Category Archive 'Libya'
15 Mar 2016
This number sports no fewer than four lights, three optics, and four vertical front grips!
Gun collectors these days moan and groan all the time about Bubba-style American customizations of pre-WWII military longarms. Oh, those replaced stocks, the receivers drilled for scope mounts, the final horror of white plastic spacers on the pistol grip cap and buttplate!
Forgotten Weapons today did a very amusing post discussing what Ahab the Arab can do in the way of customizing his trusty AK-47.
30 Jan 2016
The Daily Mail reports that someone is shooting ISIS leaders in Sirte, Libya.
ISIS chiefs are living in fear of a mystery sniper after it was rumoured three of the evil terror group’s leaders had been assassinated within 10 days of each other by a long-range marksman.
The leaders are said to have been picked off one-by-one in Sirte, the Libyan coastal city where Muammar Gaddaffi was born, which the militants took control of last year.
According to unconfirmed social media reports, ISIS fighters are now sweeping the city for the man ordinary Libyans are said to be dubbing ‘Daesh hunter’.
The first ISIS leader to lose his life was Hamad Abdel Hady, a Sudanese national who was killed on January 13, according to Libya Prospect.
He is said to have been an official in the sharia court, handing out ISIS’ warped and violent sense of justice.
Abu Mohammed Dernawi was killed on January 19 near his home in the city, according to some reports.
The most recent death is rumoured to be that of Abdullah Hamad al Ansari, a high-up commander from southern Libya, who was shot dead as he left the mosque on January 23.
However, this may not be the start of such a campaign against ISIS fighters in the city.
Journalist Daniele Raineri pointed out a similar assassination took place in July, when an ISIS preacher was shot dead.
Read the whole thing.
From the film version of Rogue Male, Fritz Lang’s “Man Hunt” (1941):
And from now on, somewhere in [Libya] is a man with a precision rifle and the high degree of intelligence and training that is required to use it. It may be days, months or even years, but this time he clearly knows his purpose and, unflinching, faces his destiny.
18 Feb 2015
The National Post has a story describing some interesting possibilities for residents of Italy and the rest of Southern Europe.
Islamic State of Iraq & Al-Sham jihadists are planning to take over Libya as a â€œgatewayâ€ to wage war across southern Europe, according to letters written by supporters of the terrorist group.
They hope to flood the North African state with militiamen from Syria and Iraq, who will sail across the Mediterranean posing as migrants on human-trafficking ships, according to plans seen by Quilliam, the British anti-extremist group.
The fighters would then run amok in southern European cities and also try to attack shipping.
The document is written by a propagandist for ISIS, who uses the alias Abu Arhim al-Libim. He is believed to be an important online recruiter for the terror group in Libya, where security has collapsed after the revolution that unseated Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
The group has already established Libyan-based cells, who on Sunday released a video showing a mass beheading of 21 Egyptian Christian guest workers.
Read the whole thing.
31 Aug 2014
A Facebook friend of Glenn Reynolds recently argued that, life under the leadership of Barack Obama, is a lot like the vision of Pottersville George Bailey was shown by the angel Clarence.
Letâ€™s accept, arguendo, that the outgoing DIA chief is right, and that we are now in an era of danger similar to the mid-1930s. How did we get here? Itâ€™s worth looking back into the mists of time â€” an entire year, to Labor Day weekend 2013. What had not happened then? Itâ€™s quite a list, actually: the Chinese ADIZ, the Russian annexation of Crimea, the rise of ISIS, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the fall of Mosul, the end of Hungarian liberal democracy, the Central American refugee crisis, the Egyptian-UAE attacks on Libya, the extermination of Iraqi Christians, the Yazidi genocide, the scramble to revise NATOâ€™s eastern-frontier defenses, the Kristallnacht-style pogroms in European cities, the reemergence of mainstream anti-Semitism, the third (or fourth, perhaps) American war in Iraq, racial riots in middle America, et cetera and ad nauseam.
All that was in the future just one year ago.
What is happening now is basically Americaâ€™s version of â€œItâ€™s a Wonderful Life.â€ The President of the United States â€” supported to an exceptional extent by an electorate both uncomprehending and untrusting of the outside world â€” is Clarence the Angel, and heâ€™s showing us what the world would be like if weâ€™d never been born, Unsurprisingly, Bedford Falls is now Pottersville, and itâ€™s a terrible place. Unfortunately we do not get to revert to the tolerable if modest status quo at the end of the lesson: George Bailey will eventually have to shell the town and retake it street by street from Old Man Potterâ€™s Spetsnaz.
