Become a SOFREP Member

Subscribe now to get news and insider perspective from the former special operations and intelligence professionals that mainstream news media can’t access.

October 24, 2012

State Department Email on Benghazi Attack Released

CBS News has obtained State Department email sent as the Benghazi attack unfolded containing timely and accurate descriptions of the attack.

The State Department Operations Center alerted the White House Situation Room, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the FBI of the attack  on September 11 at 4:05 p.m. Eastern time:

“US Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” — “approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM (Chief of Mission/embassy) personnel are in the compound safe haven.”

To see a PDF copy of the email:;contentBody

An updaye was sent out at 4:54 p.m.: “the firing… in Benghazi…has stopped…A response team is on site attempting to locate COM (embassy) personnel.”

By 6:07 p.m., State forwarded a report from the embassy in Tripoli that 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.”

It is becoming clear that there was a high level of timely awareness of the nature and scope of the Benghazi attack.  Other stores have detailed response options and timelines.  We can’t dig an infantry company in around every consulate, but since the Iranian embassy was seized, we have put millions of dollars of effort into plans and options for rescuing diplomats.  Let’s get back in the game.

AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File 

About the Author

is a Green Beret who served in Afghanistan and a number of other live fire locations. He's a poet-warrior in the classic sense, a casual hero and a student of science.

To comment on this article please join/login. Here's a sample of the comments on this post.

  • Kim l

    I just want to thank the special forces for the fight they are still waging in Washington, D.C.


    THE WASHINGTON POST FACT CHECKER USES THE WEEKLY STANDARD ARTICLE: Ernesto Londoño The diplomat says he tried to get fighter jets and U.S. Special Operations troops, but they were told to stand down.

  • Buckeye44

    All this crap makes one just want to puke his guts out1

  • majrod

    @RVN SF VET  Dempsey could be a wimp.  Doesn't seem to be the same guy that commanded the BN I served in as a company commander.  I took it more as being sucked into a situation he really didn't want to get into similar to the OPSEC controversy where he said wasn't "helpful" and answered "no comment" when asked about the administrations handling of the situation.  That could be telling depending on your persuasion.   Whatever it is, haul them in front of congress and aask them questions under oath.  I buy Panetta's description of what the commanders said as much as Obama saying the military isn't asking for a bigger budget.


    @majrodYes, 2 orders to stand down. Tripoli, perhaps the Station Chief with the Chief of Mission, did send the 8 man relief force (with or without 16 other personnel.)   Who does CIA have to turn to? Right, DOD in the form of JCS. Such a move requires NSC approval as it involves moving assets into a foreign country. Therefore State is copied.The NSC coordinates the approval process and then it (at least the NSA, but probably the President) decides to go or no go. Under the new law, Panetta has been inserted in the chain of command between the JCS and the President. I agree with you that Panetta was the likely problem.   However, I watched Dempsey and he had his head down and he immediately agreed in a low voice. We could read a lot into that!   So, it is a Washington problem and because State is only investigating itself, we will not find out about other agency responses. This requires Congressional hearings which investigate the CIA, JCS, OSD, and the NSC to include the President's involvement - if any. Lastly, we cannot ignore the fact that trigger-pullers have often had to wait for hours while Washington micromanagers try to pull their heads out of their asses. I fear that was the case here and a Spectre would have made the difference. In fact, we may need a jet-based Spectre for faster response. With a ground party laser designator, a fixed wing could have done the job. I still think that that mortar crew was in someone's backyard.