CBS News has learned that during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Obama Administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG)

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Sources: Key task force not convened during Benghazi consulate attack

By Sharyl Attkisson, CBS News

CBS News has learned that during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Obama Administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG).

“The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies,” a high-ranking government official told CBS News. “They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”

Information shared with CBS News from top counterterrorism sources in the government and military reveal keen frustration over the U.S. response on Sept. 11, the night ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans were killed in a coordinated attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.

The circumstances of the attack, including the intelligence and security situation there, will be the subject of a Senate Intelligence Committee closed hearing on Nov. 15, with additional hearings to follow.

Counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News express frustration that key responders were ready to deploy, but were not called upon to help in the attack.

CBS News has agreed not to quote directly from the emails, and to protect the identities of the sources who hold sensitive counterterrorism posts within the State Department, the US military and the Justice Department.

As to why the Counterterrorism Security Group was not convened, National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor told CBS News “From the moment the President was briefed on the Benghazi attack, the response effort was handled by the most senior national security officials in governments. Members of the CSG were of course involved in these meetings and discussions to support their bosses.”

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