But the larger point here is not whatâ€™s happening, because whatâ€™s happening is obvious. Things are falling apart. The point is how fast itâ€™s come. It takes the blood and labor of generations to build a general peace, and that peace is sustained by two pillars: a common moral vision, and force majeure. We spent a quarter-century chipping away at the latter, and finally discarded the former, and now that peace is gone. All this was the work of decades.
Look back, again, to Labor Day weekend 2013, and understand one thing: its undoing was the work of mere months.
28 Jul 2014
Walter Russell Mead admires the way the Mainstream Media looks carefully away as the Obama Administration’s “Smart Diplomacy” puts Middle Eastern countries, provinces, and WMDs into the hands of murderous fanatics. The days of the New York Times micromanaging US Foreign Policy are clearly over.
If Obama were a Republican, the press and the weekly news shows would be ringing with hyperbolic, apocalyptic denunciations of the clueless incumbent who had failed to learn the most basic lessons of Iraq. Indeed, the MSM right now would be howling that Obama was stupider than Bush. Bush, our Journolist friends would now be saying ad nauseam, at least had the excuse that he didnâ€™t know what happens when you overthrow a paranoid, genocidal, economically incompetent Arab tyrant in an artificial post-colonial state. But Obama didâ€”or, the press would nastily say, he would have done if heâ€™d been doing his job instead of hitting the golf course or yakking it up with his glitzy pals at late night bull sessions. The ad hominem attacks would never stop, and all the tangled threads of incompetence and failure would be endlessly and expertly picked at in long New Yorker articles, NYT thumbsuckers, and chin-strokings on all the Sabbath gasbag shows.
Why, the ever-admirable tribunes of a free and unbiased press would be asking non-stop, didnâ€™t this poor excuse for a President learn from what happened in Iraq? When you upend an insane and murderous dictator who has crushed his people for decades under an incompetent and quirky regime, youâ€™d better realize that there is no effective state or civil society under the hard shell of dictatorial rule. Remove the dictator and you get chaos and anarchy. Wasnâ€™t this President paying attention during the last ten years?
Some of the criticism would be exaggerated and unfair; the Monday morning quarterbacks never really understand just how complicated and tragic this poor world really is, not to mention how hard it is to make life and death decisions in real time in the center of the non-stop political firestorm that is Washington today. And the MSM attracts more than its share of deeply inexperienced but entitled, self-regarding blowhards who love to pontificate about how stupid all those poor fools who have actual jobs and responsibilities actually are.
But luckily for Team Obama, the mainstream press would rather die than subject liberal Democrats to the critiques it reserves for the GOP. So instead, as Libya writhes in agony, reputations and careers move on. The news is so bad, and the Presidentâ€™s foreign policy is collapsing on so many fronts, that it is impossible to keep the story off the front pages. â€œSmart diplomacyâ€ has become a punch line, and the dream Team Obama had of making Democrats the go-to national security party is as dead as the passenger pigeon. But what the press can do for the White House it still, with some honorable exceptions, labors to accomplish: it will, when it must, report the dots. But it will try not to connect them, and it will do what it can to let all the people involved in the Libya debacle move on to the next and higher stage of their careers.
Read the whole thing.
25 Jun 2014
Walter Russell Mead delivers, what Andrew Sullivan calls, “a majestically sweeping indictment of everything [P]resident Obama has achieved in foreign policy over the last six years.”
One wishes we had a Republican President right now if only because when a Republican is in the White House, the media and the chattering classes believe they have a solemn moral duty to categorize and analyze the failures of American strategy and policy. Today that is far from the case; few in the mainstream press seem interested in tracing the full and ugly course of the six years of continual failure that dog the footsteps of the hapless Obama team in a region the White House claimed to understand. Nothing important has gone right for the small and tightly knit team that runs American Middle East policy. Most administrations have one failure in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking; this administration has two, both distinctly more ignominious and damaging than average. The opening to the Middle East, once heralded by this administration as transformative, has long vanished; no one even talks about the Presidentâ€™s speeches in Cairo and Istanbul anymore, unless regional cynics are looking for punch lines for bitter jokes. The support for the â€œtransition to democracyâ€ in Egypt ended on as humiliating a note as the â€œred lineâ€ kerfuffle in Syria. The spectacular example of advancing human rights by leading from behind in Libya led to an unmitigated disaster from which not only Libya but much of north and west Africa still suffers today.
