Sufian bin Qumu, former member of Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Taliban in Pakistan, al Qaida and North African Extremist Network, is released from Guantanamo to Libya.
Faraj al Chalabi, (also spelled Shibli) an al Qaeda terrorist linked to the 1994 terrorist murder of two German tourists is released from Libya’s Abu-Salim Prison.
Start of the revolution against Libyan strongman Muammar Gadhafi.
Ambassador Stevens communicating directly with al-Qaeda linked Libyan rebels through Abdelhakim Belhadj, head of Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
Muammar Gadhafi killed by rebels after ruling Libya for 42 years.
Secretary of State Clinton announces that the US will commit $40 million to help Libya secure and recover its weapons stockpiles.
Terror plot detected and thwarted in Benghazi, Libya.
A US emergency plan warns of other Islamic terrorists still operating in area.
State Department Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy signs off on an internal memo from Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), that green-lights the US Benghazi Consulate.
Diplomatic regional security officer (RSO), top security officer in Libya, Eric Nordstrom tells State Department officials he will not support occupying diplomatic compound in Benghazi until security upgrades completed.
Unidentified government official waives security standard requirements for Benghazi compound.
US Embassy Tripoli lead security officer, RSO Eric Nordstrom, again requests additional security.
IED thrown over wall of US Consulate in Benghazi.
Explosive device thrown at convoy carrying UN envoy Ian Martin.
Gun and RPG battle between two groups 2.5 miles from US
Consulate in Benghazi.
Secretary Clinton signs State Department cable acknowledging [then] Amb. Cretz's request for additional security.
Senior State Department official proclaims an end to the war on terror.
Two South African contractors kidnapped and released unharmed.
Deputy Commander of US Embassy Tripoli’s Local Guard Force is carjacked, beaten, and detained by armed youth.
British Embassy in Tripoli attacked by violent mob and set on fire.
Other NATO embassies also attacked.
State Department declines request from US Embassy for DC-3 plane transportation between Tripoli and Benghazi.
Assailants launch two rocket-propelled grenades, RPGs, at International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)’s building in Benghazi, one mile from US Consulate.
The violent Islamist extremist group Brigades of Captive Omar Abdul Rahman claims responsibility.
IED explodes hole in wall surrounding US Consulate in Benghazi.
Group claims attack is in retaliation for the assassination of Abu-Yahya al-Libi, the second highest ranking leader of al-Qa’ida.
RPG hits convoy carrying British Ambassador Aquith. Col. Wood - military Site Security Team (SST) commander in Benghazi helps with emergency response.
British close consulate and pull out of Benghazi.
Red Cross building in Benghazi attacked for second time.
Red Cross evacuates Benghazi.
US only international flag still flying in Benghazi.
RSO Nordstrom again requests additional security.
"Sam Bacile" (Nakoula Basseley Nakoula) posts English-language promotional trailer for Innocence of Muslims on YouTube.
Amb. Stevens sends cable requesting help from military SST and State Dept. MSD (Mobile Security Deployment team) through mid-September.
FBI Director Mueller learns of investigation into Petraeus/Broadwell affair.
CIA Director Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell end their affair.
CIA Benghazi Annex NSA listening post picks up chatter in Persian between a pair of operators from Quds Force.
The NSA translator brings an English transcript of their conversation to the chief of base.
The chief of base tasks several agents in his employ who worked for the Zintan militia, which run the Benghazi airport, with tracking the seven Iranians scheduled to arrive that day from Tripoli.
The Iranians are operating undercover as part of a Red Crescent medical team — a doctor, male nurses, medics and administrator.
The CIA chief of base doesn't know whether their plan is to kidnap the ambassador, kill him, hire locals to drive car bombs through the perimeter wall, or what.
Over the next hour or so, the chief’s deputy receives a steady stream of reports over the tactical radio from the Zintan militia on the progress of the hit team. The plane has landed at Benina International Airport.
They pack into a convoy of Red Crescent vehicles (each painted white, with a large, bright red Islamic crescent painted on the doors and the roof — the Muslim version of the Red Cross).
They are en route to the Tibesti Hotel.
The chief has a second team waiting in separate vehicles outside to track them once they leave the airport.
After the hotel, the Iranians go for an Iftar dinner with the local Red Crescent guys. It is a protocol event. Because they were in the middle of Ramadan, the Muslim month of daytime fasting, they don't sit down to dinner until late.
Then at 1 in the morning, the deputy chief jumps up from where he has been dozing off. His guys are going nuts.
“What’s going on? What are they saying?” he asks.
The deputy translates the excited shrieks from the trackers. It seems the Red Crescent team had been headed back to the Tibesti Hotel when they are ambushed by a half dozen Toyota pickups with .50-caliber machine guns mounted on the beds.
The militia guys force the Iranians to get out, cuff them, then bundled them into a pair of Jeep Cherokees and speed off.
CIA guys decide it is more prudent not to follow them.
For the next 24 hours or so, the chief’s network of agents in Benghazi are unable to find out where the Iranians have been taken or who is holding them.
Then, according to Dylan Davies, the former British Special Operations grunt who manages the unarmed security detail at the US diplomatic compound, a local fixer learned they are being held in a former Libyan army camp outside of town on the Tripoli road.
“They are getting fed; they have their own beds even. They are fine,” he tells Davies.
The fixer claims it is a Shia-Sunni thing. “There are some who think those Iranian Shias are not welcome here,” he says. “But they are perfectly okay.”
Davies learns a few days later that the CIA chief of base has tasked his former Special Forces security team with launching a hostage rescue, perhaps with the goal of interrogating the Iranians in the privacy of their armored Mercedes G wagons.
At the last minute, Davies’ fixer tells him the Iranians have already been set free and put on a plane for Tripoli, en route to Tehran. “Mate, cancel the cavalry,” he tells the chief diplomatic security officer at the compound. “They left yesterday on a flight to Tehran.”
When the Americans expressed surprise at how he got this information, he said that his fixer’s cousin works at the airport. “He saw all seven of ’em fly out of here.”
Bombing of the Benghazi military intelligence offices.
US military forces guarding the Benghazi Consulate ordered out of Libya.
Ambassador Stevens sends cable to DC requesting "protective detail bodyguard positions" -- saying added guards "will fill the vacuum of security personnel currently at post... who will be leaving with the next month and will not be replaced." He calls "the security condition in Libya... unpredictable, volatile and violent."
Armed assailants carjack vehicle with diplomatic plates operated by US personnel.
Attorney General Holder learns of FBI investigation into Petraeus/Broadwell affair.
