The State Department and the CIA have given their Benghazi timeline — now the Defense Department has provided this one

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Below is an article written by my FNC colleague Justin Fishel:


Military timeline on Libya shows it took nearly a day for special ops team to arrive at Italy staging base

By Justin Fishel


Published November 09, 2012



The Pentagon on Friday acknowledged that it took almost 22 hours from the start of the Libya consulate attack for the closest American Special Operations response team to arrive at a staging base in southern Italy.


While officials insisted that the military did not have armed aircraft that could have responded in time to rescue Americans fighting off the terrorist attackers, the revelation raises questions about whether the team of at least 30 special operators could have been there, or off the coast of Libya, at an earlier hour.


It was “not feasible” to have an armed aircraft there in time, a senior defense official told reporters in a briefing where the Defense Department released its own timeline of events.


But critics of the military response have said the Pentagon could have at least tried to scramble F-16’s from Aviano Air Base in Northern Italy.


Further, the special ops team, known as a Commanders in Extremis Force, or CIF, appeared to take an unusually long time to travel to Italy.


The team left on a modified C-130 aircraft from Croatia and was directed to head straight to Sigonella air base in Italy — rather than to Benghazi.


The final attack on the CIA annex, which killed Americans Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, occurred at 5:15 a.m. local time on Wednesday.


The senior official said the CIF landed at Sigonella at 7:57 p.m. Libya time later that day — but he would not say when the aircraft left central Europe.


According to the Pentagon’s timeline of events, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gave verbal approval for the CIF team to “prepare to deploy” somewhere between midnight and 2 a.m. Libya time. That means it took the CIF a minimum of 18 hours to go from Croatia to Sigonella. For some perspective, Sigonella is closer to Croatia than Benghazi and the distance between Croatia and Benghazi is roughly the same as Washington D.C. to Miami, Florida — about 900 miles.


It’s also important to note that AFRICOM only gave the order to deploy a C-17 in Germany to rescue surviving Americans at 6:05 a.m. on Sep. 12, Libya time, almost an hour after the final attack.


That aircraft departed Tripoli with the remains of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other Americans killed, at 7:17 p.m. that same day. That was almost 24 hours after the attack began.


The Pentagon did manage to scramble two unarmed unmanned surveillance aircraft, the first of which arrived about 90 minutes after the attack started.


The military’s release of its timeline follows detailed accounts by both the State Department and the CIA.


Intelligence officials last week said the first call that the consulate was under attack came into the nearby annex at around 9:40 p.m. local time. (That lines up with when the military says the attack began). They said a team of additional security personnel did land at the Benghazi airport in the early morning hours. The team had to negotiate for transport into town, though, according to officials, and did not arrive at the annex until 5:15 a.m., around when the final attack occurred.




Read more:





Timeline of Department of Defense Actions on September 11‐12, 2012

All times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT, Washington, DC)

and Eastern European Time (EET, Benghazi)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


~3:42 pm // 9:42 pm The incident starts at the facility in Benghazi.

3:59 pm // 9:59 pm An unarmed, unmanned, surveillance aircraft is directed to reposition overhead

the Benghazi facility.

4:32 pm // 10:32pm The National Military Command Center at the Pentagon, after receiving initial

reports of the incident from the State Department, notifies the Office of the

Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff. The information is quickly passed to

Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey.

5:00 pm // 11:00pm Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey attend a previously scheduled meeting

with the President at the White House. The leaders discuss potential responses

to the emerging situation.

5:10 pm // 11:10 pm The diverted surveillance aircraft arrives on station over the Benghazi facility.

~5:30 pm // 11:30 pm All surviving American personnel have departed the facility.

6:00‐8:00 pm //

12:00‐2:00 am Secretary Panetta convenes a series of meetings in the Pentagon with senior

officials including General Dempsey and General Ham. They discuss additional

response options for Benghazi and for the potential outbreak of further violence

throughout the region, particularly in Tunis, Tripoli, Cairo, and Sana’a.

During these meetings, Secretary Panetta directs (provides verbal authorization)

the following actions:

1) A Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) platoon, stationed in Rota, Spain,

to prepare to deploy to Benghazi, and a second FAST platoon, also stationed

in Rota, Spain, to prepare to deploy to the Embassy in Tripoli.

2) A EUCOM special operations force, which is training in Central Europe, to

prepare to deploy to an intermediate staging base in southern Europe.

3) A special operations force based in the United States to prepare to deploy

to an intermediate staging base in southern Europe.

During this period, actions are verbally conveyed from the Pentagon to the

affected Combatant Commands in order to expedite movement of forces upon

receipt of formal authorization.

~6:30 pm // 12:30 am A six‐man security team from U.S. Embassy Tripoli, including two DoD

personnel, departs for Benghazi.

~7:30 pm // 1:30 am The American security team from Tripoli lands in Benghazi.

~8:30pm // 2:30 am The National Military Command Center conducts a Benghazi Conference Call

with representatives from AFRICOM, EUCOM, CENTCOM, TRANSCOM, SOCOM,

and the four services.

8:39pm // 2:39 am As ordered by Secretary Panetta, the National Military Command Center

transmits formal authorization for the two FAST platoons, and associated

equipment, to prepare to deploy and for the EUCOM special operations force,

and associated equipment, to move to an intermediate staging base in southern


8:53pm // 2:53 am As ordered by Secretary Panetta, the National Military Command Center

transmits formal authorization to deploy a special operations force, and

associated equipment, from the United States to an intermediate staging base

in southern Europe.

~11:00 pm // 5:00 am A second, unmanned, unarmed surveillance aircraft is directed to relieve the

initial asset still over Benghazi.

~11:15 pm // 5:15 am The second facility in Benghazi comes under mortar and rocket propelled

grenade fire.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

12:05 am // 6:05am AFRICOM orders a C‐17 aircraft in Germany to prepare to deploy to Libya to

evacuate Americans.

~1:40 am // 7:40 am The first wave of American personnel depart Benghazi for Tripoli via airplane.

~4:00 am // 10:00 am The second wave of Americans, including the fallen, depart Benghazi for Tripoli

via airplane.

8:15 am // 2:15 pm The C‐17 departs Germany en route Tripoli to evacuate Americans.

1:17 pm // 7:17 pm The C‐17 departs Tripoli en route Ramstein, Germany with the American

personnel and the remains of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods,

and Glen Doherty.

1:57 pm // 7:57 pm The EUCOM special operations force, and associated equipment, arrives at an

intermediate staging base in southern Europe.

2:56 pm // 8:56 pm The FAST platoon, and associated equipment, arrives in Tripoli.

3:28 pm // 9:28 pm The special operations force deployed from the United States, and associated

equipment, arrives at an intermediate staging base in southern Europe.

4:19 pm // 10:19 pm The C‐17 arrives in Ramstein, Germany.