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.
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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.

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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.

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