U.S. Embassy bombing in Turkey renews talk of funds for diplomatic security
The U.S. embassy that was targeted Friday by a suicide bomber in the Turkish capital of Ankara dates back to the 1950s and was recommended for replacement, though it had undergone security upgrades that prevented mass casualties in the blast, the State Department said.
The embassy explosion, which killed one guard and wounded several other people, is renewing debate over diplomatic security, which came under scrutiny after the deadly Sept. 11 attacks against the U.S. consulate and a nearby CIA annex in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Ankara is among the capitals due a new embassy compound, but stressed that budget constraints mean that the government can schedule the rebuilding of only three embassies a year instead of the desired 10.
A partisan budget argument was central to the furor surrounding the Benghazi attacks, too, with Republicans lambasting the State Department for failing to boost security at U.S. posts in Libya and other high-risk sites, and Democrats responding that House Republicans had slashed the administrationís request for embassy security funds by $128 million in 2011 and more than $330 million last year. The funding goes not only for construction but also for guards and other diplomatic security measures.