Report: Despite Warnings, Clinton Left Embassy Vulnerable
The United States consulate in Libya where an ambassador and three others were killed was poorly guarded, according to reports in British media. The building lacked bulletproof glass, reinforced doors, and other features normally used to secure diplomatic staff.
The Benghazi consulate was not guarded by the usual contingent of U.S. Marines. Instead, protection was provided primarily by local guards, who fled when an angry mob approached. “The security people just all ran away and the people in charge were the young men with guns and bombs,” local man Ali Fetori told the Independent.
The building’s perimeter was breached within 15 minutes of the mob assault.
In addition, Ambassador Christopher Stevens was reportedly missing for several hours after the attack. U.S. State Department officials say Stevens was separated from his security team “due to the heavy, dark smoke” as rioters attacked the building. His body was seen by consulate staff only hours later, after Libyan citizens took him to a hospital.
Making matters worse is the report in the Independent that the State Department had prior warning of the violent assault. “According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and ‘lockdown,’ under which movement is severely restricted,” the report stated.
Earlier media reports revealed that one of the slain diplomats, information management officer Sean Smith, had noticed suspicious people taking pictures hours before the assault and wondered in an online forum if he and other staff would “die tonight.”
State Department officials now say that the assault in Benghazi was “clearly a planned attack.”
The Breitbart news site said Thursday night, “Why wasn’t there better protection at the consulate? Because that’s the way Secretary of State Clinton wanted it… Secretary of State Clinton is responsible for the security of our staff, consulates and embassies abroad. If the Independent’s report is correct, she has violated the most basic standard of duty. Both she and her boss, President Obama, must be held responsible.”
In the wake of the attack U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered that security be tightened at U.S. embassies worldwide. The U.S. has also launched a manhunt for the terrorists behind the Benghazi attack.