Report: Militants Moved Next Door to Benghazi Mission Before Attack

Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 07:17 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Islamic militants ultimately blamed for the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, raised concerns when they boldly moved next door to the facility, yet "nothing was done," Fox News reported Tuesday.

Ansar al-Sharia members moved into a house outside the east wall of the compound within three weeks of U.S. personnel's renting the outpost, the report said.

The militants then used the location to help plan and take part in the deadly attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, the report said.

"We warned D.C. about the guys who moved in next door, but nobody knew what to do and nothing was done," an intelligence source told Fox News.

U.S. security personnel specifically asked for an M240 machine gun to mount on the roof of the consulate for extra protection, but were turned down repeatedly, a source told Fox News.

"They asked for a belt-fed mounted machine gun, but were specifically denied by the State Department because they said it would upset the locals," a State Department source told Fox News.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf called the claims "dubious" on Monday, Fox News noted.

But on Tuesday, a senior State Department official told Fox News there was a request from the Benghazi post on Aug. 22, and "it was being considered in Tripoli on the day of the attack."

"It was contained in a list of security requests, so to say that the request was rejected is inaccurate," the official told Fox News, adding that the State Department has "no record" at this point of Ansar al-Sharia's moving in next door.

U.S. personnel also asked for sandbags to help fortify positions at the compound because "the only thing in between us and the neighbors was grass and a couple of trees and a wall," a source told Fox News.

"The State Department knew it. Everyone on the ground knew it," the source said. But the sandbags also were denied because "making shooting positions was too aesthetically unpleasing," the source told Fox News.

The dangerous neighbors were so well-known that on the night of the attack, as rescuers faced heavy fire while leaving the consulate, they "made sure to make a left turn out of the consulate and not a right turn," toward where the Ansar al-Sharia house was situated, Fox News reported.

Leaders of the controversial local Libyan militia – "The February 17 Martyrs Brigade" – picked to provide security at the U.S. compound not only didn't respond to the terror attack but allegedly may have participated, Fox News reported.

No one questioned their selection – even over the Marines, Fox News reported.

"They may have been sold as the best option . . . but it was a terrible option," a source told Fox News. "Only D.C. trusted them."

Brigade leader Fawzi Bukhatif left Benghazi even as the consulate was smoldering, Fox News reported.

"It is truly one of the worst outsourcing decisions of all time," another source said.

Republicans in May entrusted a seven-member team with "getting to the truth," in the words of House Speaker John Boehner, about whether the Obama administration misled
Americans about the deadly attack.

Five Democrats also are on the newly formed select committee to investigate the attack.

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