CALLED A Marine “Fast Team,” short for Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team, the Libyan consulate in Benghazi will now be protected by a force of one of America’s best.
From Wired’s Danger Room and Spencer Ackerman:
The FAST teams don’t have standing equipment, such as standard-issue weaponry and vehicles, for generic missions. According to the Marine Corps, the rapid-reaction teams get equipped specifically for the tasks they’re asked to perform, such as evacuating U.S. personnel from crisis areas. Such teams performed evacuation missions in Liberia in 2003 and Haiti in 2004 — but no one from the Defense Department will confirm at the moment whether the FAST team heading to Libya will be tasked with securing U.S. buildings or evacuating U.S. nationals.
In addition to the Marine FAST team, there are four U.S. Navy destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean at the moment, not far from Libya: the USS Laboon, Jason Dunham, Forrest Sherman and the Cole — the ship famously attacked in Yemen by al-Qaida in 2000 — along with support ships. This is a standard complement of Navy forces in the sea, and as of now, the Navy is not moving ships to Libya in response to the crisis. There are no aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean at present.
“We are increasing security as needed around the world,” said Army Lt. Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. Where that security will increase will be assessed on “a case by case” basis. While much remains unclear from Libya, including what specifically will come next, there is a joint Pentagon-State Department-White House briefing scheduled for this afternoon; I will provide updates if and when any additional information is available.