Updated 09/13/2012 06:20 PM
Experts question embassy security before Libya attack
Tuesday's attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya left four dead, including Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. Now the unrest has spread to other Middle Eastern countries and experts are questioning why the Benghazi compound wasn't under heavier security. Our Candace Hopkins reports.
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ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Tuesday night, the American consulate in Benghazi came under attack by militants, in what Libya officials are calling a two part-coordinated attack, leaving four people dead.
"It's part of an extremist movement, there are extremist elements in all of those countries and they clearly are responding to displeasure in the forms of government that are in place," said William Smullen, the Director of National Security Studies at Syracuse University's Maxwell School.
And with the new governments that took over in several nations following the Arab Spring, experts say the stability in the Middle Eastern region has greatly declined.
"You have what I call the fog of revolution and that is enormous uncertainty on the part of segments of the society, a displeasure with who’s in charge and what they are doing," said Smullen.
These changes have created opportunities for those looking to target to target the U.S. to strike. And now questions remain about why security had not been tightened at many embassies, including Benghazi.
"I was surprised that there were not Marines in the Libyan embassy. There are typically a detachment of Marines in every embassy around the world. Why they weren't there, I don't know. Had they been there, they perhaps could have resisted more or better than the Libyan security element," said Smullen.
Now that experts have had the chance to examine the elements of this attack, Smullen says it's very possible that those responsible drew their inspiration from the 1979 Iranian Hostage Crisis.
"It could have been a model. It could've be something that dawned on them as a way to act out and indeed capture our attention. They do have our attention. Now what we are going to do with that is it may be redirected at them, so they may regret what they have done," Smullen said.
And while protests continue to spread, efforts are underway to try and ease tensions in the Middle East.
Libyan officials say at least one person has been arrested in connection with Tuesday's attack and others are in authorities' sights.