State Dept. removes last of three 6-man State Dept. security teams and a 16-man military SST team from Libya.
Cable from Amb. Stevens to DC: "a series of violent incidents has dominated the political landscape" calls them "targeted and discriminate attacks."
Army General Hadiya al-Feitouri was assassinated in Benghazi.
Amb. Stevens and his security team meet to discuss that 10 al Qaeda groups have been identified roaming around Benghazi; a memo is drafted for State and Defense Departments.
Amb. Stevens and his security team send memo describing Benghazi dangers to State Department and Secretary Clinton - warn that a coordinated al Qaeda attack could sack the consulate.
Car belonging to an Egyptian diplomat is blown up near his home in Benghazi.
Ambassador Stevens attends a ceremony marking the opening of consular services at the American embassy in Tripoli, meaning the functioning U.S. consulate was working out of Tripoli. The new U.S. consul in Libya, Jenny Cordell, is stationed at the embassy in Tripoli. A search of the State Department website finds no consulate listed in Benghazi.
State Dept. issues travel warning for Libya citing threat of assassination and car bombings in Benghazi and Tripoli.
???Multi-national prisoners removed from Benghazi CIA annex???
Stevens and Belhadj, the newly appointed head of the Tripoli Military Council, coordinate a 400-ton shipment of SA-7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles (MANPADS) and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) from Benghazi to Syrian rebels.
Stevens writes in his Diary: "Security vacuum. Militias are power on the ground. Dicey conditions, including car bombs, attacks on consulate, British embassy, and our own people. Islamist 'hit list' in Benghazi. Me targeted on a prominent [al Qaeda] website (no more off-compound jogging)."
State Dept. receives "credible" info that US missions may be attacked on 9/11.
C-110 force in Croatia; deployment time to reach Benghazi: 4-6 hours.
White House issues statement :
Earlier today the President heard from key national security principals on our preparedness and security posture on the eve of the eleventh anniversary of September 11th. Over the past month, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan has convened numerous meetings to review security measures in place. During the briefing today, the President and the Principals discussed specific measures we are taking in the Homeland to prevent 9/11 related attacks as well as the steps taken to protect U.S. persons and facilities abroad, as well as force protection. The President reiterated that Departments and agencies must do everything possible to protect the American people, both at home and abroad.
State Dept. Information Officer Sean Smith email: suspicious Libyan security personnel taking pictures inside consulate.
US rapid reaction force of Marines in Spain, two Navy destroyers off Libyan coast, and US fighter jets on nearby Mediterranean island of Crete.
Egyptians protest outside US Embassy in Cairo. “Obama, Obama, we are all Osama!”
US Embassy Cairo statement sympathizes with protesters and condemns a 14 minute anti-Mohammad YouTube video.
Protesters storm US Cairo Embassy.
9:43 AM (3:43 AM ET)
Stevens sends cables to DC including a Benghazi weekly report of multiple security incidents.
Stevens' last diary entry: "Never ending security threats..."
12 PM (6 AM ET)
Sean Smith, the IT professional with Stevens, posts online: “Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.”
(8:45 AM ET)
POTUS observes 9/11 moment of silence on WH South Lawn.
(9:10 AM ET)
POTUS departs WH for Pentagon.
(9:30 AM ET)
POTUS at Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.
5:30 PM Libyan time (11:30 AM ET)
POTUS returns to White House.
7:30 PM (1:30 PM ET)
Stevens meets with Turkish Amb. Ali Kemal Aydin at US consulate.
(1:55 PM ET)
POTUS arrives at Bethesda, MD.
(2:15 PM ET)
POTUS visits Walter Reed Medical Center.
8:30 PM (2:30 PM ET)
Amb. Aydin leaves compound; Stevens retires to his room in Building C.
Five diplomatic security agents (DS) on site - three based in Benghazi, two traveling with Stevens.
9:40 PM (3:40 PM ET)
Gunfire and explosions.
Diplomatic Security Agent in Tactical Operations Center (TOC) sees dozens of armed people over security camera flowing through pedestrian gate at compound's main entrance. Agent activates Danger Notification System - alerts Quick Reaction Security Team stationed nearby at CIA annex, 17th of February Brigade (one of several militias serving as a de facto security presence in Benghazi), Tripoli Embassy, and Diplomatic Security Command Center in Washington DC.
State Dept. Diplomatic Security following events in real time.
State Dept. official Charleen Lamb in Washington DC follows events in real time.
10 PM (4 PM ET)
DS agents at compound gather tactical gear from Building B. One stays in Building C with Amb. Stevens and Information Officer Smith.
Attackers set fire to 17th of February Brigade barracks on site.
DS agent Scott Strickland moves Stevens and Smith to "safe haven" in Building C.
Agents in Building B and TOC come under attack.
There are seven Americans separated in three different locations.
Attackers get into Building C, light interior on fire, then exterior.
Stevens, Smith and Agent Strickland move to bathroom and lay on floor.
US military sends unarmed drone over to provide real-time intelligence to CIA team in Benghazi.
10 PM (4 PM ET)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton notified of attack.
Approx. 10 PM (4 PM ET)
Greg Hicks, US diplomat under Stevens and Deputy head of Embassy in Tripoli, calls his RSO Martinec in Washington and his Defense Attaché.
Hicks connected on phone to Libya's Armed Forces Ministry of Defense and Chief of Staff.
Hicks notifies Joint Staff and AFRICOM.
SOCAFRICA leader, Lieutenant Colonel Gibson, connects with SOCAFRICA in Stuttgart, Germany.
RAO is connected back in Washington.
Safe haven building engulfed in flames - Stevens, Smith and Agent Strickland decide to leave safe haven after being overcome by smoke.
Strickland escapes out a window. Stevens and Smith do not follow. Strickland returns several times but can't find them in the smoke.
Strickland goes up to roof and radios other agents.
Three agents return to Building C via armored vehicle.
They find Smith's body, but not Stevens.
10:05 PM (4:05 PM ET)
State Department Operations Center issues alerts to White House Situation Room, Office of Director of National Intelligence, and FBI: "US Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack"
A six-member CIA team arrives from their annex with 40 to 60 members of 17th of February Brigade.
CIA team removes Smith's body.
10:30 PM (4:30 PM ET)
At White House waiting for scheduled meeting with POTUS, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his top military adviser learn of attack.
(4:40 PM ET)
POTUS leaves Bethesda, MD en route to WH.
(4:49 PM ET)
Email from [redacted] to Nuland and others [some names redacted], subject: "Libya update from Beth Jones. Beth Jones just spoke with DCM Tripoli [name redacted] ...Ambassador Stevens is in safe haven for extraction."
(4:50 PM ET)
POTUS arrives on WH South Lawn.
10:54 PM (4:54 PM ET)
Alert from State Dept. Operations Center: "A response team is on site attempting to locate COM personnel."
Hicks calls Embassy’s defense attaché, Lt. Col. Keith Phillips, to ask about viability of sending F-16 jets for fly-overs.
Philips in contact with Pentagon's Africa Command in Stuttgart and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in DC.
11 PM (5 PM ET)
Defense Sec. Panetta, Chairman of Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon personally notify President Obama of attack while at White House. They discuss matter in person for 15 minutes.
(After informing POTUS of ongoing attack, Panetta and Dempsey do not hear from POTUS for rest of the day. Panetta and Dempsey do not hear from Clinton at all during the attack.)
***(Obama is off the grid from 5:15 PM to 10 PM. Vietor is in the Situation Room but not POTUS)
White House visitor log shows that three people arrive for "Debate Prep": Michael Donilon (brother of Thomas Donilon), David Ginsberg (VP sales and marketing at Intel), and Ron Klain (according to Double Down: Game Change 2012 Obama's "lead debate coach.")
17th of February Brigade says they can no longer hold compound perimeter and evacuate.
DS agents make final search for Stevens and leave with CIA team in armored vehicle heading for CIA annex, taking fire along the way - at times shots fired from two feet away.
Hicks repeats request for Pentagon to scramble F-16's over Benghazi in show of force.
Lt. Col Phillips notifies Hicks nearest jets based in Italy, would take two to three hours to "get on-site"— but no air-refueling aircraft available to make the trip.
11:11 PM (5:11 PM ET)
First drone arrives overhead.
American officials in Tripoli ask permission to deploy US Special Operations troops to Benghazi aboard a Libyan military aircraft.
(5:55 PM ET)
Email from [redacted] to Nuland and others [some names redacted]: "[Redacted]'s team reports that the extremist group Al Sharia has taken credit for the attack in Benghazi. He heard reports that the February 17 Brigade is currently engaged in a running battle with Al Sharia; he asks the officer of the President and PM to pursue Ansar al Sharia. On working to locate Ambassador Stevens..."
(Approx. 6 PM ET)
President Obama calls Israel PM Netanyahu to discuss public statements implying that Obama refused Netanyahu's request for them to meet at the UN Conference later in the month. The call lasts almost one hour.
12 AM (6 PM ET)
Agents arrive at CIA annex.
Annex receives gunfire and RPG rounds.
Security team returns fire.
Sec. Panetta issues several orders: Two Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) platoons stationed in Rota, Spain to prepare for deployment - one to Benghazi and other to Tripoli Embassy; special operations team in Europe ordered to move to Sigonella, Sicily - less than one hour's flight from Benghazi; special operations unit based in US put on alert to prepare for deploy to Sigonella.
12:07 AM (6:07 PM ET)
Alert from State Dept. Operations Center: US Embassy in Tripoli reports Islamic military group "Ansar al-Sharia [al Qaeda-linked terrorist group operating in Libya] Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack ... on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli."
Deputy coordinator for Operations in CIA's Counter Terrorism Bureau Mark Thompson requests that interagency group Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) be activated.
Thompson notified that top State Department officials have determined that sending FEST team not “in the menu of options.”
12:30 AM (6:30 PM ET)
A six-man security team, including two Defense Dept. personnel, leave Embassy Tripoli en route to Benghazi.
Diplomats in Tripoli learn of new threat by Islamists—to attack the embassy complex in Tripoli. The 55 diplomatic personnel in two facilities began to prepare for evacuation.
(6:58 PM ET)
Email from Jones to Nuland and others [names redacted]: "[redacted] is working with the COS to make sure he is aware of reports that another mob has gathered in Benghazi headed for the [redacted]..."
Looters discover Stevens breathing and take him to hospital.
1:15 AM (7:15 PM ET)
First team from Tripoli arrive in Benghazi.
7:19 PM ET
From: Bash, Jeremy CIV SD [REDACTED]
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 7:19 PM
To: Sullivan, Jacob J; Sherman, Wendy R; Nides, Thomas R
Cc: Miller, James HON OSD POLICY; Wienefeld, James A ADM JSC VCJCS; Kelly, John LtGen SD; martin, dempsey [REDACTED]
I just tried you on the phone but you were all in with S [apparent reference to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton].
After consulting with General Dempsey, General Ham and the Joint Staff, we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak. They include a [REDACTED].
Assuming Principals agree to deploy these elements, we will ask State to procure the approval from host nation. Please advise how you wish to convey that approval to us [REDACTED].
1:30 AM (7:30 PM ET)
US security team from Embassy Tripoli in Benghazi learn that Stevens is missing. They try to arrange for transportation with goal of locating Stevens.
1:45 AM (7:45 PM ET)
Amb. Stevens dies at hospital.
Attack on CIA Annex Compound continues.
White House press release:
"President Obama spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu for an hour tonight as a part of their ongoing consultations. The two leaders discussed the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program, and our close cooperation on Iran and other security issues.
... Contrary to reports in the press, there was never a request for Prime Minister Netanyahu to meet with President Obama in Washington, nor was a request for a meeting ever denied."
2 AM (8 PM ET)
Clinton and her top advisers call Hicks for update. "She asked me what was going on and I briefed her on developments," Hicks says most of the call was about search for Stevens.
Embassy received several calls from Mr. Stevens's phone in which a caller says: "We know where the ambassador is. Please, you can come get him."
Americans fear the calls are a hoax designed to lure the Americans into a trap.
A familiar local known to Americans as "Babakar" sends word to US embassy that Stevens has died.
Babakar sends some of his associates to recover Stevens' body at the hospital.
When hospital officials ask what name should be entered on death certificate, US officials relay the message to use "John Doe."
3 AM (9 PM ET)
Hicks receives phone call from Libyan President informing him of the death of Amb. Stevens.
Greg Hicks becomes Chief of Mission.
US security team from Tripoli approaches annex - fears ambush.
(9:11 PM ET)
White House email to YouTube with subject line: "Update on Response to actions - Libya" warns the company of "ramifications" for posting an anti-Islamic video.
9:11 PM ET
Sent: September 11, 2012 9:11 PM
To: DSCC_Managment_Team; DSCC_Watch Team
Subject: (S//NF) [REDACTED] Libya
Per Ambassador Mull [Stephen Mull, then Executive Secretary of the State Department] after SVTS [Secure Video Teleconference System] conference:
DOD is looking at various resources.
S [then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] expected to make statements one of which may confirm KIA, notification of next of kin is pending confirmation. DCM The Hague was to call OPS when completed.
White House is reaching out to U-Tube to advise ramifications of posting of the Pastor Jon video.
4 AM (10 PM ET)
Annex Compound hit by another wave of attacks
(10 PM ET)
Obama calls Clinton.
Journalist and author Edward Klein:
“Hillary was stunned when she heard the president talk about the Benghazi attack,” one of her top legal advisers said in an interview. “Obama wanted her to say that the attack had been a spontaneous demonstration triggered by an obscure video on the Internet that demeaned the Prophet Mohammed.”
This adviser continued: “Hillary told Obama, ‘Mr. President, that story isn’t credible. Among other things, it ignores the fact that the attack occurred on 9/11.’ But the president was adamant. He said, ‘Hillary, I need you to put out a State Department release as soon as possible.’”
After her conversation with the president, Hillary called Bill Clinton, who was at his penthouse apartment in the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, and told him what Obama wanted her to do.
“I’m sick about it,” she said, according to the legal adviser, who was filled in on the conversation.
“That story won’t hold up,” Bill said. “I know,” Hillary said. “I told the president that.” “It’s an impossible story,” Bill said. “I can’t believe the president is claiming it wasn’t terrorism. Then again, maybe I can. It looks like Obama isn’t going to allow anyone to say that terrorism has occurred on his watch.”
Hillary’s legal adviser provided further detail: “During their phone call, Bill started playing with various doomsday scenarios, up to and including the idea that Hillary consider resigning as secretary of state over the issue. But both he and Hillary quickly agreed that resigning wasn’t a realistic option.
If her resignation hurt Obama’s chances of winning re-election, her fellow Democrats would never forgive her. Hillary was already thinking of running for president in 2016, and her political future, as well as Obama’s, hung in the balance.”Obama had put Hillary in a corner, and she and Bill didn’t see a way out. And so, shortly after 10 o’clock on the night of September 11, she released an official statement that blamed the Benghazi attack on an “inflammatory (video) posted on the Internet.”
The Benghazi Deception was in full swing.
SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to attack on a second U.S. compound "when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, 'you can't go now, you don't have the authority to go now.'" They are ordered not to board the flight.
***4:07 AM (10:07 PM ET)
Secretary Clinton issues written statement acknowledging death of one State Dept. officer linking the attack to "inflammatory material posted on the Internet."
5:00 AM (11:00 PM)
A second US Predator drone arrives to relieve the first.
5:15 AM (11:15 PM ET)
Second attack in full swing.
US Regional Security Office in Tripoli gets phone call from Arabic-speaking source saying a Westerner has been found in Benghazi and is at hospital. Transfer to airport is arranged.
Additional security team finds transportation from Benghazi airport under escort of Libyan Shield, another local militia, to CIA annex after learning that Stevens is almost certainly dead.
Just after security team arrival, annex takes mortar fire, sustaining three direct hits. Precision of the attacks indicates a level of sophistication and coordination.
Former US Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty are killed in mortar assault, which lasts 11 minutes; a DS agent and annex security member are severely wounded.
After mortar attack, about 30 Americans evacuate CIA annex and head to airport with the assistance of the Libyan security convoy.
Babakar's associates transport Stevens' body to the airport where it was turned over to Americans.
Ambassador Stevens is confirmed dead as Americans see his body at airport
(12:01 AM ET)
POTUS has yet to make a single phone contact with anyone involved in responding to the Benghazi attack.
7:40 AM (1:40 AM ET)
Unable to fit on one plane, the first wave of Americans - consisting of US diplomats and civilians - departs Benghazi and heads to Tripoli, leaving behind security staff and bodies.
10:00 AM (4 AM ET)
The second flight leaves Benghazi for Tripoli with US security members and bodies.
POTUS told of Stevens' death.
State Department tells all diplomatic posts around the world to review their security posture and to take all necessary steps to enhance it.
7 PM (1 PM ET)
Americans are transported out of Tripoli on a C-17 military aircraft, heading for Ramstein, Germany.
8 PM (2 PM ET)
US special forces team arrives in Sigonella, Sicily, becoming the first military unit in the region.
9 PM (3 PM ET)
A FAST platoon arrives in Tripoli.
10:19 PM (4:19 AM ET)
The C-17 carrying Stevens' body and the other Americans arrives in Ramstein.
Secretary Clinton and Obama publicly condemn the YouTube video and the attacks.
9:51 AM ET
Email from Jones to Nuland and others [names redacted]: "Good news: [redacted] just called to report that our wounded in the hospital in Tripoli are doing much better..."
10:35 AM ET
POTUS delivers Rose Garden statement.
***Email sent by [name redacted] to Nuland and others [names redacted]: "[referring to Libyan ambassador] I said we appreciate the Libyan desire to conduct an investigation, but I vehemently stressed the importance of allowing our wounded to recover in peace without the slightest disturbance... I told him that the group that conducted the attacks - Ansar Al Sharia - is affiliated with Islamic extremists."
2:05 PM ET
POTUS departs the White House, destination Las Vegas.
David Rhodes, President of CBS News and brother of Ben Rhodes who is deputy national security adviser for strategic communication for POTUS, speaks at San Antonia Chamber of Commerce as a last minute replacement for scheduled speaker Scott Pelley:
"Our government thinks that, you know, there's a really good chance this was not just a spontaneous mob reaction to what some thought was an offensive film but actually a coordinated effort timed to the 9/11 anniversary."
6:50 PM ET
POTUS lands in Las Vegas for political rally/fundraiser.
Acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Beth Jones emails high level officials: "The group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists."
60 Minutes interview of Obama by Steve Kroft. CBS News, run by David Rhodes, edits out segment that indicates Obama knew that Benghazi was a premeditated attack not a reaction to the video.
US intelligence informing White House that Benghazi attack carried out by Al Qaeda's Ansar al-Sharia and AQIM.
Press Secretary Jay Carney condemns the YouTube video and the violence.
FBI interviews the survivors of the attack.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is linked to the Innocence of Muslims movie and the persona 'Sam Bacile' by Associated Press and US federal authorities.
[Early morning hours]
Defense Department's Africom sends a targeting memo to State Department including the names of 11 suspects, four connected to AQIM and seven connected Ansar al-Sharia.
CIA's Office of Terrorism Analysis submits Version 1 of Benghazi Talking Points. “We do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda participated in the attack.”
Secretary of Defense Panetta briefs Senate Armed Services Committee with Version 1 of Benghazi Talking Points, declares Benghazi a coordinated terrorist attack.
