Officials: No specific warning on Benghazi

Oct. 30, 2012 at 6:02 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The State Department knew of extremist activity in Libya before the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi but there was no specific warning, officials say.

The attack, which killed the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other U.S. citizens, has become an issue in the presidential campaign. Republican challenger Mitt Romney has accused the State Department and President Obama of ignoring requests for tighter security and warnings about the situation.

The New York Times reported Tuesday there was no specific threat. But Stevens told his superiors in August of a Benghazi "security vacuum" and his embassy also told the State Department a week before he was killed the Libyan government had declared a "state of maximum alert" in the city.

Immediately after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi last year, the State Department drew up a security plan that was based on maintaining a light U.S. footprint. The plan included replacing U.S. military security with Libyan bodyguards.

While physical security at the consulate was strengthened in June, the basic plan was still in place when Stevens was killed.

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