Benghazi Mission Was 'on Strike'
The special Accountability Review Board that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed to investigate the Sept. 11 attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, says that a local militia the State Department hired to protect that mission was refusing to protect the movement of State Department vehicles in Benghazi on Sept. 11 in order to protest its wages and working hours.
Two Americans -- Amb. Chris Stevens and State Department Information Management Officer Sean Smith -- were killed at the Benghazi mission that day; and two more Americans -- former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty -- were killed at a nearby CIA Annex.
“In the weeks and months leading up to the attacks, the response from post, Embassy Tripoli, and Washington to a deteriorating security situation was inadequate,” says the report, which was released on Tuesday. “At the same time, the SMC’s [Special Mission compound’s] dependence on the armed but poorly skilled Libyan February 17 Martyrs’ Brigade (February 17) militia members and unarmed, locally contracted Blue Mountain Libya (BML) guards for security support was misplaced."
“At the time of Ambassador Stevens’ visit, February 17 militia members had stopped accompanying Special Mission vehicle movements in protest over salary and working hours,” says the report.
The board’s report indicates that these Libyan militia simply did not do the job the State Department for some reason believed they would in protecting a US diplomatic mission in what the report calls a “a lawless town...in reality run by a diverse group of local Islamist militias."
“In the absence of an effective central government security presence, the Special Mission’s Libyan security contingent was composed of four armed members of the February 17 Martyrs’ Brigade (February 17) -- a local umbrella organization of militias dominant in Benghazi (some of which were Islamist) and loosely affiliated with the Libyan government, but not under its control,” says the report.
“The Special Mission also had an unarmed, contract local guard force (LGF), Blue Mountain Libya (BML), which provided five guards per eight-hour shift, 24/7, to open and close the gates, patrol the compound, and give warning in case of an attack.”
When terrorists suddenly attacked the US compound at about 9:42pm Benghazi time on Sept. 11, the February 17 militia not only failed to sound any warning, they immediately fled.
“Around the same time [9:42pm],” the report says, “the TDY RSO [temporary duty State Department regional security officer] working in the TOC [tactical operations center] heard shots and an explosion. He then saw via security camera dozens of individuals, many armed, begin to enter the compound through the main entrance at the C1 gate. He hit the duck and cover alarm and yelled a warning over the radio, and recalled no such warning from the February 17 or BML guards, who had already begun to flee to points south and east in the compound, towards the Villa B area.”
Two assistant State Department regional security officers (ARSOs) told the board they at least heard a radio warning of the attack from the BML militia guards. “ARSOs 1 and 2 heard an attack warning from the BML guards passed on over the radio,” says the report.
The board concluded that the State Department’s reliance on these unskilled Libyan militias of questionable loyalty -- including one that had gone on strike -- was “misplaced.”
“The Board determined that reliance on February 17 for security in the event of an attack was misplaced, even though February 17 had been considered to have responded satisfactorily to previous, albeit less threatening, incidents,” says the report. “The four assigned February 17 guards were insufficient and did not have the requisite skills and reliability to provide a reasonable level of security on a 24/7 basis for an eight-acre compound with an extended perimeter wall. In the days prior to the attack and on September 11, 2012, one was absent. Over the course of its inquiry, the Board also learned of troubling indicators of February 17’s loyalties and its readiness to assist US personnel. In the weeks preceding the Ambassador’s arrival, February 17 had complained about salaries and the lack of a contract for its personnel.
“At the time of the attacks, February 17 had ceased accompanying Special Mission vehicle movements in protest,” says the report. “The Blue Mountain Libya (BML) unarmed guards, whose primary responsibilities were to provide early warning and control access to the SMC, were also poorly skilled.”
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 12/19/2012
Editor's Note: It looks like the Libyan "security" companies learned well from the SEIU and the AFL-CIO...never let a good crisis got to waste, eh?
The BasicsProject.org informational and educational pamphlet series is now available for Kindle and iPad. Click here to find out more...
The New Media Journal and BasicsProject.org are not funded by outside sources. We exist exclusively on tax deductible donations from our readers and contributors.
Please make a tax deductible donation today.