Included are emails to and from State Department officials, including Charlene Lamb and Eric Nordstrom, both of whom testified in Congress regarding the conditions at the US Embassy in Benghazi (designated as an "Interim Mission" here). The emails outline the continual negotiations over providing security personnel for that facility, as well as armored vehicles and other necessities. As per his testimony, Nordstrom starts right out stating that he's put in a difficult situation trying to get enough security personnel. He and other officials discuss the options.
There are also messages from Ambassador Stevens regarding the deteriorating security situation. Much of that information you will already have heard or read.
After that, you will find analysis focused on the Interim Mission in Benghazi, in the city of Benghazi, in Tripoli, and in Libya generally. There are detailed write-ups of clashes between militias, carjackings, threats to NGOs, attempted assassinations (particularly of former Gaddafi officials), general lawlessness, police failures, notable hijackings and robberies—the gamut. Several things stood out for me. Various groups in Benghazi viewed the US presence there as useful. They felt that the interim government in Tripoli was unlikely to share out money and resources to them. On the other hand, having endured decades of Gaddafi rule, these self-appointed spokespeople have little understanding of Western democracy and its institutions. At various times, the Ambassador is being asked to place pressure on US businesses to invest in Benghazi, even as the security situation there gets worse and worse. According to the dispatches, it is estimated that only 60% of the police who had worked under the Gaddafi regime had chosen to resume their profession, and militias had stepped in. Some of these worked closely with the transitional, so-called central government in Tripoli, such as the February 7th Brigade, which provided semi-official security for the outposts in Benghazi. Others, such as the Zintan militia, are not quite so official. Zintan seems to be a major player in the militia wars in eastern Libya. Militia often detain one another's personnel, inviting reprisals and impromptu liberations. Among those semi-official police organizations, judging from the many incidents reported by these dispatches, Zintan seems the most robust. If there is a line between criminal gangs and militias, it is often a very fine one. As the reports suggest, it's very difficult to tell one from the other, and criminals will sometimes erect improvised checkpoints in order to steal cars, money and other property. Militias were also sometimes raiding one another for weapons.
All of this is exacerbated by the transitional government's apparent inability to pay employees their salaries. There are accounts of police, hospital and other personnel striking over missed payments. In some cases, militias have justified appropriating official state vehicles by saying that they have not been paid in accordance with their agreements. The transitional government is attempting to improvise. In cases where one militia gets out of hand, sometimes because they feel they are not getting what they're owed, the authorities need to send a more powerful militia to 'negotiate' with them. Even as they are employing militias, the government is supposed to be attempting to demobilize them and bring those members whom they think they can trust into a more official fold. Tripoli, however, is most concerned with security in Tripoli, naturally enough, so this process, if it is proceeding at all, is proceeding at a snail's pace.
The attack on the British Consul's armored vehicle, which has been well publicized, and which caused Lt. Col. Andrew Wood considerable concern, is not merely notable for the sophistication of the operation, which was obviously well planned and executed, but also because of who 'took credit' for it: an outfit dedicated to freeing the Blind Sheik Rahman, convicted of engineering the original Twin Towers bombing and imprisoned in the US. After that incident, which the Consul fortunately survived, the British abandoned their embassy and planned on reevaluating in this present month of October. It is notable, too, that even before reaching that decision, the British had significantly greater security on site at their compound.
Another incident that really stands out is when a Libyan guard for the US compound joined another former guard engaged through Blue Mountain in lobbing an explosive device over the wall of the embassy grounds. They were both caught, and the one still employed by the State Department through Blue Mountain was summarily dismissed . . . for having painted grafitti on the embassy compound wall. There was also an incident in which a militia, searching for a fugitive from their justice, insisted on being allowed to search the Annex, which was supposed to be a CIA safe haven and fall-back position should the interim mission be attacked. A contract guard fled when they started firing their weapons into the air, but before he did he hit an alarm button that brought government security in the form of the February 7th Brigade. When the latter arrived, they had a little chat, the militia apologized, and they departed. But it's clear from that and other incidents that it was unlikely anyone who wanted to know could not have found out that it was US government-engaged property.
At the end, if you care to look, you will find some discussion of how rival militias were beginning to polarize around secular/jihadi lines, and you will see the Facebook postings on the attack that Hillary Clinton dismissed out of hand . . . because the attack was obviously all about a YouTube trailer for a crap movie that nobody saw. As usual, most of the Muslim-on-Muslim violence seems to be committed by Salafists. When Lt. Col. Wood said that he was concerned because ours was the last flag flying, you have to wonder whether the State Department was like some of those people in the eye of Hurricane Sandy who decided not to move out of harm's way, because . . . maybe officials had subscribed to a "conjoint model of human agency" that let them, and the dead Americans, down—and which ceased to be very conjoint when the administration decided not to send aid to the beseiged.
Related, Libyan officials declared a state of emergency in Benghazi on 9-11, which may have contributed a bit to Sean Smith's nervousness as expressed to his online gaming buds.