Report: White House counterterror chief to meet with Libyan officials

Senior Libyan interior ministry official Brig. Abdel Moneim al-Tunsi leaked details of White House Counterterrorism Adviser John Brennan's visit to Tripoli on Monday, according to media reports in the region.

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Brennan will meet with the head of the Libyan Congress, Mohammed Mageref, and top members of the country's military, intelligence and foreign ministry during the trip, according to CBS news. 

The leak has generated serious security concerns inside the White House over Brennan's safety in the wake of the Sept. 11 attack on American diplomats in Benghazi that killed four U.S. citizens including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. 

The White House has yet to issue an official comment on the details of Brennan's visit. 

The high-level sit-down comes as the Obama administration continues to fend off accusations of inadequate security measures in Benghazi during the time of the attack.

That criticism got more intense on Monday, when reports surfaced that Stevens had requested a U.S. special operations forces team remain in Benghazi until the end of his assignment. 

The team was pulled from Libya in August, a month before Libyan militants stormed the Benghazi consulate and killed Stevens and three others.

Lt. Col. Andy Wood, the former head of a special forces "site security team," said Stevens and other U.S. Embassy officials in Tripoli wanted his security team to stay in Libya.

"[The] first choice was for us to stay," Wood told ABC News on Monday. “That would have been the choice of the embassy people in Tripoli.”

In a later interview with CBS News, he said that when he found out his team was being removed in August, he felt "like we were being asked to play the piano with two fingers. There was concern amongst the entire embassy staff."

"We felt we needed more, not less," Wood added.

In response, State Department officials argued that, despite the removal of Wood's security team, there was enough security on the ground in Benghazi to defend against a potential strike. 

Since the Benghazi assault, Marine Corps units attached to the Defense Department's Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams (FAST) were sent to Libya and Tunisia to protect American diplomats and personnel stationed there. 

That said, the Pentagon, as well as the State and Justice departments, are launching an overall review of the security situation in Libya prior to the terrorist attack. 

Defense Department officials are assembling a team of experts to participate in the interagency review, Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters on Thursday. 

"We're forming a team of experts who will look into this over the coming months," Little told reporters at the Pentagon. "It's important that we get to the facts here." 

Little was quick to point out the review was not an official DOD investigation or inquiry into security measures, or lack thereof, in place at the consulate during the terrorist strike. 

Meanwhile, American soldiers successfully airlifted a team of FBI investigators to and from the site of the consulate attack in Benghazi. 

The FBI team had been stranded in the Libyan capital of Tripoli for the past three weeks, unable to enter Benghazi due to the volatile security situation on the ground. 

Little declined to comment on the specifics of the military security escort, but DOD officials had been in talks with State Department counterparts to use Marine Corps units in Tripoli to do the job. 


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