News / USA

CIA, Pentagon Defend Handling of Benghazi Attack

A man walks inside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which was attacked September 11 and set on fire by al-Qaida gunmen who killed Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three embassy staff, in Libya, September 12, 2012.A man walks inside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which was attacked September 11 and set on fire by al-Qaida gunmen who killed Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three embassy staff, in Libya, September 12, 2012.
x
A man walks inside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which was attacked September 11 and set on fire by al-Qaida gunmen who killed Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three embassy staff, in Libya, September 12, 2012.
A man walks inside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which was attacked September 11 and set on fire by al-Qaida gunmen who killed Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three embassy staff, in Libya, September 12, 2012.
Luis Ramirez
The Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon are defending their handling of the September 11 attack on American facilities in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.

Just days before the U.S. presidential election, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency each released details of their handling of the attacks that took the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

Pentagon spokesman George Little on Friday said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in consultation with top officers including the head of the U.S. Africa Command, General Carter Ham, ordered special operations teams based in Europe and the United States to Libya within hours of learning of the attack.  

“The fact of the matter is these forces were not in place until after the attacks were over," said Little. "So let me be clear, this department took swift action. We did respond. The secretary ordered forces to move and they simply were not able to arrive in time.”

The Pentagon says the teams were called to a U.S. base in Sigonella, Italy, but the forces did not proceed to Benghazi upon realizing there were no more Americans to rescue there. By the time the teams arrived in Italy, all surviving American personnel had been evacuated from the consulate in a rescue carried out by CIA security officers - and Libyan soldiers who drove the Americans to the airport to be airlifted.

The CIA issued its timeline of events on Thursday, revealing that CIA security officers went to the consulate 25 minutes after learning of the attack, which the agency says was carried out by militants who U.S. officials suspect are linked to al-Qaida.

It is not clear how well the U.S. officers were armed. CIA officials, speaking anonymously, said the officers tried to get weapons from the Libyans as those officers headed to the consulate compound, but the Libyans refused to give them weapons.

Officials said the attacks happened in two parts. They said the militants first attacked the consulate, set it on fire, and killed Stevens. In a second attack hours later, assailants fired mortars at a nearby annex that housed CIA security officers.

Officials have identified two of the four Americans who were killed as CIA security officers. A third victim, Sean Smith, was a computer specialist with the State Department.

The CIA’s statements countered earlier media reports that said the officers had received orders from their superiors to stand down and not proceed with the rescue.

Little said the U.S. military teams had prepared for a wide range of scenarios, including an assault that might last for days and a possible hostage rescue.

“This problem was analyzed quickly. You have to develop and assess what the available forces are and then make a decision to deploy them. And that response was done quickly. We did not have forewarning of this tragic event in Benghazi. The entire U.S. government was operating from a cold start,” he said.

The Benghazi attack has been an important topic in the presidential elections, with Republican challenger Mitt Romney accusing President Barack Obama of mishandling the attack and trying to cover up the details of how it happened, as well as the motives behind it.

In the days after the assault, Obama and members of his administration characterized the attack as a protest that had gone out of control following the appearance of a U.S.-produced film that Muslims considered offensive because it mocked Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO from: USA
November 06, 2012 12:20 AM
Well of course! Because the media is controlled by the ROCKEFELLER FAMILY. Don't you people know that the media, and I mean ALL media is on a leash as to what the people can hear?? WAKE UP AMERICA!!

by: Pat Gwynn
November 04, 2012 11:11 AM
In America, the mainstream media have been obfuscating the coverup of Benghazi. The President himself has stonewalled the few media attempts to obtain facts about the scenario. During the second presidential debate, the "independent" moderator, Candy Crowley, colluded with President Obama to lie to some 65 million Americans about his failure to identify the attack on the US Diplomatic Mission at Benghazi as a TERRORIST ATTACK. The failures and cover up just go on and on, the BS gets deeper and deeper. Today, we learn that 23 of the 30 Americans in Benghazi were CIA operatives. What does that tell you about why the US military didn't respond to attempt a defense of the Americans present? Was General Carter Ham of Africom ordered not to mount a defense? Was Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette, the commander of the USS John C. Stennis strike group, removed from command for the same reason? There are MANY MANY questions but very few answers.
In Response

by: Mr. Jack Robert from: DC
November 08, 2012 1:04 PM
Pat, did you not read this article? There was no coverup.

by: ed mays from: brick nj
November 03, 2012 5:56 PM
The story about the CIA and the Pentagon defending their handling of the Benghazi attack is alot of bunk. This tragedy would never have happened if usual and customary security was in place. Now after the killings the White House and the military brass are circling the wagons and hoping the subject will go away. Shame on them all!

by: Sam Browne
November 02, 2012 11:59 PM
Sadly insufficient men and equipment were in place to provide adequate protection aginst a worst case scenario. More care
and pre planning could have prevented such loss - tragic.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More