It’s been confirmed that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was a relatively unsecured rented villa, not up to normal security standards. CNN’s Security Clearance reports:
The mission was a rented villa and considered a temporary facility by the agency, which allowed a waiver that permitted fewer guards and security measures than a standard embassy or consulate, according to the officials.
There was talk about constructing a permanent facility, which would require a building that met U.S. security and legal standards, the officials said.
Allowing a waiver would have been a decision made with input from Washington, Libyan officials and the ambassador, according to diplomatic security experts. . . .
While standards were lower at the compound, security had been enhanced at the post after a number of incidents this year that included a failed bombing attempt against the compound in June, according to sources. Several security changes were made over the past few months, the officials said. These included additional barriers and barbed wire, increased lighting, chain link fences, additional sand bags and closed circuit television. . . .
“We took the place and made improvements to it in a continued fashion,” one official said, adding that a pre-September 11 review of base security deemed the post to be adequately secured given the threat. The threat assessment was based in part on the June attack and previous attacks on other foreign targets, which included the attempted kidnapping of a Red Crescent staff member, a bomb attack on a United Nations convoy, a rocket attack on an International Committee of the Red Cross facility, and a similar attack on the British ambassador’s convoy. The protections in place reflected the State Department’s understanding of the threat, which did not suggest a swarming attack by a militia, the officials said.
But even if the consulate’s ex ante security assessment was considered sound, it remains unclear why the ambassador would have been at a less-secure location on September 11.