UPDATE II: The Marines said late Thursday that any reports “of Marines not being able to have their weapons loaded per direction from the ambassador are not accurate.”
UPDATE: “With or without a weapon, Marines are always armed,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said Thursday afternoon. “I’ve heard nothing to suggest they don’t have ammunition.”
Senior U.S. officials decline to discuss it, but it’s clear there were no U.S. Marines protecting U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and his beleaguered staff at the Benghazi consulate Tuesday night. Marines are routinely posted to U.S. diplomatic outposts around the world, but the “interim” facility in Benghazi apparently was defended only by a handful of U.S. security officers and local hires. The Marines have let it be known that the two unidentified U.S. officials who died at Benghazi were not Marines.
As any Marine’ll tell you, if there had been Marines at Benghazi, they’d be among those killed.
But what’s worse? No Marines or unarmed Marines?
There’s a disquieting report in Thursday morning’s NightWatch blog that claims the Marines 700 miles away in Cairo were barred from carrying live ammunition as the U.S. Embassy in Egypt came under attack:
[U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson] did not permit US Marine guards to carry live ammunition, according to USMC blogs. Thus she neutralized any US military capability that was dedicated to preserve her life and protect the US Embassy. In this respect, she did not defend US sovereign territory and betrayed her oath of office. She neutered the Marines posted to defend the embassy, trusting the Egyptians over the Marines.
…reports John McCreary, a former veteran Defense Intelligence Agency analyst. Well, Battleland can’t find those blogs; we’ve asked McCreary for them, and also asked the Marines and State Department to respond to what he is reporting.
Senior U.S. officials late Wednesday declined to discuss in detail the security at either Cairo or Benghazi, so answers may be slow in coming.