CIA Director Petraeus briefs House Intelligent Committees on Benghazi, contradicts Libyan CIA station chief and Version 1 of Benghazi Talking Points by directly linking attack to the YouTube video.
WH Spokesman Jay Carney denies Administration had “actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the US mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.”
Carney continues: "We also need to understand that this is a fairly volatile situation and it is in response not to United States policy, not to obviously the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video, a film that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting. That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it, but this is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims."
The bodies of slain Americans return to Andrews Air Force Base.
***Obama and Clinton blame the YouTube video in their prepared statements before the flag draped coffins.
Stephen W. Preston, the CIA general counsel sends an email to other agency officials advising them not to disclose information that could jeopardize the FBI's own investigation.
Tommy Vietor top spokesman at the National Security Council
Email from Jake Sullivan, deputy chief of staff to Hillary Clinton, reports to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland that he’s spoken with Obama’s top spokesman at the National Security Council, Tommy Vietor. “I spoke with Tommy. We’ll work through this in the morning and get comments back.”
In a separate email, he writes: “Talked to Tommy. We can make edits.”
***5:42 PM, 9/14/2012
Email sent by Deputy Spokesman at U.S. Mission to the United Nations Payton Knopf to Susan Rice:
"Responding to a question about whether it was an organized terror attack, Toria said that she couldn’t speak to the identity of the perpetrators but that it was clearly a complex attack."
Tommy Vietor, the National Security Council spokesman emails to remind officials that Denis McDonough, the then deputy national security adviser and now White House chief of staff wants all talking points edited and coordinated within the State Department.
Shawn Turner, spokesman for the director of national intelligence offers up the suggestion that on September 10th, the CIA 'notified' the American embassy in Cairo, not 'warned it' about social media chatter calling for jihadists to break into the embassy. Morell removed this.
Brennan finishes and passes along his Talking Points edits.
Version 1 of Benghazi Talking Points are first distributed to State Department officials in the inter agency vetting process.
Victoria Nuland, State Department spokeswoman email says that all talking points should match what the Obama administration was telling reporters.
Senior State Department official, spokesman Victoria Nuland, raises “serious concerns” about Version 1 of Benghazi Talking Points: “The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya. These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks. [Version 1 of the Talking Points] could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either? Concerned …”
In response to State Dept. concerns, CIA officials cut all references to Ansar al Sharia.
The FBI makes minor changes to the talking point draft.
Ben Rhodes email to Carney, Earnest, Pfieffer, Palmieri Pelton, Ledbetter, and Pluoffe, subject: "RE: PREP CALL with Susan, Saturday at 4:00 pm ET."
“Goal: To underscore that these protests are rooted in and Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”
Email from official in CIA’s Office of Public Affairs to others at agency: “The State Department had major reservations with much or most of the document. We revised the document with their concerns in mind.”
Nuland's follow-up email states that the problems with the Talking Points remain and that her superiors—she did not say which ones—were unhappy.
Jake Sullivan, deputy chief of staff and director of policy planning at the State Department, email to Victoria Nuland to inform her of conversations he’s had with Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House. “I spoke with Tommy. We’ll work through this in the morning and get comments back.”
Sullivan email to Nuland: “Talked to Tommy. We can make edits.”
In response to Nuland's email, Ben Rhodes, a top adviser to President Obama on national security and foreign policy, re-assures the group that the issues would be resolved in a meeting of top administration officials the following morning at the White House: "We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.”
OCA to CIA email: ”FBI says AQ (not AQIM) was involved and they are pursuing that theory. So we are not ahead of law enforcement now. So are cleared to go to Congress?”
A CIA spokesman emails other agency staff members a note intended for David Petraeus that warns him that the White House cleared the talking points too quickly and that the State Department had 'major concerns'.
Deputies Committee convenes with James Clapper Director for National Intelligence (DNI) . Some participants in person, others join via a Secure Video Teleconference System (SVTS).
Version 2 of Benghazi Talking Points: 'Jihadists,' 'al Qaeda' and mention of previous attacks in Benghazi are omitted from Version 1.
Mike Morell, deputy director of the CIA, agrees to work with Jake Sullivan and Rhodes to edit the talking points. Sullivan was deputy chief of staff to Sec. of State Clinton and the State Dept.’s director of policy planning. Denis McDonough, top national security adviser to Obama deferred on Rhodes’s behalf to Sullivan.
Morell hand written edits of Talking Points from meeting: Morell scratches out mentions of al-Qaida, the experience of fighters in Libya, Islamic extremists and a warning to the Cairo embassy on the eve of the attacks of calls for a demonstration and break-in by jihadists.
The proceedings of the meeting are summarized in an email to Rice shortly after the meeting ended. The subject line reads: “SVTS on Movie/Protests/violence.”
According to the email, several officials in meeting shared Nuland's concerns, who did not attend, that CIA’s talking points might lead to criticism that State Dept. ignored CIA’s warning about an attack.
The email reports that Sullivan will work with a small group of individuals from intelligence community to finalize the talking points on Saturday before sending them on to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which had originated the request for talking points.
Sender of the email to Rice (name redacted) speaks with Sullivan after meeting, reminding him that Rice would be doing the Sunday morning shows and needs to receive the final talking points. Sullivan committed to making sure Rice was updated before the Sunday shows. The sender tells Sullivan the name of the staffer (redacted in the email) who would be running Rice’s prep session and encouraged the team to keep Rice in the loop.
Benjamin Rhodes changes the United States 'consulate' to 'diplomatic post'.
Version 3 of Benghazi Talking Points is established by DNI.
Version 3 Benghazi Talking Points provided for UN Amb. Rice for the Sunday news talk shows she is scheduled for.
CIA Director Petraeus is emailed most recent version of talking points.
1:23 PM --- Email sent to Rice by a member of her staff whose name was blacked out. The email said Morell indicated he would work with Sullivan and Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser, to revise the talking points
Patraeus email to Morell: “No mention of the cable to Cairo, either? ...Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this... NSS's call, to be sure; however, this is certainly not what Vice Chairman (Dutch) Ruppersberger was hoping to get for unclas use. Regardless, thanks for the great work."
Ruppersberger is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
The (redacted) author of email to Rice follows up directly with Sullivan, asking for a copy of the talking points to help with Rice’s preparation for TV. Sullivan promises to provide them.
Petraeus email to Chip Walter, head of the CIA’s legislative affairs office, expressing frustration at new talking points, noting that they had been stripped of much of the content his agency had provided - policymakers had even taken out the line about the CIA’s warning on Cairo.
