News / USA

Embassies Around the World on Alert, Marines Sent to Benghazi

The killing of the ambassador and three diplomats in Libya and the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Egypt are raising concerns worldwide as all overseas embassies review their security practices.  The events occurred on the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, which leads many to believe they were pre-planned.

U.S. embassies are no stranger to terrorism.

2011: Afghanistan.  Taliban insurgents ambush the embassy and NATO forces.  Seven are killed.  
2008: Yemen. Armed attackers and car bombs outside the embassy kill 19.  
1998:  Simultaneous bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.  More than 200 dead.  

And now: the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other diplomats die when extremists storm the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
 
Christopher Hill has served as an ambassador in Iraq, South Korea, Poland and Macedonia.  He says he’s watched security change throughout the years.

"When I first entered the foreign service, a visitor could walk in through an embassy, and maybe get stopped by a Marine guard.  But certainly, there was no hardened outer wall like there is today,” he said.

Hill’s embassy in Macedonia was breached in 1999 when the few local police officers there were overwhelmed by demonstrators.  He says it’s common, even now, to have local officers guard the perimeter, but the difference in Libya was that the crowd was so heavily armed.  After the 1999 demonstration in Macedonia, officials discussed closing the embassy, but that was dismissed.

“If we shut down the embassy, we were concerned that other embassies would follow suit, and we would end up with a much worse political problem. So, we brought in additional Marines.” Hill said.

And, that’s the next step for Libya.  Fifty Marines -- a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team - have been deployed to secure U.S. facilities.

“A free and stable Libya is still in America’s interest and security, and we will not turn our back on that," said Secretary of State Clinton.
U.S. embassies in at least seven countries are warning of possible anti-American actions and are advising Americans to be vigilant.

“What one should be doing is to keep eyes and ears open and know what might be developing. But often in these adrenalin or testosterone-filled moments, things that you think might happen, happen much more quickly and much more strongly than you ever thought.  You are often asked to imagine the unimaginable. Imagine that some small group planning to attack the embassy turns into a much larger group than any of your intelligence could have alerted you to,” Hill said.

U.S. facilities around the world are now reviewing their security and examining possible vulnerabilities... all in an effort to be proactive, rather than reacting with increased security following a tragedy like Tuesday's.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Nigerians Await New President With High Hopes

When pomp and circumstance of inauguration end in Abuja, Buhari will sit down to the hard task of governing Nigeria More

India's Restrictions on Several NGOs Raise Concerns

Political analysts link recent clampdown on advocacy groups to report last year that said foreign-funded NGO’s negatively impact economic development More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs