Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Ambassador Should Have Retreated in a Volt, I Guess

From the October 10, 2012 Guardian (a left-wing British newspaper, by the way):

Two former heads of US diplomatic security in Libya have told a congressional hearing that requests for additional agents to protect American officials and premises in the face of a growing threat from armed militias were rejected by the state department ahead of the attack on the Benghazi consulate that killed the US ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other officials.
At a heated hearing before the House of representatives oversight committee, Republicans painted a picture of an incompetent state department failing to heed warnings of a growing terrorist threat or to prepare for a possible attack on the anniversary of 9/11, and then covering up the circumstances of the full scale militia assault that killed Stevens. They also accused Obama administration officials of attempting to suppress unclassified documents because they were politically embarrassing.
Democrats described the investigation as a partisan political move intended to embarrass the White House in the run up to the presidential election.
I would say that it worked, and with good reason.  Contrary to the claims the Democrats are making about Republicans not willing to spend the money on security, the National Legal and Policy Center on October 2, 2012 pointed out that the State Department is spending money on really unnecessary stuff:

A little poking around the web raises additional questions about government Volt purchases. A State Department contract from March of this year details the purchase of a Chevy Volt for $47,500 for use at a U.S. embassy in Norway. The sticker price for a 2013 model year is $39,145 (before the $7,500 tax credit upon individual purchase). Obviously the government doesn't get a tax credit because it's not an individual income tax filer. But it left me wondering, why did the State Department pay $47,500 instead of $39,145? Why did they pay an extra $8,000?
Then I noticed that the State Department also paid over $108,000 for another contract, dated May of this year, for a Volt-specific charging station at our embassy in Vienna, Austria. But according to GM's Volt FAQ site ("Charging" --> "Charging station -- Preparing for your Volt"):
Every Volt comes standard with a 120V portable charge cord that can plug into most common household outlets and will fully charge a Volt in about 10 hours, depending on outdoor temperature. You can also have a 240V charging station (additional cost plus installation) professionally installed in your home that will reduce the charging time to about four hours.
Even if a consumer needs an electrical converter, the 240V dedicated charging stations cost, at most, around $2,000 (and guess what? consumers get tax credits for these, too). What did the embassy spend the extra $100K on?
So they did not have the money to provide security for our diplomats in Libya--a nation that was in serious security trouble--but they did have the money to spend on "green" automobiles?  I guess our ambassador should have had a Volt so that he could show everyone how ecologically responsible he was, or something.

Stuff like this would be a killer for the media if a Republican was President.

1 comment:

hga said...

Indeed, but in all fairness if you're going to charge a Volt made for the US in Europe you probably won't need voltage changing (their base power is around 240V, cheaper for the electric supplier, more dangerous for the consumer), but they run at 50 cycles per second, not our 60. That sort of conversion, if needed, isn't so cheap, plus they may have had to pay more to get a lot of power installed at the charging station.

But they know their priorities; I think all that's coming out right now about the State Department continues to confirm my judgement that we're still better off with Obama instead of Hillary! as President.