U.S. Embassy Security Issues

From 1998

Materials presented in chronological order.

Schmitt, Eric. "$1.8 Billion Asked to Help Bolster Embassy Security." New York Times, 22 Sep. 1998. [http://nytimes.com]

"The Clinton administration will ask Congress this week for $1.8 billion for emergency security improvements at most of the nation's 260 embassies and consulates worldwide.... That money, about twice the amount Congress has appropriated for diplomatic security since 1985, reflects the administration's conclusion that no country can be considered safe for U.S. diplomats following the fatal bombings in East Africa last month. But the request is far below the full amount the State Department has said is needed to modify or build embassies meeting the security standards established in the 1980s. In 1985, the department put the cost of converting or replacing all embassies at $3.5 billion."

Mintz, John. "Panel Cites U.S. Failures on Security for Embassies." Washington Post, 8 Jan. 1999, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The Accountability Review Board, chaired by Adm. William J. Crowe, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "appointed to investigate why two U.S. embassies in Africa [Nairobi and Dar es Salaam] were vulnerable to terrorist bombings issued a scathing report [on 7 January 1999], criticizing 'the collective failure of the U.S. government over the past decade' to prepare for terrorist attacks and to adequately fund security improvements at American embassies."

The panel, "recommended that the U.S. government spend $1.4 billion a year over 10 years to improve security at U.S. diplomatic missions. That is in addition to the $1.4 billion hurriedly added to the State Department's security budget ... after the August bombings. Among its other proposals were a recommendation to bring all overseas U.S. facilities up to the standards recommended in a similar report drawn up in 1985 by a panel headed by former CIA deputy director Bobby Ray Inman. Since then, about 15 embassies have been upgraded to Inman's standards -- including being set back from public streets and built with sturdy design techniques."

Getz, Arlene. "Dangerous Missions." Newsweek Weekend Edition, 9-10 Jan. 1999. [http://www.newsweek.com]

The central finding of the Accountability Review Board investigation into security at U.S. embassies is that "years of poor planning and low security priorities have left American missions vulnerable to terror attacks.... 'There was a collective failure by several administrations and Congresses over the past decade to invest adequate efforts and resources to reduce the vulnerability of U.S. diplomatic missions,' said review board chairman [Adm.] William Crowe."

Lippman, Thomas W. "For Safety's Sake, Should Some U.S. Embassies Close?" Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 18 Jan. 1999, 17.

This report focuses on the part of the report of the Crowe panel that suggests the most vulnerabable U.S. embassies may have to be closed in favor of regional offices in areas that can be better protected.

Jacobs, Andrew. "U.S. Indicts 2 More Men in Bombing of Embassies." New York Times, 17 Jun. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 16 June 1999, a Federal grand jury indicted two men, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Khalid al-Fawwaz, who prosecutors say are close associates of Osama bin Laden. They are charged with involvement in the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Lippman, Thomas W. "Vulnerable Embassies Still a Problem for U.S." Washington Post, 4 Aug. 1999, A15.

A year after "the Clinton administration drew up plans to spend billions of dollars to protect U.S. personnel abroad ... the process of replacing vulnerable embassies has barely begun."

Marshall, Toni. "Most Embassies Still Vulnerable as Threats Soar." Washington Times, 5 Aug. 1999.

According to Peter Bergin, director of the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service, "[f]our out of five U.S. diplomatic outposts remain vulnerable to attack ... and ... the number of threats to U.S. embassies is at an all-time high.... [D]uring the past 12 months threats ha[ve] forced the closure of approximately 70 embassies and consulates for periods of 24 hours or more."

Loeb, Vernon. "U.S. Spent $3 Billion to Protect Embassies." Washington Post, 23 Jul. 2001, A20. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"Since terrorist bombs destroyed two U.S. embassies in East Africa nearly three years ago, the State Department has spent $3 billion on security initiatives that include shatter-proof windows, high-tech screening devices and plainclothes surveillance teams at embassies around the world. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is proposing an additional $1.3 billion for even more security upgrades in the coming fiscal year as the number of intelligence reports on possible terrorist threats have grown higher than ever."


Return to Terrorism 1990s Table of Contents

Return to Terrorism Table of Contents

Return to State Department