Our embassy in Cairo, Egypt was breached and a flag stolen and burned. Worse in Libya, a small group of gunmen we’re told breached our consulate in Benghazi, Libya killing our ambassador to Libya and three others and burning the consulate down. Today protestors breached our embassy in Yemen, and they had to be repelled by Yemeni security forces. In Egypt the Egyptian army came to the rescue. Something missing in all of these stories are the Marines who I thought were charged with providing Embassy security worldwide.
A couple of questions come to mind.
1. Has our military been so depleted that President Obama can’t send enough Marines to provide security in places which are known hot spots like Libya?
Why in the world would an Ambassador not have Marine protection? Why isn’t every diplomatic mission in a country like Libya not guarded by Marines? A Marine detachment could have easily handled this “small, savage” group of gunmen that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said attacked at Benghazi.
2. If there were Marines present in the embassies in Cairo and Sanaa what are their rules of engagement?
I understand that you don’t want a bloodbath on your hands, but should anyone been allowed to breach the embassy grounds?
I’m not blaming Marines for this happening. I just have to wonder if they had the presence, the tools, and the authority to address any of this. This is something that President Obama will need to explain to the American people, where was the protection?
Update: Were Marines at the Cairo Embassy ordered to not carry live ammo?
The Nightwatch Blog reports that numerous USMC blogs are saying Ambassador Anne Patterson would not allow Marines at the Cairo Embassy to carry live rounds.
She did not permit US Marine guards to carry live ammunition, according to USMC blogs. Thus she neutralized any US military capability that was dedicated to preserve her life and protect the US Embassy.
In this respect, she did not defend US sovereign territory and betrayed her oath of office. She neutered the Marines posted to defend the embassy, trusting the Egyptians over the Marines.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that the Pentagon said this isn’t true. This begs the question again – why were protesters allowed to scale the ways and breach the embassy compound? So far U.S. officials have declined to discuss the security at the Cairo embassy or the Benghazi consulate. I suspect we may have to wait until November 7th for the truth to come out.
2nd Update: Apparently there warnings 48 hours prior about an embassy attack, but the Obama administration did nothing.
The US administration is now facing a crisis in Libya. Sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the “safe house” in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no longer deemed “safe”.
Some of the missing papers from the consulate are said to list names of Libyans who are working with Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups, while some of the other documents are said to relate to oil contracts.
According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and “lockdown”, under which movement is severely restricted.