Paying lip service
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Friday, June 28, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
President Obama says the United States has “strengthened security at our embassies.” Secretary of State John Kerry says nothing is more important to him than embassy security.
So it comes as no surprise, from those who know better, that a new report from the State Department's inspector general finds security inadequate at the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, in what remains one of the worst hellholes for a U.S. outpost.
“Physical security vulnerabilities at the mission facilities ... place employees at risk,” the report states.
So much for the lessons of Benghazi, Libya, where terrorists last September killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. According to the Washington Guardian, “superiors back home in Washington seem unaware of the threat level (in Beirut),” in what's described as an 18-acre “cramped, aged and difficult to maintain office.”
And never mind that the State Department has yet to declare the Beirut embassy “high risk,” according to Townhall.com, despite civil war in neighboring Syria and 325,000 Syrian refugees who have crowded into Lebanon.
In the middle of this chaos are 64 full-time embassy employees and 20 temporary-duty personnel, according to The Heritage Foundation.
Despite reports of new “quick-reaction” strike forces developed by the Marines and Army, the security situation at the Beirut embassy as documented is outrageous. And, post-Benghazi, it's inexcusable.
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