Father of bodyguard injured in Libya questions State Dept. response
By Marcus Stern
(Reuters) - The father of an American bodyguard injured in the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, said on Wednesday the U.S. State Department should own up to its mistakes and release more information about what occurred.
David Ubben, 31, sustained broken bones and other injuries in the September 11 attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.
As David Ubben recuperates at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, D.C., his father Rex Ubben said he does not blame the State Department or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for his son's injuries. But, "I do find it troubling that they have not owned up to their shortcomings; in government, in the military, and in business, if something goes wrong, you admit it, correct it, and move on," Rex Ubben said.
"If you were in charge, it was your fault," he said in an email exchange with Reuters.
His comments come in the wake of a call on Tuesday by some congressional Republicans for Clinton to provide more information about security at U.S. compounds in Benghazi in the days, weeks and months leading up to the attacks. In a letter to Clinton, Representatives Darrell Issa of California and Jason Chaffetz of Utah recounted a number of attacks in Libya this year and alleged that requests from U.S. officials in the country for heightened security went unheeded.
Ubben said people understand "mistakes and lack of foresight do happen," but, "to attempt to delay or cover information up, upcoming election or no, might put other people's lives at risk and fools no one."
In a letter responding to Issa, Clinton said, "nobody will hold this department more accountable than we hold ourselves."
"We are committed to a process that is as transparent as possible, respecting the needs and integrity of the investigations under way," Clinton wrote.
The Benghazi attack killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, IT specialist Sean Smith and security guards Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
Ubben said his son was on temporary assignment in Libya and that his deployment came in July, after - and perhaps in response to - earlier security incidents. On June 6 an improvised bomb was placed at the north gate of the Benghazi mission. It blew a hole in the fence.
Ubben also questioned why it took so long for his son to reach a hospital after the attack, saying of his son's condition, "by my count, there were five or six broken bones (one completely smashed, thus the operations) and shrapnel damage head to toe. I was surprised at how many parts of him were injured."
David Ubben is undergoing a series of surgeries and his father expects him to be hospitalized for several months.
Rex Ubben said his son did not share many details of the attack with him, but added: "He seems to have been blown up twice, and kept going after the first one. ... I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to whoever did the first aid the first time, the second time, and maintained the tourniquets until they could get him out of there."
Ubben said he is bothered that "people do not seem to realize that this was a much bigger disaster for the people of Libya than it was for us, that they were attacked just like we were."
(Editing by Warren Strobel and Stacey Joyce)
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