(CNSNews.com) -- When terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 of this year and killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, there were no U.S. Marines deployed in Libya to defend U.S. diplomats, diplomatic facilities and classified information and equipment.
However, says the State Department, a Marine Security Detachment was deployed on that day to carry out those duties at the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados.
“U.S. Marine Security Guards serve at the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, and at other diplomatic missions around the world, to protect and safeguard American diplomacy,” Rebecca Ross, the U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Counselor for Public Affairs, said in a statement to CNSNews.com.
“On September 11, 2012, our U.S. Marine Security Detachment carried out its regular duties which include providing internal security, preventing the compromise of classified information and equipment, and providing protection for U.S. citizens and property located within official U.S. facilities,” Ross said.
On August 16, less than a month before the terrorists struck the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the U.S. Marine Security Guard Force in Barbados led a physical fitness test for young athletes.
“The U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean and its U.S. Marine Security Guard Force facilitated a modified Combat Fitness Test at the Club House, on Dover Field, Christ Church for the Barbados Defense Force Youth Athletes on Thursday, August 16th,” reads the event description.
“This exciting fitness test features a Maneuver under Fire Obstacle Course that will send the athletes sprinting, running, crawling, and dragging their buddies across the field.”
In testimony Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene R. Lamb said there were five “diplomatic security agents” at the consulate in Benghazi when it was attacked on September 11.
When pressed by Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) about the extent of security at the consulate, Lamb said there was the “correct number” of security assets at the time of the attack.
“An embassy, a compound owned by us and serving like a consulate was in fact breached less than 60 days before, approximately 60 days before the murder of the ambassador in that facility,” said Issa. “Isn’t that true?”
“Sir, we had the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time of 9/11 for what had been agreed upon,” Lamb said.
The CIA World Factbook states that Barbados is a “parliamentary democracy” that gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966. 63.4 percent of the Barbadian people identify as Protestant, 4.2 percent as Roman Catholic and 7 percent as “other Christian,” according to the CIA.
The Barbadian Ministry of Tourism says the tourism industry has grown in the country largely as a result of the “natural friendliness and warmth” of the Barbadian people.
“We believe that the growth of this industry is as much due to the natural friendliness and warmth of our people, which keeps visitors seeking Barbados out repeatedly for leisure and business activities as to the efforts of the staff of the Ministry of Tourism and the Barbados Tourism Authority,” states the Ministry’s website.