Email from an official with CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis, the office that drafted the original version of the talking points, signed off on the final version but seemed to understand that the new version wouldn’t please those who had requested it. “They are fine with me. But, pretty sure HPSCI [the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] won’t like them. :-)”
The final draft is approved and Susan Rice uses it to inform her appearances on Sunday morning news shows.
Federal authorities take You Tube video maker Nakoula in for an interview about possible probation violations related to the film's distribution on the Internet.
UN Ambassador Susan Rice appears on five Sunday talk shows and says Benghazi attacks were spontaneous and provoked by the YouTube video, exclusively.
"But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy–sparked by this hateful video."
"This is a spontaneous reaction to a video, and it’s not dissimilar but, perhaps, on a slightly larger scale than what we have seen in the past with The Satanic Verses with the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad."
Libyan President Mohammed Magarief says, “no doubt that this [attack] was preplanned, predetermined.”
State Dept. spokeswoman Victoria Nuland refuses to call Benghazi attack an act of terror.
WH Spokesman Jay Carney: "No evidence of [Benghazi] being a pre-planned attack."
Obama asked about Benghazi on Late Night with David Letterman, blames the YouTube video filmmaker. "Here's what happened. ... You had a video that was released by somebody who lives here, sort of a shadowy character who -- who made an extremely offensive video directed at -- at Mohammed and Islam."
CNN finds Ambassador Stevens’ diary at Benghazi consulate compound, which indicates concern about security threats in Benghazi.
Director of National Counter-terrorism Center Matthew Olsen tells Congress attack in Benghazi was “terrorism.”
Carney backs up Olsen, says it was “self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”
POTUS interview with Univision: "What we’ve seen over the last week, week and a half, is something that actually we’ve seen in the past, where there is an offensive video or cartoon directed at the prophet Muhammad. And this is obviously something that then is used as an excuse by some to carry out inexcusable violent acts directed at Westerners or Americans... What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests."
Secretary of State Clinton declares, “What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”
On The View when asked if Benghazi was a terrorist attack, Obama says, “we don’t have all of the information yet so we are still gathering.”
President Obama addresses UN assembly, repeatedly refers to the YouTube video.
Libya’s President Magarief on Today show: “It was a preplanned act of terrorism directed against American citizens.”
Innocence of Muslims "filmmaker" Mark Basseley Youseff (aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula) is arrested in Los Angeles for violating terms of his probation, including making false statements regarding his role in the film and his use of the alias "Sam Bacile."
Nakoula is denied bail.
A Fox News report -- titled "US officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours, sources confirm" -- is circulated at most senior levels of administration -- McDonough, Brennan; Morell; and Rhodes, among others. [comments are redacted, citing "personal privacy information."]
ODNI and Director Clapper, issues statement backing Administration’s changed story about Benghazi attack being act of terror: “In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and provide updates as they became available... As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized attack carried out by extremists. It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate. However, we do assess that some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to al Qaeda.”
Jill Kelley has breakfast at the White House after being appointed an honorary consul director to South Korea.
Carney declines to comment on reported requests from diplomats in Benghazi for additional security, citing the State Department’s internal investigation.
FBI team arrives in Benghazi to investigate attack. They leave after 12 hours.
Tunisian Ali Ani al-Harzi is arrested in Turkey for his suspected role in the Benghazi attack.
Tunisian and member of the Islamic Jihad, Jamal Abu Ahmad is arrested in Egypt for his suspected role in the Benghazi attack.
State Dept. releases its own account of Benghazi attack.
House Oversight Committee hearing investigating Benghazi attack convenes.
Director of National Intelligence Clapper testifies that he did not alter UN Amb. Rices talking points.
During VP debate Biden firmly declares that "we" were never informed about Benghazi security concerns before attack.
Obama pledges to "hunt down" the Benghazi attackers during presidential debate. Says he called the Benghazi assault a terrorist attack on 9/12/12. CNN debate moderator Candy Crawley breaks pro forma to side with Obama on this matter. Michelle Obama shuns debate rules by clapping loudly at Crowley's debate assistance.
President Obama asked about Benghazi on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
CBS News releases a quote of the previously edited out portion of an interview recorded on 9/12/12 that indicates Obama knew Benghazi was a premeditated attack.
CIA Director Petraeus secretly visits Libya to personally investigate Benghazi attack.
Jill Kelley visits the White House for a second time.
Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News posts online the clip edited out of the 60 Minutes interview with Obama on 9/12/12 in which he indicates he knew Benghazi was a premeditated attack.
Sec. of Def. Panetta, press briefing: "The basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on... [The attack was over before] we had the opportunity to really know what was happening."
Journalists from Foreign Policy find classified documents at complex that were overlooked by FBI's recent 12 hour search of the area.
Paula Broadwell publicly claims CIA Benghazi complex held Libyan jihadists as prisoners.
FBI agent Humphries contacts Rep. Reichert to complain that FBI not being aggressive enough in an investigation about a national security breach.
Rep. Reichert informs House Majority Leader Eric Cantor about Patraeus - Broadwell FBI investigation. Cantor contacts FBI.
Senator Lindsey Graham writes letter to Tunisian Ambassador requesting FBI be given access to prisoner being held in Tunisia with knowledge of Benghazi attack.
Tunisian Prime Minister grants FBI access to prisoner with ties to Benghazi attack.
FBI arrives in Tunisia to interview Benghazi suspect.
FBI completes investigation of Petraeus - Broadwell emails/affair.
CIA Director Petraeus and Director of National Intelligence Clapper clash over official CIA timeline to be released.
Petraeus finds out about FBI's investigation of his affair with Broadwell.
Director of National Intelligence Clapper learns of Petraeus - Broadwell affair.
You Tube maker of Innocence of Muslims Mark Basseley Youseff (aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula) sentenced to one year in prison and four years of supervised release.
Obama notified of Petraeus affair FBI investigation.
White House asks Petraeus to resign as CIA Director.
FBI searches Broadwell home.
Obama press conference:
-POTUS the one who sent Rice onto the five Sunday talk shows to explain Benghazi on 9/16/12.
-No classified material exposed in Petraeus - Broadwell affair.
-"...what happened in Benghazi. We have provided every bit of information that we have, and we will continue to provide information..."
House and Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on Benghazi attack.
Four top intelligence officers appear before the Senate committee: DNI Clapper, head of Nat. Counterterrorism Center Matt Olsen, under Sec. of State for management Pat Kennedy, and head of CIA Mike Morell. Each of them emphatically states that they did not change the talking points.
Petraeus testifies that CIA knew Benghazi was a planned terrorist attack from day one and that the CIA did not change Rice's talking points.
