Colonel: Hillary Made Decision Not to Post Marines at Benghazi
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Fox News military analyst Colonel David Hunt laid the blame for the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the Benghazi, Libya American mission on Hillary Clinton and the State Department:
The State Department just allowed our guys to get killed. If you approve no bullets in guns for the mission security guards and an outhouse for a mission, you’re inviting it.
Earlier, on Howie Carr's radio show Thursday, Colonel Hunt said that the American mission at Benghazi "was like a cardboard building, there wasn't even bullet proof glass." In addition, Hunt said the security guards inside the mission didn't have bullets:
Howie Carr: They weren't allowed to have bullets, is that correct?
Colonel Hunt: That's true. They were private security. The rules of engagement were ridiculous.
Hunt told Breitbart News that the new State Department Rules of Engagement for Libya, approved and signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton since the 2011 fall of Khadafi's regime, severely compromised the safety and security of murdered Ambassador Stevens and all American diplomatic staff in Libya.
He also stated that the decision not to staff Benghazi with Marines was made by Secretary of State Clinton when she attached her signature to the State Department Rules of Engagement for Libya document. Breitbart News has subsequently learned that under those rules of engagement, Secretary Clinton prohibited Marines from providing security at any American diplomatic installation in Libya.
Hunt told Breitbart News that "the rules of engagement have been changing drastically over the last 10 years. . . The reason the surge in Iraq worked was we had another 40,000 soldiers and the rules of engagement were changed to allow our guys to shoot. What’s happened in Libya is the final straw of political correctness. We allowed a contractor to hire local nationals as security guards, but said they can't have bullets. This was all part of the point of not having a high profile in Libya."
According to Hunt, the debacle at the American mission in Benghazi is directly the result of Obama's new policies. "The policy of the Obama administration led to this," he said.
"It was the policy of the Obama administration to have a low profile in Libya. That's why the rules of engagement were approved by the Secretary of State to have no Marines at Benghazi, and to have an American contractor hire Libyan nationals to provide security there. The rules were they couldn't have ammunition."
"Obama may not have known the details of the State Department Rules of Engagement for Libya, but his Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor would have. The Secretary of State absolutely would have."
"The Department of State Security are the people in charge of diplomatic security. They enforce the rules of engagement, which are set at Clinton’s level at State. The Department of Defense was told we’re not going to have Marines at Benghazi. Whether it goes higher than the Secretary of State to the President, I don't know."
Hunt added that the rules of engagement specific to each country or military situation are drawn up by State Department lawyers and approved by the chain of command. "There should be a document with Hillary’s signature and the Secretary of Defense's specific to Libya. It was signed after Khadafi fell from power. You'll have to ask the State Department to get the document. They might claim it's classified, but it shouldn't be."
"The State Department has rules of engagement documents that are different for different countries. In our embassies in London and Paris, for instance, it’s always a mystery if the Marines at the embassies have ammunition in their weapons."
Hunt compared the security at the Benghazi mission with security at the recent RNC and DNC.
"The recent political conventions had more security than Ambassador Stevens had in Benghazi. If you carried a sharp stick within a mile of the conventions at Tampa or Charlotte you got arrested, yet you don't give bullets to the guards of our Ambassador to Libya. It wouldn't surprise me if Al-Qaeda bought off some of the Libyan nationals hired to guard our ambassador at Benghazi."
Ambassador Stevens was based at the American embassy in Tripoli. According to a spokesperson at the State Department, he would visit the mission at Benghazi sporadically. No one at the State Department has yet answered this key question:
Why on the anniversary of 9-11 was he at the low security mission in Benghazi when it would obviously have been more prudent for him to have been at the presumably more secure embassy in Tripoli?
At her daily press briefing on Thursday, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland offered a description of the defenses at the Benghazi mission that appeared to be in conflict with other press reports. In contrast to some reports that said security within the perimeter of the mission was provided by Libyan nationals, Nuland stated that they provided security on the perimeter and that "there was a robust American security presence inside the compound." [emphasis added]:
QUESTION: Can you talk a little bit more about the security that was at the Embassy? It seems that for an area such as Benghazi, where there was a lot of instability, there were very few guards there. And can you talk about whether the U.S. asked Libya, the Libyan Government, earlier in the week for extra security precaution and whether that – extra security precautions or security personnel and whether that request was fulfilled. . .It does seem though that there were very few security personnel at this location.
MS. NULAND: I’m going to reject that, Elise. Let me tell you what I can about the security at our mission in Benghazi. It did include a local Libyan guard force around the outer perimeter. This is the way we work in all of our missions all around the world, that the outer perimeter is the responsibility of the host government. There was obviously a physical perimeter barrier, a wall. And then there was a robust American security presence inside the compound. This is absolutely consistent with what we have done at a number of missions similar to Benghazi around the world. . .
Ms. Nuland, however, failed to elaborate on the specifics or size of the "robust American security" within the perimeter of the mission. Later in her news briefing, she addressed the State Department reasoning for failing to have Marines stationed at Benghazi:
MS. NULAND: There were not marines at this mission.
QUESTION: Why not?
MS. NULAND: They – we have a number of posts around the world. We have – there are embassies without marines, there are other consulates of this type without marines. We make a decision based on the local conditions as to whether that makes sense, but this posture that we had, which was external security by the Libyans and then a strong U.S. security presence – but it didn’t include that particular contingent of Americans – inside, in a number of other missions that look a lot like Benghazi. . .
QUESTION: Is that for marines coming generally from the mission itself, or does the State Department say, you know, the situation’s really bad right now in this particular section of the world, perhaps we should have marines based here.
MS. NULAND: It’s not a matter of marines necessarily being a qualitatively different way of securing. There are many other ways to secure that are equivalent, too. It depends on the circumstances and it is different in every part of the world, and we evaluate it along with our friends at the Defense Department and other agencies individually, per mission.
Breitbart News has attempted to secure a copy of the State Department Rules of Engagement for Libya, but officials at the State Department have stonewalled, as this email correspondence from Friday reveals:
To [State Dept Spokesperson]:
(A) Status of my document request for the State Department rules of engagement for Libya?
(B) Can you help me find answers to these two questions:
1. Who provided security inside the Benghazi mission at the time of the 9-11-12 attack, how were they armed, and how many of them were there?
2. Who provided security on the perimeter of the Benghazi mission at the time of the 9-11-12 attack, how were they armed, and how many of them were there?
Michael Patrick Leahy
Breitbart News Contributor
Here is the official response from that State Department spokesperson:
I do not yet have more information on the rules of engagement document, which as discussed last night, might require a FOIA request. I will let you know as soon as I receive feedback. However, and this also applies to your two follow up questions, we do not discuss security details for the safety of our missions. The two questions below are addressed to the fullest extent possible in both briefings I sent you last night.
[State Department Spokesperson]
On Friday, Breitbart News filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the State Department to secure a copy of the State Department Rules of Engagement for Libya.
Look for the State Department to continue to stonewall this request, and resist release of the document until after the election. Its contents will be just too damaging. In effect, the country will be able to see Hillary Clinton's signature on the document that served as Ambassador Chris Stevens's death warrant.