House appropriators pump $2 billion into US embassy security

The funding was part of a $982 billion spending bill would fund the government through the end of fiscal year 2013 on Sept. 30 and prevent a government shutdown after March 27, when a current temporary spending bill runs out. 

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Aside from bolstering security at various U.S. diplomatic outposts worldwide, the House legislation also introduces a number of measures to soften the $500 billion in Pentagon budget cuts, triggered last Friday under the White House's sequestration plan. 

The embassy funding comes as lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to hammer the administration over last September's terrorist attack on the U.S consulate in Benghazi, Libya. 

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the coordinated attack by Islamic extremists operating in the county. 

Specifically, the House spending bill sets aside over $950 million for "worldwide security protection" measures for State Department personnel stationed at posts overseas. 

House appropriators also cleared roughly $1.4 billion for embassy construction and maintenance, targeted toward fortifying U.S. diplomatic installations, like the one that was overrun in Benghazi. 

The funds "shall be used for operations at high threat posts, security programs to protect personnel and property under Chief of Mission authority," according to the House legislation. 

That money will also finance efforts "preventing the compromise of classified United States Government information and equipment, and security construction or upgrade requirements Department of State facilities worldwide," the spending bill states. 

To that end, House appropriators are calling upon the State Department to provide a report, assessing the security shortfalls across the department's network of embassies and consulates overseas and provide "a comprehensive plan for addressing such requirements," according to the bill. 

Those requirements will include "a detailed description" of proposed improvements to embassy security, as well as classified details on what kinds of security upgrades department officials deem necessary. 

Spending lanuguage approved by the House panel on Monday falls in line with efforts by defense lawmakers to increase security at State Department facilities. 

Defense conferees included language to add 1,000 Marines to the Pentagon’s embassy security force last December, as part of the Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2014. 

That measure, along with the House funding approved on Monday, come amid the continued congressional furor over the White House's handling of the Benghazi attack. 

In the wake of the consulate attack in Libya, administration officials claimed the strike was the result of an anti-American protest gone awry. 

Weeks later, administration officials reversed course and admitted the consulate strike was a coordinated attack by terror groups with possible ties to Libya. 

The White House last week released previously undisclosed documents on the Benghazi attack to Senate Republicans, which showed counterterrorism chief John Brennan played a direct role in drafting talking points defending the initial protest scenario. 

Despite the release of those documents, frustration among Senate Republicans over the White House's disclosure delays is quickly reaching a breaking point, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters on Thursday. 

On Monday, McCain's office declined to comment on the embassy security funding measures passed by House appropriators. 

Brennan, who is President Obama's pick to head up CIA, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday, despite last week's revelations about his actions regarding the Benghazi attack.