Libya to revamp diplomat security program

Dec. 27, 2012 at 8:00 AM
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BENGHAZI, Libya, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Libyan officials, stung by criticism over their response to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, said they will create a diplomatic security unit.

Part of a major overhaul of its security program, the decision to retool security for diplomats comes, in part, to help stem the international criticism of Libya's response to the anti-American attacks in Benghazi, where the U.S. Consulate was attacked and Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Last week, U.S. officials said poorly trained and disciplined Libyan forces were partially responsible for the deadly attack. The U.S. State Department also has come under fire, with an independent review released last week citing "systemic failures" in responding to rising security threats against U.S. personnel in Libya.

Since the start of December, Interior Minister Ashour Shwail, as well as the new defense minister and senior intelligence officials, have proffered security reform programs to Libya's lawmakers. The core of the reform proposals deals with structural issues, such as streamlining the structure put in place by deposed leader Moammar Gadhafi and cutting his former police state.

For example, Shwail proposed trimming the interior force from 55 units to 35 units, as well as review pay structures.

Libya's proposed diplomatic security unit would answer to the armed forces chief of staff, officials said.

Libyan lawmakers who reviewed the proposals praised them for their thoroughness but said the time frame for the reforms was unclear. The proposals didn't include a price tag or indicate how they would be financed.

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