Pentagon sending warships to Libya following death of ambassador killed in ‘co-ordinated al Qaeda revenge attack by terrorists who used Libyan Mohammed movie protest as cover’
- USS Laboon and USS McFaul sent to the coast of Libya on the day after the massacre at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi
- Attack came amid protests following film The Innocence of Muslims which ‘insults Prophet Mohammed’
- Attackers could have been staging revenge attack for death of al Qaeda official in June
- Officials noted the staged attack came on 11th anniversary of 9/11
- US ambassador Christopher Stevens died of ‘smoke inhalation’ after grenade attack on consulate in Benghazi
- He had been trying to evacuate staff at US compound as furious mob of extremists attacked
- Obama: ‘Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the US who selflessly served his country’
- Marines on their way to Benghazi to provide additional security and drones expected to gather intelligence
- Sean Smith, a foreign service information manager, was also shot dead by armed militants
READ MORE HERE
Killed: Christopher Stevens was a career diplomat who died as he tried to evacuate staff from the US consulate in Benghazi
I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
I know there’s more.
hawkdriver on October 15, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Hawk,here are the State Departments Briefings,after the Debackle:)
Briefing by Senior Administration Officials to Update Recent Events in Libya
Office of the Spokesperson
September 12, 2012
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Thank you, Operator, and thanks to all of our journalists for joining us on this very, very difficult day. We thought it was important to give you a little bit more information about what we knew when we knew it to help shape your understanding of the tragic events in Benghazi. Here with me I will hereafter be Senior Administration Official Number One. That’s [title withheld]. I also have with me [Senior Administration Official Two], hereafter Senior Administration Official Number Two. And we also have [Senior Administration Official Three], hereafter Senior Administration Official Number Three.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the bucks stops with her when it comes to who is blame for a deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
“I take responsibility” for what happened on September 11, Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Elise Labott soon after arriving in Lima, Peru for a visit. The interview, one of a series given to U.S. television networks Monday night, were the first she has given about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Let me just give you some framing points. First of all, we want to make clear that we are still here today operating within the confusion of first reports. Many details of what happened in Benghazi are still unknown or unclear. The account we’re going to give you endeavors to reconstruct the events of last night to the best of our ability now. And again, this reflects our current accounting of events. These are first reports, and so the facts could very well change as we get a better understanding.
Let me also give you a little better understanding about our office conditions in Benghazi. The facility that we are working in is an interim one. We originally acquired the property before the fall of Qadhafi. It includes a main building and several ancillary buildings, and then there was also an annex a little bit further away.
So let me give you a little bit of the chronology to the best of our knowledge. Again, the times are likely to change as it becomes a little bit more precise, but this is how we’ve been able to reconstruct what we have from yesterday.
In flames: The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is seen on fire during a protest by an armed group protesting a film being produced in the United States
At approximately 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time yesterday, which was about 10 p.m. in Libya, the compound where our office is in Benghazi began taking fire from unidentified Libyan extremists. By about 4:15, the attackers gained access to the compound and began firing into the main building, setting it on fire. The Libyan guard force and our mission security personnel responded. At that time, there were three people inside the building: Ambassador Stevens, one of our regional security officers, and Information Management Officer Sean Smith. They became separated from each other due to the heavy, dark smoke while they were trying to evacuate the burning building. 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. At that time, they found Sean. He was already dead, and they pulled him from the building. They were unable, however, to locate Chris before they were driven from the building due to the heavy fire and smoke and the continuing small arms fire.
At about 4:45 our time here in Washington, 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. At about 5:20, U.S. and Libyan security personnel made another attempt and at that time were able to regain the main building and they were able to secure it. Then, due to continued small arms fire, they evacuated the rest of the personnel and safe havened them in the nearby annex.
The mission annex then came under fire itself at around 6 o’clock in the evening our time, and that continued for about two hours. It was during that time that two additional U.S. personnel were killed and two more were wounded during that ongoing attack.
At about 8:30 p.m. our time here in Washington, so now 2 o’clock in the morning in Libya, Libyan security forces were able to assist us in regaining control of the situation. 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. We do not have any information what his condition was at that time. His body was later returned to U.S. personnel at the Benghazi airport.
Later that evening, we were able to bring our chartered aircraft from Tripoli into Benghazi to evacuate all of our Benghazi personnel back to Tripoli. This evacuation, which had to occur in a couple of planeloads, included all of our American Benghazi personnel, including the three wounded, and the remains of our fallen colleagues. They are now in the process – that same staff – of being evacuated to Germany. The staff that is well is going to stay in Europe on standby for a while while we assess the security situation in the coming period. The wounded will be treated in Germany, and the remains will come home, and we’ll advise you of when that will be as soon as we know.
