The BBC reports that America's Benghazi Consulate was woefully ill-equipped to handle Tuesday's attack.
US embassies and consulates in areas of the world where they are deemed liable to attack are usually offered a formal security contract called a Worldwide Protective Services Agreement, known in the industry as a 'Wips'.
The contract, or so-called tasking order, is between the US state department and any one of several major private military contractors such as DynCorp International and Aegis Defence Services.
Under this agreement, extensive security precautions are put in place, including low-profile armoured vehicles, run-flat tyres, sufficient weapons, ammunition and trained personnel, as well as a tried and tested command and control system.
But sources have told the BBC that on the advice of a US diplomatic regional security officer, the mission in Benghazi was not given the full contract despite lobbying by private contractors.