Sep 14, 2012 12:14 PM GMT
Pentagon denies reports on Marine blogs that U.S. embassy did not authorize service members to carry ammo
UPDATE: A Marine spokesperson at the Pentagon denied reports that U.S. Marines defending the American embassy in Egypt were not permitted by the State Department to carry live ammunition in a statement to Fox News Thursday.
Pentagon Lt. Col. Chris Hughes told the outlet: “The ambassador and RSO (Regional Security Officer) have been completely and appropriately engaged with the security situation. No restrictions on weapons or weapons status have been imposed. This information comes from the Det Commander at AMEMB (American Embassy) Cairo.”
The statement came in response to reports that U.S. Marines defending the American embassy in Egypt were not permitted by the State Department to carry live ammunition.
Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson “did not permit U.S. Marine guards to carry live ammunition,” according to multiple reports on U.S. Marine Corps blogs spotted by Nightwatch. “She neutralized any U.S. military capability that was dedicated to preserve her life and protect the US Embassy.”
Time magazine’s Battleland blog also reported Thursday that “senior U.S. officials late Wednesday declined to discuss in detail the security at either Cairo or Benghazi, so answers may be slow in coming.”
If true, the reports indicate that Patterson shirked her obligation to protect U.S. interests, Nightwatch states.
“She did not defend U.S. sovereign territory and betrayed her oath of office,” the report states. “She neutered the Marines posted to defend the embassy, trusting the Egyptians over the Marines.”
While Marines are typically relied on to defend U.S. territory abroad, such as embassies, these reports indicate that the Obama administration was relying on Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood-backed government to ensure American security, a move observers are questioning as violence in Cairo continues to rage.
Marc Toner, the State Department’s deputy spokesperson, did not respond to a request for comment from the Free Beacon. White House National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor also did not respond to a request for comment.
The U.S. ambassador to any nation ultimately decides whether Marines are authorized to carry ammunition, according to a GOP national security adviser knowledgeable about American embassy protocols.