Morell implicates FBI in talking point changes/removals...
FBI issues a global appeal asking anyone with information about Benghazi attackers to send information via e-mail, text message or Facebook.
Jay Carney: “There are no unanswered questions about Ambassador Rice’s appearance on Sunday shows and the talking points that she used for those appearances that were provided by the intelligence community.”
Rice and CIA Director Mike Morell meet with Sens. McCain, Graham and Ayotte. Morell: FBI were the ones that altered Rice's public talking points.
Later in the day, CIA "corrects" Morell by saying CIA not FBI made the changes.
Jay Carney: “Those talking points originated from the intelligence community. They reflect the IC’s best assessments of what they thought had happened... The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility’ because ‘consulate’ was inaccurate.”
Cheryl Attkisson of CBS News has her computer breached while investigating White House Benghazi scandal. (Attkisson says she noticed unusual activity in her CBS-issued laptop and her home computer, such as dormant computers spontaneously “waking up” at odd hours. The unusual activity, which also included disruptions on her home phone line, predate the December 2012 breach that CBS confirmed.)
12/04/12 --- Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Amanda Dory testifies before
Senate Foreign Relations African subcommittee that Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) involved in Benghazi attack.
Hillary Clinton suffers a concussion after fainting due to a stomach virus, but is not hospitalized.
Hillary Clinton announces that she will not testify before Congressional hearings next week because of her recent ailment.
State Department's Accountability Review Board (ARB) report on its investigation of Benghazi is released.
Paula Broadwell is cleared of any charges in her cyber-stalking email probe.
Raymond Maxwell, deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs is placed on forced “administrative leave" with pay. No reason is given.
Eric Boswell, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, and Charlene Lamb, deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security resign in wake of ARB report.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Benghazi
Republican senators will reportedly refuse to confirm Sen. John Kerry, as Secretary of State until Hillary Clinton testifies about Benghazi attack.
Report: Highest-ranking official forced to “resign" after ARB report, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Boswell, has not “resigned” from government service, as officials stated last week - he is changing job titles.
Three other officials reported as fired are now on administrative leave and are expected back at former positions.
All four remain on the State Department payroll.
Krauthammer to press: “Is there anything that they’ve told us about this affair – a serious affair, four dead Americans, a sacked embassy, and the first assassination of an ambassador in 30 years – that has turned out to be so? As of now, nothing.”
12/28/2012 (a Saturday)
WH releases visitor log for 9/11/2012 that shows three visitors for "Debate Prep".
Obama when asked if there has been progress in bringing the Benghazi attackers to justice: "We have some very good leads."
Hillary Clinton has not been seen in public since beginning of December.
CIA operatives involved in Benghazi begin being subjected to frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations. The goal of the questioning, according to sources, is to find out if anyone is talking to the media or Congress.
Ahmed Boukhtala, main suspect in the Benghazi attack as well as a suspect in assassination of Libyan rebel commander Major General Abdelfattah Younis, continues to live freely in Benghazi.
Ali Harzi, suspect in Benghazi attack, is freed by Tunisian officials due to lack of evidence.
FBI director Mueller arrives in Tripoli.
A senior Algerian official: Egyptian militants that sieged an Algerian gas complex last week also took part in attack on US in Benghazi.
CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson responds to Obama Administration statement that it will not answer further questions on Benghazi:
-"Who made the decision not to convene the Counter-terrorism Security Group (CSG) the night of the Benghazi attacks?"
-“We understand that convening the CSG a protocol under Presidential directive (“NSPD-46”). Is that true? If not, please explain…”
-“Who is the highest-ranking official who was aware of pre-911 security requests from US personnel in Libya?”
-“Who is/are the official(s) responsible for removing reference to al-Qaeda from the original CIA notes?”
-“Was the President aware of Gen. Petraeus’ potential problems prior to Thurs., Nov. 8, 2012?”
Clinton testifies on Benghazi attacks before Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee.
-acknowledges ‘spreading jihadist threat’
-‘What difference, at this point, does it make?!’
-No one has been fired in aftermath of Benghazi attack
-State Dept. ‘was not involved’ in creation of administration talking points
-denies seeing the August 15/16 memo warning of the eminent attack
-there was no real time video of the attack
-makes the case for democracy ‘bolstering’ as a defense against AQIM
-denies knowledge of any weapons being shipped from Libya to Syria through Turkey
Former Secretary of Defense Panetta and Joint Chief of Staff General Dempsey testify on Benghazi before Senate Armed Services Committee.
-They acknowledge receiving 281 concurrent threat reports about the danger in Benghazi (Clinton denied seeing many of these reports).
-They testify that after the 5PM White House meeting telling POTUS that an attack on the consulate had begun, POTUS never followed-up on any details until well after the 8 hour attack had ended...
White House confirms that POTUS did not make any phone calls to any principals involved (Defense, State, Libyan officials) in Benghazi attack for the 7 hours it lasted following him being informed of the crisis.
02/15/2013 Susan Rice goes on Comedy Central's The Daily Show to be interviewed by Jon Stewart.
Jay Carney: “Like every president before him, he has a national security adviser and deputy national security adviser. He was in regular communication with his national security team directly, through them, and spoke with the secretary of state at approximately 10 p.m. He called her to get an update on the situation.”
Egypt still denying US access to the only publicly known Benghazi attack suspect in custody. Abu Ahmed, aka Mohammed Jamal, is suspected of running Islamist training camps in Eastern Libya where militants who took part in the Benghazi attack were trained.
Faraj al Chalabi, (also spelled Shibli) an al Qaeda terrorist linked to the 1994 terrorist murder of two German tourists, is detained by the Tripoli government for his role in planning the Benghazi attack.
Secretary of State Kerry says that he has met with one of the 33 Benghazi survivors.
Congressional staffers from House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, Judiciary and Government Oversight committees meet for a closed door "status report" on their investigations into the Benghazi attack.
Marine Corps Col. George Bristol relinquishes command of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara, which is at the center of the military’s fight against extremist groups operating across the Sahel. Air Force Col. Kenneth G. Sipperly assumes command of the task force during a ceremony at Africa Command headquarters in Stuttgart.
Al Qaeda-linked website, Abdallah Dhu-al-Bajadin, states that Stevens was given a lethal injection after the original plan to kidnap him went bad.
State Department spokeswoman Nuland acknowledges that three diplomatic security agents, as well as a State Department contractor, were among the Americans injured during the attack in Benghazi before she shuts down questions on the matter.
Senator Graham says that he has had contact with some of the 33 Benghazi survivors and that they have been ordered to keep quiet.
