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

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states 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.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid