Obama administration continues explanations on Benghazi decision-making
By Jill Dougherty and Mike Mount
With the election over, the Obama administration is releasing more information to Congress and journalists about the deadly attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Post-election, the questions of the Obama administration’s handling of the attacks continue, and the Pentagon and State Department Friday released information to try to further clarify decisions made before, during and after the attacks.
The information is the latest attempt by the various U.S. agencies to explain their role in the attacks which killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. After being bombarded with requests from congressional committees for documents about the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the State Department said Friday it has handed over a number of documents to Congress for review.
And Friday afternoon the Pentagon released and hour-by-hour timeline highlighting when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his senior commanders were told of the attacks and when decisions were made to move forces to assist. The information shows that the scramble to respond was not even close to being in a time frame to help fend off the attack, with special units only getting in position a half-day after the attack ended.
The Pentagon’s timeline does not uncover any discrepancies from what has been said publicly by Panetta, but it does show that the first U.S. military troops to arrive in Libya in response to the attack came more than 14 hours after the initial attack began.
While the U.S. military was playing only a small role at the time in Libya, the timeline shows that some of the troops called up by Panetta had to travel long distances, while others were closer to North Africa.