WASHINGTON - The U.S. military is better prepared now for an attack in Africa than it was when a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, came under attack in 2012, a member of the House Benghazi committee said Tuesday.
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R., Ga.) was at the U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, during a Nov. 20 attack on a luxury hotel in Mali that killed 20 people. Westmoreland's visit to the command was part of a six-day trip to U.S. facilities in Germany and Italy on behalf of the panel investigating the Benghazi attacks.
In an interview Tuesday, Westmoreland said he watched intently as U.S. officials responded to the Mali assaults. U.S. military forces stationed in Mali helped secure the hotel and helped evacuate Americans and others.
"I learned ... that the military is much better prepared now than what they were in 2012 to go in and prepare a mission and possibly go in and rescue Americans," he said.
Westmoreland called that a positive development but said it also showed "deficiencies" in U.S. capabilities during the Benghazi attacks three years ago. A crisis response team created after the Benghazi attacks has a range of capabilities to respond to threats in a host of African countries, Westmoreland said.
Those capabilities far exceed what the U.S. was able to do when the diplomatic post in Benghazi came under assault.