Benghazi security unarmed when attack started?

posted at 8:01 am on December 11, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

How well prepared was the security team at the Benghazi consulate on the night of September 11th, in an area known to be rife with terrorist activity, on the anniversary of the al-Qaeda attacks that killed almost 3,000 people eleven years earlier?  According to a source who heard the closed-door testimony in the Senate about the attack, they hadn’t even armed themselves — and had to race to find their weapons when the attack started.  Kerry Picket reports at Breitbart News that the decision to remove the military security in August didn’t prompt State to ramp up their own security at all:

A source with personal knowledge of the security situation in Benghazi told Breitbart News that Senators who listened to closed door testimony about the Benghazi attack were shocked to learn State Department security personnel agents were not immediately armed.

Additionally, agents separated from Ambassador Chris Stevens left to retrieve their M4 weapons in a separate building. Only one returned to protect the Ambassador, while the other two hunkered down in the barracks, the source relayed.

“From the accounts I read, those guys were not ready. When the attack came that night, they had to go back to the other room and grab their weapons. Then the worse part about it was they never even returned to be with the Ambassador. One returned to be with the Ambassador with his rifle. The other two went back to where there were [sic] barracks. And two stayed in that same building where there were radios and other weapons and the safe and other stuff was there.

There were no shots fired in return. On the embassy property, just the embassy property, none of those security agents blasted a single bullet from a single pistol or rifle at all in defense of the Ambassador—nothing.”

Even if they had been armed, they wouldn’t have known how to coordinate a defense, Kerry’s source explained:

According to the Breitbart News source, the State Department security agents are “six week temporary duty assignments.”

The source explained, “When they’re there, they are not working together. They don’t know one another. They probably all got there and one guy had been there for two weeks another guy had been there for four and then another three came in from Tripoli. None of them ever worked with each other before. So when a shooting incident occurs, they hunker down and hope and pray that it goes away instead of reacting like a military trained force.”

Let’s refresh our minds on the context in which this attack occurred.  Riots had erupted at the US Embassy in Cairo, a fact that the Obama administration used to insist that the Benghazi attack was a spontaneous demonstration run amok rather than the planned terrorist attack it turned out to be.  It was the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  The consulate was in eastern Libya, where Islamist terror networks were well known to operate with impunity, especially after the fall of the Qaddafi regime and the collapse of internal security in the region.  And the US Ambassador had arrived to conduct diplomatic talks and events, who had been pleading for more security resources for months.

With all that going on, no one thought to arm the security staff and prepare for trouble that evening?


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