Pentagon mum on Libya response

  • ** FILE ** Libyan military guards check one of the burned-out buildings at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2012, during a visit by Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif to express sympathy for the death of J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and his colleagues in the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate. (Associated Press)** FILE ** Libyan military guards check one of the burned-out buildings at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2012, during a visit by Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif to express sympathy for the death of J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and his colleagues in the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** Libyan civilians celebrate the raiding of Ansar al-Shariah Brigades compound in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 21, 2012, after hundreds of Libyans, military and police raided the Brigades base. (Associated Press)**FILE** Libyan civilians celebrate the raiding of Ansar al-Shariah Brigades compound in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 21, 2012, after hundreds of Libyans, military and police raided the Brigades base. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** Ambassador Patrick Kennedy (right), under secretary for management at the State Department, answers questions Oct. 10, 2012, on Capitol Hill during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing investigating the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The attack resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans. From left are Kennedy; Charlene Lamb, deputy assistant secretary for international programs at the State Department's Bureau of Diplomat Security; Eric Nordstrom, a regional security officer with the State Department; and Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, a Utah National Guard Army Green Beret who was the top security official at the consulate in Libya. (Associated Press)**FILE** Ambassador Patrick Kennedy (right), under secretary for management at the State Department, answers questions Oct. 10, 2012, on Capitol Hill during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing investigating the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The attack resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans. From left are Kennedy; Charlene Lamb, deputy assistant secretary for international programs at the State Department's Bureau of Diplomat Security; Eric Nordstrom, a regional security officer with the State Department; and Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, a Utah National Guard Army Green Beret who was the top security official at the consulate in Libya. (Associated Press)
  • A Libyan man investigates the inside of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, two days before. (Associated Press)A Libyan man investigates the inside of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, two days before. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** A man looks at documents Sept. 12, 2012, at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The graffiti reads, "no God but God," "God is great," and "Muhammad is the Prophet." (Associated Press)**FILE** A man looks at documents Sept. 12, 2012, at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The graffiti reads, "no God but God," "God is great," and "Muhammad is the Prophet." (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** President Mohammed el-Megarif (center) visits the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 14, 2012, to express sympathy for the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate. (Associated Press)**FILE** President Mohammed el-Megarif (center) visits the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 14, 2012, to express sympathy for the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate. (Associated Press)
  • Libyan and American children carry a wreath Sept. 17, 2012, with a photo of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens on it as they gather in Benghazi, Libya, to pay their respect to the victims of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate. Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack. (Associated Press)Libyan and American children carry a wreath Sept. 17, 2012, with a photo of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens on it as they gather in Benghazi, Libya, to pay their respect to the victims of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate. Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** White House workers walk on the roof of the White House on Sept. 12, 2012, after lowering the flag to half-staff for the death of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. (Associated Press)**FILE** White House workers walk on the roof of the White House on Sept. 12, 2012, after lowering the flag to half-staff for the death of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** Tom Stevens (left), Anne Stevens Sullivan (center) and Hilary Stevens Koziol, siblings of slain U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, speak Oct. 16, 2012, about their brother during a public memorial in the rotunda at City Hall in San Francisco. Stevens, 52, and three other Americans were killed Sept. 11 when gunmen attacked the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya. (Associated Press**FILE** Tom Stevens (left), Anne Stevens Sullivan (center) and Hilary Stevens Koziol, siblings of slain U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, speak Oct. 16, 2012, about their brother during a public memorial in the rotunda at City Hall in San Francisco. Stevens, 52, and three other Americans were killed Sept. 11 when gunmen attacked the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya. (Associated Press
  • **FILE** A Marine honor guard stands during an Oct. 16, 2012, public memorial in the rotunda of City Hall in San Francisco to honor slain U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Stevens, 52, and three other Americans were killed Sept. 11 when gunmen attacked the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya. (Associated Press)**FILE** A Marine honor guard stands during an Oct. 16, 2012, public memorial in the rotunda of City Hall in San Francisco to honor slain U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Stevens, 52, and three other Americans were killed Sept. 11 when gunmen attacked the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** Two women hold each other Sept. 19, 2012, as they watch the hearse of former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty leave the Church of St. Eulalia in Winchester, Mass., after his funeral. Doherty, 42, and three others, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, died in a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. (Associated Press)**FILE** Two women hold each other Sept. 19, 2012, as they watch the hearse of former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty leave the Church of St. Eulalia in Winchester, Mass., after his funeral. Doherty, 42, and three others, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, died in a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as President Obama delivers a statement Sept. 12, 2012, in the Rose Garden of the White House on the death of Christopher Stevens, U.S. ambassador to Libya. (Associated Press)**FILE** Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as President Obama delivers a statement Sept. 12, 2012, in the Rose Garden of the White House on the death of Christopher Stevens, U.S. ambassador to Libya. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** Libyans gather Sept. 12, 2012, at the gutted U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack the previous day that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. (Associated Press)**FILE** Libyans gather Sept. 12, 2012, at the gutted U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack the previous day that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks Oct. 15, 2012, in Lima, Peru, after meeting Peru's President Ollanta Humala. Taking responsibility for security at the U.S. Consulate in Libya, where an attack by extremists last month killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, Clinton said that security at all of America's diplomatic missions abroad is her job, not that of the White House. (Associated Press)**FILE** U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks Oct. 15, 2012, in Lima, Peru, after meeting Peru's President Ollanta Humala. Taking responsibility for security at the U.S. Consulate in Libya, where an attack by extremists last month killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, Clinton said that security at all of America's diplomatic missions abroad is her job, not that of the White House. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** Charlene Lamb (center), deputy assistant secretary for international programs at the State Department's Bureau of Diplomat Security, testifies Oct. 10, 2012, on Capitol Hill before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing investigating the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans. She is joined by Eric Nordstrom (left), a regional security officer with the State Department, and Amb. Patrick Kennedy, under secretary for management at the State Department. (Associated Press)**FILE** Charlene Lamb (center), deputy assistant secretary for international programs at the State Department's Bureau of Diplomat Security, testifies Oct. 10, 2012, on Capitol Hill before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing investigating the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans. She is joined by Eric Nordstrom (left), a regional security officer with the State Department, and Amb. Patrick Kennedy, under secretary for management at the State Department. (Associated Press)
  • ** FILE ** House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, delivers his opening statement Oct. 10, 2012, on Capitol Hill during the committee's hearing on the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. (Associated Press)** FILE ** House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, delivers his opening statement Oct. 10, 2012, on Capitol Hill during the committee's hearing on the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. (Associated Press)
  • **FILE** Aides bearing armfuls of papers arrive Oct. 10, 2012, on Capitol Hill with witnesses from the State Department for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing investigating the Sept. 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans. (Associated Press)**FILE** Aides bearing armfuls of papers arrive Oct. 10, 2012, on Capitol Hill with witnesses from the State Department for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing investigating the Sept. 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans. (Associated Press)
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The Pentagon is staying mum on why combat assets were not immediately sent to Benghazi, Libya, to aid the U.S. Consulate under attack by militants for hours on Sept. 11.

