October 10, 2012
Benghazi Consulate Lacked Protection, Former Security Chief Says
The former head of the U.S. security team in Libya says the consulate in Benghazi never had enough of what it needed to protect itself.
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood testified Wednesday at Congressional hearings into the September 11th attack on the consulate that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.
Republicans have accused the State Department of failing to heed demands from security personnel on ground for more help.
Wood described the security in Benghazi as a struggle the entire time he was assigned to Libya. He said there was only one U.S. diplomatic security agent at the consulate just months before the attack.
Deputy Assistant of State Charlene Lamb, who is responsible for diplomatic security, told the hearing Wednesday that Benghazi had the proper number of security officers at the time of the attack based on intelligence and agreements between officials in the field and Washington.
Republican Congressmen Darrell Issa retorted that such an assessment does not ring true to the American people. He said it took just moments to storm the embassy and kill four people.
But Democrats at the hearing pointed out that Republicans have repeatedly cut funds for diplomatic security.
Republicans have also criticized the Obama administration for initially saying the attack on the consulate was part of the protest against an American-made anti-Islam film before later calling it a planned act of terrorism.