Low Profile in Benghazi: When Political Correctness Kills
After more than a decade in the post 9/11 era, it would seem that the State Department and every American would be prepared for yet another tumultuous anniversary of September 11th. With Libya being the third country where a dictatorship was brutally overthrown by the US and allies, we should have known the other shoe was going to drop. Over 200 violent incidents just in Benghazi should have indicated that something was coming.
But what’s more, we should have acted differently after all hell had broken loose in Benghazi and four Americans—the Ambassador, a diplomatic staffer, and two former Navy SEALs—were dead. But we did know. Numerous requests and security reports by Ambassador Stevens and his security staff likened the situation to the “Guns of August”, a reference to the opening days of World War One. There was little subtlety in their requests for help. These requests were sent repeatedly sent to the State Department run by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and routinely ignored or dismissed or worse said they were never aware of.
Although Tripoli was the official home of the U.S. Embassy in Libya, the Special Mission in Benghazi had been critical in shaping the militias that rose up against Colonel Muammar Qaddafi. Ambassador Chris Stevens was equally important in low-key support for revolution. In 2011 the U.S. “led from behind,” coordinating an impressive 26,500 international air sorties. Unlike Iraq, there was little friction. Qaddafi was killed, a token government installed but in reality over 500 militias are still in control of the ground. The task of collecting weapons, growing governance, and spreading influence was handed to the Ambassador and the CIA in Tripoli and Benghazi.
Much like Afghanistan after the Taliban and Iraq after Saddam, Libya was neither safe nor a properly functioning country. The U.S. mission in Benghazi already been attacked by a massive car bomb on June 6 of this year, and a grenade was tossed over the wall a month earlier. The British ambassador had been ambushed and narrowly avoided RPG attacks. The Red Cross had been attacked in August and felt the threat serious enough to shut down operations there. Threats on the Internet appeared. As in all disasters a chain of events began to unfold.
As September 11th began to loom, the Ambassador oddly decided to travel away from the greater security of Tripoli to three days of loosely defined meetings in Benghazi starting on September 10th. Locals new the Ambassador had arrived the day before the 9/11 anniversary. On the day of September 11th, riots broke out around the world and the flag of al Qaeda appeared above US embassies in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and soon, Benghazi.
That evening the special mission in Benghazi was attacked and overrun by al Qaeda fighters and curious locals. Sean Smith, the man in charge of crypto, or sensitive information, was killed. The Ambassador Chris Stevens died apparently from smoke inhalation, his body abandoned and discovered by a mob. Two ex-SEALs killed by a well-placed mortar, and the Benghazi mission abandoned and sensitive papers picked over by the curious. Al Qaeda quickly took credit for the attack and within two hours cables notified the White House of the group behind the attack. This would be enough of a disaster, but it was the State Department’s handling of the disaster that would enrage the families of the lost and the American population even more.
The American public was sent mixed messages by government officials that later proved to be untrue or wildly at odds with the facts. The Secretary of State forbade her staff from returning phone calls to Congress on the incident. How did the State Department go from having exceptional security protection in the world’s most dangerous places to having virtually none? The answers lay in the rapid flood of “whistleblowers” leaking a long history of conflict between demands for more security and rude rebuffs and even stand down off freely provided counter assault teams would shock a nation used to criticizing excess diplomatic security.
The Fall of the Mission
Having spent three years inside the world of security in hostile regions. I was perplexed at how the disaster happened.
Ambassador Stevens arrived in Benghazi with a crew of five Diplomatic Security agents—usually former police and military who are career professionals tasked with keeping their “VIP” safe. Two were permanently in Benghazi, three arrived with Ambassador Stevens.
Four (three agents and an Agent in Charge, or AIC) is the minimum to “walk the diamond,” run two vehicles and provide meaningful armed response. From my brief experience witnessing diplomatic security, even I know that a skeleton crew of five was risky.
How bad was it? Beginning February 2012 the Regional Security Officer or RSO tasked with security in Libya, Eric Nordstrom warned State Department officials, and then Ambassador Gene Cretz, with a barrage of emails laying out the deteriorating security environment. “I’ve been placed in a difficult spot when the ambassador tells me I need to support Benghazi,” Nordstrom wrote February 12 in an email to James P. Bacigalupo, regional director of the Near East Affairs Department. In August the embassy said. “The security situation in Libya remains unpredictable, volatile and violent,” the cable adds. “Host-nation security support is lacking and cannot be depended on to provide a safe and secure environment.”
