An ex-U.S. security team leader tells CBS News that he and other officials made it clear to the Obama administration that they “needed more, not less” security staff on the ground in Libya prior to the attacks that would kill Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other diplomats.
Despite those pleas, and the dozen or so documented security threats facing the consulate in Benghazi prior to September 11th, the administration pulled 34 security members from the site over the preceding six month period.
Via CBS News:
The former head of a Special Forces “Site Security Team” in Libya tells CBS News that in spite of multiple pleas from himself and other U.S. security officials on the ground for “more, not less” security personnel, the State Department removed as many as 34 people from the country in the six months before a terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.
Lt. Col. Andy Wood will appear this week at a House Oversight Committee hearing that will examine security decisions leading up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi.
Speaking to CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, Wood said when he found out that his own 16-member team and a six-member State Department elite force were being pulled from Tripoli in August – about a month before the assault in Benghazi – he felt, “like we were being asked to play the piano with two fingers. There was concern amongst the entire embassy staff.”
He said other staffers approached him with their concerns when the reduction in security personnel was announced.
“They asked if we were safe,” he told Attkisson. “They asked… what was going to happen, and I could only answer that what we were being told is that they’re working on it – they’ll get us more (security personnel), but I never saw that.”
Wood insists that senior staff in Libya, including Ambassador Stevens, State Department Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom, and himself, all wanted and had requested enhanced security.