State Dept. Rules of Engagement Kept Marines out of Tripoli, Benghazi in Libya

Paul Mirengoff at Powerline reported that the Marine Corps issued a statement on Thursday confirming that prior to the September 11 murder of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya,  no Marines were stationed in Libya, either at the United States mission in Benghazi or the United States embassy in Tripoli.

The Marine Corps has issued a statement regarding its involvement in the recent actions in Egypt and Libya. ..

In Libya, the Corps says that no Marines are stationed at the Embassy in Tripoli or the Consulate in Benghazi. Security in Libya, such as it existed, apparently was provided by contractors. The Rules of Engagement under which they operated are unclear.

Decisions regarding whether to have Marines at particular U.S. embassies and consulates fall to the State Department, according to the Marine Corps statement. In the case of Tripoli, the Corps says there were discussions with the State Department about establishing a detachment at the embasssy in Tripoli, a new embassy, some time in the next five years. That may seem like a long time, but for bureaucrats it is often considered ASAP.

The security contingent in Egypt proved to be adequate on the day. According to the Marine Corps, only six of the 2,000 protesters entered the embassy grounds compound, and they were all seized and turned over to local authorities (for better or for worse).

Libya, of course, is another matter. Perhaps the State Department will follow the example of the Marines and issue a statement explaining those security arrangements and their breakdown.

Captain Kendra Motz, Marine Corps spokesman, told Breitbart News on Friday that she wasn't aware that the Marine Corps had issued a formal statement, but that the information included in the Powerline report was correct.
"The Marine Corps does not have any Marines stationed at diplomatic installations in Libya."
When asked if she knew of the existence of the document outlining the State Department Rules of Engagement for Libya, she stated:
"I don't, and even if I did I couldn't disclose it to you because it puts people at risk."
The 50 Marines that were rushed to Libya after the murder of Ambassador Stevens are not permanently stationed at any diplomatic installation in Libya.

Update:

Breitbart News just received this via email from Marine Corps spokesman Captain Kendra Motz:

While the Marine Corps did not "issue a statement," we did respond to queries with the following information: . . .

Regarding no Marines at the embassy/consulate in Libya:

Embassy security in Tripoli and the consulate in Benghazi fall under the Regional Security Officer with the State Department.  The U.S. maintains over 285 diplomatic facilities worldwide.  MCESG provides 152 security detachments provide internal security at designated U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities in order to prevent the compromise of classified material vital to the national security of the United States.  Perimeter security is the responsibility of the host nation police/security forces.  The embassy in Tripoli and the consulate in Benghazi do not have a MCESG detachment.  Typically, when a new embassy is established, it takes time to grow a new MCESG detachment.  In coordination with the State Department, there was discussion about establishing a detachment in Tripoli sometime in the next five years.  Overall, the plan is to grow the number of MCESG detachments worldwide to 173.

A FAST platoon deployed to Libya yesterday (12 Sep 12) to provide security for the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.  Established in 1987, FAST platoons provide a limited-duration, expeditionary security force to protect vital naval and national assets.  FAST companies maintain forward-deployed platoons at various naval commands around the globe and possess U.S.-based alert forces capable of rapidly responding to unforeseen contingencies worldwide.  FAST is not designed to provide a permanent security force for installations.  FAST platoons are primarily designed to conduct defensive combat operations, military security operations, and rear area security operations in response to approved requests in support of geographic combatant and fleet commanders.  When deployed to reinforce embassies with existing MCESG detachments, FAST platoons will customarily provide an outer cordon of security inside the embassy compound, while MCESG Marines maintain security of the chancery proper, and host nation police/security forces provide an outer cordon of security beyond embassy grounds.

Regarding ROE [Rules of Engagement]:
The Marine Corps does not establish ROE for MCESG detachments or other embassy security forces; that is the responsibility of the State Department and/or operational commanders depending on the command relationship.  Regardless, ROE are classified and release of that information would jeopardize the Marines and U.S. interests.  Any further inquiry should be directed to the State Department, since Marine security guards report to the ambassador not to a military commander.

Captain Kendra N. Motz
Media Officer
Division of Public Affairs



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