Washington - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
denied on Tuesday that Washington was warned of an imminent attack in
Libya, stressing the United States would not rest until those behind the
killings of four Americans are brought to justice.
"We had no
actionable intelligence that an attack on our post in Benghazi was
planned or imminent," Clinton told a press conference after State
Department talks with Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa.
are taking aggressive steps to protect our staffs in embassies and
consulates worldwide," Clinton said, amid a wave of anti-US protests
around the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
States is also "reviewing our security posture at every post and
augmenting it where necessary", she added, stressing that Washington was
also working with host governments "to make sure they know what our
security needs are".
A suicide bombing in Kabul on Tuesday added
to a growing toll of people killed in the week-long violent backlash
triggered by a YouTube trailer for a film mocking Islam.
the dead are four diplomatic staff in Libya, including ambassador Chris
Stevens, killed when militants besieged the US mission in Benghazi a
week ago on 11 September in a four-hour sustained attack with heavy
Adequate security arrangements
"We will not rest until the people who orchestrated this attack are found and punished," Clinton said.
she insisted there had been adequate security arrangements in Benghazi,
and said that ahead of last week's anniversary of the 11 September 2001
attacks a full evaluation of "threat streams" had been carried out.
me assure you that our security in Benghazi included a unit of host
government security forces, as well as a local guard force of the kind
that we rely on in many places around the world," she told reporters.
emerged on Tuesday that the State Department had hired a private
security firm called the Blue Mountain Group - believed to be a British
company which says on its website it has a heritage "gained from many
years' service in UK Special Forces" - to hire local Libyan staff in
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland admitted
she had made a mistake when she said last week the US had not signed any
private security contracts with firms to guard the Benghazi mission.
external security, external armed security, as we have been saying,
outside of the perimeter, was fully handled by the Libyan side," Nuland
told reporters on Tuesday.
Strategic look at events
was a group called Blue Mountain Group, which is a private security
company with permits to operate in Libya. They were hired to provide
local Libyan guards who operated inside the gate doing things like
operating the security access equipment, screening the cars, that kind
It was unclear whether any of the local staff had been
killed in Tuesday's attack, she said, nor whether the State Department
had worked with the company in other countries.
The FBI has
launched an investigation inside Libya, and Clinton said the US was
working with the Libyan government, which is leading its own inquiry,
"so we can be assured that we have found who murdered our four
colleagues and under what circumstances".
People also had to look
at the events strategically. "In a lot of places where protests have
turned violent, we are seeing the hand of extremists who trying to
exploit people's inflamed passions for their own agendas."
But she said most people in the Arab Spring nations were seeking to build a better future.
is part of a larger debate that is going on inside of these societies,"
she said, highlighting how moderates had won the elections in Libya
after the fall of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.