I take this opportunity to clarify some important information regarding the tragic murders of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, as well as three other United States diplomatic officials in Benghazi, Libya.
Ambassador Stevens was officially posted to the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya. That embassy like all others is heavily fortified, and very well protected by a strong and professional detachment of U.S. Marines.
Conversely, most consulates around the world are not protected by Marines, but instead by a lightly armed group of local police, or private security guards. This policy must change if we are to continue maintaining consulates around the world. To place consular structures and officials in physical danger without a significant protection force is unconscionable.
If we are to maintain diplomatic missions, especially in “hot zones,” we must re-double our efforts at fortifying those missions and providing a strong and sizeable U.S. protection force in each mission.
It is obvious to me as a diplomatic official that Amb. Stevens and his three colleagues were set-up and ambushed by hoodlums and thugs, who had inside information as to when the ambassador would be traveling a considerable distance from Tripoli to Benghazi.
Furthermore, based upon specific information that I have, it took the Libyan government seven hours to provide military protection to the U.S. Consulate under attack, and other safe houses that were under attack, to which the ambassador and his colleagues fled before being murdered. This was not negligence. This was not oversight. This was deliberate government inaction to enable the assassination of U.S. diplomatic officials.
Significant adjustments and modifications must be immediately implemented to protect our diplomatic facilities around the world, urgently. Then we must seek retribution and exact justice.
Michael S. Hacker, consul general, Republic of Senegal and Republic of Togo, Miami