A 27 year old Libyan security guard, that was present when the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya broke out, who asked that his name be withheld to protect his identity, was interviewed Thursday in the hospital where he is being treated for five shrapnel wounds in one leg and two bullet wounds in the other, and said that "all was quiet" prior to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and that there were no protesters before the attack began. He asked that the hospital where he is being treated not be identified for fear that militants would track him down and kill him.
The security guard said, "there wasn’t a single ant outside", and that the entire area, including the main areas of the compound, were quiet, until about 9:35 PM, when as many as 125 heavily armed men, some carrying weapons including anti-aircraft weapons, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, and grenades, descended on the compound. The eyewitness said the men lobbed grenades into the embassy compound, wounding him and knocking him to the ground, then stormed through the facility's main gate, shouting "God is great", and moving to one of the many villas that make up the consulate compound. He said that there was no warning of an imminent attack. He said, "Would you expect if there were protesters outside that the Americans would leave?" He said he was able to escape by telling one of the attackers that he was only a gardener at the compound. The attacker took him to the hospital, the guard said. The attack itself, the guard said, was immediate and bold, initiated by a group of men who approached the compound and lobbed grenades over the wall. Just behind them were scores of men, shooting wildly and yelling “God is great.”
The guard said he had been hired by a British company seven months ago to protect the compound, and that the first explosion knocked him to the ground, leaving him unable to fire his weapon. Four other contracted guards, and three members of Libya's 17th of February Brigade, a group that was formed at the start of the uprising that ousted Libya's former military dictator, Col. Muammar Gaddafi, and integrated into the Libyan security forces, made up the security force protecting the outer perimeter of the consulate grounds; along with the eyewitness. According to this witness, that meant that the total security team guarding the perimeter of the compound were eight guards. After the men stormed the main gate, the men rushed into one of the buildings within the compound, and there was no resistance from inside the building.
The guard said that thirty minutes later he felt that he was about to lose consciousness, and actually asked one of the attackers for help, claiming he was just a gardener at the compound. The man agreed to drive him to the hospital, and as the two were leaving the compound, the guard said that he saw attackers enter a second building.
The guard's tale is consistent with a version of events offered by the man that leased the compound to the U.S., which he gave on Wednesday. Mohammad al Bishari said the attack began with assailants carrying assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and the black flag of Ansar al Shariah moving from two directions against the compound.
U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and consulate computer expert Sean Smith were believed to have been overcome by smoke in the main consulate building, after the building was firebombed by the attackers. As attackers moved through the compound, they killed two former U.S. Navy SEAL team members, identified as Glen A. Doherty, 42, a native of Winchester, Mass., and Tyrone Woods, 41, of Imperial Beach, Calif., who had been contracted directly by the U.S. State Department to provide security at the consulate. Doherty and Woods were shot and killed by the invaders at another building on the compound where Americans had sought refuge. At least three other embassy employees were wounded.
These accounts, by eyewitnesses to the attack in Benghazi, differ sharply from the Obama administration's account of what happened the night that Ambassador Stevens died. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, claimed Sunday, on many weekly political television programs shown in the United States, "But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that-- in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent." Some within the journalism community believe that the U.S. State Department had decided to accept a version of events that had been reported by the New York Times, because the Times reported "...a group of armed assailants mixed with unarmed demonstrators gathered at the small compound that housed a temporary American diplomatic mission there." The Times also included an account of "interviews during the battle" with those involved in the attack. The Times did not mention if there was any indication that those who were interviewed might have been reciting remarks that had been prepared in advance.
In fact, that same line was repeated by administration officials during the prior week. Unnamed "intelligence officials" continued to report to multiple media outlets this single statement: "Intelligence officials said they believe it's more likely that the attack was 'opportunistic or spontaneous,' with militants taking advantage of the demonstration to launch the assault. At this point, it appears that the only people who are still attaching credibility to reports that there was a demonstration at the compound in Benghazi prior to the attack are officials with the Obama administration.