November 1st, 2012
07:27 PM ET

Intelligence official offers new timeline for Benghazi attack

From Suzanne Kelly

A senior U.S. intelligence official emphatically denied that the CIA refused repeated requests from its officers on the ground in Benghazi, Libya, to assist the Americans under attack at the U.S. mission there.

Just five days before the presidential election and in a rare briefing to reporters, the official Thursday offered almost a minute-by-minute account of what happened that night.

According to a Fox News report last Friday, citing an unnamed source, CIA officers working at an annex about a mile from the mission were told by officials in the CIA chain of command to "stand down" after receiving a call from the mission asking for help.

"There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support," the senior intelligence official said, offering a passionate defense of the actions taken by the CIA officers on the ground during the September 11 attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The official insisted the agency operators at the annex were in charge of their movements and the safety of those who were preparing to respond to the initial attack on the mission compound.

E-mails: White House knew of extremist claims in Benghazi attack

There was "no second guessing" their decisions, the official said.

According to a detailed timeline provided by the official, there was a roughly 25-minute gap between the time those officers received the initial call for help from the mission to the time when the approximately half a dozen officers were able to get underway to assist.

During that time, according to the official, CIA officers at the annex location were loading weapons and equipment into their vehicles, while others were on the phone trying to get local "friendly" militias with heavier weapons to help. The official said the officers responded "as quickly and as effectively as possible."

Opinion: What really happened in Benghazi?

The team from the annex came under fire at the mission, the official said, but was able to gather all of the U.S. personnel at the mission except for the missing ambassador and headed back to the annex where they again faced small arms fire for about 90 minutes before the attackers left.

The Fox report also suggested that the officers on the ground urgently asked for military backup, but that the CIA also denied those requests. The official said that reporting was wrong. The military, the official said, provided drone surveillance and there were a couple of military officers as part of a CIA security team from Tripoli to assist.

That security team was delayed at the Benghazi airport and did not arrive at the annex until early morning, shortly before that facility came under a sudden and intense attack that lasted 11 minutes. Two officers, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were killed by mortar fire.

The attack has become part of the political debate as the Obama administration has been harshly criticized by many Republicans for initially describing the incident as a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islamic video on the web and evolved into an assault on the mission.

The senior intelligence official said there was a need to address this issue now because some of the media mischaracterizations of what was done that night is a disservice to the men who had to make decisions under fire.

Intelligence on Benghazi shifted after Obama administration described attack as 'spontaneous'

Here is the timeline of events, as provided by the senior intelligence official:

- Around 9:40 p.m. (local time) the annex receives the first call that the mission is under attack.

- Fewer than 25 minutes later, a security team leaves the annex for the mission.

- Over the next 25 minutes, the team members approach the compound, attempt to secure heavy weapons and make their way onto the compound in the face of enemy fire.

- At 11:11 p.m., the requested drone surveillance arrives over the mission compound.

- By 11:30 p.m., all U.S. personnel, except for Stevens, who is missing, depart the mission. The exiting vehicles come under fire.

- Over the next roughly 90 minutes, the annex receives sporadic small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenade rounds. The security team returns fire and the attackers disperse at approximately 1 a.m.

- At about the same time, a team of additional security personnel lands at the Benghazi airport and negotiates for transport into town. Upon learning the ambassador is missing and that the situation at the annex has calmed, the team focuses on locating the ambassador and tries to obtain information on the security situation at the hospital.

- It's still predawn when the team at the airport finally manages to secure transportation and an armed escort. Having learned that Stevens is almost certainly dead and that the security situation at the hospital is uncertain, the team heads to the annex to assist with the evacuation.

- They arrive with Libyan support at the annex at 5:15 a.m., just before the mortar rounds begin to hit the annex. The two security officers are killed when they take direct mortar fire as they engage the enemy. That attack lasts only 11 minutes before dissipating.

- Less than an hour later, a heavily-armed Libyan military unit arrives to help evacuate the compound of all U.S. personnel.

Obama on Benghazi: We are going to fix it

soundoff (2,092 Responses)
  1. David Platts

    I almost hate to post to this blog. How many ignorant people can post without intelligent thought. FOX has made errors. Numerous. That is the intent of FOX. It keeps their followers programmed into one way of thinking. Now, I am not sure how this is going to work it's way out. Let me remind you of serious problems in our past. The United States was providing weapons to Iran. This was not a better Iran then they are now. They killed their people using these weapons. These dangerous weapons could you be used as that government saw fit. Would you believe children would have murdered? It would not surprise me. Many, many months went by and 13 indictments were handed down including the Secretary of Defense. The President then made the following statements,

    1) ""The reason I haven't spoken to you before now is this: You deserve the truth. And as frustrating as the waiting has been, I felt it was improper to come to you with sketchy reports, or possibly even erroneous statements, which would then have to be corrected, creating even more doubt and confusion. There's been enough of that."

