'This Week': Evacuation in Libya

ABC News' Terry Moran reports on the secret Libyan Embassy evacuation.
4:05 | 07/27/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Evacuation in Libya
Announcer: Starting right now on ABC's "This week." Breaking news, the U.S. Embassy in Libya evacuated. Fighter jets escorting American convoys, including the ambassador, to safety. A last-ditch effort to avoid another benghazi. Brand-new details this morning on the daring rescue operation. Threat in the sky. Three passenger planes go down in a week. And now, new calls for U.S. Airlines to add missile defenses. Why don't we have them already? And, mideast crisis with gaza on edge Martha Raddatz with those caught on both sides. Then, and now. Do you think you'll see peace in your lifetime? Announcer: From ABC news, "This week" with George stephanopoulos begins now. Good morning, I'm Jonathan Karl. George is off. Martha will be along in a bit. It's an extraordinary move the president rarely makes. Completely shutting down a U.S. Embassy and rushing the Americans inside to safety. That call was made in south Vietnam at the end of the war. In Somalia. Nearly two years before blackhawk down. And just hours ago, president Obama did it again. Ordering the evacuation of the embassy in Libya, with a dangerous and daring military operation to evacuate Americans on the ground. ABC's chief foreign correspondent terry Moran is tracking all the breaking details. Good morning, terry. Reporter: Good morning, Jon. What an extraordinary episode this was. Another sign of the turmoil out of control across the middle east. Libya is a nation driven by rival gangs. The fighting so fierce in recent days and weeks that the decision was made to evacuate the embassy. As chaos and fighting increased, in Tripoli, ambassador Deborah Jones and her staffers were spirited out of the compound. Nearly 150 people, about half of them Marines. A convoy of armored SUVs. A surveillance drone above. Two F-16s flying nearby. At sea, a destroyer. Ready to react. Photos released by the Pentagon show U.S. Marines on board an osprey aircraft ready to land if the convoy came under attack. Months ago, you could have mistaken the ambassador as a tourist. Walking around the streets of Libya, looking at the sights, talking to the citizens. But the violence in Tripoli has escalated in the last few weeks, the deadliest since moammar Gadhafi was overthrown in 2011. A few weeks ago, she tweeted, our neighborhood a bit too close to the action. Adding diplomatic missions to be avoided, please. She spoke of the situation in may. We're some what similar to a medieval fortress. In some way. We're well protected. Benghazi will not happen again. I can assure you of that. But something else will, because it always does. Reporter: The shadow of benghazi looms large. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed. Unleashing a fire storm of criticism that not enough was done to protect the staff. Yesterday, the convoy sped through high-risk streets, filled with insurgents, on a 250-mile race to safety in neighboring Tunisia. The state department issued an advisory, warning Americans to leave Libya. Secretary Kerry hopes this is just a temporary situation. We'll return the moment the security situation permits us to do so. But given the situation, as with Turkey, I think they moved 700 people or so out. We want to take every precaution to protect our -- our folks. Reporter: Security, the crucial issue in Libya right now. Secretary Kerry saying American diplomacy will continue in that war-torn nation. Right now, there is no sign that the fighting among the rival gangs with abate any time soon. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli stands empty and unguarded. Jon?

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