In 2013, the embassy had already been reduced to essential staff only prior to abandoning it yesterday, but, in theory, no US soldier should ever relinquish a side-arm to a foreign power, short of surrender. According to Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, this is what they did. The practice of US Marines turning over hand guns to Yemeni officials at the airport to board commercial flights seems wholly unacceptable. Larger weapons were destroyed, but the vehicles were not and at least 20 were taken by Houthi rebels.
The fact that all American diplomatic personal were not securely flown out from the embassy via helicopters underlies the lack of urgency in the evacuation as more of a precautionary measure. Apparently, the deteriorating security conditions in Yemen were not bad enough for emergency evacuation via air transport; essential staff was driven under the protection of security and military personnel until the airport, at which time, their protection could no longer be guaranteed by US Marines. At that point, the trust was placed on the sheer loyalties of the Yemeni airport security officials before disembarking on commercial airlines.
Read full report here.