War on Terror

Benghazi Commission Wants Non-Lethal Crowd Control Options at Embassies

All sorts of options

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Want to stop the next riot at a U.S. embassy? The commission into the September assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi has an unexpected suggestion: load them up with exotic, supposedly non-lethal weaponry. Not that the commission has much confidence in the security personnel who'd operate the controversial gear.

In its newly released report into the Benghazi disaster, an independent commission assembled by the State Department found that, among other security failures, "the lack of non-lethal crowd control options" at the consulate "precluded a more vigorous defense." The September attack, in which Libyans assaulted the sparsely defended consulate with rockets, mortars, machine-gun fire and more, killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

The commission doesn't explicitly endorse any particular form of non-lethal defense of diplomatic installations. But the obvious options would be a laser flash that "dazzles" oncoming attackers, an ear-splitting sonic blaster … and a microwave-like pain ray that make targets feel like they're being hit with the exhaust of a giant oven. The first two weapons have been used by U.S. military forces overseas in recent years. The third one was pulled from Afghanistan because it was considered too controversial.