"The fact is, as important as diplomatic security is, it’s also very, very expensive. Sometimes it requires building a whole new embassy -- a daunting project even in far better budget circumstances.
So our diplomats and spies make do. And, not to make excuses, but the security officers, intelligence agents and analysts working out of U.S. diplomatic outposts in places like Libya have their hands full trying to find out what the enemy is doing.
In the chaos of post-Gadhafi Libya, moreover, do critics really think that the State Department and the CIA should have been sitting on their hands until they got spanking brand-new facilities built for them? " Jeff Stein
Diplomatic and intelligence work in "the field" as opposed to behind a desk in Washington is a risky business. The work in the field requires access to the local people. Some of the local people are always dangerous. The assumption should be made that they are dangerous. Nevertheless, it is always necessary to have access to the people in order to accomplish one's duty. There is not enough money available to fortify all diplomatic and intelligence posts even if it were a good idea to do so, and it is not for the reason stated here above.
Could the consulate in Benghazi have been made a more difficult target within the strictures of operational necessity? It probably could have been made more difficult for the assault force but not difficult enough to have repelled an attack like this by roughly a hundred determined men armed with small arms and RPG rockets.
Should the USMC security guard system be given the mission of defending our diplomatic premises? The present mission of these marines detailed to the State Department is to protect the classified information in these premises, not the premises themselves or the ambassador/consul. Such a change of mission would require a massive change of training for the marines involved and reinforcement to such a level that this would become a major mission, perhaps the major mission for the USMC.
Someone who calls himself "Anonymous" critiques Stein's analysis in this article. I believe I know who "Anonymous" is, and if that is his true identity he never served a day in the field in his life.
BTW, Jeff Stein and I served in the same Army intelligence unit in VN, albeit in different parts of the country. There was nothing "wimpy' about the men in that unit. Several small detachments of them fought for their lives in facilities just like the one he described. Some did not survive. pl