ecurity Information Publicly Disseminated

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ambassador Assassination.

The American Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens may have been assassinated by al-Qaeda as retribution for the killing of Osama Bin Leiden. Mr Stevens was described as a dedicated public servant and he did his job well. According to the State department, Mr Stevens “made regular and frequent trips to Benghazi to check on developments in the east.”  a routine that may have contributed to the attack on September 11th,2012. In a telephonic interview with Fox News the stepfather of Mr Stevens commented that Chris did his job fearlessly and thought that traveling throughout Libya was as safe as going from his home in East Bay Hills California  to Oakland. Mr Stevens according to his stepfather may have had a “false sense of security”, apparently he trusted the Libyan people. The Ambassador had good relations with the Gaddafi government as well as the revolting elements that overthrow Gaddafi and are now in political power.

The consulate in Benghazi has been described by the State Department as “an interim facility” that was  acquired before the revolution and the demise of the Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The complex  consists of a main building, several ancillary buildings, and an annex some distance from the main building. Because the facility was not built from the ground up and temporary, security upgrades had not been done. This is evident by the ease that the assaulting force gained access and the condition of the windows and doors shown in news video and photographs.

It has been reported that the assaulting force consisted of twenty men armed with automatic rifles and rocket propelled grenade launchers. They attacked in a complex and coordinated military fashion. This is evidence of a pre-planned operation and not a spontaneous uprising generated by an obscure internet video.

The timeline of the attack as detailed by a state department official.

"At about 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time yesterday, which was about 10 p.m. in Libya, the compound ... in Benghazi began taking fire from unidentified Libyan extremists. By about 4:15 p.m. attackers gained access to the compound and began firing into the main building, setting it on fire," she said, "and the Libyan guard force and mission security personnel responded."
At the time, three people were inside the building -- Ambassador Stevens, a regional security officer, and Smith -- and while trying to evacuate they became separated by heavy, dark smoke.
"The regional security officer made it outside and then he and other security personnel returned into the burning building in an attempt to rescue Chris and Sean," the official said.
They found Smith, who had died, and pulled him from the building. They were unable to locate Stevens before fire, smoke and small-arms fire drove them from the building, the official said.
"At about 4:45 p.m. Washington time, U.S. security personnel assigned to the mission annex tried to regain the main building but that group also took heavy fire and had to return to the mission annex," the official said.
"At about 5:20 p.m.," she added, "Libyan security personnel made another attempt and that time were able to regain and secure the main building."
The rest of the staff were evacuated to the nearby annex, which itself came under fire at around 6 p.m. Washington time and continued under fire for about two hours, she said.
{ The annex referred to hear is a villa about a mile away and inside the grounds of the city's equestrian club. This was to be their fall back point or safe house. The location was compromised and the firefight followed them.}

During that ongoing attack, the official said, two more U.S. personnel were killed and two more were wounded.
At about 8:30 p.m. Washington time, or 2 a.m. in Libya, Libyan security forces helped regain control of the situation, she said.
"At some point in all of this, and frankly we do not know when, we believe that Ambassador Stevens got out of the building and was taken to a hospital in Benghazi," she said, adding, "We do not have any information about his condition at that time. His body was later returned to U.S. personnel at the Benghazi airport."
In a press conferance by the Libyan ambassador to the United States Ali Suleiman Aujali commented that Mr Stevens was a close friend of his and that the two played tennis togather as well as visting each other's homes. 

"It is a sad day in my life. I knew Chris personally. He's my tennis partner. He comes to my house. We have breakfast together. I've known him for more than six years. He may be the first American diplomat to [have arrived] in Tripoli ... after the revolution. He's very welcomed by the people. He visited the Libyans. He [ate] with them. He [sat] with them," 

These statements by the stepfather of Mr Stevens, the State Department and Ambassador Aujali are  both telling and troubling.

  • Stevens had a false sense of security
  • Stevens trusted the Libyans
  • Stevens had a relationship with both the Gaddafi regime and the revolutionary forces
  • Stevens made regular and frequent trips to Benghazi
  • The consulate complex was a temporary facility
  • The safe house location was compromised

These bullet points amount to a total security breakdown in a country still in turmoil after a major civil war that was waged between fanatical Islamists and a blood thirsty dictatorship. Ambassador Stevens should have had a security detail with him at all times and he may have,  Travel only when necessary, refrain from personal interactions with the general public and have a full contingent of Marines guarding the Benghazi facility. The evidence in the statements by the State Department and others describe Ambassador Stevens as a soft target in a volatile country full of radical religious extremists. By the their own statements they implicate themselves and describe the US government as incompetent for the security of the diplomatic mission. 

Two of the four men that were killed during the 4 1/2 hour fire fight were ex Navy SEALs working as security contractors, one was trained as a sniper the other as a combat nurse and paramedic. These two individuals were extremely capable and died defending their country heroically but there comes a time in every firefight when ammo runs out and if it takes over four hours for reinforcements to come you're pretty much screwed. NBC news has reported that the two SEALs Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty were providing security for Ambassador Stevens. 

