Pentagon releases official timeline of Benghazi attack
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) – The Pentagon released Friday an hour-by-hour timeline of the September 11 assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, highlighting when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and senior commanders were informed of the attack and when decisions were made to move forces to assist.
The release comes as the Obama administration is facing increasing questions over its response to the attack.
September 11 (Events are listed using the time in Benghazi)
9:42 p.m. — Armed men begin their assault on the U.S. Consulate.
9:59 p.m. — A surveillance drone is directed to fly over the U.S. compound, but it is unarmed.
10:32 p.m. — The Office of the Secretary Defense and the Joint Staff are notified of the attack by the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon. “The information is quickly passed to Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey.”
11 p.m. — Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey meet with President Obama at the White House where they discuss the unfolding situation and how to respond. The meeting had been previously scheduled.
11:10 p.m. — The surveillance drone arrives over the Benghazi facility.
11:30 p.m. — All surviving U.S. personnel are evacuated from the consulate. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and State Department computer expert Sean Smith were killed in the initial assault.
Midnight to 2 a.m. — Panetta and other senior leaders discuss possible options for further violence if it were to break out. Panetta gives verbal orders for Marine anti-terrorist teams from Rota, Spain, to prepare to deploy to Tripoli and Benghazi. Panetta also orders a special operations force team training in Croatia and an additional special operations force team in the United States to prepare to deploy to a staging base in southern Italy.
1:30 a.m. — A six-man security team from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli arrives in Benghazi.
2:39 a.m. to 2:53 a.m. — The National Military Command Center gives formal authorization for the deployment of the two special operations force teams from Croatia and the United States.
5:15 a.m. — Attackers launch assault on a second U.S. facility in Benghazi. Two former U.S. Navy SEALs acting as security contractors are killed. They are identified as Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
6:05 a.m. — A C-17 aircraft in Germany is told to prepare to deploy to Libya to evacuate the consulate personnel.
7:40 a.m. — The first wave of Americans are evacuated to Tripoli via airplane.
10 a.m. — A second group, including those killed in the attack, are flown to Tripoli.
2:15 p.m. — The C-17 departs from Germany for the flight to Tripoli.
7:17 p.m. — The C-17 leaves Tripoli with the American consulate personnel and the bodies of Stevens, Smith, Woods and Doherty.
7:57 p.m. — The U.S. special operations force team based in Croatia arrives at a staging base in Italy.
8:56 p.m. — One of the Marine anti-terrorist teams from Spain arrives in Tripoli.
9:28 p.m. — The U.S.-based special operations force team arrives at its staging base in Italy.
CNN’s Jill Dougherty and Mike Mount contributed to this report.