Rarely has an administration so trumpeted its superior wisdom and strategic smarts; rarely has any American administration experienced so much ignominious failure, or had its ignorance and miscalculation so brutally exposed. No one, ever, will call this administrationâ€™s Middle East policies to date either competent or wiseâ€”though the usual press acolytes will continue to do what they can to spread a forgiving haze over the strategic collapse of everything this White House has attempted, as they talk about George W. Bush at every chance they get.
Now, from the ruins of the Obama Administrationâ€™s Middle East strategy, the most powerful and dangerous group of religious fanatics in modern history has emerged in the heart of the Middle East. The rise of ISIS is a strategic defeat of the first magnitude for the United States and its allies (as well as countries like Russia and even China). It is a perfect storm of bad policy intersecting with troubled times to create the gravest threat to U.S. and world stability since the end of the Cold War.
The mainstream press and the professional chatterboxes of the news shows need to set aside their squeamishness at poring over the details of a major strategic failure by a liberal Democrat. The rise of ISIS/ISIL is a disaster that must be examined and understood. How could the U.S. government have been caught napping by the rise of a new and hostile power in a region of vital concern? What warning signs were missed, what opportunities were lostâ€”and why? What role did the administrationâ€™s trademark dithering and hairsplitting over aid to ISISâ€™s rivals in the Syrian opposition play in the rise of the radicals?
Read the whole thing.
13 Nov 2012
syncrodox commenting at Small Dead Animals:
Wow! Who knew nasty e-mails warranted so much attention. In retrospect, Ambassador Chris Stevens would have gotten more attention sending snotty e-mails to random citizens rather than asking the State Department for more security.
05 Nov 2012
Victor Davis Hanson, in characteristic fashion, draws upon Classical metaphors to editorialize upon Barack Obama and Benghazi.
The Libyan plot is Sophoclean to the core: the heroism of outnumbered Americans who chose to confront a deadly enemy, and were killed and wounded in the defense of their endangered comrades â€” while the worldâ€™s greatest military hesitated to use its power against a ragtag militia to save them. Bureaucrats ignored not only pleas for beefed-up security before the attack, but also more requests that followed during the assault for reinforcement. A concocted story about a culpable obscure video gave opportunity for the administration to brag about their cosmopolitan multiculturalism as they damned the unhinged filmmaker and, in doing so, systemically lied about the real terrorist culprits of the killings.
The strange thing about Libya is not so much who lied, but rather the question of whether anyone has yet told the whole truth. When American diplomatic personnel are murdered abroad, an administration usually is vehement in blaming likely suspects; I cannot remember a single incident, however, when our government ignored those most likely responsible to focus on others least likely to be culpable. Once the election is over, and reporters no longer feel any remorse about hurting the reelection chances of Barack Obama, perhaps some of their usual incentives to crack open a cover-up will reassert themselves.
In Sophoclean terms, hubris (arrogance) â€” often due to a character flaw (amartia) â€” leads to atÃª (excess and self-destructive recklessness) that in turn earns nemesis (divine retribution). In that tragic sense, an overweening Obama must have known that â€” despite the Drone killings â€” al-Qaeda was far from impotent. And it was not wise, as Obama once himself warned, to high-five the bin Laden raid and leak to the world the details â€” knowing as he did that bin Ladenâ€™s death was not his trophy alone (or indeed a trophy at all) â€” but better left an unspoken collective effort of military bravery and the dividend of the often derided Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols that Obama had both damned and then embraced. Ironically (another good Greek word), it was probably not so much an obscure video, but the constant chest-thumping about the grisly end of Osama that infuriated the al-Qaeda affiliates. Nothing, after all, is quite so dangerous as talking loudly while carrying a small stick.
Excuse me if I disagree with the learned Professor Hanson on this one.
The heroic death of former Navy SEALs, Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods, fighting to the last against overwhelming odds, possibly in defiance of instructions to the contrary by higher authorities, which then declined to come to their aid, did strike an echo from the classics, but it reminded us of Greek history, of Leonidas and the Spartans at Thermopylae, of Xenophon’s Greek soldiers who volunteered for “forlorn hope” assignments to make possible the march of the rest of the 10,000 up country and out of enemy territory to the sea, or (as in Macauley’s poem) Horatius Cocles:
Then out spoke brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:
“To every man upon this earth, death cometh soon or late;
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?”
