The gun control policies of the post-Gaddafi government in Libya delayed the arming of bodyguards for U.S. diplomats in that country and left the local guard force hired to watch over the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi unarmed, according to internal State Department memos and written testimony by the State Department officer who was in charge of the department’s security in Libya until six weeks before the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks.
“Our long term security plan in Libya was to recruit and deploy an armed, locally hired Libyan bodyguard unit,” State Department Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in written testimony.
“However, because of Libyan political sensitivities, armed private security companies were not allowed to operate in Libya,” Nordstrom said in his testimony submitted on Oct. 10. “Therefore, our existing, uniformed static local guard force, both in Tripoli and Benghazi were unarmed, similar to our static local guard forces at many posts around the world. Their job was to observe, report, and alert armed host nation security, and armed DS agents on-site.”