Judging from the diary of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, it's incredible that there wasn't more security at the embassy in Benghazi.
Last year, on the anniversary of 9/11, Libyan militants launched an attack on the diplomatic consulate in Benghazi that ultimately claimed the lives of four Americans, including Stevens.
Stevens' personal diary was recovered on the scene, and kept in secret until now.
Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy flexed their contacts in the State Department to get a hold of Stevens diary pages, which contain some chilling revelations.
On Sept. 6th, five days before the attack, Stevens wrote — “Militias the prime power on the ground. Weak state security institutions. As a result, dicey conditions, including car bombs, attacks on consulate, British embassy, and our own people. Islamist 'hit list' in Benghazi. Me targeted on a prominent [Qa] website (no more off-compound jogging). ”
Webb notes that Stevens had a good rapport with the locals, and an in-depth knowledge of the human landscape of eastern Libya, the location of Benghazi. This understanding might have added to his confidence despite the known threats.
On Sept. 9th, two days before the attack, Stevens wrote, “Stressful day. Too many things going on everyone wants to bend my ear. Need to pull above the fray.”
On Sept. 11, the day of the attack, after thanking several friends for welcoming him into Benghazi, the last words Stevens wrote, “Never ending security threats … ”
Webb writes that Benghazi had the highest risk rating of any diplomatic mission in the world at the time and should have been automatically issued more security resources.
He also notes that there were several reasons why Stevens would be a target. Benghazi was a web of competing militias, each vying for power in the vacuum Gaddafi left behind.
While the Obama administration picked a few of the more powerful tribes to head the country's military, the CIA, Webb writes, was almost certainly using some of these smaller militant organizations to help find and funnel weapons to Syria.
Meanwhile, elements of Joint Special Operations Command were conducting targetted strikes all around the eastern Libya area of operations.
"All sorts of Gaddafi associates have been dropping dead, along with others who may be involved in unseemly activities," writes Webb.
In response, they launch an assault on the State Department compound which was successful far beyond their hopes because of grossly inadequate security. Emboldened by their success, they rally and bring the fight to the CIA compound, kill two more Americans and critically wound two more agents (one CIA, and one State).
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