But Obama is not Sophoclean in the least, and the Obama Administration’s mishandling of the situation in Benghazi and their subsequent misstatements, evasions, and attempts at a cover-up, in my eyes at least, fail to rise to the moral level of the Greek tragedies.
Obama is not Oedipus, a mythic hero doomed to disaster from a point even before his birth by prophetic fate. Obama is no figure out of Sophoclean tragedy. What he really is is a stereotype figure familiar from Roman comedy: Obama is actually Plautus’s clever (and totally immoral) slave Pseudolus (familiar to most readers from Stephen Sondheim’s 1962 musical adaptation A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum).
Like Pseudolus, Obama is a trickster-hero who easily bamboozles the pompous and self-important with an innate cunning superior to their own and a glorious gift of gab, and who makes a success of posing in the role of a person of far superior station to his own.
In the Roman theater, or on the Broadway stage, the tricky slave getting above himself and (for a time, at least) pulling off the role makes for excellent humor and entertainment, but when serious decisions are required and lives are at stake, the unprincipled trickster-hero is not the ideal personality type to have in charge.
Barack Obama appears to have been principally concerned, during the seven hours of unequal combat in Benghazi, with avoiding an international incident featuring the US violation of Libyan sovereignty, possibly also provoking more Islamic wrath, and spoiling his own triumphant narrative of successfully leading a series of “Arab Spring” democratic revolutions from behind. Besides, he needed to run off to a campaign fund-raiser in Las Vegas.
When events concluded worse and in a far more dramatic fashion than he had hoped, President Pseudolus reverted to type, doing everything he could to talk his way out of the mess.
The tragic hero will be killed, or at least blinded and exiled in atonement. The comic rascal, on the other hand, will merely dazzle the audience with ever greater shifts, lies, and inventions.
Obama, of course, has one major advantage that the clever slave of Antique Comedy lacked, the chorus (in our case, the mainstream media) is thoroughly on his side, and will do everything possible to help him get away with everything.
04 Nov 2012
Bing West identifies the Obama Administration’s standard methodology for burying a scandal.
The following is a lead story about Benghazi from the Washington Post on November 2:
U.S. intelligence officials said they decided to offer a detailed account of the CIAâ€™s role to rebut media reports that have suggested that agency leaders delayed sending help. . . . The decision to give a comprehensive account of the attack five days before the election is likely to be regarded with suspicion, particularly among Republicans who have accused the Obama administration of misleading the public.
Suspicion? The accurate word is confirmation.
Identical stories appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The Times explained that, â€œThe account, given by the senior officials who did not want to be identified, provided the most detailed description to date of the C.I.A.â€™s role.â€
So whatâ€™s going on here? The national-security staff in the Obama White House has a standard operating procedure. If a military action, such as killing bin Laden, succeeds, then immediately leak selected details to shape the narrative to the political advantage of Mr. Obama. If the action is botched, as in Benghazi, then say nothing and tell the quiescent press that there is no story worth pursuing. If questions persist, the second line of defense is an investigation that wlll drag on for months. For instance, bureaucrats in the Justice Department are still investigating the leaks last spring about the U.S. cooperation with Israel in the software sabotage â€” cyber warfare â€” of Iranian centrifuges.
If pesky Fox News persists in asking questions, then the third line of defense is to give the nod to the CIA to leak a diversionary story to favored news outlets and reporters. Thus the leaks to the Washington Post and New York Times showing that CIA operatives did try to rescue their comrades. Then authorize the CIA to go public with the same timeline, further throwing the press off the trail. The New York Times, the recipient of record for White House leaks, published on November 3 a diversionary story on its front page, fixating upon the CIA director, General Petraeus. This implied that the main issue about Benghazi centered around CIA secrecy â€” a tautology irrelevant to the real cover-up.
The intent is to cause the press and the public to lose interest in a story that seems exhaustively repetitive, while the key issues are never addressed.
Read the whole thing.
03 Nov 2012
Mark Steyn scathingly reviews the recent performances of two chief executives.
