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.

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  46. 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.

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    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      agree 100%

      February 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Reply
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      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?

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  47. Dean

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

    February 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  48. 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
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      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
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