    2)"First, let me say I take full responsibility for my own actions and for those of my administration. As angry as I may be about activities undertaken without my knowledge, I am still accountable for those activities. As disappointed as I may be in some who served me, I'm still the one who must answer to the American people for this behavior."

    3)"A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. As the Tower board reported, what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages. This runs counter to my own beliefs, to administration policy, and to the original strategy we had in mind."

    FOX would have crucified this President within three months if he was not one of their Republican beloved. Do you really want to destroy the name of Ronald Reagan? If you are in a hurry to destroy Obama and you are ethical and honest before your God, you must destroy the memory of Reagan.

    Enough is enough. This Iran Contra affair went on for 6 years. The investigation went on for one year. I believe Reagan did not know what his subordinates were doing. Further, after Nixon, we could not afford another political crumbling of America by taking Reagan "down". Obama may or may not be in a similar situation but time will only tell through PROPER investigation. Not this tar and feathering of our President on Cable News without regard to due process. Reagan was given this benefit. Damn it! Obama is President. So, be careful with your anger, if it is not fair, it is useless.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:47 am | Reply
  2. Skorpio

    The answer to world's Islamic madness and violence is a MASSIVE CONVERSION OF MUSLIMS TO CHRISTIANITY,preferably to ANY Christian Arab Church.

    November 11, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
  3. grumblesfromthegrave

    Anybody else noticing that this story violates the basic tenet of journalism, where you have INDEPENDENT CORROBORATION of sources? The quotes above are from ONE ANONYMOUS SOURCE – not only do we not know who it is, but we have no way to assess or validate the statements presented above.
    This is terribly fishy....

    November 6, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  4. IddiKlu

    If Obama is blameless, how come he fired an admiral (of the Stennis) who was going to help despite an order to stand down?

    November 5, 2012 at 10:20 am | Reply
    • BigE

      Don't get confused with semantics. The Whitehouse considers help the (2) two contract workers,(not allowed to call them soldiers) who were sent from the annex. The additional help they are considering help are the (8) eight additional contract workers who were sent from Tripoli. Which arrived at the airport who had to go thru political channels to land and enter the country and had to find their own transportation to the consulate. The delay was what 3-5 hours? President Obama promised that no soldiers would be deployed to Libya. That is why only retired soldiers were there. That is also why no air support was provided. CNN needs to be honest with itself and it's viewers. The people who died in Libya were sacrificed for Obama's political agenda. The "FINAL INSULT" to these people and their families occured when President Obam, when disscussing Hurricane Sandy and the stranded people in New Jersey. "we don't leave people behind". What???? Does he think he is a Navy Seal now??? Has he no shame???

      November 5, 2012 at 11:12 am | Reply
      • barbara

        Thank you!!

        November 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  5. Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

    To learn cause of American hinduism, terrorism, please visit

    November 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Reply
  6. sabba

    The neocon war on islam continues by these deliberate cia/mossad operations. Sheeple wake up. Its one of you doing this

    November 4, 2012 at 9:08 am | Reply
  7. baba

    Ask Mossad / CIA.. Looks like 911 all over again..

    November 4, 2012 at 9:05 am | Reply
  8. xray

    Didn't the people baying for President Obama' badge READ the above rebuttal? know...the one by the government officials running the operation...
    You just lost badly...that's pretty humiliating.

    November 4, 2012 at 8:38 am | Reply
  9. Randy

    I call BS on your statement with regard to loaded weapons, I sit here with the Taliban swarming the hills and my weapons are still on green, they go amber when I get into my vehicle and go red when I dismount in the field. Weapons control is individually guided based on who is in charge and most locations the weapons are not RED (bullet in chamber) nor are people walking around with them in civilian attire. Even when the base is actively being hit with mortars we remain at best in a yellow condition (mag in gun). Unless you were with them then you have no idea when they loaded their weapons, put on their vests etc. When we do a QRF we put on our Body Armor, load up our weapons and then leave the base to meet the engagement etc. Standard procedure. We also unload upon returning to the base and take our gear off??????

    November 4, 2012 at 5:09 am | Reply
  10. John

    Good old Fox news. Remember what they tried to do to Shirley Sherrod.

