NEW YORK – The State Department refused to install guard towers at the doomed U.S. facility in Benghazi, fearing the stations would draw too much attention to the compound, according to a top official.
The admission by Patrick Kennedy, under secretary of state for management, raises immediate questions about what was transpiring at the U.S. mission and why the State Department would fear drawing attention to a compound wrongly described by much of the news media as a “consulate.”
The mission was reportedly established without the knowledge or permission of the interim Libyan government.
Kennedy was responding to a question from Rep. Alan Grayson, R-Fla., at last week’s House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Grayson had asked: “Was there any money that was appropriated for the purpose of improving that post that was unspent at that time?”
“No sir, we were – there was no specific money appropriated for Benghazi,” Kennedy replied. “We were simply taking money from other locations. But all the requests that they put forward as I mentioned, save one – which is the guard towers which were determined to be unnecessary and potentially too attention-getting, we – all their requests were fulfilled.”
The detail about refusing to install guard towers is just the latest in a series of perplexing security decisions to come to light regarding the Benghazi compound.
Last week, it was revealed the State Department’s Libya desk officer, Brian Papanu, described the U.S. facility in Benghazi as unique in almost every aspect as far as security was concerned.
“Well, Benghazi was definitely unique in almost every – I can’t think of a mission similar to this ever, and definitely in recent history,” Papanu stated.
The diplomat’s quotes were contained in a newly released 100-page report on the Benghazi attack by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The unusual lack of adequate security may indicate possible secret activities took place inside the U.S. facility. Any large security presence would have drawn more attention to the shabby residential facility.
Informed Middle Eastern security officials told WND on multiple occasions that the Benghazi mission was a planning headquarters for coordinating aid, including weapons distribution, to jihadist-led rebels.
Two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack, WND broke the story that murdered U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens himself played a central role in arming rebels and recruiting jihadists to fight Assad, according to Egyptian security officials.
In November 2012, Middle Eastern security sources further described both the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi as the main intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels, which was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida.
With additional research by Joshua Klein.