In a piece by reporter, Steven Sotloff, appearing in Time Magazine today, he recounts information by the Libyan guards at the Benghazi consulate that night. The guards are now in hiding.
More than a month after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, U.S. officials have yet to talk to many of the Libyan guards on duty at the American mission on that fatal evening.
Fearful of reprisal from the still unknown perpetrators of the attack, the guards have gone into hiding; and their vivid recollections are giving way to a sense of abandonment by the American government, which offered them no protection from the attackers the guards believe want them dead.
TIME’s Steven Sotloff has talked to the guards for their account of what happened on the night of Sept. 11, 2012 and the early hours of the day after.
Five of the guards were employees of the British security company Blue Mountain, and three others were members of the Islamist-leaning February 17th militia who were tasked with providing diplomatic security for foreign missions.
To protect them from possible retribution, their names have been changed. What is clear is that, as others have reported, there was no protest, simply a sudden siege of the compound; U.S. security forces–including U.S. Marines who arrived at an American safe house outside the consulate grounds–were overwhelmed and stymied; and that the looters apparently came upon the body of a still-breathing Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The article is a must-read and includes the following report by the guards who were there that night:
- There was no protest that night
- The attack began on a routine evening at 9:30 with shouts of Allah Akbar and RPG fire [The Obama administration recently tried to say there might not have been RPG’s but rather high-powered rifles, such as AK-47’s]
- Grenades, machine guns, men in body armor….guards were being wounded…
- “They said ‘Attack! Attack!’ and then our names, but there was nothing we could do. There were just too many of them.” Peering out from the barracks, Fadil saw about 15 men jump over the main gate. “They opened it and dozens flowed in.” Within minutes of arriving at the compound’s perimeter, the attackers had overrun it.
- A group of attackers headed towards the barracks where Fadil and Tawfiq, another February 17th guard, had barricaded themselves. Loud explosions and gunshots were heard everywhere. “They were spraying bullets,” Fadil recounted. “They had vests with grenades on them and they just threw and threw them.” One attacker seemed headed toward Fadil. “I saw the guy looking into my eyes and I shot him,” Fadil said.
- It was obviously a planned terror attack from the beginning
- The looters took everything left of value [We know the consulate had classified documents but do not know who took them]
- American relief came and searched for the Americans including Amb. Stevens, without success
- Some guards were contacted by administration but quite a few have not been and they feel abandoned by the U.S.
- Some guards said the attackers were foreigners – perhaps from Afghanistan, maybe the city, but not Benghazi. They didn’t look, dress, or act Libyan
- Libyan militia arrived quickly but the attackers drove them back with heavy artillery
- The quick action force remained with the militia until the fighting eased because it was too intense for even them to proceed
- When the Americans escaped to the safe house, their location was given away to the attackers. Unfortunately, our Marines did not have the address and Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods Jr. died at the annex while the second wave went on
- When Marines first arrived in the area, they were met with opposition from Libyan officials who didn’t want Americans running around their country. Once that was resolved, the Marines had no GPS coordinates for the annex (safe house).
- Libyans are grateful for U.S. help last year but they don’t want a US presence via a drone attack. The first innocent that is killed will cause them to turn on us. A one-on-one CIA action needs to take place to go after the attackers
- Amb. Stevens was alive when found by looters who were at first going to leave him to die and then decided to take him to a medical center [Some reports indicate that his body was missing for hours in between]
Read the Full Story at Time Magazine, it’s astounding.