    November 4, 2012 at 4:11 am | Reply
    • Guy

      Problem #1 in the story: During that time, according to the official, CIA officers at the annex location were loading weapons and equipment into their vehicles, while others were on the phone trying to get local "friendly" militias with heavier weapons to help. The official said the officers responded "as quickly and as effectively as possible."

      Let me raise the BS flag on this statement. Their weapons would already have been loaded. If they had been witnessing for 2 or more weeks what has been reported already, they would have been at a higher level of preparedness, this is standard practice for any Quick Reaction Force (QRF) BS on this timeline.

      That leaves them to account for those extra 25 minutes in some other place. My guess is contacting NATO to get permission to carry out the operation from Italy, which naturally didn't get approved. When are we going to learn our security depends on our ability to act and react without permission from our Allies.

      November 4, 2012 at 4:28 am | Reply
  11. Chicken Shi'ite

    What happened in Bengazi should not be a political issue. Mr. Romney & his advisors know unequivicolly that the Administration cannot & will not discuss publically the details of the Bengazi attack.

    It's an on-going mission & investigation. To try to use this matter knowing full well no one can respond is another travesty of the political process.

    Just end this election, say good bye to Mr. Romney & his ilk & get on with the business of 'fixing' the problems left by the previous Administration & folks in Congress that have done everything they can to block any implementation of solutions.

    Shame on you Mr. Romney.

    November 4, 2012 at 4:06 am | Reply
    • BigE

      Read my most recent post. " President Obama promised that no soldiers would be deployed to Libya. That is why only retired soldiers were there. That is also why no air support was provided. CNN needs to be honest with itself and it's viewers. The people who died in Libya were sacrificed for Obama's political agenda. The "FINAL INSULT" to these people and their families occured when President Obam, when disscussing Hurricane Sandy and the stranded people in New Jersey. "we don't leave people behind". What???? Does he think he is a Navy Seal now??? Has he no shame???

      November 5, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply
  12. GoodforGander

    These comments reflect that the issue is just a part of an election strategy. The lack of respect for due process and understanding facts before rushing to judgement is incredible. It took a long time for us to sort out other embassy attacks in Africa and the Middle East in the past.Why this one needs to cram a years worth of analysis into an election cycle is astonishing. We have rules, and processes and laws that are amazing in their ability to rationally assign guilt. We are not authorized to just bomb and attack foreign nations. If we want to trade the rules that make us proud of the country to fit into the timing of an election, it really shows that we don't stand for the things that we claim to stand for.

    November 4, 2012 at 3:53 am | Reply
    • BigE

      BS US Bombed Belgrade for 79 Days. Time to grow up.

      November 5, 2012 at 11:20 am | Reply
  13. Karen

    CNN shame on you for hiding this story. Fox is now running a story about a former CNN reporter who says you are paid by the government to slant everything toward Obama. Guess that is true too. Where are all you democrats now. Not posting on this story?

    November 4, 2012 at 3:00 am | Reply
    • Chris

      Grow up. Fox news is for dumb gullible idiots. Cnn may be slightly biased sometimes towards obama, but can you blame them with all the right winged media like fox spewing its constant fake outrage and twisted rhetoric. Grow the hell up or get out of the game.

      November 4, 2012 at 5:47 am | Reply
      • KerryHowery

        You need to be careful making statements like that, Chris. In a day or two, Karen is going to realize you are talking about her and start blaming the President for what you said about her.

        November 4, 2012 at 9:14 am |
      • Patrick

        Chris said, "with all the right winged media like fox". Just to be clear which right wing media do you throw in with FOX? I am trying to figure out who is right winged in the media besides Fox. Not talk radio, but media. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, LA Times, Washington Post, New York Times, The Guardian??? Nope, those are all left wing.

        Just curious, because for most independent minded folks, the vast majority of media is carrying water for BO. We have to make informed decisions on research, not drinking the Kool-aid.

        November 4, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • jjjj

      CNN lost all credibility last election cycle. You certainly could not ask them to do a quality and truthful investigation of this story. #1- they would not know how. #2- this admisnistration would not put up with one of their bs streams not cooperating. This is why they went from a #1 news station to something just above romper room viewership.

      November 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  14. Jinnah form hell

    All faithful should demand homeland for stranded Rohingya Muslim in Burma. Write to your congressman and educate them. Create more Pakistan. Muslim can not be ruled by any other religion.

    November 3, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Reply
    • Hillary Clinton

      Do not blame Pakistan. They have nothing to do with this.

      November 3, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Reply
    • Chicken Shi'ite

      Blow me

      November 4, 2012 at 4:07 am | Reply
  15. Mohmad Jinnah

    He looks Paki. He acts like Paki. He is a Paki.

