Benghazi consulate attack: West Wales security firm link

The US consulate in flames in Benghazi, Libya 11 September 2012 The attack on the US consulate in Benghazi killed the US Ambassador Christopher Stevens

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A Welsh firm was involved in security during a deadly attack at the US consulate in Benghazi, it has emerged.

US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the 11 September attack in Libya.

According to the Reuters news agency and other reports, Carmarthen-based Blue Mountain Group had been involved in guarding the consulate.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has criticised President Obama over his handling of the attack.

The incident was discussed in this week's second presidential election debate.

The security issue at the compound was raised last week at a US panel hearing.

The rancorous congressional committee hearing centred on whether the state department had sought enough diplomatic security staff for the mission.

Josh Hersh, foreign policy correspondent for The Huffington Post, told BBC Wales that details of the Welsh firm's involvement in security at the consulate was sketchy.

"At this moment we don't know terribly much about it," he said.

"We do know that security to some extent at the consulate was contracted out to this small firm, Blue Mountain, which was a little known firm that seemed to have some pre-existing presence in Libya and somehow managed to secure this contract.

"Certainly it seems from the reports that it's a little unusual that a firm this small could end up with a contract like this for a major American diplomatic outpost."

Larry Korb, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress and a former US Assistant Secretary of Defense, told BBC Radio Wales it was not unusual to hire private security companies.

"We do not in normal times have enough people on the government payroll and these are not normal times, particularly in Libya," he said.

"They put it up for contract, they go to the private sector and the feeling is once things go back to normal you will not need people from the private sector."

He added: "We have something like 275 consulates around the world and in normal times it's the responsibility of the host government to priovide that security."

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