(Washington Times) Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Thursday that a U.S. commando team was mobilizing as the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was unfolding last month, but the lethal assault was over by the time the team arrived.
The Sept. 11 attack "happened within a few hours and it was really over before, you know, we had the opportunity to really know what was happening," Mr. Panetta told reporters at a Pentagon briefing.
U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the military-style attack, which has been linked to al Qaeda-inspired militants.
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"The basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harms' way without knowing what's going on, without having some real-time information about what's taking place," Mr. Panetta said, noting there had been a great deal of confusion on the ground and limited information available to senior officials during the attack itself.