Normally our embassies around the world are staffed with Marines to protect them. But the consulate in Libya, considered an ‘interim facility’ was completely unguarded:
POLITICO – The consulate where the American ambassador to Libya was killed on Tuesday is an “interim facility” not protected by the contingent of Marines that safeguards embassies, POLITICO has learned.
Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed with three other Americans in an attack on the U.S. consulate in the city of Benghazi, where Libyan rebels ousted strongman Moammar Qadhafi last year.
Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Kendra Motz said that Marines were not posted to the consulate, unlike the embassy in the capital, Tripoli.
A defense official told POLITICO on Wednesday that the Pentagon is sending an elite team of about 50 additional Marines, called a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, to reinforce the embassy.
A senior administration official Wednesday called the Benghazi consulate “an interim facility,” which the State Department began using “before the fall of Qadhafi.” It was staffed Tuesday by Libyan and State Department security officers. The consulate came under fire from heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades at about 10 p.m. local time on Tuesday. By the time the attack ended several hours later, four Americans were dead and three others had been injured.
The Benghazi consulate had “lock-and-key” security, not the same level of defenses as a formal embassy, an intelligence source told POLITICO. That means it had no bulletproof glass, reinforced doors or other features common to embassies. The intelligence source contrasted it with the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt – “a permanent facility, which is a lot easier to defend.” The Cairo embassy also was attacked Tuesday.
Obama sent 50 Marines to Libya today to staff our consulate there. It’s a shame it took the death of our Ambassador and three of his staff members to make that happen.
Why isn’t the press asking Obama about this? Oh I forgot, they’re still obsessed with the timing of Romney’s criticism. Yeah, that’s a bigger issue.
UPDATE: Just to make the point a little finer, Levin wonders why Obama didn’t “beef up” the staffing at our embassies around the world simply because it was the anniversary of 9/11. He wants the press to ask Obama about that.