- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Pentagon releases timeline of Benghazi attack
Question of the Day
The Pentagon on Friday released a timeline of its response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, pushing back arguments that the Defense Department did not move fast enough to thwart the assault.
The timeline shows that two to four hours after the attack had begun, the Pentagon ordered forces to “prepare to deploy” to Libya and a staging base in Sigonella, Italy. When those forces actually left their bases was not disclosed.
The timeline shows that the forces arrived in Libya and Sigonella long after the attack was over.
U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the assault.
The release of the Pentagon’s timeline comes a week after the CIA issued its own chronology of the Sept. 11 attack, showing frenzied efforts to evacuate American personnel and fend off terrorists.
According to the Pentagon timeline:
• At 4:32 p.m. EDT, a Pentagon operations center notified Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, after the first attack at the U.S. Consulate had begun at about 3:42 p.m.
• Between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., Mr. Panetta held several meetings in the Pentagon with senior officials, Army Gen. Carter Ham, commander of Africa Command, to discuss response options for Benghazi and other contingencies, such as a hostage situation.
During those two hours, Mr. Panetta verbally authorized two Marine platoons in Rota, Spain, to prepare to deploy to Benghazi and Tripoli. He also ordered a special operations force training in Croatia and a U.S.-based special operations force to prepare to deploy to Sigonella.
• At 8:30 p.m., the Pentagon operations center conducted a Benghazi conference call with representatives from affected geographic commands and the four services.
• At 8:39 p.m., Mr. Panetta transmitted written authorization for the forces to deploy to Sigonella and Libya. This did not prevent the forces from preparing before this written authorization, the official said.
The Pentagon did not disclose when the Marine platoons and special operations teams actually left for Libya and Sigonella. A senior defense official said disclosure of that information could hurt national security.
• At about 11:15 p.m., a second attack began at the diplomatic compound and the CIA annex building.
• At 12:05 a.m. EDT on Sept. 12, AFRICOM ordered a C-17 transport aircraft in Germany to prepare to deploy to Libya to help evacuate Americans. It was not specified whether the aircraft was headed to Benghazi or Tripoli.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Despite Pentagon cuts and eye on Pacific, Air Force implored to save the 'Warthog'
- Rep. Hunter to Pentagon: Don't lower combat standards for women
- Pentagon welcomes budget deal but says more defense spending needed
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
- Scientists raise alarm over plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons at sea
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
- New York Times reporter Carol Vogel accused of plagiarism
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- ISIL destroys key bridge leading to Baghdad; suicide truck bomb severed supply line
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world