PANETTA DEFENDS BENGHAZI RESPONSE
TALK RADIO NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday that the U.S. lacked sufficient intelligence to safely deploy special operations troops at the start of the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi last month.
“You don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on,” Panetta said during a briefing at the Pentagon, explaining that AFRICOM commander General Carter Ham, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey and himself all “felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.”
Panetta added that the attack occurred too rapidly for U.S. officials to move forward with a well-reasoned decision.
“This happened within a few hours and it was really over before we had an opportunity to know what was happening,” he said.
Fox News reported Thursday that an unarmed drone providing intelligence was in the area during the attack.
Panetta described criticism that the U.S. should have acted sooner as “Monday Morning Quarterbacking.”
In the hours following the start of the attack, the U.S. ultimately moved military personnel and equipment into the region. The consulate attack took place on September 11th and left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
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