A British security officer employed to protect U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, said he repeatedly warned higher-ups that al-Qaida seemed poised to attack.
His warnings and others were ignored by U.S. officials, and four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.
A CBS’ “60 Minutes” from October of last year — following a year-long investigation —concluded that the attacks in Benghazi were well-planned, and sophisticated, carried out by al-Qaeda “against a barely protected” American outpost.
The British security officer, who, for security reasons, used the alias Morgan Jones, told “60 Minutes” that on his first drive through Benghazi, he saw black al-Qaeda flags flying openly.
Jones said that on Sept. 11, 2012, Stevens admitted he was worried about security at the U.S. Special Mission Compound.
That night, Stevens was killed by al-Qaeda terrorists.
Army Green Beret Lt. Col. Andrew Wood told “60 Minutes” that intercepted al-Qaeda communications indicated they would attack the Red Cross, the British, then the Americans.
Wood advised that the facilities be moved.
He told “60 Minutes” he repeatedly warned the State Department and Defense Department of impending disaster: “Shut down operations. Move out temporarily. Or change locations within the city. Do something to break up the profile because you are being targeted. They are — they are — they are watching you. The attack cycle is such that they’re in the final planning stages,” he recalled telling superiors.
“Leave Benghazi or you will be killed,” was Wood’s final advice.
Yet a third figure, Stevens’ deputy based in Tripoli, Greg Hicks, told “60 Minutes” he also sent cables — approved by Stevens — back to the State Department specifically mentioning the al-Qaeda menace.
In addition to these warnings, U.S. intelligence discovered that Abu Anas al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda operative, had established a terror network inside the country.
There were two assaults the night of Sept. 11, 2012: one on the Special Mission Compound, the other, lasting for seven hours, against a clandestine CIA annex
about a mile away.
When the attacks began, Morgan’s unarmed Libyan guard at the Special Mission Compound could do nothing, and a separate armed Libyan militia, hired by the
State Department to protect the consulate, fled.
A quick-reaction force from the CIA annex arrived at the Special Mission Compound within 30 minutes, shooting its way through Benghazi’s streets just to
get to there, CBS reported.
It was this force which repelled as many some 60 al-Qaeda terrorists, saved five Americans, and recovered the body of Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith.
Back at the annex, the CIA team was joined by a small unit of Americans from Tripoli.
Mortar rounds hit the annex roof three times in the dark, killing former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Wood says the precision showed the attack was planned and coordinated, not part of an impromptu protest as White House officials insisted for days after the attack.
“That’s getting the basketball through the hoop over your shoulder,” Wood told “60 Minutes. “They practiced those things. They knew what they were doing.”
Since the attacks, al-Qaeda has grown in power across Libya and throughout the Middle East and Africa.