During this time between the changeover from Ambassadors Cretz to Stevens, the State Department actually removed a Security Support Team, a DC3 support aircraft and security personnel.
Between 2003 and 2008 I spent numerous days watching and learning diplomatic high-threat security training with companies like Triple Canopy, DynCorp Blackwater and many more. Even I knew that four men are not enough when the shooting starts and crowds get out of hand. Two agents typically rush the “VIP” to safety, and two must hold off the attackers. The AIC must keep a clear head and coordinate escape and rescue efforts. In Benghazi, to make matters worse, a number of government-related intelligence entities had described Libya and much of North Africa to me as a “black hole,” a place where intelligence assets are slim to none.
Diplomatic security in the era of Blackwater and Little Bird helicopters has been criticized for being overly aggressive, reactive and high profile. But judged on performance, it was exceedingly effective and based on years of lessons learned. Understandably the Secretary of State would enforce her well-publicized resistance to hiring Tier One private security, but it appears that security in Libya had been degraded to the level of a suburban shopping mall. A handful of locally hired guards with high desertion rates and abysmal training were all that stood between trained attackers and the mission.
Ambassador Stevens was comfortable in Libya. But according to government whistleblowers providing inside communications to former a Army Reserve officer and California Republican Congressman Darryl Issa, Stevens only discontinued his daily jogging routine after a local Libyan militia published it online. There was clear disagreement among staff—from those in Tripoli to those in Washington—over the security profile appropriate in Benghazi. He was already pushing the envelope of safety but even he ultimately demanded more security.
Based on his crumbled agenda found at the site, the Ambassador had a quiet day planned for September 11th: Two business meetings and plenty of personal time. He had saved the 12th and 14th for diplomatic chores. Although his schedule on the 11th, was “TBD,” on the fateful evening he met with the Turkish Ambassador at 8 pm. It is not know what happened between that meeting and 10 pm. By 10:15 the Ambassador would be dead. By dawn, a total of four Americans would be dead and the U.S. Special Mission sacked.
What the local guards reported, before they fled, was that the attack came from three sides.
Stevens along with Sean Smith, a U.S. Air Force veteran turned Information Management Specialist, were killed when the building they took refuge in caught fire, and they died from severe smoke inhalation. Some say the men could not escape the building because a rampaging mob had penetrated the embassy and was trying to kill them. The DS agent made repeated attempts to find them and only left with the limp body of Smith. They made the decision to abandon Ambassador Stevens and evacuate the special mission for the OGA annex.
Three hours after the special mission fell to the armed mob, two former Navy SEALs, in Libya on a non-security contract, died outside a nearby CIA annex, killed by a deadly accurate mortar blast. The special mission and the annex were abandoned, the staff evacuated. The embassy in Tripoli sent more people home. After billions spent to liberate and bring American influence to the region a few members of al Qaeda had eliminated or severely reduced U.S. presence in Libya in just a few hours.
The Lessons of Nisour Square
In Iraq five years before the Benghazi attack, on September 16, 2007, a State Department security officer called for a blocking move after he decided to move a VIP back to the green zone. A car bomb had detonated outside a meeting and the agent in charge wanted extra protection while the Blackwater detail whisked the diplomat to safety. Within minutes, 11 Iraqi civilians would be killed in the crossfire between insurgents and Blackwater firepower. From then on, U.S. diplomatic protection would be branded by the Nissour Square shootings.
In writing Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror, I spent three years with private security firms hired to protect diplomats. I trained Secret Service agents to think like terrorists, and I was trained to prevent assassination attempts on VIPs. I rode shotgun with a Blackwater team every day for a month on route Irish—the most dangerous stretch of highway in the world. I flew in Bremer’s Little Bird helicopters, rode high-pro, low-pro and generally absorbed the impressive and flexible tactics, effort, and machinery of people who protect our diplomats in dangerous places. It is a deadly serious business with advance planning, constant training, worst-case scenarios and even a multi-hundred-million-dollar-plus “Worldwide Personal Protective Services” contract to ensure that our diplomats and embassy workers are safe. But none of that was in place in Benghazi on the eleventh anniversary of September 11th.