Investigators have four individuals under arrest in Libya and they have announced the the group responsible for the attack is Ansar al Sharia (AAS). The name means "Supporters of Islamic law" U.S. officials describe the group as a subset of al Qaeda. Wanis el-Sharef, eastern Libya's deputy interior minister has volunteered more details on the attack some of which indicate serious security breaches. 

El-Sharef said the attack in Benghazi was timed to mark the 9/11 anniversary and that the terror group AAS recruited protesters to demonstrate outside of the consulate using the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” as their justification for the rioting. Using the crowd as cover for their action the AAS came over the walls and assaulted the compound. 

The following is el-Sharef’s account of the events that took place last Tuesday night as reported by the Associated Press, he also commented that “Infiltrators within the security forces may have tipped off militants to the safe house location.”  When reading this account keep in mind it is being reported by the AP and it is the opinion of a Libyan official.

The crowd built at the consulate - a one-story villa surrounded by a large garden in an upscale Benghazi neighborhood - in several stages, he said. First, a small group of gunmen arrived, then a crowd of civilians angry over the film. Later, heavily armed men with armored vehicles, some with rocket-propelled grenades, joined, swelling the numbers to more than 200.
The gunmen fired into the air outside the consulate. Libyan security guarding the site pulled out because they were too few. "We thought there was no way for the protesters to storm the compound, which had fortified walls," he said.
El-Sharef said Libyan security advised the Americans to evacuate at that point, but he says the advice was ignored. There was shooting in the air from inside the consulate compound, he said.
At this point, he said, the crowd stormed the compound. The consulate was looted and burned, while plainclothes security men were sent to evacuate the personnel.
Stevens, he said, is likely to have died of asphyxiation following a grenade explosion that started a fire, el-Sharef said. Ziad Abu Zeid, a Libyan doctor to whom Stevens' body was taken, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the 52-year-old Stevens died of asphyxiation.
U.S. officials have said attackers broke into the main consulate building at around 10:15 p.m. and set the compound on fire. Amid the evacuation, Stevens became separated from others, and staffers and security that tried to find him were forced to flee by flames, smoke and gunfire. After an hour, according to U.S. officials, U.S. and Libyan officials drove the attackers from the consulate.
The next attack came hours later. Around 30 American staffers along with Libyans had been evacuated to the safe house while a plane arrived from Tripoli with a joint U.S.-Libyan security group that was to fly them back to the capital, el-Sharef said.
El-Sharef said the original plan was for a separate Libyan security unit to escort the evacuees to the airport. Instead, the joint unit went from the airport to the safe house, possibly because they were under the impression they were dealing with a hostage situation, he said. The militant attack coincided with the joint team's arrival at the safe house, he said.
That the attackers knew the safe house's location suggests a "spy" inside the security forces tipped off the militants, he said.
One of five private security guards at the consulate said the surprise attack began around 9:30 p.m. when several grenades that were lobbed over the outer wall exploded in the compound and bullets rained down.
The guard was wounded in the left leg from shrapnel. He said he was lying on the ground, bleeding and in excruciating pain when a bearded gunman came down the wall and shot him twice in the right leg, screaming: "You infidel, you are defending infidels!"
"Later, someone asked me who I was. I said I was the gardener and then I passed out. I woke up in hospital," said the guard, who spoke to The Associated Press from his bed at a Benghazi hospital. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisals and reprimands from his employers.

U.S. officials have not confirmed the account. They have spoken of an attack on the consulate's annex that killed two Americans, but said their report on the incident was still preliminary.

Questions that need to be answered.

  1. Was Stevens under surveillance by the AAS, if so for how long?
  2. Was Stevens assassinated to revenge the killing of Osama Bin Leiden?
  3. Why was the consulate so understaffed with security?
  4. Why did Libyan security abandon their post and not call for reinforcements?
  5. Are the demonstrations in Benghazi and Cairo linked and is AAS the common denominator?
  6. What is the Muslim Brotherhood’s role in the demonstrations?
  7. Was their a  mole inside the embassy in Tripoli or Benghazi funneling information to the AAS?
  8. Did any of the American private security officers travel with stevens?
  9. Was Stevens still alive on the consulate grounds or when he was being transported to the doctor that pronounced him dead by asphyxiation?
  10. Who found Stevens and how did he get him to the doctor?
  11. Why was the physical security of the buildings not upgraded with security doors,gates  and windows prior to any US occupation?
  12. Was there any indication that this attack was being planned?
  13. What is the State Department’s SOP for 9/11, was their any chatter about an attack?
  14. Who knew of the safe house and who compromised the safe house location?
  15. Was Stevens singled out for assassination by the AAS if so was Ayman al-Zawahiri the one that gave that order.

No comments:

Post a Comment