A spokesman said the Defense Department is cooperating with the State Department’s review by a blue-ribbon accountability panel.

From the moment at 9:40 p.m. local time (4:40 p.m. EDT) terrorists invaded and set fire to the four-building compound in Benghazi, messages were sent from Libya to the Obama administration describing the all-out assault.

The State Department later provided the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee a chronology of events during a hearing earlier this month.

The timeline did not include the arrival of any U.S. military combat units at the consulate to try to repel the attack or rescue survivors during the seven-hour assault.

The U.S. maintains a NATO naval air station at Sigonella, Sicily, about 480 miles across the Mediterranean from Benghazi. It is a logistics and communications hub, but at times has hosted Navy SEALs and jet fighters.

There are also special operations forces designated for North Africa.

Any military operations in Libya come under the control of U.S. Africa Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. Within the command is Special Operations Command-Africa. The Pentagon assigns the 10th Special Forces Group to Africa. Such groups typically include a “commander in-extremis force,” which can be dispatched in an emergency, such as the Benghazi attack.

A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on whether any combat unit was considered for insertion into Benghazi.

“As for what forces we may have considered for use, we can’t get into those details,” the spokesman told The Washington Times.

“The Department of State is conducting a review of the attacks and the response to them. The DoD is supporting that review, and it would be inappropriate for us at this point to discuss the specific lay-down of forces while that review is ongoing,” the spokesman said.

A defense source said it is possible that Africa Command had no combat forces close enough to aid Americans at the consulate during the attack’s duration.

Charlene Lamb, who heads international programs for the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, told the House committee how her personnel had tried to protect the consulate.

Five State Department security officers were at the consulate, plus three members of the Libyan 17th February Brigade, who had a barracks there.

The small, combined force proved wholly inadequate to stop invaders who set fire to each building.
By 11 p.m., more brigade members arrived, but the situation remained chaotic, and they returned to their nearby annex. U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens could not be found.

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