Senior administration officials provided a timeline of what unfolded inside the Benghazi diplomatic mission:
4p ET (10p in Libya)
The U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi began taking fire from unidentified Libyan extremists.
The attackers accessed the compound and fired into the main building setting it on fire. The Libyan guard force and mission security responded. Three people are inside the building: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, and a regional security officer. Trying to evacuate, the three became separated because of the heavy smoke. The regional security officer made it outside of the building and then he and other security personnel returned into the burning building in an attempt to rescue Stevens and Smith. They found Smith dead and pulled him from the building. They were unable to locate the ambassador before being driven outside of the building again because of the fire and smoke.
US security personnel assigned to the nearby mission annex tried to regain control of the main building but took heavy fire and had to retreat.
US and Libyan personnel made another attempt and were able to regain control of the main building and secure it. Due to small arms fire the rest of the personnel in the nearby annex are evacuated.
The annex comes under fire, which continues for two hours. Two additional US personnel were killed and two more wounded.
Security of the compound is regained with assistance from Libyan security forces.
At some point during the attack officials believe Ambassador Stevens got out of the main building and was taken to a hospital in Benghazi. His condition at that time is unknown. His body was later returned to US personnel at the Benghazi airport.