Wanis el-Sharef, eastern Libya’s deputy interior minister, who was in the Interior Ministry’s operations room, was in charge of security that night. According to Sharef, a group of armed men with AK-47s and RPGs appeared at the front of the Benghazi mission around 10 pm, followed by another unarmed group protesting. Soon the crowd swelled to around 200 people—predominately armed militiamen in armored vehicles. Shooting began and Sharef urged the Americans to evacuate. He would send a dozen security men to help. The team from the February 17th Brigade arrived at the mission by 10:30 pm and began to organize an evacuation. When they arrived, the main building was on fire and two men were missing. He did not know why the Ambassador’s security team did not know where the Ambassador was.
When the embassy convoy and the Ambassador’s security team evacuated the consulate for the annex, Ambassador Stevens was still not with them. Instead, Libyan civilians found his limp body and brought it to Benghazi Medical Center where Ziad Abu Zeid, a Libyan doctor, tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him for 90 minutes. He did not know the identity of the body. But the deceased man had a mobile phone on it, and when the doctor called numbers from the contact list he then realized he had been working on the dead body of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
The CIA annex was about a mile away. News sources report that there were efforts to communicate with the White House at around 11 pm Libyan time. At that time, President Obama was heading into a 5 pm meeting with the Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Martin Dempsey was notified of the situation in Libya. Dempsey opted to do nothing other than suggest that the embassy request help from the Libyan government. Cables indicate that the State Department not only had a live feed but that the U.S. army had stood up an “In extremis” force designed for exactly these type of attacks and was less than one hour away by air in Italy. Sending assets in by air like the much-feared AC 130 gunship designed specifically to surgically eliminate armed attackers at nighttime was neither foreign nor difficult for air controllers and the U.S. military.
At 1:30 am in Benghazi, a group of armed Americans in plain clothes arrived in a small aircraft from Tripoli They needed an armed escort from the February 17th Brigade to find the annex using GPS coordinates. (The building was not technically a safe house but was used by the Agency to run their operations in Benghazi.)
As the convoy pulled up to the annex, they found themselves under attack again. This is where two CIA contractors, whose real mission was finding and purchasing weapons, made their last stand. The attack was described as fierce and involved RPGs and small arms, and some say another mortar attack that killed the former SEALs. There were no other wounds or deaths reported at the annex.
Former SEALS On Guard Or Buying Libyan Weapons?
Contrary to many assumptions, the two former SEALs were not working as embassy protection. They were working for MVM under contract to the Central Intelligence Agency allegedly working the counter proliferation program in Libya. The CIA does not share security staff with embassy and requires highly trained, TS SCI cleared contractors to protect NSA, CIA case officers and facilities.
Both ex Naval Special Warfare Tier One vets were well known on the contractor circuit. Former sniper, Tyrone Woods, 41, of Imperial Beach, California, had until recently run a bar called the Salty Frog and paid the bills by working the circuit for Triple Canopy and Marquez Vance Marquez now known as MVM. Glen Doherty, 42, a fellow sniper and long time friend of Woods, operated a fitness program also in San Diego, and had worked overseas since 2005 and was also working for MVM under contract.
MVM is a company started by former Secret Service agents and is based in Ashburn Virginia. The company is a seasoned supplier of security contractors to the OGA community, and insiders told me they provided the services of the two former SEALs in Benghazi. When MVM was contacted for confirmation Mike Leighton, Program Manager for MVM, told me they did not do such contracts anymore, hadn’t for a while and “doesn’t have a contract for that all”. When he asked again who I was, he said “you know we can’t talk about that” and “it’s all classified anyways.” MVM had previously black listed a security contractor who appeared in my book “Licensed to Kill” because they thought he had even mentioned their name.
MVM had come back from a loss of their CIA security contract in 2008 apparently worth one billion dollars over five years and is now providing cleared security guards to around 80 U.S. embassies around the world. The two contractors killed were there allegedly to buy back weapons but were armed. Both would have been inherently well trained and well equipped to respond in a security breach. As Woods and Doherty heard of the attack, they requested to leave the annex and assist at the Special Mission. Their higher ups at the annex told them to stand down. Three times.
They would die a few hours later guarding the annex.
When the 30 or so diplomatic, agency, and annex staff and rescue team left the annex and arrived at the airport with three dead bodies, the aircraft sent was too small to evacuate them all at once. It was forced to make two trips. While the Americans waited for the plane to return, Libyans delivered Ambassador Steven’s body to the airport.
According to Marine spokesperson, Captain Kendra N. Motz, a FAST (fleet antiterrorism security team) unit of about a dozen Marines was dispatched to secure the embassy on September 12. FAST units are typically a platoon of men that secure the perimeter. They were too late and too far away to make a difference.
