U.K.-based Blue Mountain Group (BMG) had been hired to provide security for the US mission in Benghazi however two days before the 9/11/12 attack, because of a dispute with its Libyan partner company XPAND, the contract was put on hold and BMG lost its license to operate in Benghazi. In fact one State Dept. Official described the Benghazi Security as an “emergency situation.”
The documents were obtained by Judicial Watch via a FIOA lawsuit show that “BMG did not have a license to operate in Libya at the time of the attack due to a business dispute with its partner in Libya, XPAND Corporation, and quote a State official describing the Benghazi security issue as an “emergency situation.”
BMG notified State Department Contracting Officer Jan Visintainer of the dispute on June 6, 2012. On July 10, 2012, Visintainer advised the company that the department “is not required to mediate any disagreements between the two parties of the Blue Mountain Libya partnership.” The letter further suggested, “it is in the best interests of both of the 50/50 partners to resolve their differences and successfully complete this contract.”
On August 20, 2012 according to a JW document, despite Visintainer’s request Blue Mountain Group and XPAND Corporation agreed to dissolve their partnership.
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On September 9, 2012 – just two days before the terrorist attack – an unidentified partner at Nabulsi & Associates (the law firm representing XPAND) wrote to Visintainer advising the department that XPAND, which owned the security license under which BMG was operating, “hereby bar and prohibit BMUK [Blue Mountain U.K.] from utilizing such license.” The letter continues:
Accordingly, we kindly inform you that any use of such license by BMUK in Libya shall be illegal and a clear violation of Libyan laws. We therefore request that the US mission ceases any dealings with BMUK if such dealings are based on any form of reliance on such security license.
On the morning of the attack 9/11/12 a BMG official wrote to Visintainer at State:
I have never experienced anything like this in business before. The agreement was signed and we were to operate under the [Blue Mountain Libya] license and confirmation of this was due through from [sic] the partners. However, they have had a change of mind and now this. I will call you very shortly.
The documents indicate that the dispute and licensing issue led the State Department to immediately plan to terminate their contract with BMG. On the morning of September 11, 2012, David Sparrowgrove, a State Department regional security officer, wrote to Visintainer and others, “The dissolution of the partnership leaves BMG without a security license to operate in Libya and the Libyan partner has no capacity to manage the guards or the contract. As a result, we feel the best course of action is to terminate the contract in short order.” Sparrowgrove also writes, “I’ve CC’d OPO Branch Chief Ricki Travers who has had the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with these types of emergency situations in the past.”
In the aftermath of the attack the “emergency situation” caused by the lack of an agreement between BMG and XPAND, that BMG had no license to work in Benghazi was conveniently left out of internal State Dept. correspondence.
In an email from Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Mark Toner dated October 17, 2012, the fact that the dispute between BMG and XPAND meant the company was operating without a license is glossed over, any reference to the September 11, 2012, emergency Benghazi security situation is specifically omitted, and he describes Visintainer’s response in July as “invoking collaborative resolution to the said dispute.” The misleading responses are significant because they were also shared with Congress.
The day after the attack, the Nabulsi law partner wrote again to Visintainer on behalf of XPAND to express their condolences and to advise the State Department that in light of the attack, “XPAND shall put its differences with the security operators, Blue Mountain UK, to the side for the moment, and shall allow the use of its security license by BMUK to meet your full needs until a suitable alternative has been arranged.”
According to JW President Tom Fitton:
“These documents took years to see the light of day and show the Obama
administration had a security emergency on the day of the Benghazi
terrorist attack. And the documents indicate the administration
specifically withheld this pertinent information from both Congress and
the American people. It seems an odd coincidence the Middle East firm
providing security for the Benghazi facility desperately wanted out two
days before the terrorist attack,” stated Judicial Watch president Tom
Perhaps people can email this to Rep. Cummings next time he says there is nothing left to learn about Benghazi. In this case we learned the security was in an emergency situation and still our Ambassador was allowed to travel there. Did he know about this emergency or did he unknowingly travel into a deadly situation?
Read the full report at Judicial Watch.