Skip to comments.Diplomats still in Benghazi say they had long questioned U.S. reliance on local militia
Posted on 11/09/2012 12:59:41 PM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
BENGHAZI, Libya -- Even before the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, diplomats from other nations and Libyan security officials had questioned the wisdom of a U.S. decision to rely primarily on members of a local militia to protect its compound here.
Diplomats here told McClatchy that while its customary to depend on local forces to protect diplomatic missions, only the United States of the 10 or so foreign missions here allowed the local militia to be the first line of defense. The others said they instead depended on military forces from their own country to provide security.
A few months ago, there was a small attack here and the Libyans fled, said a diplomat from a European nation who asked that he not be further identified so that he could speak candidly about his assessment of security here. After that, I decided to only use special forces from his own country.
We never considered using the brigades, he said, referring to the 17th of February Brigade, the local militia that was considered the primary security force for the U.S. mission. We assumed the United States had a special relationship with the brigades.
Said another diplomat who requested anonymity for the same reasons: I would never depend on the brigades.
The diplomat said he believed U.S. officials were unaware of the extremist links of those who were guarding them. "The mistake of the Americans was not following the trail of Islamic radicals," he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at miamiherald.com ...