US diplomats in Beirut burn classified material

The embassy took emergency procedures in light of anti-American protests

By Matthew Lee

Published September 17, 2012 5:14PM (EDT)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut have started to destroy classified material as a security precaution amid anti-American protests in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.

A State Department status report obtained Monday by The Associated Press said the Beirut embassy had “reviewed its emergency procedures and is beginning to destroy classified holdings.” It also said that local Lebanese employees were sent home early due to protests by the militant Shiite group Hezbollah over an anti-Muslim film produced in the U.S.

In Washington, a State Department official said there was no imminent threat to the heavily fortified Beirut embassy, which is about an hour away from where the nearest demonstration is planned. Protestors have breached the compounds of several U.S. diplomatic missions since last Tuesday.

Matthew Lee

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Diplomacy Egyptian Protests Lebanon Middle East