Local security guards at the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya where four Americans died in a 2012 terrorist attack previously had abandoned their posts due to a "fear factor," according to State Department emails obtained by Judicial Watch.
The 130 pages of new documents obtained by the conservative watchdog group show an explosion at the compound three months before the attacks “created a fear factor” for the local security guards working the night shift.
Some guards abandoned their posts “out of fear of their safety,” according to emails between the security firm Blue Mountain Group and the State Department.
The emails also show that other guards were simply unreliable and were released.
The documents appear to raise further concerns about whether the Obama administration could have done more to protect U.S. personnel at the compound, including the four killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack. They were Ambassador Chris Stevens, information specialist Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
According to the documents, on June 30, 2012, roughly three months before the attacks, Blue Mountain Libya warned State Department specialist Neal Kern that the number of local guards leaving their posts had created security concerns at the compound.
“Due to the amount of local guard force members leaving out of fear of their safety and the long process to security check individuals, it makes it very difficult to quickly react to a large drop in staff in quick succession … especially when additional staff are requested,” the report states.
The report also states the June 6 explosion on a compound perimeter wall had a “lasting effect” on the security staff.
However, in one letter to the State Department, Wales-based Blue Mountain suggested it was trying to hire more guards to create a “bank staff” to deal with staffing shortages.
Judicial Watch said the State Department provided documents from March 1 to August 31, 2012, but none from the 10 days before the September attacks.
“These documents show that the U.S. Special Mission at Benghazi was a sitting duck and that the State Department’s local militia ‘security’ feared for their own safety and wouldn’t even show up to provide necessary protection,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.