    November 3, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Reply
  16. krehator

    Yes, we all know. Everything is a Conspiracy to the republicans unless its their guy in charge.

    November 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Reply
    • andrew

      Obama lied, people died.

      November 3, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Reply
      • Randy

        A very dumb statement. People Died and Obama Lied in that order, you imply the they died because he lied and that is not true nor is it possible in this case. Apparently you have never been President of the United States, if you had you would have caught that error.

        November 4, 2012 at 4:59 am |
      • andrew

        Ok Randy,
        Obama lied, people died, Obama lied...again
        Better for your little smart brain?

        November 4, 2012 at 9:10 am |
      • jjjj

        Very true. So... the Mormon or the murderer?

        November 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  17. Grilly

    Hmmm.... Obama Lied, People Died.... Kinda catchy, don't you think?

    November 3, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Reply
  18. Willow

    Who are you going to believe, the father of a Seal who was killed, or a politician running for re-election? Which one is more likely to lie? Gee, I wonder.

    November 3, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  19. CountryFirst

    US Officials essentially killed those 4 great Americans. Impeach Obama. Fire Clinton.

    November 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Reply
    • krehator

      1) You are an exaggerating liar.
      2) Your care is a lie. You're just using it as a political weapon.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • Randy

      I don't follow your logic and how you came to such an odd conclusion?

      November 4, 2012 at 5:01 am | Reply
    • Chris

      Ridiculous! You are a complete loser. And I assume you have done 0 research on this issue, just watched a bunch of trustworthy murdoch 'reporting'. Wake up its all opinion, facts are murky, but doesnt mean theres a conspiricy. Some people are so dumb it astounds me!

      November 4, 2012 at 5:50 am | Reply
  20. Ali

    The Benghazi attack/coverup is Obama's inconvenient truth. The administration along with the liberal mainstream media have failed the american people by not disclosing the truth. They are trying hard to conceal the truth...they continue to suffer for fear of getting the truth disclosed. It's like trying to hold back a beach ball under water. You get tired of the effort and eventually fail to keep the ball under water or drown yourself in the attempt to conceal. Mr. Obama, along with CNN and other liberal mainstream media will be held accountable. No matter how big the lie from the WH administration, repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth. Was that indeed their gameplan. check this out.....Facebook has finally issued an apology for twice taking down a graphic from the Facebook page of Special Operations Speaks, a group of retired navy seals and former u.s. was an anti Obama ad. So sad that Mr. Mark Z. felt the need to also try and hide the truth from the american people.

    November 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Thank you mr Fortune teller for your increadible insight. I guess you were there monitoring all the emails and contact as it happened in real time? Stop using this terrorist attack as a tool against Obama, it really is sickening what you conservative old fashioned losers come up with.

      November 4, 2012 at 6:22 am | Reply
    • Ricardo Martinez

      They have not failed to me and your cry is because you want to have a white toy in the white house. Other then that you don't care about the dead in Bengazzi

      November 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  21. Skorpio

    These attacks can be stopped by waterboarding the nearest 3 Muslim clerics to any facility. Mosques and Islamic clerics are the source of all violence around the world.

    November 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  22. Tom in TX

    Unfortunately our own gvt let those Americans be killed and did nothing to intervene. All the mighty US could do was fart, stumble, and fall in response followed by a lot of boilerplate, posturing, 'countering', and butt-covering. Proud to be an American but embarrassed and ashamed of my gvt. for abandoning our own.

    November 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  23. D Kelly

    The deaths of our officials and NAvy Seals in on the hands of Obama and his administration. These folks begged for air support for over 16 hours, and an air support could have been scrambled in minutes but this administration did not want a terrorist attack to foul up the election, Well after the event the White House covered up the fact that this was a terrorist attack, trying to cover for Al Qaeda. Obama did not want any terrorism concerns affect the presidential race, this is disgusting and all American should be outraged!

    November 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Reply
  24. Tim

    Did anyone ever stop to think about why they would not release details in the following hours/days of the attack? Why would they? It would have been an investigation in progress and if Ole Romney had his way, all of the details would have been released prior to having real facts, which he would have to roll with or face judgement by the entirety of the U.S. population. Obama is a smart man and I give him props for his foreign policy. The GOP just has issues focusing on the big picture. Im sure not all republicans are complete moronic wastes of breathable air, but the ones that are out front and loud about everything that represent them sure are.

