In the 9-11 assault on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the United States lost four of our best and brightest, including the first American ambassador killed in the field since 1979, and two former SEALS.
We also lost a great deal of sensitive information that will compromise our ongoing operations in Libya.
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.
We had the warning regarding the Cairo attack here on the Tatler on Monday, as I’ve pointed out over and over again. That warning came from the Egyptian press, so it was in open source material easily accessible to our intelligence agencies. The US government should have picked it up, and may have for all we know, but President Obama had been skipping his daily intel briefings of late. He is, so his aides told us, so brilliant that he doesn’t need briefings.
Yet no warnings were issued to our diplomats in the field. Security was not enhanced. In Libya, the locally hired security forces reportedly chose Mohammad over the lives our ambassadorial staff and allowed the attack to happen.
Who couldn’t have seen that coming?
The Pentagon denies, but reports have been circulating that the Marines protecting the Cairo embassy were not even allowed to carry live ammunition.