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Three Security Teams Were Pulled From Libya

From CBS News:

Congress to probe security flaws for Libya diplomats

By Sharyl Attkisson | Fri October 5, 2012

(CBS News) WASHINGTON – CBS News has learned that congressional investigators have issued a subpoena to a former top security official at the US mission in Libya. The official is Lt. Col. Andy Wood, a Utah National Guard Army Green Beret who headed up a Special Forces "Site Security Team" in Libya.

The subpoena compels Lt. Col. Wood to appear at a House Oversight Committee hearing next week that will examine security decisions leading up to the Sept. 11 Muslim extremist terror assault on the U.S. compound at Benghazi. U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three of his colleagues were killed in the attack.

Lt. Col. Wood has told CBS News and congressional investigators that his 16-member team and a six-member State Department elite force called a Mobile Security Deployment team left Libya in August, just one month before the Benghazi assault. Wood says that’s despite the fact that US officials in Libya wanted security increased, not decreased.

Wood says he met daily with Stevens and that security was a constant challenge. There were 13 threats or attacks on western diplomats and officials in Libya in the six months leading up to the September 11 attack…

Wood, whose team arrived in February, says he and fellow security officials were very worried about the chaos on the ground. He says they tried to communicate the danger to State Department officials in Washington, D.C., but that the officials denied requests to enhance security.

"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 said.

The State Department official says there was a "constant conversation" between security details in Libya and officials in Washington D.C.

Sources critical of what they view as a security drawdown say three Mobile Security Deployment teams left Libya between February and August in addition to the 16-member Site Security Team on loan from the military. That’s 34 highly-trained security personnel moved out over a six month period.

One State Department source told CBS News the security teams weren’t "pulled," that their mission was simply over

And there is no way they could have been extended if the State Department had asked.

Meanwhile, we have this update from Jake Tapper at ABC News:

Security Team Commander Says Ambassador Stevens Wanted His Team to Stay in Libya Past August

By Jake Tapper | Mon October 8, 2012

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens wanted a Security Support Team, made up of 16 special operations soldiers, to stay with him in Libya after their deployment was scheduled to end in August, the commander of that security team told ABC News.

The embassy staff’s “first choice was for us to stay,” Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, 55, told ABC News in an interview. “That would have been the choice of the embassy people in Tripoli.”

But a senior State Department official told ABC News that the embassy’s Regional Security Officer never specifically requested that the SST’s tour be extended past August, and the official maintained there was no net loss of security personnel…

And we believe them.

The State Department issued a statement Monday, saying, “The SST was enlisted to support the re-opening of Embassy Tripoli, to help ensure we had the security necessary as our diplomatic presence grew. They were based in Tripoli and operated almost exclusively there. When their rotation in Libya ended, Diplomatic Security Special Agents were deployed and maintained a constant level of security capability. So their departure had no impact whatsoever on the total number of fully trained American security personnel in Libya generally, or in Benghazi specifically.”

This seems to be contradicted below.

The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli had already asked for — and received — an extension of the SST earlier in the year. A February draft request for a 120-day extension, obtained by ABC News..

The embassy request stated: “Quite simply, we cannot maintain our existing levels of Embassy operations, much less implement necessary staffing increases, without a continued SST presence.” …

Investigators are exploring whether anyone at the State Department told the Embassy specifically not to request another extension…

The February draft report from the embassy in Tripoli to the State Department paints a picture of the Security Support Team as far more vital to security than the senior State Department official portrayed the group.

The draft was circulated by Joan Polaschik, the deputy chief of the mission in Libya, and emailed to members of the diplomatic corps, the SST team members, and Wood.

“Overall security conditions continue to be unpredictable, with large numbers of armed groups and individuals not under control of the central government, and frequent clashes in Tripoli and other major population centers,” the embassy’s request reads. The continued presence of the Security Support Team’s was “essential,” the report states, “to support our daily moves and a continuing high volume of senior-level visits, provide static security in the absence of an appropriate Local Guard Force … and assist our Mobile Security Detachment (MSD) colleagues in the training of our newly hired LGF members and locally engaged bodyguard force.”

The February memo outlines the considerable challenges facing Ambassador Stevens and the diplomatic corps.

“In the midst of this uncertain and unstable security environment, Embassy Tripoli has been tasked with a large and growing mandate to support Libya’s transition and rebuild the Embassy facilities,” the report says. “This policy and management workload translates into a large number of movements that require security support.” …

If they wanted these teams to "support our daily moves" wouldn’t that have included Ambassador Stevens’ trip to the Benghazi consulate?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 8th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Three Security Teams Were Pulled From Libya”

  1. untrainable says:

    Nobody voted FOR sequestration. Sequestration was a consequence of NOT coming up with a reasonable plan to reduce spending. If congress had done their job, sequestration would not be an issue. It was put forth as something so terrible that even our congress wouldn’t let it happen. It was a stick meant to force an agreement between the parties. It didn’t work, and now we’re stuck with it unless Romney wins the election and puts a stop to it.

    As for the whole security in Libya situation, the regime should come clean and say, “Our bad”. The mindless masses would forgive them because Obama was the bigger man and admitted he was wrong. Of course, that would never happen because Obama isn’t the bigger man. He is small and petty and obnoxious and continues to be increasingly so as we get closer to the election. By November he’ll be telling us that it’s Romney’s fault the Libyan ambassador is dead. Wait for it.

  2. Right of the People says:

    I’m not big on conspiracy theories but this is beginning to look like one to me. If you remember after the mad mullahs took over Iran and captured our embassy staff that during the 1980 campaign Jimma had stated he couldn’t do that much campaigning while they still had the hostages. I think the Ohole wanted similar results so he could act presidential and ignore the debates and let his lackeys run free while sequestering himself in the White House like Carter did.

    The problem for Obummer is the Internet didn’t exist in 1980. The YouTube video of what happened to Ambassador Stevens and the other footage of the whole mess was out there for everyone to see unlike what minimal information was made available back in 1980.

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