The Special Mission was closed. Three days after the attack an FBI team was dispatched but chose to wait over two weeks to really “investigate” until conditions were “safer.” But four days after the attack, CNN was able to find the Ambassador’s diary in the rubble and broadcast Steven’s concerns for his safety. Currently, there is no U.S presence at the Benghazi site. The owner has padlocked it and hired two private guards to keep out the curious. The Washington Post discovered more sensitive documents on October 3rd. Their reporting confirms that the locally hired security workers at the Special Mission in Benghazi were warned to quit their jobs weeks before the attack occurred.
The decision had been made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a “low profile” security presence. This was, perhaps, an over compensation of the Libyan rebels’ demands for sovereignty, even though the 61-year-old Libyan government and security apparatus had been decapitated only a few months prior.
Eager to engage and coordinate the confusing mix of Libyan rebel groups, Ambassador Stevens was brought in as a go-between. He was well aware of the level of chaos, amounts of weapons and dozens of fractious militias that controlled the region. This type of high-risk posting—similar in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and other hot spots—would typically be afforded greater protection and surge capability under the “Worldwide Personal Protective Services,” or WPPS, contract.
In the past, contractors like Blackwater, or similar entities, have been able to send highly qualified contractors (usually former Special Operations soldiers with TS SCI clearances) within hours of a requirement. They are often issued diplomatic passports to make them immune from local prosecution in case of a shooting or weapons problem. Unlike Iraq, where Ambassador Paul Bremer was given a 64-man armed detail complete with sniper-laden Little Bird helicopters and bristling armored vehicles, Stevens had nothing other than a handful of Diplomatic Security agents who technically were dramatically under staffed and under resourced, according to the RSO’s constant requests for proper staffing levels.
Although in 2008 then-candidate and current President Obama and New York Senator Hillary Clinton wanted to completely replace contractors with staffers. That would prove to be more empty campaign rhetoric considering the massive scale of training, available manpower and shifting requirements. Libya was soon to become the latest hot spot that America was to become involved in. For a short honeymoon period, similar to the first days of Afghanistan and Iraq, it appeared that a low-key approach to security with literally no armed Americans on site might be enough.
Once again, Ambassador Chris Stevens was an example of the “new” diplomat. He spoke Arabic. He was comfortable overseas and dismissive of heavy security that would create a barrier between him and the population. But the local Ambassador did not set the security profile. Diplomatic security professionals in Washington, with direct input from the Secretary of State, set the security profile. Could the State Department under Hillary Clinton completely reverse the security profile in hostile environments? To understand this I reached out to two men who know the business of security.
Workplace Libya: No bullets, All Locals, Good Luck
Col. David Hunt, best known as a right-of –center television commentator, went to Libya to pitch a security contract for the new embassy. Over the four-month period that he tried to bring in business with the embassy, he was told that, according to the Rules of Engagement for Libya, an extensive document that dictates U.S. conduct in Libya, there were to be “No Americans on the ground,” as Hunt puts it. I caught up with Hunt while he was driving through Maine. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “They wanted Libyans to guard the embassy. I dropped the effort right there. They [Libyan locals] are extremely hard to vet.”
Hunt explains what the Rules of Engagement for Libya document contains: “Each relevant agency would have an attachment on how they expected to work in Libya. The DSS would have an attachment. That entire document is signed off by the Secretary of State and reviewed by the President. These things are not done in a vacuum.”
He believes that the Secretary of State deliberately ignored the potential dangers of Libya and left the embassy staff hanging for the sake of political correctness.
Hunt’s assumptions are turning out to be correct as documents and evidence come forward in this politically charged controversy. The commander of the February 17th Brigade, the exact militia the special mission was forced to rely on, was given three days’ notice before the Ambassador’s arrival.
Hunt is appalled at the level of security chosen for Libya. “Probably the lowest level of security we have for any foreign embassy I can think of,” he says.
In 2011, security contractors descended en masse into Libya. Eager to guard oil facilities and train the unruly militias, it was considered the next “Iraq.” But most companies were surprised to find that in the optimistic post-Qaddafi Libya, guns were not a part of those contracts.