In the meantime, we have taken our Embassy in Tripoli down to emergency staffing levels. We have reduced the staff down to what we call emergency staffing levels. And we have requested increased support from the Libyans while we assess the security situation.
I would also like to advise you that last night, all of our diplomatic posts around the world were ordered to review their security posture and to take all necessary steps to enhance it if those were deemed necessary. I’d like to now turn it over to Senior Administration Official Number Three for some remarks on what his agency has been up to.
OPERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to ask a question, please press * then 1 on your touchtone phone. You will hear a tone indicating you have been placed in queue. You may remove yourself from queue at any time by pressing the # key. If you are using a speakerphone, please pick up the handset before pressing the numbers. Once again, if you would like to ask a question, please press * then 1 at this time.
And the first question is from Elise Labott with CNN. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Well, I have a couple of questions, if you would. And again, all of our condolences on what happened today. I was wondering if you can talk about now how – I know Secretary Clinton said that this would not affect how the U.S. dealt with the Libyans, and that you would move forward. But certainly, it must make you start to think about any precipitous rush to support groups in any other countries such as Syria or the like because of the uncertainty of who is on the ground.
And then I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about Chris Stevens’ personal security and how his personal detail could have been separated from him. I mean, his personal detail’s number one responsibility is to protect their package, and so it just seemed – I just would like more clarity on how he got out of the building and then went back to find him. Why didn’t he just keep staying in the building looking for him? Thank you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Let me start with the last question first, Elise. I think you can understand that I’m not going to go into detail about how his security detail was organized. I think in the accounting that I gave, I made clear that security personnel were endeavoring to get him out of the building when they got separated by the incredibly thick smoke and fire – if you’ve seen the pictures from the building you can have some sense of how awful the conditions were – and that they then turned right back around, got more help, and went back in to look for him. So this was really a quite – a heroic effort.
With regard to your larger question, as the Secretary said very clearly today, we are as committed today as we have ever been to a free and stable Libya. That is still in America’s interest. And we are going to continue to work very strongly to help them have the future that they want and they deserve. I would simply note how quickly and how strongly senior members of the Libyan government came forward to condemn this attack, to offer all support to us.
I’d also like to underscore that it was Libyan security forces that stood with ours in defending our buildings. We also had some – one of the local militias who is friendly to the Embassy came to assist as well. And I think that really speaks to the relationship that we’ve built with Libya. Thank you.
OPERATOR: Andrea Mitchell with NBC News is next. Please go ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you for doing this and especially at such a terrible time for all of you. Can you expand on the regular security for the Ambassador? I know you don’t usually talk about security, but you can imagine how people want these details now in terms of, was it diplomatic security? Were they all RSOs? How long had he been in Benghazi? Give us a little bit more of his movements that day.
And secondly, there’s a lot of reporting now on this being linked to a terror attack, an organized terror attack – possibly al-Qaida sympathetic or al-Qaida linked. Can you speak to that?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: Operator, is the call ongoing?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I’m sorry, it looks like I had a – I was on mute there for a while. I was going on and on on mute. I apologize. So Andrea, to your first question: Frankly, we are not in a position to speak any further to the perpetrators of this attack. It was clearly a complex attack. We’re going to have to do a full investigation. We are committed to working with the Libyans both on the investigation and to ensure that we bring the perpetrators to justice. The FBI is already committed to assisting in that, but I just – we’re – it’s just too early to speak to who they were and if they might have been otherwise affiliated beyond Libya.
With regard to Chris’s trip to Benghazi, as you know, he made regular and frequent trips to Benghazi so that he could check up on developments in the east. You know that he had been our representative – the Secretary’s representative and the President’s, to the Transitional National Council before the fall of Qadhafi and had spent a lot of time in Benghazi and built deep contacts there. So this was one of his regular visits that he made periodically.
With regard to the security arrangements, I think you will understand that we never talk in detail about how our security is arranged. And we particularly don’t talk about security arrangements for – personal security arrangements for senior level personnel.
What I can tell you is that security in Benghazi included a local guard force outside of the compound on which we rely, which is similar to the way we are postured all over the world. We had a physical perimeter barrier, obviously. And then we had a robust American security presence inside the compound, including a strong component of regional security officers. But I’m not going to go any further than that on the specifics.
Next question, operator.
(A lot More……)
Daily Press Briefing
September 13, 2012
Daily Press Briefing
September 14, 2012
canopfor on October 1, 2012 at 10:22 AM
canopfor on October 10, 2012 at 5:59 PM
canopfor on October 15, 2012 at 10:22 PM