CBS NEWS | MAY 13, 2013
Security Incidents Prior to the Benghazi Attack
May 22, 2012: A rocket-propelled grenade hits the offices of the International Red Cross.
June 6, 2012: An IED explodes outside the Benghazi consulate compound.
June 11, 2012: An RPG hits a convoy carrying the British Ambassador. The U.K. closes its consulate. Col. Wood, military Site Security Team (SST) commander, is in Benghazi, and helps with emergency response.
July 2012: RSO Nordstrom again requests additional security (perhaps via cable signed by Amb. Stevens dated July 9, see below).
July 9, 2012: Amb. Stevens sends a cable requesting continued help from military SST and State Dept. MSD (Mobile Security Deployment team) through mid-Sept. 2012, saying that benchmarks for a drawdown have not been met. The teams are not extended.
Early August: State Dept. removes the last of three 6-man State Dept. security teams and a 16-man military SST team from Libya.
August 2, 2012: Ambassador Stevens sends a cable to D.C. requesting “protective detail bodyguard postions” — saying the added guards “will fill the vaccum of security personnel currently at post… who will be leaving with the next month and will not be replaced.” He called “the security condition in Libya … unpredictable, volatile and violent.”
August 8, 2012: A cable from Amb. Stevens to D.C. says “a series of violent incidents has dominated the political landscape” and calls them “targeted and discriminate attacks.”
Aug. 27, 2012: The State Department issues a travel warning for Libya citing the threat of assassination and car bombings in Benghazi/Tripoli.
Timeline of 9/11 Consulate Attack As It Unfolds
September 11, 2012: 9:43 a.m. Benghazi time (3:43 ET): Amb. Stevens sent cables to D.C., including a Benghazi weekly report of security incidents reflecting Libyans’ “growing frustration with police and security forces who were too weak to keep the country secure.”
Around 12:00 p.m. (6:00 a.m. ET): The U.S. Embassy in Cairo releases a statement on its website disavowing a YouTube film named “Innocence of Muslims,” which mocks the Prophet Mohammad. Later that afternoon, protesters who had gathered outside the embassy compound stormed the gates and tore the American flag down, replacing it with a black Salafist flag.
Around 9:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. ET): In the walled Benghazi compound, U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens says good night to the Turkish Ambassador Ali Kemal Aydin and retires to his room in Building C, a large residence with numerous bedrooms and a safe haven.
9:40 p.m. (3:40 p.m. ET): Gunfire and an explosion are heard. A TOC agent sees dozens of armed people over security camera flowing through a pedestrian gate at the compound’s main entrance. It is not clear how the gate was opened.
Around 10 p.m. (4 p.m. ET): At the compound, several DS agents leave to get tactical gear from Building B. One stays in Building C with Ambassador Stevens and Information Officer Sean Smith. The mob sets fire to the 17th of February Brigade barracks on site.
Around 10:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. ET): Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his top military adviser learn of the incident.
10:54 p.m. (4:54 p.m. ET): An alert from the State Dept. Operations Center: “the firing… in Benghazi has stopped. A response team is on site attempting to locate COM personnel.”
11 p.m. (5 p.m. ET): Just ahead of the weekly meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey, White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon tells President Obama of the attack and the fire at the main villa. The president and those officials discuss possible responses to the situation.
Midnight (6 p.m. ET) Agents arrive at the annex, which receives sporadic small-arms fire and RPG rounds over a roughly 90-minute period. The security team returns fire and the attackers disperse.
12:07 a.m. (6:07 p.m. ET): An alert from the State Dept. Operations Center states that the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli reports the Islamic military group “Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibilty for Benghazi Attack”… “on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.”
Around 12:30 a.m. (6:30 p.m. ET): A six-man security team, including two Defense Dept. personnel, leave Embassy Tripoli for Benghazi.
1:30 a.m. (7:30 p.m. ET): The U.S. security team from Embassy Tripoli lands in Benghazi and learn that the ambassador is missing. They try to arrange for transportation into town, with the goal of locating Stevens.
4:07 a.m. (10:07 p.m. ET): Secretary Clinton issues a statement acknowledging the death of one State Dept. officer.
5:00 a.m. (11:00 p.m.): A second U.S. Predator drone arrives to relieve the first.
5:15 a.m. (11:15 p.m. ET): The U.S. Regional Security Office in Tripoli gets a phone call from an Arabic-speaking source who says a Westerner has been found in Benghazi and is perhaps at a hospital. It’s believed to be Ambassador Stevens. Transfer to airport is arranged.
Around 7:40 a.m. (1:40 a.m. ET): Unable to fit on one plane, the first wave of Americans – consisting of U.S. diplomats and civilians – departs Benghazi and heads to Tripoli, leaving behind security staff and bodies.
Around 10:00 a.m. (4 a.m. ET): The second flight leaves Benghazi for Tripoli with U.S. security members and bodies.
Around 7 p.m. (1 p.m. ET): Americans are transported out of Tripoli on a C-17 military aircraft, heading for Ramstein, Germany.
Around 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET): U.S. special forces team arrives in Sigonella, Sicily, becoming the first military unit in the region.
Around 9 p.m. (3 p.m. ET): A FAST platoon arrives in Tripoli.
10:19 p.m. (4:19 p.m. ET) The C-17 carrying Stevens’ body and the other Americans arrives in Ramstein.