What Paul Ryan Got Wrong About Libya Security During VP Debate

In last night’s vice presidential debate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) made several incorrect claims about security in Benghazi, Libya at the time of last month’s assault on a U.S. diplomatic compound. In highly politicized hearings earlier this week, testimony was given on requests for additional resources to be sent to enhance security within Libya.

Counter to Ryan’s claims, the main focus of the requests were for the U.S. Embassy located in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, opposed to the outpost in Benghazi, Foreign Policy reports:

At Thursday night’s debate, Rep. Paul Ryan seemed to suggest that the requests were for Marines to go to Libya, which was not the case. The requests were to extend the tours of a Mobile Security Detachments [MSD] and the Site Security Team [SST] at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, which are teams of military personnel, not Marines, who can help protect an embassy and its personnel.

“What we should not be doing is rejecting claims for calls for more security in our barracks, in our Marine — we need Marines in Benghazi when the commander on the ground says we need more forces for security,” Ryan said. “There were requests for extra security. Those requests were not honored.”

Ryan also asked why the Ambassador in Paris receives a Marine detachment as part of his security, but the same level of protection was not afforded to Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the September assault in Benghazi. However, according the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group’s website, the primary mission of deployed Marines is not personal security, but rather “to prevent the compromise of classified material vital to the national security of the United States.”


Ryan also falsely claimedduring the debate last night that it took two weeks for President Obama to acknowledge the Libya assault was a terror attack. In fact, Obama acknowledged that the day after.

Ryan’s statements join other right-wing myths about diplomatic security spread in the aftermath of last month’s global protests, including that Embassy Marines were forbidden to possess live ammunition.