Benghazi forces security to the top of Kerry’s to-do list
Secretary of State John Kerry tours the Operations Center at the State Department.
February 6th, 2013
12:35 AM ET

Benghazi forces security to the top of Kerry’s to-do list

By Jill Dougherty

Secretary of State John Kerry will highlight the priority of protecting diplomats overseas during his ceremonial swearing-in on Wednesday.

The safety of America's diplomats has been scrutinized since Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a terror attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, last September.

"This will be front and center as we move forward," agency spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Kerry will take the ceremonial oath at the State Department. He was officially sworn in last Friday.

To underscore the focus, Kerry visited the State Department's Diplomatic Security Command Center in Rosslyn, Virginia, on his first full day in the job on Monday.

Touring the center that monitors security at America's 275 diplomatic missions, he was briefed on the operation and pledged to provide the resources necessary to ensure the highest level of security.

Earlier that morning, he was greeted by staff in the cavernous entrance to the State Department.

"I guarantee you that, beginning this morning when I report for duty upstairs, everything I do will be focused on the security and safety of our people," he said.

Administration critics question why there was not more protection at the diplomatic post in Benghazi when it came under armed assault, while supporters blame Congress for not providing enough money for security.

An independent review of the attack cited serious lapses in management and leadership by the State Department, but also called on Congress to provide more resources.

Kerry's predecessor, Hillary Clinton, made implementing the recommendations of the independent review one of her last official acts.

The Senate passed legislation on Monday allowing the State Department to use $1.1 billion in funds that had previously been approved for Iraq to boost security at U.S. embassies around the world. The bill now goes to the House.

Nuland told reporters on Tuesday that the agency is "gratified" by move. The money, she said, would be used to improve construction for diplomatic security, to support 35 more Marine security guard detachments, and to implement additional measures.

Last Friday's suicide bombing outside the U.S. Embassy in Turkey underscored the importance of tightening security broadly.

The State Department already was making security upgrades there and Nuland told reporters those improvements were key to minimizing casualties.

One security guard was killed in the attack and other guards standing behind a reinforced glass window were shaken up, she said.

Moreover, security measures prevented the suicide bomber from entering the grounds. He detonated his explosives at an exterior check point.

"An exterior perimeter saved lives," Nuland said.

soundoff (15 Responses)
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    April 1, 2013 at 10:12 am | Reply
  2. Manhere

    The Senate passed legislation on Monday allowing the State Department to use $1.1 billion in funds that had previously been approved for Iraq to boost security at U.S. embassies around the world. NOW ISN'T THAT SWEET, FINALLY some money being given to foreign countries is going to be used to do something good for Americans. Why not cut all foreign aid till we get our debt under control, to avoid this Obee mandated funding cut? sick sick sick

    February 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Reply
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    February 11, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Reply
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  5. Re-posted With Intent To Educate State Department Muslim Employees

    Renowned Muslim activists and generalists in America, Europe, and many more moderate Arab countries have decried the silence of the corrupt muslim governments over the continued “brutal murders of innocent peoples by their tyrants like 100 Shia were cold bloodily murdered in Pakistan by Sunni terrorists” and said all minorities should be given the right to self-determination, especially in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Libya, Egypt, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.

    “Pakistan, Mali, Yemen, Benghazi, Somalia, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, and almost all muslim countries are poverty ridden, uneducated, and bloody occupied by al Qaeda fighters, or some other types of muslim terrorist groups.

    Under the military rules in Pakistan, Mali, Yemen, Benghazi, Somalia, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, freedom of speech is non-existent and human rights abuses are wide spread by mullahs. A survey said 5 out of 10 adult muslim man has never heard words like "Job", 'Education", "Election" or "Democracy".

    Lives of muslims in Pakistan, Mali, Somalia, Yemen, Benghazi, Algeria, Syria are made miserable by gun-totting army personnel or Jihadist terrorist groups, who routinely harassed, extorted money, committed raps, or terrorized people with impunity, adding that disappearances are almost a daily occurrence as also kidnapping, arrests, fake encounters and torture. Mass graves of minorities have been discovered in these muslim counties and the conscience of the world remains un-stirred................

    Tourism in Pakistan, Mali, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Algeria, Nigeria have virtually dropped to zero, while terrorism, unemployment, religious fanatism have gone through the roof. More and more young muslims are encouraged to join terrorist groups by their governments. These young muslims are more vulnerable to be exploited by mullahs also known as terrorist recruiters. All mosques are becoming terrorist recruiting centers too in countries like Pakistan, Mali, Yemen, Benghazi.

    The apathy towards minorities of muslim countries like Pakistan, Mali, Somalia, Benghazi, Yemen, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, especially in the western world, is because of their interest in supporting corrupt governments to “secure their oil supply, or natural resources with corrupt army chiefs of Pakistan or crook Arabs of Saudi Arabia, UAE than human rights in poor muslim countries".

    February 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Reply
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      agree 100%

      February 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Tourism in Pakistan, Mali, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Algeria, Nigeria !!!!!!!!!!!!
      are you real? who wants to go to these countries and get kidnapped or beheaded with blunt knives?

      February 6, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Reply
  6. Dean

    How about cutting subsidies to farmers and pay to non-military government workers?

    February 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    Increased security will happen only when House Republicans/Tea Party fiscal consevatives appropriates the money.

    February 6, 2013 at 10:00 am | Reply
    • rob

      The State Dept had the money but it was not used to beef up security even when the LATE Ambasador Stevens asked for it in multiple memos. Hillary Clinton ran the dept and is ultimately responcible. The media will not go after her but instead they gush over her because they care more about her legacy and her possible politiocal future than they do the lives of 4 Americans who died because of her incompetance.

      February 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Reply
    • Manhere

      What are you a butt kissing fool? don't blame the Republicans for this fiscal mess and Benghazi, Look in the mirror, Obee is responsible,, he takes credit where credit is not due, he passes blame on others "If I lie,,, it's your fault",,,no if the administration were not out to destroy this nation, the money would have been there our Ambassador would not have been SODOMIZED AND KILLED (yes sodomized,, news won't report that, will they),,s c r e w you bu tt head

      February 21, 2013 at 9:27 am | Reply
  8. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Just how much of our tax money will be used to train these bozos? Quite a bit, I bet!

    February 6, 2013 at 8:36 am | Reply
  9. empresstrudy

    That is precious. It's nonsense of course, but it's so cute.

    February 6, 2013 at 7:54 am | Reply
  10. Nodack

    It's just a shell game. Republicans will attack somewhere else next.

    February 6, 2013 at 5:05 am | Reply

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