"Time, distance the lack of an adequate warning" were some of the factors that prevented the U.S. military from reaching the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, before four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, had been killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a Senate panel today.
Panetta testified at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that was investigating the U.S. military response the night of the attack. Panetta told the committee that "time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response" from U.S. military forces located in Europe and the United States. He also cited a U.S. intelligence "gap" that did not foresee the threat of an attack in Libya.
"They wouldn't have gotten there in time," Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the panel. The Pentagon had previously disclosed that a Marine counterterrorism platoon based in Spain was the closest U.S. military force that was moved to Sicily to respond to the attacks that night, but arrived there long after the attack had concluded. A U.S. Special Operations team in Europe, and another one in the United States, were also moved, but long after the attack had ended.
Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/panetta-blames-intelligence-gap-defenses-lack-preparation-benghazi/story?id=18430374