October 27, 2013 7:18 PM

60 Minutes: Benghazi

 

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Benghazi was a planned, sophisticated attack by al Qaeda against a barely protected American outpost. Lara Logan reports.

The following script is from "Benghazi" which aired on Oct. 27, 2013. The correspondent is Lara Logan. Max McClellan, producer.

When Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi, Libya, on the anniversary of September 11th last year, it was only the sixth time that the United States had lost an ambassador to its enemies. The events of that night have been overshadowed by misinformation, confusion and intense partisanship. But for those who lived through it, there's nothing confusing about what happened, and they share a sense of profound frustration because they say they saw it coming.

Tonight, you will hear for the first time from a security officer who witnessed the attack. He calls himself, Morgan Jones, a pseudonym he's using for his own safety. A former British soldier, he's been helping to keep U.S. diplomats and military leaders safe for the last decade. On a night he describes as sheer hell, Morgan Jones snuck into a Benghazi hospital that was under the control of al Qaeda terrorists, desperate to find out if one of his close friends from the U.S. Special Mission was the American he'd been told was there.

Morgan Jones: I was dreading seeing who it was, you know? It didn't take long to get to the room. And I could see in through the glass. And I didn't even have to go into the room to see who it was. I knew who it was immediately.

Lara Logan: Who was it?

Morgan Jones: It was the ambassador, dead. Yeah, shocking.

Morgan Jones said he'd never felt so angry in his life. Only hours earlier, Amb. Chris Stevens had sought him out, concerned about the security at the U.S. Special Mission Compound where Morgan was in charge of the Libyan guard force.

Now, the ambassador was dead and the U.S. compound was engulfed in flames and overrun by dozens of heavily armed fighters.

Although the attack began here, the more organized assault unfolded about a mile across the city at a top secret CIA facility known as the Annex. It lasted more than seven hours and took four American lives.

Contrary to the White House's public statements, which were still being made a full week later, it's now well established that the Americans were attacked by al Qaeda in a well-planned assault.

Five months before that night, Morgan Jones first arrived in Benghazi, in eastern Libya about 400 miles from the capital, Tripoli.

He thought this would be an easy assignment compared to Afghanistan and Iraq. But on his first drive through Benghazi, he noticed the black flags of al Qaeda flying openly in the streets and he grew concerned about the guard forces as soon as he pulled up to the U.S. compound.

Morgan Jones: There was nobody there that we could see. And then we realized they were all inside drinking tea, laughing and joking.

Lara Logan: What did you think?

Morgan Jones: Instantly I thought we're going to have to get rid of all these guys.

Morgan Jones' job was training the unarmed guards who manned the compound's gates. A second Libyan force -- an armed militia hired by the State Department -- was supposed to defend the compound in the event of an attack. Morgan had nothing to do with the militia, but they worried him so much, he could not keep quiet.

Morgan Jones: I was saying, "These guys are no good. You need to-- you need to get 'em out of here."

Lara Logan: You also kept saying, "If this place is attacked these guys are not going to stand and fight?"

Morgan Jones: Yeah. I used to say it all the time. Yeah, in the end I got quite bored of hearing my own voice saying it.

Andy Wood: We had one option: "Leave Benghazi or you will be killed."

Green Beret Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wood, was one of the top American security officials in Libya. Based in Tripoli, he met with Amb. Stevens every day.

The last time he went to Benghazi was in June, just three months before the attack. While he was there, al Qaeda tried to assassinate the British ambassador. Wood says, to him, it came as no surprise because al Qaeda -- using a familiar tactic -- had stated their intent in an online posting, saying they would attack the Red Cross, the British and then the Americans in Benghazi.



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