Skip to comments.Ex-Security Team Leader In Libya: "Multiple Pleas" For "More, Not Less" Security Staff
Posted on 10/08/2012 11:56:10 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
(CBS News) The former head of a Special Forces "Site Security Team" in Libya tells CBS News that in spite of multiple pleas from himself and other U.S. security officials on the ground for "more, not less" security personnel, the State Department removed as many as 34 people from the country in the six months before a terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.
Lt. Col. Andy Wood will appear this week at a House Oversight Committee hearing that will examine security decisions leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi.
Speaking to CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, Wood said when he found out that his own 16-member team and a six-member State Department elite force were being pulled from Tripoli in August - about a month before the assault in Benghazi - he felt, "like we were being asked to play the piano with two fingers. There was concern amongst the entire embassy staff."
He said other staffers approached him with their concerns when the reduction in security personnel was announced.
"They asked if we were safe," he told Attkisson. "They asked... what was going to happen, and I could only answer that what we were being told is that they're working on it - they'll get us more (security personnel), but I never saw that."
Wood insists that senior staff in Libya, including Ambassador Stevens, State Department Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom, and himself, all wanted and had requested enhanced security.
"We felt we needed more, not less," he tells Attkisson.
Asked what response their repeated pleas got from the State Department in Washington, Wood says they were simply told "to do with less. For what reasons, I don't know."
"We tried to illustrate... to show them how dangerous and how volatile and just unpredictable that whole environment was over there. So to decrease security in the face of that really is... it's just unbelievable," Wood tells CBS News.
One State Department source tells CBS News the security teams weren't "pulled," that their mission was simply over.
State Department officials have told CBS News that Wood was not part of the security assessment in Benghazi and that his assignment to Tripoli means he was unfamiliar with the local situation in the smaller port city in the country's east.
Lt. Col. Wood, Nordstrom and State Department official Charlene Lamb, based in Washington, will offer some of the key testimony at this week's House Oversight Committee hearing, led by committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan reports that the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Management, Patrick Kennedy, will be the highest ranking official from the State Department to testify before the committee.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the State Department is cooperating fully with the congressional investigation, according to Brennan.
Will appear at House Hearing
Well, this isn’t good.
First, there’s the news that Obama has been running his campaign on donations from China. Then, the Princeton economist Obama used to attack Romney says that Bozo is full of BS. Now, it looks like the State Dept. did leave the ambassador defenseless against all logic.
Bad day for the clown.
Obama is NOT going to stiffle this !
Did you see the thread on Spook Wars...Authored by Bill Gertz?
Disgruntled ex employee....had a political fixation with Republicans...dangerous loner and individualist. That’s what will be said if it gets far enough for a reporter with balls to aks the questions that need to be aksed....
Still contend that the attack on the consulate was arranged as a ruse...The attack changed course when the former Seals fought back...I think the intention was to take over the consulate similar to the Iranian Embassy in 1979....All to have Obama come to the rescue and resolve the situation...
Where was the Ambassadors personal security detail?
Sound like exactly the right thing to do if your goal is to "keep a low profile" in Libya. Sure, a few people may die but at least we won't suffer all of those "Big, Bad, USA" stares from our Muslim "friends". Leading from Behind is not an easy policy to implement. It takes real leadership, the behind kind.
This guy, Kennedy was too busy heading up the “greening” project for the state department to worry about these trivial security matters.
I kid you not - Kennedy IS heading up a Greening project for the department.
How much of his time is spent on *that* little gem?
Exactly! Reducing security was not a "mistake." It was a deliberate act planned by the State Dept.
Can you drop us some detail ....link or whatever.
It's not "unbelievable" .... it's murder.
I did NOT drive to McDonalds. I merely arrived at my destination.
Yes, we can only hope more ‘spooks’ come out against the admin for putting people’s lives at risk. They should be held accountable.
“The Greening Council helped facilitate the first-ever charter among foreign embassies, which states that its signatories will strive to make their buildings and operations more sustainable, will support the city’s efforts, and will share best practices on greening and sustainability.”
The last time I saw pictures of the consulate at Benghazi, the building didn’t look so “green”.
If you’re a black POTUS u can kill 300 poor brown Mexicans, 2 US officers, and apparently a US Ambassador...!
"These security cutbacks were authorized under the previous administration." - Hillbilly /s
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