In political terms, Hurricane Sandy and the Benghazi consulate debacle exemplify at home and abroad the fundamental unseriousness of the United States in the Obama era. In the days after Sandy hit, Barack Obama was generally agreed to have performed well. He had himself photographed in the White House Situation Room, nodding thoughtfully to bureaucrats (“John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; David Agnew, Director for Intergovernmental Affairs”) and Tweeted it to his 3.2 million followers. He appeared in New Jersey wearing a bomber jacket rather than a suit to demonstrate that when the going gets tough the tough get out a monogrammed Air Force One bomber jacket. He announced that he’d instructed his officials to answer all calls within 15 minutes because in America “we leave nobody behind.” By doing all this, the president “shows” he “cares” â€“ which is true in the sense that in Benghazi he was willing to leave the entire consulate staff behind, and nobody had their calls answered within seven hours, because presumably he didn’t care. …
Last week, Nanny Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, rivaled his own personal best for worst mayoral performance since that snowstorm a couple of years back. This is a man who spends his days micromanaging the amount of soda New Yorkers are allowed to have in their beverage containers rather than, say, the amount of ocean New Yorkers are allowed to have in their subway system â€“ just as, in the previous crisis, the municipal titan who can regulate the salt out of your cheeseburger proved utterly incapable of regulating any salt on to Sixth Avenue. Imagine if this preening buffoon had expended as much executive energy on flood protection for the electrical grid and transit system as he does on approved quantities of carbonated beverages. But that’s leadership 21st-century style: When the going gets tough, the tough ban trans fats.
Back in Benghazi, the president who looks so cool in a bomber jacket declined to answer his beleaguered diplomats’ calls for help â€“ even though he had aircraft and Special Forces in the region. Too bad. He’s all jacket and no bombers. This, too, is an example of America’s uniquely profligate impotence. When something goes screwy at a ramshackle consulate halfway round the globe, very few governments have the technological capacity to watch it unfold in real time. Even fewer have deployable military assets only a couple of hours away. What is the point of unmanned drones, of military bases around the planet, of elite Special Forces trained to the peak of perfection if the president and the vast bloated federal bureaucracy cannot rouse themselves to action? What is the point of outspending Russia, Britain, France, China, Germany and every middle-rank military power combined if, when it matters, America cannot urge into the air one plane with a couple of dozen commandoes? In Iraq, al-Qaida is running training camps in the western desert. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are all but certain to return most of the country to its pre-9/11 glories. But in Washington the head of the world’s biggest “counterterrorism” bureaucracy briefs the president on flood damage and downed trees.
I don’t know whether Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can fix things, but I do know that Barack Obama and Joe Biden won’t even try â€“ and that therefore a vote for Obama is a vote for the certainty of national collapse.
Read the whole thing.
02 Nov 2012
Past official accounts have been discredited. Will today’s stand up to scrutiny?
Today pushback leaks from “senior US intelligence officials” arrived offering a new version of events which directly contradicts previously-reported accounts on key damaging details.
A major news agency reported:
Just days before the presidential election, U.S. officials are striking back at allegations they failed to respond quickly or efficiently against the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, detailing for the first time a broad CIA rescue effort.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Thursday that CIA security officers went to the aid of State Department staff less than 25 minutes after they got the first call for help from the consulate, which was less than a mile from a CIA annex. The detailed timeline provides the first in-depth look at how deeply the CIA was involved in the rescue attempt, and it comes amid persistent questions about whether the Obama administration responded as quickly and effectively as it could to the siege. …
The intelligence officials told reporters Thursday that when the CIA annex received a call about the assault, about a half dozen members of a CIA security team tried to get heavy weapons and other assistance from the Libyans. But when the Libyans failed to respond, the security team, which routinely carries small arms, went ahead with the rescue attempt. At no point was the team told to wait, the officials said.
Instead, they said the often outmanned and outgunned team members made all the key decisions on the ground, with no second-guessing from senior officials monitoring the situation from afar.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to provide intelligence information publicly. …
The officials’ description Thursday of the attack provided details about a second CIA security team in Tripoli that quickly chartered a plane and flew to Benghazi but got stuck at the airport. By then, however, the first team had gotten the State Department staff out of the consulate and back to the CIA annex.
As the events were unfolding, the Pentagon began to move special operations forces from Europe to Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily. U.S. aircraft routinely fly in and out of Sigonella and there are also fighter jets based in Aviano, Italy. But while the U.S. military was at a heightened state of alert because of 9/11, there were no American forces poised and ready to move immediately into Benghazi when the attack began.
The Pentagon would not send forces or aircraft into Libya — a sovereign nation — without a request from the State Department and the knowledge or consent of the host country. And Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the information coming in was too jumbled to risk U.S. troops.
