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an al Qaeda-linked mil­i­tant group that also is backed by some Libyan gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity. That was a tip to Wash­ing­ton that this was a ter­ror­ist as­sault, not part of Mus­lim protests in the re­gion over an Amer­i­can-pro­duced anti-Is­lam video.

As it turned out, only three Fe­bru­ary 17 Mar­tyrs Bri­gade mem­bers were at the con­sulate, along with five U.S. se­cu­rity of­fi­cers. Out­matched, they proved un­able to stop scores of mil­i­tants storm­ing through a gate, fir­ing grenades and us­ing diesel fuel to set fire to the com­pound.

Mr. Stevens sought safety in the liv­ing quar­ters, which be­came en­gulfed in flames.

A nearby CIA base, iden­ti­fied by the State Depart­ment as one of its an­nexes, sent a res­cue team of mar­tyrs bri­gade mem­bers and at least one for­mer Navy SEAL, Ty­rone Woods. They col­lected all the staff they could find amid fires and gun­shots, and re­turned to the an­nex in ar­mored cars — mi­nus the am­bas­sador, whose wheremil­i­tary did not send in a com­bat ter­ror­ist op­er­a­tion, a U.S. in­te­labouts was un­known. res­cue team, or use air power ligence of­fi­cial told The Times.

Now close to mid­night in to strike the at­tack­ing mil­i­tants No longer in Libya at the time Libya, the CIA of­fi­cers sent ur­gent dur­ing the seven- to eight-hour of the at­tack, Mr. Nord­strom ra­dio mes­sages to head­quar­ters bat­tle, said the mil­i­tary did not and Col. Wood later tried to asin Lan­g­ley ask­ing for the mil­i­tary have suf­fi­cient in­tel­li­gence. sess the bu­reau­cratic bat­tle they to send help, Fox News re­ported “The ba­sic prin­ci­ple is that fought to re­tain more se­cu­rity Oct. 26. It said the CIA had oryou don’t de­ploy forces into as­sets in Beng­hazi. dered the of­fi­cers not to at­tempt The next day, the Obama ad­harm’s way with­out know­ing “We were fight­ing a los­ing the res­cue, but they went any­way. min­is­tra­tion be­gan blam­ing the what’s go­ing on, with­out hav­bat­tle,” Col. Wood said. “We No mil­i­tary help was sent. at­tack on a “spon­ta­neous” pro­ing some real-time in­for­ma­tion couldn’t even keep what we had. An un­manned spy air­craft, test sparked by the anti-Mus­lim about what’s tak­ing place,” he We were not even al­lowed to whose video sig­nal could be re­v­ideo. said. “And as a re­sult of not hav­keep what we had.” layed to pol­i­cy­mak­ers in WashThat as­ser­tion ap­par­ently ing that kind of in­for­ma­tion, the Mr. Nord­strom re­called a in­g­ton, buzzed over­head dur­ing was based on an in­stant as­sess­com­man­der who was on the phone call with a re­gional di­part of the raid. The House Over­ment by Di­rec­tor of Na­tional ground in that area, Gen. Ham, rec­tor ask­ing for 12 ad­di­tional sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form In­tel­li­gence James Clap­per, who Gen. [Martin] Dempsey, [Joint agents. Com­mit­tee says a 50-minute re­o­ver­sees the na­tion’s civil­ian and Chiefs chair­man], and I felt very “His re­sponse to that was, cord­ing ex­ists, but it has not been mil­i­tary spy agen­cies. strongly that we could not put ‘You’re ask­ing for the sun, moon pro­vided to Congress. But that in­stant as­sess­ment forces at risk in that sit­u­a­tion.” and the stars,’ ” the se­cu­rity of

At the White House dur­ing the was not unan­i­mous. Asked why the ex­is­tence of a fi­cer said. “And my re­sponse at­tack, Pres­i­dent Obama and De­The De­fense In­tel­li­gence fire­fight at the Beng­hazi an­nex to him, ‘You know what makes fense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panetta Agency on Sept. 12 briefed the did not pro­vide a clear pic­ture, [this] the most frus­trat­ing about met in the Oval Of­fice. Pen­tagon that the at­tack likely Mr. Panetta said: “This hap­pened this as­sign­ment? It’s not the

Seven hours later, a res­cue was car­ried out by An­sar al­within a few hours, and it was hard­ships. It’s not the gun­fire. con­tin­gent from Tripoli, with LibShariah, The Wash­ing­ton Times re­ally over be­fore we had the It’s not the threats. It’s deal­ing yan per­son­nel, made its way from has re­ported. The De­fense In­telop­por­tu­nity to re­ally know what and fight­ing against the peo­ple, the air­port to the an­nex, which ligence Agency made no men­was hap­pen­ing.” pro­grams and per­son­nel who then came un­der mor­tar fire. tion of pro­test­ers. By Sept. 16, the na­tional inare sup­posed to be sup­port­ing

Mr.Woodsme.’and­fel­low­former The As­so­ci­ated Press retel­li­gence di­rec­tor changed his SEAL Glen Do­herty, whose job ported that the CIA sta­tion chief as­sess­ment. Mr. Clap­per aban“And I ended it by say­ing, ‘For was to guard the CIA of­fi­cers, had in Tripoli also blamed mil­i­tants. doned the “spon­ta­neous” ex­plame, the Tal­iban is on the inside been killed. Mr. Panetta, in his first pub­lic na­tion and told the White House of the build­ing,” Mr. Nord­strom

The team learned that Mr. re­marks Oct. 25 on why the U.S. that the at­tack was a planned said. Stevens had been found dead, pre­sumedly from smoke in­hala­tion, and was taken to a hospi­tal.

The new mis­sion: Gather the liv­ing and dead, and es­cape to the air­port.

Af­ter the at­tack

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