An obscure private firm hired by the State Department over
internal objections to protect U.S. diplomats in Benghazi just
months before the American ambassador and three others were
killed was staffed with hastily recruited locals with terror
ties who helped carry out the attack, multiple sources told Fox
The explosive charge against Wales-based Blue Mountain Group
comes from several sources, including an independent security
specialist who has implemented training programs at U.S.
Consulates around the world, including in Benghazi, where he
trained a local militia that preceded Blue Mountain. The source,
who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Blue Mountain used
local newspaper ads to assemble a team of 20 guards, many of
whom had terror ties, after securing a $9.2 million annual
“The guards who were hired were locals who were part of the
Ansar al-Sharia and Al Qaeda groups operating in Benghazi,” said
the source, whose assignment in Benghazi had ended in November
2011. “Whoever approved contracts at the State Department hired
Blue Mountain Group and then allowed Blue Mountain Group to hire
local Libyans who were not vetted.”
Many were members of the Libyan government-financed February
17th Martyrs Brigade, an Islamist militia that had previously
guarded Americans before being replaced by Blue Mountain.
John “Tig” Tiegen, one of the CIA contractors that responded to
the Sept. 11, 2012 attack and co-author of “13 Hours: The Inside
Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi,” confirmed to Fox
News that the local Libyans who attacked the consulate that
night included guards working for Blue Mountain.
"Many of the local Libyans who attacked the consulate on the
night of Sept. 11, 2012, were the actual guards that the State
Department under Hillary Clinton hired to protect the Consulate
in Benghazi,” Tiegen told Fox News. “The guards were unvetted
and were locals with basically no background at all in providing
security. Most of them never had held a job in security in the
“Blue Mountain Libya, at the time of being awarded the contract
by our State Department, had no employees so they quickly had to
find people to work, regardless of their backgrounds,” he said.
One former guard who witnessed the attack, Weeam Mohamed,
confirmed in an email sent to the Citizens Commission on
Benghazi and obtained by Fox News, that at least four of the
guards hired by Blue Mountain took part in the attack after
opening doors to allow their confederates in.
“In the U.S. Mission, there were four people [who] belonged to
the battalion February 17,” Mohamed wrote to the Commission, an
independent body formed with Accuracy in Media to investigate
the attack and the administration's handling of it.
“Always armed. And they are free to move anywhere inside a
“And therefore, they had a chance to do an attack on the
mission's headquarters. They have all the details about the
place. At the same time they have given the United States a
painful blow,” Mohamed wrote.
Blue Mountain officials did not return multiple requests for
comment. The State Department acknowledged in internal emails
obtained by FoxNews.com the local recruits fell short of their
duty, but discounted the claim any took an active role in the
attack that resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher
Stevens, Foreign Service Information Officer Sean Smith and CIA
contractors and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
“While the Accountability Review Board report and other reports
were critical of our local guards’ performance, we are not aware
of any evidence that they participated in the attacks
themselves,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby.
Blue Mountain was hired in February 2012, following an uprising
that ended Col. Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule and plunged Libya
into violent chaos. Congressional testimony in the wake of the
attack on a consular office in Benghazi revealed that Stevens
and his staff had made hundreds of requests for security
upgrades but had been ignored by officials in Washington.
“We kept asking for additional support, including a 50-caliber
mounted machine gun, but the State Department would not give it
to us, because they said it would upset the locals,” the source
told Fox News. “Instead, the State Department hired a company
that doesn’t have employees, which then hired terrorists.”
Clare Lopez, a member of Citizens' Commission on Benghazi, said
the Clinton State Department bears blame for the security
“Think about it: Hillary Clinton's State Department actually
hired the very people who, along with their jihadist allies in
Benghazi, attacked us and killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens
and Sean Smith as well as CIA contractors Glen Doherty and Ty
Woods,” Lopez said.
According to government records obtained by the Washington-based
Judicial Watch, the State Department was in a “rush” to hire
Blue Mountain UK, and its affiliate, Blue Mountain Libya, which
together formed The Blue Mountain Group to secure the Benghazi
“I understand there was a tremendous rush to get the original
contract awarded, and the Service level agreement was most
likely overlooked in the rush,” wrote State Department
contracting officer Jan Visintainer, in a June 6, 2012, email.
Emails obtained from [missing word] after the attack showed
Visintainer urged Blue Mountain officials not to talk to the
Blue Mountain UK was formed in 2008 by David Nigel Thomas, a
former Special Air Service official. Charles Tiefer, a
commissioner at the Commission on Wartime Contracting, told
Reuters the company was not well known.
"Blue Mountain was virtually unknown to the circles that studied
private security contractors working for the United States,
before the events in Benghazi," Tiefer said.
Despite the size of the operation, and having no staff or track
record with the State Department, Blue Mountain Group landed the $767,767-per-month contract to protect the Benghazi consular
office, beginning on Feb. 17, 2012.
The company solicited applications in local newspapers and on
websites, and very little, if any, screening of guards was done,
the security specialist told Fox News. The lack of vetting led
to several potentially dangerous hires beginning in March of
2012, he said.
“One of those guards hired by Blue Mountain was the younger
brother of the leader of Al Qaeda of Benghazi,” he said.
In an email obtained by Judicial Watch, Jairo Saravia of the
Regional Security office for the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, told
his superiors in Washington that Blue Mountain had held and lost
security contracts in Tripoli, with the Corinthian Hotel and
Palm City complex.
“The latest information is Blue Mountain is not licensed by the
GOL (Government of Libya) to provide security services in
Libya,” Saravia wrote. “I would advise not to use their services
to provide security for any of our annexes and/or offices due to
the sensitivity this issue has with the current GOL.”
Prior to Blue Mountain, security for Americans in Benghazi had
been provided by the February 17th Martyrs Brigade under a
direct agreement with the State Department. Despite its Islamist
orientation, the militia included dozens of locals who had been
carefully cultivated and trained by the U.S., according to the
source. The majority of the February 17 Militia guards were
fired without warning when Blue Mountain was hired, leading some
members to turn against the Americans, he said. The State
Department kept on at least three February 17 employees for
Eric Nordstrom, the regional security officer in Libya who has
vast, first-hand knowledge of some 600 security requests denied
to the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, testified on May 8,
2013, before the Congressional Committee On Oversight &
Government Reform that he was aware that employees with both
February 17 Martyrs Brigade and Blue Mountain had ties to
“I had met with some of my agents and then also with some annex
personnel. We discussed that,” Nordstrom told lawmakers.
Nordstrom testified that the “ferocity and intensity” of the 13-
hour, four-phase attack, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, was
nothing that they had seen in Libya, or that he had seen in his
time in the Diplomatic Security Service, with as many as 60
attackers in the consulate.
“I am stunned that the State Department was relying on [locals]
with extremist ties to protect American diplomats,” U.S. Rep.
Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, told Fox News. “That doesn’t make any
sense. How does that happen?”
Fox News was able to verify through a former Libyan guard the
identities of several February 17 employees hired despite
terrorist ties, who he said participated in the attack. While
their identities have been provided to federal authorizes, none
have been prosecuted.