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DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE
TESTIMONY BEFORE HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2012
Chairman Issa, Ranking Member Cummings, members of the Committee. Thank you for this
My name is Charlene Lamb. As Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs in the
Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the Department of State, I'm responsible for the safety and
security of more than 275 diplomatic facilities.
I've been in law enforcement for 35 years, starting as a uniformed police officer in Orange,
California. Twenty-five of those years have been with the State Department, including 17
consecutive years stationed abroad as a Regional Security Officer in Nicaragua, Tanzania,
Kuwait, Guatemala, and Germany.
I'm here today to share our best information to date about what happened in Benghazi on
, and to have a constructive discussion with the committee about how we can best
work together to prevent such tragedies in the future. 2
As you know, there is an on-going investigation being conducted by the FBI and we are speaking
today with an incomplete picture. As a result, our answers today will also be incomplete. But as
this process moves forward and more information becomes available, we will continue to engage
closely with Congress.
State Department staff first moved into the facility in Benghazi in mid-2011. Let me begin by
describing the actual compound. It is more than 300 yards long and nearly 100 yards wide.
The main building was divided into two sections. A public section included common areas and
meeting space. The second section was a residential area that included the safe haven. A second
building --Building B -- housed Diplomatic Security agents. The Tactical Operations Center (or
TOC) occupied a third building. It contained communications equipment, and a warning system.
The fourth building on the compound, the one closest to the gate, served as the barracks for
members of the Libyan 17th February Brigade who were on the compound round the clock.
After acquiring the compound, we made a number of security upgrades. To strengthen the
compound's perimeter, we extended the height of the outer wall with masonry concrete. Then
we added barbed wire and concertina razor wire to further extend the height of the wall to 12
feet. We increased the external lighting and erected Jersey Barriers --large concrete blocks --
outside the perimeter to provide anti-ram protection. Inside each of the three steel gates, we
installed steel drop bars to control vehicle traffic.3
Inside the perimeter of the wall, we also added equipment to detect explosives, as well as an
Imminent Danger Notification System. We hardened wooden doors with steel and reinforced
locks. And we installed security grills on windows accessible from the ground. This included
escape windows with emergency releases.
We also built guard booths and sandbag emplacements to create defensive positions inside the
In terms of armed security personnel, there were five Diplomatic Security agents on the
Compound on September 11th. There were also three members of the Libyan 17
Brigade. In addition, stationed nearby by at the embassy annex was a well-trained U.S. quick
reaction security team.
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