.
"We weren't told they wanted more security there," the vice president asserted flatly. During a night in which Biden and Republican rival Paul Ryan both drifted from the facts on a range of domestic and foreign issues, that was a standout.
A look at some of their claims:
BIDEN: "Well, we weren't told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again. And by the way, at the time we were told exactly â¿¿ we said exactly what the intelligence community told us that they knew. That was the assessment. And as the intelligence community changed their view, we made it clear they changed their view."
RYAN: "There were requests for more security."
THE FACTS: Ryan is right, judging by testimony from Obama administration officials at the hearing a day earlier.
Charlene R. Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary for diplomatic security, told lawmakers she refused requests for more security in Benghazi, saying the department wanted to train Libyans to protect the consulate. "Yes, sir, I said personally I would not support it," she said.
Eric Nordstrom, who was the top security official in Libya earlier this year, testified he was criticized for seeking more security. He said conversations he had with people in Washington led him to believe that it was "abundantly clear we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident. How thin does the ice have to get before someone falls through?"
He said his exasperation reached a point where he told a colleague that "for me the Taliban is on the inside of the building."