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Libya guards speak out on attack that killed U.S. ambassador

Libya guards speak out on attack that killed U.S. ambassador →

The L.A. Times reports from Tripoli.

Face down on a roof inside the besieged American diplomatic compound, gunfire and flames crackling around them, the two young Libyan guards watched as several bearded men crept toward the ambassador's residence with semiautomatic weapons and grenades strapped to their chests.

... They were the "quick reaction force" for a compound that was also protected by about five armed Americans and five Libyan civilians hired through a British firm and equipped only with electric batons and handcuffs.

As if that security wasn't light enough, the Americans didn't take the security concerns seriously.

Bright lights positioned on top of the walls shone into the compound, which the guards say made it difficult to see outside. The lights sometimes left footage from night security cameras either obscured by glare or pitch black, the Libyans say. "It did not seem like a good location for a sensitive building," says Abdelaziz Majbiri, a 29-year-old civilian guard for Blue Mountain, who was shot in the leg in the attack.

The Feb. 17 guards say that when they discussed their concerns with U.S. security officers, they were sometimes told that this was a political mission, not a full-fledged embassy, implying that security requirements were less stringent.