It has already been well established that the US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, had repeatedly sought additional security for the Benghazi Consulate before the attack on September 11 that killed him and three others. The requests were never met, but they didn’t stop either.
New revelations today show two draft letters by Stevens’ staff dated September 11, the day of the attack, were addressed to the Libyan Foreign Minister and the Benghazi Chief of Police, expressing serious concerns about the security at the consulate, or lack thereof.
One of the letter detailed an incident that morning of a Benghazi police officer taking photographs of the inside of the consulate from a building across the street. Libyan officials denied receiving the letter, and one even insisted that they had no idea the ambassador was even in Benghazi.
Administration officials have defended the security plans for the consulate, noting that they seemed to work fine on days when the consulate didn’t get sacked and the ambassador wasn’t assassinated. The planning for security “just in case” appears to have been incomplete, at best.
With the military not defending the consulate and Benghazi having virtually no security forces of its own, the CIA was basically in charge of dealing with any attacks on the consulate with its agents on the ground. When they proved ill-equipped to deal with the massive attack, the fall-back plan was to ask some militias to help. That, needless to say, didn’t work either.
The Pentagon has released a timeline detailing their own response, saying that they were fully prepared for the possibility of deploying troops to Benghazi if the attack turned into a multi-day hostage situation or some sort of siege. Since the consulate was more or less immediately sacked and abandoned, they didn’t really have a chance to react until everything was over.
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