One enterprising company that entered the fray was the UK-based contracting firm Blue Mountain. The owner, 50-year old Welshman David Nigel Thomas, is a 14-year veteran and mountaineering specialist for the Special Air Service. Thomas arrived in Libya with other British security companies during the conflict to land training and oil security contracts, only to find that all the contracts were unarmed and you had to have a Libyan partner. Blue Mountain, a tiny company that operates from rural Wales, was involved in evacuating the thousands of oil workers in February 2011, as well as guarding media teams covering Libya. In keeping with the low-profile stance that the U.S. wanted, his company secured the contract to guard the Benghazi consulate. In April, a mobile training team had been on site to train local guards, and funds were assigned to hire a local force.
On May 3rd, 2012, the State Department awarded contract number SAQMMA12C0092 to “Misc. Foreign Awardees” to provide a “Housekeeping-Guard” role. Blue Mountain was paid $387,413.68, with an extension option that brought the tab for protecting the consulate to $783,284.79 to provide and train half a dozen Libyan guards, apparently under a “no bullets” restriction that meant the guards could not be trusted with loaded weapons.
Blue Mountain did not respond to inquiries by press time, and other media probes were answered by Zoe Thompson, Thomas’ assistant at Blue Mountain. “My job is to provide you with no information,” Thompson said. “Unfortunately, all communication that has come to Blue Mountain Group from the media is being held by us here until we are able to provide more detailed responses.”
When I queried the embassy in Tripoli to provide specifics, Mietek Boduszyński, the Public Affairs Officer, politely said “As you know, there is an ongoing FBI investigation into this attack, so unfortunately the RSO or others are not at liberty to talk about it at the moment.” More than two weeks after the attack, the FBI, charged with both protecting the crime scene and gathering evidence, had yet to set foot in Benghazi or respond with facts.
The Washington Post, CNN and locals purchased or gathered sensitive documents found at the looted compound. Had Marines been at Benghazi, it would be safe to assume that much of the sensitive data would have been destroyed. Benghazi was the center of the revolution. Much of the coordination with rebels was done by Ambassador Stevens. Benghazi was an important outpost for the CIA who maintained the annex to coordinate intelligence gathering and weapons collections.
If the deaths of four Americans weren’t enough, the administration’s handling of the response attracted the attention of the right-wing press, and then finally the moderate and left-wing media. Before the flames were put out in Benghazi, the White House began its bumbling, stumbling information operations. The confusion of the media message seemed to equal the bewilderment of the embassy attack. After 11 years of dealing with al Qaeda, and on the anniversary of the most symbolic day in recent history, was the U.S. government that confused, flatfooted, ill prepared and perhaps dishonest?
Someone in Hillary Clinton’s office sent UN Ambassador Susan Rice to blitz the weekend press shows and appeared on Fox News Sunday to do damage control with Chris Wallace. Rice repeated her view that an “anti-Islamic film” was the cause of the riots. Furthermore, State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland initially denied the Blue Mountain contract. She later corrected herself. The contract is easily by searching on the government contract bid website.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued to characterize the attack as mob outrage sparked by the YouTube video criticizing the Prophet Mohammed. “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others,” she said. Even while the Benghazi consulate was burning, the White House kept tweeting their support for this bizarre message.
By Sunday, September 24, aggressive questioning to State Department Spokesman and longtime Clinton aide Philippe Reines by reporter Michael Hastings resulted in Hastings being told to “fuck off.”
On October 13th Hillary and Bill Clinton spent their anniversary lawyering up and planning their next move. Their decision three days later and on the eve of an important election debate was for Hillary Clinton to take responsibility, but without any clear understanding of who and what consequences would be suffered for the deaths of two of her employees and two Agency contractors. President Obama would also take responsibility, again without the same clear view on what consequences would result. In the Hofstra University Presidential Debate on October 16th, the President assured the audience, and the American public, that he had ordered greater security for our embassies. My requests to the embassy, FBI, government and security provider were all rapidly rebuffed with the excuse that there was an ongoing FBI investigation and no comment could be provided. The same FBI that didn’t show up in Benghazi until three weeks later due to their concern for their safety.
With parents of those killed in Benghazi angry at being used, lied to and betrayed and the administration in freeze mode, I turned to someone who had enough on-the-ground experience to comment on the what the consulate’s security profile should have been.
“It’s the government—nobody gets fired.”
Erik Prince, a former US Navy SEAL, is the founder and owner of Blackwater. Blackwater’s assets were sold to Academi. Erik has a very vivid understanding of similar events. Blackwater first came to the public’s attention in March 2004 when four of its employees were brutally murdered and publicly violated by an angry mob in Fallujah, Iraq. It was determined later that the Blackwater contractors didn’t engage with sufficient firepower and while driving in “thin-skin” unarmored cars were easily ambushed and killed by insurgents.
