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Lax security at Libya and other US diplomatic missions in the past? (+video)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has begun an investigation to determine whether the US diplomatic mission in Libya suffered from a lack of security. Reports on previous attacks on US embassies show that lax security has been a criticism in the past.

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Past investigations into attacks on US diplomatic missions have blamed both the administration and Congress for failing to spend enough money to ensure that the overseas facilities were safe despite a clear rise in terror threats to American interests abroad.

An Associated Press examination of two reports that are easily accessible to the public — those created after the devastating Aug. 7, 1998, bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania — may offer clues to the possible outcome of the current investigation begun by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton into last month's attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

That attack by what is now believed to be al-Qaida-linked militants has become fraught with election-year politics as Republicans accuse administration officials of dissembling in the early aftermath on what they knew about the perpetrators and for lax security at the diplomatic mission in a lawless part of post-revolution Libya.

Two House Republican leaders this week accused the administration of denying repeated requests for extra security at the Benghazi consulate, where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US

A five-member accountability review board appointed by Clinton will begin this week looking at whether security at the consulate was adequate and whether proper procedures were followed before, during and immediately after the attack.

"The men and women who serve this country as diplomats deserve no less than a full and accurate accounting wherever that leads, and I am committed to seeking that for them," Clinton told reporters at the State Department on Wednesday.

Previous inquiries into attacks on diplomatic missions have taken months to complete, and two of them found fault with both the executive and legislative branches going back years and spanning both political parties.

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