The Senate voted Wednesday to authorize adding Marine security forces to more U.S. diplomatic posts around the globe in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist assault in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead.
Under the amendment, adopted by voice vote, the Senate asked the Obama administration to study the security risks at American diplomatic posts and see which ones would benefit from having Marines in place.
Right now, of 285 missions the State Department runs, 126 have no Marine protection — including some in places where al Qaeda and its affiliates are increasingly active.
The amendment attempts to push back against decisions made in the runup to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. No Marines were stationed at the consulate, despite warnings of security threats.
"Would their presence have made a difference and saved the lives of our heroic ambassador and his security personnel?" said Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who sponsored the amendment. "I think I know the answer to that question, and so do the American people."
Mr. McCain said the rules of engagement for Marines also need updating, since in some cases their hands are tied. His amendment tasks the administration with updating those rules.
The legislation was attached to the annual defense policy bill, which the Senate began debating this week.
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