An increasingly violent landscape meant that the U.S. government, more specifically the State Department, had to rapidly scale up defensive measures for their diplomats and embassy workers. State’s go-to contractor was Blackwater. In over 50,000 protectee movements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and other high-threat environments, Blackwater had a record of zero government client casualties.
But even a contractor with a perfect record and under the direct control of State or the Agency can be disposed of and another iteration hired. So with minimal private security and a failure of both Libyan and U.S. State-provided security, who exactly will take the fall for Benghazi?
I recently caught up with Prince to gain some insight into how a typical hot-spot embassy is guarded, how the Benghazi consulate was guarded, and who’s to blame for the tragedy in Benghazi.
“In a frontier post like Libya,” said Prince, “it’s unconscionable and unprecedented that they were depending on local security services, which, based on events, were thin to non- existent.”
Embassy security generally includes local nationals, static security guards—which guard places like gates access points and are usually third country nationals—Department of State, or DS, security guards, and a Regional Security Officer, or RSO. Contrary to what most people think, the Marine Corps does not guard an embassy. Marines guard the door to the embassy and the sensitive information within the embassy, but not the building, according to Prince.
There were no Marines at Benghazi. But there were plenty of locals. In their roles as guards, these personnel are tasked with repelling attacks like that of September 11th that killed Stevens. On the night of September 11th, the guards seem to have done little to repel the attack.
“I had a friend who visited the Benghazi compound the day after the incident,” Prince said, “and they remarked at the lack of pockmarks, impact points and casings. There were no pockmarks because the guards fled. I had a report that the guards reported the threat to the higher ups in the State Department, which went ignored. Another that a Libyan in the security forces warned them away before the attack. Either way, they abandoned their posts when the assault came.”
The Ambassador is guarded by a mobile private security detail along with the DS agents. When the attack happened the DS agents lost their assignee, the Ambassador. And when the second attack occurred at the CIA annex, the DS agents weren’t the ones who went down fighting—it was the former SEALs that died fighting.
There have been allegations that the Ambassador has a personal appointment the night of the attack. Some say it was a date. Whatever the case, his security guards were not with the one asset they were assigned to protect—Chris Stevens.
“It is my understanding that the Ambassador died at the consulate,” Prince said. “So there was a failure of the static security force that did not hold. There was a failure of the DS agents who did not protect him. There was an intelligence failure because in not holding they did not burn the crypto [sensitive information] and documents and lists of assets working with the U.S.”
The security profile of US foreign installations is not determined by the Ambassador. That job is left to the head of Diplomatic Security in Washington. And while the higher-ups in Washington may have misjudged the threats present in Benghazi, men on the ground, those assigned to the Ambassador, failed to do their job.
“Think of that” Prince said. “They lost track of the US President’s personal representative for ten hours. They had to rely on a Libyan Good Samaritan to get the Ambassador’s body back.”
Not surprisingly, Prince, among others, thinks that had their been a security detail more like Blackwater offered, disaster may have been avoided.
“I had heard reports that a contract that was going to be let to my old company [Academi],” he said. But that didn’t happen. “There was no contract and no upgraded security warning for Libya. These decisions are made back in Washington by the diplomatic folks.”
Such is the nature of foreign security under Secretary of state Hillary Clinton. Which is to say that the State Department opted for a smaller security footprint—no armed guards, no Blackwater-type guards locked and loaded on every corner—that would, hopefully, be less of an offense to locals, especially locals in a country where the U.S had just supported the toppling of a dictator.
“Due to lax security under this administration’s view of threats, four of their employees came home in caskets,” Prince said. “When Blackwater protected the State Department, Condi Rice and Hillary never had to appear at Dover or Andrews Air Force Base to receive the bodies of fallen diplomats. Considering the amount of IEDs, surface to air and attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, that is saying something.”
So the big question is who will take the fall for the poorly guarded embassy and the deaths of four Americans working in service to their country?
“It’s the government,” Prince said, “nobody gets fired.”
The only person who came to the aid of the embattled consulate staff, correctly identified the attack as a terrorist event, and successfully evacuated the Americans was Deputy Interior Minister Wanis Al-Sharif.
He was fired on September 26th. -Robert Young Pelton