Security Upgrades Needed at 15 High-Risk U.S. Diplomatic Posts

Mike O'Brien

Fifteen high-threat State Department posts around the world are in need of major security improvements.

Diplomatic security chief Gregory Starr made the startling announcement at a Senate hearing this week, 10 months after four Americans were killed in an American compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Mr. Starr did not give the specific locations of the at-risk posts, but he did say that personnel at some of the facilities have not had the necessary security training.

Some have only taken a four-hour online course, he added.

In total, there are 27 diplomatic posts around the world categorized as high-threat and high-risk.

Mr. Starr said: "In many of those locations we have withdrawn our families. We have cut down and moved our staffing levels to only the personnel we absolutely need."

Sen. Robert Menendez has sponsored a bill to implement and fund the 29 recommendations of the Benghazi Accountability Review Board, adding that no cost is too high to secure U.S. diplomatic personnel overseas, Federal Times reports.

He said: "Such investments are not an extravagance. They are not simply another budget item."

The State Department is currently using a racetrack facility in West Virginia with the capacity to train 2,500 Foreign Service officers, a number which Mr. Starr does not think is sufficient to protect the amount of people stationed at high-threat locations.