Diplomats In Benghazi Questioned U.S. Reliance On Local Militia
A McClatchy article:
Even before the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate, diplomats from other nations and Libyan security officials had questioned the wisdom of a U.S. decision to rely primarily on members of a local militia to protect its compound here. Diplomats here say: Don't expect local forces to protect you when they can't even protect themselves against local extremists and terrorists groups in a city now defined by reprisal attacks. Others have suggested that the U.S. officials may have felt such a step was unnecessary because the CIA had established offices about a mile away and had promised to send security officers to the consulate, if needed. All of the diplomats interviewed for this story said they were unaware of the CIA station's existence.
Who was responsible for determining how the United States protected its consulate here remains unclear two months after Stevens' death. According to the State Department, the ambassador makes all security decisions, though they can be overruled from Washington. The chief security officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli from September 2011 until July testified that he had requested additional security. Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary for diplomatic security, defended the security procedures that had been taken in Benghazi, telling the hearing that there were five American security guards -- the number recommended -- along with Libyans in Benghazi when the attack took place.
It is unknown what Stevens' own position on security in Benghazi was. A Western diplomat here said the trip was Stevens' first extensive visit to Benghazi since he'd assumed the ambassador's post in May. The diplomat expressed surprise that Stevens hadn't been evacuated at the first sign of trouble. "We used to take training from the Americans" on diplomatic security, he said.
One last thing: Note this time-stamp:
Published: Friday, November 9, 2012 at 11:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 9, 2012 at 11:22 p.m.
Posted by: Pappy 2012-11-11