NEW YORK – In a detail largely unreported by the mainstream news media, testimony by the State Department’s diplomatic security chief at Wednesday’s Benghazi hearing conflicts with Hillary Clinton’s explanation for why a Marine contingent was never deployed to protect the attacked U.S. Special Mission.
Greg Starr, assistant secretary for diplomatic security, told lawmakers that in his experience Marines were never deployed to protect temporary facilities, such as the U.S. Mission in Benghazi.
“In my experience we would not have put a Marine security guard detachment into a temporary facility,” Starr testified.
He affirmed that assessment a second time when Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., asked, “The Benghazi compound, we’ve already established by multiple questions here, it was a temporary facility. And Marine security guard detachments are never deployed to temporary facilities, correct?”
Starr replied, “Not in my experience.”
The U.S. Benghazi Mission was set up originally by Clinton’s State Department as a “temporary, residential facility,” according to the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, thus exempting the structure from numerous security requirements.
However, in her memoir, “Hard Choices,” Clinton claims the reason Marines were not posted to the Benghazi compound was because the job of Marines is to protect classified documents, and the Benghazi facility did not process classified documents.
“Many Americans and even members of Congress were surprised to learn that there were no U.S. Marines assigned to our Benghazi compound,” she wrote. “In fact Marines are assigned to only a little over half of all our diplomatic posts around the world, where their primary mission is the protection and, if necessary, the destruction of classified materials and equipment.”
Continued Clinton: “So while there were Marines stationed at our embassy in Tripoli, where nearly all of our diplomats worked and which had the capability to process classified material, because there was no classified processing at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, there were no Marines posted there.”
According to Starr, though, no Marines could have deployed since the facility was set up by the State Department as a temporary compound.
Instead of Marines, external security at the facility was provided by unarmed local Libyan guards.
Armed members of the Martyrs of the February 17th Brigades served as the official quick-reaction force that worked within the compound. The Brigade is an offshoot of the Ansar al-Sharia terrorist organization that was implicated in the Benghazi attack.
No classified documents?
Written by AARON KLEIN
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