The U.S. embassy requests — and is granted — a four-month extension, until August, of a Tripoli-based “site security team” (SST) composed of 16 special forces soldiers who provide security, medical and communications support to the embassy. The commander of the security team, Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, told ABC News that Stevens had wanted the team to stay past the end of its extended deployment in August. A senior State Department official confirmed to The Associated Press that despite Wood’s comments, a request for an extension past August was never made.
The State Department says:
The SST was enlisted to support the reopening of Embassy Tripoli 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 the departure of the SST had no impact whatsoever on the total number of fully trained American security personnel in Libya overall, or in Benghazi specifically.
However, AP notes that a State Department security official who was temporarily assigned to Benghazi thanked Wood for members of the team escorting U.S. officials to a dangerous area outside of Benghazi and also for providing training to members of a Libyan quick reaction force, teaching a tactical medicine class and reviewing defensive tactics. Another email from a security official in Benghazi said the staff there had spoken to Wood when he visited about equipment needed for the Benghazi mission. 1
- AP – State Dept Extended U.S. Security Team in Libya http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-embassy-sought-extension-security-team ↩