    November 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Reply
    • fjerins

      Let me see......, To all of you that love Obama. Tell me, why did he lie about not knowing about the attack as it was happening? Why did Biden tell us during the debates, that they had no first hand knowledge of these attacks? This is a major problem with the President and Vice President during this election. You people that love Mr. Obama have to be a little concerned about his re-election. When the truth comes out, it will show all of us that the White House knew about it and did nothing to help them. As for my knowledge about Embassies, I retired from the Marine Corps as a Captain and served my time with honor. For this man to have allowed those people to be murdered, is cause for impeachment and arrest. Will anything come of this? I'm afraid not. The boys in DC have become so corrupt it would take this country years to become a Republic again. And as for the tin hat comment, grow up, it shows us your age with making comments such as you did.
      Now, for the other issue that some how you have ignored. The Ambassador was sending weapons to the rebels (al Qaeda)
      to help overthrow the regime. They had over 16 hours to have the C130H gun ship sent to them, it would have taken two hours to fly into position. They had drones in the air, the Navy Seal that was on the roof top requested the drone to attack where he had used his laser positioning weapon to paint the target and he was refused. Now, I don't know what tree you climbed out of, but I would suggest that you get your ass back up there. Your President failed us and those Embassy guards and the Ambassador and his staff. And if you continue to support him, we will have the same problems and it will get worse.


      November 3, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
      • KerryHowery

        Amazing how you "know" all these details (and I use the phrase in the most facetious way possible), yet you still claim information is being withheld! I sure hope you use latex glove when you are digging your "knowledge" out out your nutty, conspiracy theorist, hidey-holes!!!

        November 4, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  25. Tim

    @fjerins One, they were not denied help. They made a call for assistance and received assistance in the fastest way possible for that area. Two, I don't understand why you would mention a gun ship that is two hours away. Its two hours away, which was obviously too far away to respond to something of this nature, and what could a gun ship do anyways about an attack in the middle of a city? Shoot rockets toward the embassy? Three, where was the intelligence and security when 3000 Americans were killed INSIDE the U.S. in 2001? Where was the security when embassies were attacked during the bush administration? If you are going to make your entire argument based on how a president responded to an attack on Americans, lets look at the big picture. Lets compare how well President Obama has handled foreign policy in the last 4 years to the previous 8.

    November 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  26. C E Taylor

    Fjerins- You are just looking for a way to somehow blame President Obama. Where were you when 11 embassies were attacked under G.W. Bush? There were injuries and loss of life then too. People who dislike Obama seem to have worked themselves into a paranoid frenzy, accusing him aof all sorts of horrible plots and crimes. maybe you can return to some sort of sanity when the inevitability of 4 more years with President Obama becomes a reality and all your crazy predictions don't come true. In the mean time keep wearing that tinfoil hat. Somehow it looks right on you!

    November 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    • BullSeye58

      This is pretty simple to understand. For Obama to endlessly keep saying we need to investigate, well, we don't need to investigate what HE knows, do we – he can just tell us, but he won't. Just tell us, when were you notified? Who notified you? What were you told? What orders did you give? Who did you give them to? Were those orders followed or not? We must have the only President in history who needs to investigate himself, and you voted for him. Thanks.

      November 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Reply
    • Karen

      Bush didn't participate in the killings.

      November 4, 2012 at 3:05 am | Reply
      • KerryHowery

        What do you mean, "Bush didn't participate..."??? Wasn't he right there in the command room watching it all unfold in real-time on his Presidential X-box, jiggering the controls and taking out bad guys left & right with Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld looking over his shoulder, guiding his every move? The only reason he didn't prevent 911 is because Laura would not let him bring his Presidential X-box to the breakfast table. (Whoa...!!! This was kinda fun! Not I'm starting to understand why you wingnuts like this crap. This is like "Race to Crazy Mountain" with Show and Tell as the prize! I'm gonna stop now...)

        November 4, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  27. fjerins

    Wolf, your are nothing more then BS when you try and distort the truth. Those men had been denied help. Why? Because the ambassador was dealing in weapons for the rebels. This was approved by the white house.. And as for Obama not knowing is nothing more the BS. When an embassy is under attack, the first thing done is to protect the ambassador and the buildings. You call in for help asap and it should have been approved. There was a C130H gun ship just two hours away as well as drones flying near by. When one of the Navy Seals refused the stand down order he went to the roof top and started firing on the rebels below. He also requested help to use a drone. He had painted the area with a laser target where the rebels were firing from. He was told stand down. A mortar round found it's target and he was killed.
    And for you to suggest other wise makes me want to throw up. That is why CNN has lost viewers.

    November 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
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