Transcript: Hillary Clinton on why Marine guards were not stationed in Benghazi, Libya

Transcribed and edited by Jenny Jiang

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on why Marine guards were not stationed at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the attacks against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was held on Jan. 23, 2013:

Because historically Marine guards are at post where there is classified information. Marine guards have not historically had the responsibility for protecting personnel. Their job is to protect and, if necessary, destroy classified material. And our compound – there was no classified material.

We believe that we need to increase both our Marine security guard detachments as well as our diplomatic security and create more synergy and cooperation in these high-threat posts.

The Marine security guards, as you know, are very much a presence on more than 150 of our posts. And in order to get them the facilities and support they need, they need a Marine house, they need to be very close to the Embassy because as you saw in the recent movie, “Argo”, you saw the Marines in there destroying classified material when the mob was outside in Tehran. They are experts at that. They are people that are totally relied on by the entire mission.

But as I said earlier, historically their job has not been personal security. So we’ve got to figure out, working with DOD and particularly with the Marines – you know, most of them are very young. I take pictures with them everywhere I go and usually the Sergeants look, you know, older, more experienced but most of the Marines on duty are quite young. We’ve got to figure out how we really take advantage of their presence, and that’s the conversation we’re in the midst of with our DOD colleagues.


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