Lt. Col. Andy Wood, the former head of a Special Forces “Site Security Team,” said in a pair of interviews that the embassy staff, including slain Amb. Chris Stevens, had wanted his group of 16 special operations soldiers to stay in Libya.
“[The] first choice was for us to stay,” Wood told ABC News. “That would have been the choice of the embassy people in Tripoli.”
Wood told CBS News that when he found out his team was being removed in August, he felt, “like we were being asked to play the piano with two fingers. There was concern amongst the entire embassy staff.”
“We felt we needed more, not less,” Wood added.
The former security officer said embassy staffers approached him to express concerns about their safety, but said the State Department instructed diplomatic workers “to do with less.”
And you have to love State’s “response:”
“The SST was enlisted to support the re-opening of Embassy Tripoli, to help ensure we had the security necessary as our diplomatic presence grew. They were based in Tripoli and operated almost exclusively there. When their rotation in Libya ended, Diplomatic Security Special Agents were deployed and maintained a constant level of security capability. So their departure had no impact whatsoever on the total number of fully trained American security personnel in Libya generally, or in Benghazi specifically,” said the State Department in the statement.
The withdrawal of Special Forces had “no impact whatsoever?” As in “made no difference?” Really?
State’s statement also says that LTC Wood was only stationed in Tripoli, implying that his team’s continued presence would have made no difference in Benghazi. Right. They’re trying to tell us that a Lieutenant Colonel in the Special Forces, if tasked to assess security in another city couldn’t quickly figure out the risks and needs? It just begs the question, why wasn’t Wood told to assess Benghazi, where there was an American consulate in a known al Qaeda recruiting ground?
And let’s not forget: Benghazi was not just a human disaster, but also an intelligence train wreck, too, as important documents and secrets were left unsecured. (And who knows how many lives will be lost as al Qaeda learns who was helping us?) Issa’s House Oversight Committee will be holding hearings on Benghazi this week. Given the number of whistle-blowers apparently eager to talk and high-ranking political appointees desperate to blame anyone but themselves, it should be an interesting day.
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(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)