British left weapons in U.S. consulate in Libya and now they're missing
British diplomats withdrew from Benghazi in June after an assassination attempt on the their ambassador but reached an agreement with the United States to leave weapons and vehicles at the American compound.
Now that cache of weapons is missing amid signs that the Islamists suspected in the Sept. 11 attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans remain active, the London-based Daily Telegraph reported this week.
A British official confirmed to the Telegraph that the equipment is unaccounted for.
The issue of the missing weapons and vehicles was brought to light during testimony on Wednesday at a congressional hearing in Washington, where Lt. Col. Andrew Wood of the Utah National Guard, who headed a 16-member U.S. military security force in Libya, revealed that the British would return periodically to Benghazi and reclaim the weapons, then give them back to the Americans when they left the city.
The June 11 attack on British Ambassador Sir Dominic Asquith as he drove through Benghazi is among a list of 230 security incidents, 48 in Benghazi alone, that U.S. officials compiled to show how dangerous Libya had become.
Wood said that the withdrawal of British diplomats and Red Cross workers should have been a warning to U.S. diplomats.
“I almost expected the attack to come. We were the last flag flying, it was a matter of time,” he said.
Two of Asquith's security guards were wounded in the attack. In contrast to the Americans, who remained in Benghazi, the British determined that the city was too dangerous and closed their offices.
Before withdrawing, however, British officials reached an agreement with the U.S. consulate to leave their weapons and vehicles at the poorly guarded U.S. compound.
“We are working with the U.S. to establish what, if anything, has happened to this equipment,” British news agencies quoted an unnamed Foreign Office spokesman as saying.
Wood added that he had expected an attack to come sooner or later. “I almost expected the attack to come,” he said. “We were the last flag flying. It was a matter of time. ”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S.-backed rebels push forward in southern Syria
- Hong Kong protest leader Wong an unlikely icon
- Russian doctors rebel over health reform
- After 2,000 years, China finally will end state monopoly on salt
- Dozens killed in bombing attack on Nigerian mosque
- Ukraine aims to ride reform to European Union
- U.S. military shifts strategy to smaller Iraq force
- Lack of money may crush ISIS
- Egypt’s fixation on dictator Mubarak trial wanes
- Islamic State drive for Kobani blunted
- 2-month Hong Kong occupation near end