Security firm 'on duty during U.S consulate attack'
A DEADLY attack at a US consulate in Libya involved a Welsh firm based in Carmarthen, according to reports.
US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack at the consulate in Benghazi on September 11.
The attack coincided with the
demonstrations of the US embassy in Egypt, in protest to the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, and was initially reported to be a similar demonstration.
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But US intelligence later confirmed they were treating it as a deliberate and organised attack by heavily armed militias, and
was not prompted by the film.
Reuters news agency and other reports now say Carmarthen-based Blue Mountain Group had been involved in guarding the consulate.
Josh Hersh, foreign policy correspondent for online newspaper The Huffington Post, said 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."
The security issue at the compound was raised at a US panel hearing last week, which debate whether the state department had sought enough diplomatic security staff for the mission.
Larry Korb, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress and a former US Assistant Secretary of Defense, said 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.
"We have something like 275 consulates around the world and in normal times it's the responsibility of the host government to provide that security."
A spokesman for Blue Mountain Group declined to comment.