According to the detailed timeline senior officials laid out Thursday, the first call to the CIA base came in at about 9:40 p.m., and less than 25 minutes later about the team headed to the consulate. En route they tried to get additional assistance, including some heavier weapons, but were unable to get much aid from the Libyan militias.
The team finally got to the consulate, which was engulfed in heavy diesel smoke and flames, and they went in to get the consulate staff out. By 11:30 p.m., all of the U.S. personnel, except Stevens, left and drove back to the annex, with some taking fire from militants along the way.
By that time, one of the Defense Department’s unarmed Predator drones had arrived to provide overhead surveillance.
At the CIA base, militants continued the attack, firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades. The Americans returned fire, and after about 90 minutes, or around 1 a.m., it subsided.
Around that time, the second CIA team, which numbered about six and included two military members, arrived at the airport, where they tried to figure out where Stevens was and get transportation and added security to find him.
Intelligence officials said that after several hours, the team was finally able to get Libyan vehicles and armed escorts, but by then had learned that the ambassador was probably dead and the security situation at the hospital was troublesome. The State Department has said a department computer expert, Sean Smith, also was killed.
The second CIA team headed to the annex, and arrived after 5 a.m., just before the base came under attack again.
According to officials, militants fired mortar rounds at the building, killing two of the security officers who were returning fire. The mortar attack lasted just 11 minutes.
And less than an hour later, a heavily armed Libyan military unit arrived and was able to take the U.S. personnel to the airport.
The LA Times version makes it clear that today’s unofficial release was intended specifically to contradict Fox News’ reporting of events.
At every level in the chain of command, from the senior officers in Libya to the most senior officials in Washington, everyone was fully engaged in trying to provide whatever help they could,” a senior intelligence official said in a statement. “There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.” …
Fox News asserted in a story last week that CIA managers had ordered agency security officers to “stand down” and remain in their own facility, known as the Annex, when the attack on the diplomatic compound began about 9:40 p.m. and that there was an hour delay before officers disobeyed orders and went to help repel the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and State Department officer Sean Smith.
Among those who rushed to help was Tyrone Woods, a former Navy SEAL who was part of the CIA security team and who later died in the attacks.
The Fox story also asserted that the CIA “chain of command” refused to pass along requests from its officers for military aid and that special operations forces in nearby Sicily could have been sent to help but were not. Intelligence and Pentagon officials strenuously denied that Thursday.
They insisted there was no viable military option to disrupt what amounted to a series of sporadic attacks in a crowded city full of people sympathetic to the U.S. There were no armed drones in the region and airstrikes were not called for, officials said.
“Let’s say we were able to get an aircraft there. Do you go in and start strafing a populated area without knowing where friend or foe is?” a senior Defense official asked. “If you did that, you could kill the very people you are trying to help.”
A special operations team was sent to Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, but the team arrived after the attack ended, said the senior Defense official, who would not be quoted by name discussing potentially classified information.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta learned of the attack shortly after it began, about 4:30 p.m Eastern time, Defense officials said, and discussed it in a previously scheduled meeting with the president. Obama ordered him to pursue whatever options were feasible, a Defense official said.
Panetta “ordered all appropriate forces to respond to the unfolding events in Benghazi, but the attack was over before those forces could be employed,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said.
Shortly after 11 p.m. a surveillance drone had arrived from elsewhere in Libya â€” about an hour after it was requested, officials said. But the video feed was not seen by the president, contrary to some news reports. And the feed did not offer analysts a clear understanding of what was happening on the ground, officials said.
After the CIA team arrived at the compound, “over the next 25 minutes, team members approach the compound, attempt to secure heavy weapons [from Libyans], and make their way onto the compound itself in the face of enemy fire,” the senior U.S. intelligence official said.
The senior intelligence official disclosed that the CIA also sent a second six-member team from Tripoli on a chartered plane to help repel the attack. The team included Glen Doherty, another former SEAL, who was later killed when attackers fired mortar rounds at the CIA Annex.
The team arrived around midnight but got bogged down at the airport. Ultimately, it learned that “the ambassador was almost certainly dead” and headed to the agency facility “to assist with the evacuation,” the official said.
It arrived with Libyan support at the Annex at 5:15 a.m., just before mortar rounds began to strike. Woods and Doherty were killed as they fired on militants from the roof. The mortar attack lasted 11 minutes, the official said.
The drone overhead was not armed. Even if it had been, there were no viable targets, officials said.