RSO (Regional Security Officer) expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound, the cable said, according to Fox News.
The Accountability Review Board investigation, commissioned by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and released in December, placed blame for the Benghazi attack in large part on the State Department for not answering repeated calls for more security.
But the report also is peppered with references to Stevens and how well the embassy made the case to Washington for more security. In a news conference at the time of the release of the boards finding, Adm. Mike Mullen, one of the boards two chairmen and a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, referred to the failing of the embassy.
As the chief of mission, he certainly had a responsibility in that regard, and actually he was very security conscious and increasingly concerned about security, Mullen said. But part of his responsibility is certainly to make that case back here, and he had not gotten to that point where you would, you might get to a point where you would be considering, Its so dangerous, we might close the mission.
The embassy Stevens oversaw in Tripoli did not demonstrate strong and sustained advocacy with Washington for increased security in Benghazi, the report stated.
Traditionally, State Department officials have depended on the State Departments own Diplomatic Security Service, local police and military forces and security contractors to secure embassies around the world. U.S. military personnel at embassies consist usually of Marines whose job it is to guard the perimeter of a compound and to protect classified documents and equipment inside. It is rare that U.S. forces would be called upon to guard embassy personnel traveling outside embassy grounds.
Any increase in U.S. military force would have required State Department approval. Its unknown if Stevens might have passed along Hams offer to the State Department and been turned down, or whether he believed that the security team Ham offered would not provide the kind of security he needed.
Officials familiar with the exchanges between Ham and Stevens said they did not know whether Ham offered any other support than the security team.
It was a brief conversation, the defense official said.
James Rosen and Jonathan S .Landay contributed from Washington.
Update: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Lindsey Graham and misidentified the Accountability Review Board.