From the Denver Post Nov/10/2012
WASHINGTON — New Pentagon details show
that the first U.S. military unit arrived in Libya more than 15 hours
after the attack on the consulate in Benghazi was over and four
Americans, including the ambassador, were dead.
Department timeline obtained by The Associated Press underscores how far
the military response lagged behind the Sept. 11 attack, due largely to
the long distances the commando teams had to travel to get to Libya.Defense
Secretary Leon Panetta and his top military adviser were notified of
the attack about 50 minutes after it began and were about to head into a
previously scheduled meeting with President Barack Obama.
quickly turned into a discussion of potential responses to the unfolding
situation in Benghazi, where militants had surrounded the consulate and
set it on fire. The first wave of the attack at the consulate lasted
less than two hours.Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed
in the attack. Intelligence, State Department and military officials
have released details on the response in an effort to answer Republican
criticism that the administration was holding back what it knew about
the assault and when.
Panetta and other defense officials have
repeatedly said that they did not have armed aircraft or military teams
near Benghazi that could have gotten there quickly.In a letter to
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Friday, Panetta addressed the claim that
the military could have dispatched armed unmanned aerial vehicles,
AC-130 gunships or fighter jets to thwart the attack.
Such aircraft were
not in the region and not an effective option, he said.Panetta
said that based on a continuous evaluation of threats, military forces
were spread around Europe and the Middle East to deal with a variety of
In the months before the attack, he noted, "several hundred
reports were received indicating possible threats to U.S. facilities
around the world" and noted that there was no advance notice of imminent
threats to U.S. personnel or facilities in Benghazi.The attack
began about 9:40 p.m. local time in Benghazi. Less than 20 minutes
later, the U.S. military began moving an unarmed drone to a position
over Benghazi, so it could provide real time intelligence to the CIA
team on the ground.
The CIA team went to aid the Americans at the
consulate. The drone arrived shortly after 11 p.m. By 11:30 p.m., a CIA
team was able to get the Americans out of the compound.
midnight and 2 a.m., Panetta issued verbal orders, telling two Marine
anti-terrorism teams based in Rota, Spain, to prepare to deploy to
Libya, and he ordered a special operations force team in Central Europe
and a special operations force team in the U.S. to prepare to deploy to a
staging base in Europe.
Not until just before 8 p.m., however, did the first U.S. military unit arrive in the region.
In: Regional News, Politics
Tags: Benghazi, Libya, Attack, September, 11, 2012, Ambassador, Stevens, Navy, Seals, Barack, Obama, Leon, Panetta, 14, hours, late, CIA, drones, AC-130, gunship, rescue, dead, killed
Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States (load item map)
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