Secretary of State John Kerry enjoys a larger personal security force while traveling around the United States than the State Department assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, when Ambassador Chris Stevens and three colleagues were murdered by al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists.
At this point, we all know the story by heart. In spite of repeated pleas from the ambassador and security officials on the ground for “more, not less” security personnel, the State Department brought home as many as 34 people from Libya in the six months before the attack. In the final month, three SWAT-style security teams were removed.
By the time of the Sept. 11 attack, the State Department had assigned the diplomatic mission in Benghazi just a three-person security detail.
On Sept. 10, Stevens traveled from Tripoli to Benghazi with only two diplomatic security agents. That brought the security force in Benghazi — one of the most dangerous parts of the world — to a total of five agents: the three State thought was sufficient, plus the two who accompanied Stevens the day before.
Fast-forward five months.
On Feb. 4, Kerry was photographed surrounded by at least four diplomatic security agents when he traveled to the headquarters of the department’s security bureau, according to CNSNews, which added:
Monday, Feb. 4, was John Kerry’s first day as secretary of state. On that day, he made a very short trip across the Potomac River from the State Department’s main headquarters in Washington, D.C. to the headquarters of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security in the Rosslyn area of suburban Arlington, Va.
Both the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the main State Department posted a photo of Kerry getting out of his limousine in Arlington. The caption on the photo as posted by BDS says: “U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry (second from right) is surrounded by four DS special agents as he steps out of his vehicle for a meeting at Diplomatic Security headquarters in suburban Washington, D.C., February 4, 2013.”
That’s at least twice what Stevens had when he traveled from Libya to Benghazi, and one more than what State assigned to protect the Benghazi Consulate. And all Kerry did was to cross the Potomac River.
Read more at CNSNews.com.
The following CBS News report recounts the security detail’s removal.
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