Spokesman Carney claims the White House is not preventing access to Benghazi survivors. Carney says he does not know if POTUS has visited with any of the survivors.
Inspector General office notifies State Department of its "special review" seeking to determine whether the Accountability Review Board, or ARB — led by former UN Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen — failed to interview key witnesses who had asked to provide their accounts of Benghazi attacks to the panel.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper tells House Intelligence Committee that Pentagon-run aerial drones were conducting surveillance above Libya prior to assault on US Consulate. First time a US intelligence official has publicly acknowledged drone operations in Libya prior to the terrorist strike.
Four whistle-blowers, career officials at State Department and CIA, are privately speaking to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigators regarding Benghazi attacks. In response, Oversight Committee sends letters to three federal agencies involved: CIA, Defense Department and State Department.
Secretary of State Kerry testifies before Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Republican House committees on Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform release Interim Progress Report on Benghazi Terror Attack Investigation. Report concludes: Clinton approved reductions in security levels prior to Sept. 11, 2012 attack, contradicting Clinton’s testimony before House Foreign Affairs Committee on Jan. 23; White House and senior State Department officials altered accurate intelligence community drafted talking points to protect the department after attack.
State Department refusing security clearances to attorneys representing Benghazi whistle-blower witnesses. One lawyer, Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official, accuses unnamed Obama administration officials of threatening her client.
POTUS at White House Presser:
"I’m not familiar with this notion that anybody has been blocked from testifying. So, what I’ll do is I will find out what exactly you are referring to. What I’ve been very clear about from the start is that our job with respect to Benghazi has been to find out exactly what happened, to make sure the U.S. embassies, not just in the Middle East but around the world, are safe and secure, and to bring those who carried it out to justice. But I’ll find out what exactly it is that you’re referring to."
FBI posts photos of three individuals who were on the scene during the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on the US mission in Benghazi.
WH Press Sec. Carney: "Benghazi happened a long time ago. We are unaware of any agency blocking an employee who would like to appear before Congress to provide information related to Benghazi."
Senators Graham, Ayotte, and McCain send letter to President Obama requesting that the names of Benghazi survivors be released.
The State Department’s Office of Inspector General investigation into whether the Accountability Review Board (ARB) failed to interview key witnesses becomes public.
Several sources, including one senior US law enforcement official, tell CNN that several Yemeni men belonging to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) took part in the Benghazi attack.
FBI releases video seeking information regarding three men who were at the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Identities of Benghazi whistle-blowers released. Appearing before House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be three career State Department officials:
Gregory Hicks, deputy chief of mission at US Embassy in Libya at time of Benghazi attacks;
Mark Thompson, former Marine and now deputy coordinator for Operations in agency’s Counter terrorism Bureau;
Eric Nordstrom, diplomatic security officer who was regional security officer (RSO) in Libya, top security officer in the country in months leading up to attacks.
Report of a fourth Benghazi whistle-blower being denied clearance to testify.
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies awards Susan Rice the 2013 Louis E. Martin Great American Award.
House Oversight Committee hearing with the three Benghazi whistle-blower witnesses - Hicks, Thompson and Nordstrom. Survivors are named with tales of heroism.
CBS News executives warn Sharyl Attkisson that her reporting on Benghazi is wading dangerously close to advocacy.
CBS News president David Rhodes is brother of Ben Rhodes, a top adviser to POTUS on national security and foreign policy who helped edit the Benghazi Talking Points.
In Beverly Hills Hillary Clinton is awarded the Pacific Council on International Policy's Warren Christopher Public Service Award.
House Speaker Boehner calls on White House to release all emails that relate to Benghazi attacks.
ABC News reports that the Benghazi Talking Points went through 12 revisions.
White House officials meet privately with 14 news organisations on "deep background."
Carney hit with Benghazi questions from major news networks during his postponned presser.
State Dept's Philippe Reines tells CBS News that Clinton Depty Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan not in Benghazi talking points meeting of 9/15: "The White House will tell you he (Sullivan) didn't attend...Not sure where that is coming from but it's bogus..."
White House contradicts the State Dept and says Sullivan was in attendance: "The CIA circulated revised talking points...after the Deputies Committee meeting, which Jake attended."
Reines explains to CBS News that he "hadn't checked" with Sullivan before mistakely saying that Sullivan didn't attend.
Obama presser when asked about Benghazi: "The whole issue of talking points, frankly, throughout this process, has been a sideshow... There's no there there... Who executes some sort of cover-up or effort to tamp things down for three days? The whole thing defies logic... These so-called talking points... We dishonor when we, you know, we turn things like this into a political circus."
State Department press briefing, spokesperson Jen Psaki when asked to substantiate her claims that CIA stripped talking points before State Dept.: "You'll have to take my word for it."
146 House Republicans are defying Speaker Boehner and five committee chairmen by endorsing Rep. Wolf's resolution to set up a special panel to investigate Benghazi.
Sen. McCain wants GOP-led House to schedule a vote in hopes to pressure on Senate to act.
White House leaks a single Ben Rhodes email (then-Deputy National Security Adviser and brother of CBS News president) to Jake Tapper CNN that apparently contradicts J. Karl ABC News report on Talking Points revisions. Tapper responds by asking WH to release entire email chain.
AM --- Former Obama advisor David Axelrod: WH should release Benghazi emails.
AG Holder says he will not appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate Benghazi.
5:15 PM --- White House releases 94 pages of emails on Benghazi, previous claims contradicted; 67 hour gap; zero mention of You Tube video.
6:15 PM --- POTUS public statement on IRS scandal.
Sources: Susan Rice informed she will replace Tom Donilon as National Security Advisor when he decides to step down.
POTUS from the Rose Garden...
05/17/13 --- Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), 26,000 strong, representing DSS officers wounded during Benghazi attack, sends letter to Rep. Wolf, architect of bill to establish a select committee, supporting his bill.
CBS News Sharyl Attkisson report: White House officials admit mistakes: "Incompetence rather than malice or cover up... We're portrayed by Republicans as either being lying or idiots. It's actually closer to us being idiots... I wish we'd sent FEST. They were told they were not deploying by Patrick Kennedy's front office... In hindsight... I probably would've pushed the button."
Rep. Issa issues subpoena to Thomas Pickering to appear at a deposition next week. Pickering co-chaired the Benghazi Accountability Review Board.
Former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs Raymon Maxwell, in legal limbo on "forced administrative leave," claims he was scapegoated. “I had no involvement to any degree with decisions on security and the funding of security at our diplomatic mission in Benghazi.”
Report: Two more whistle-blowers set to emerge: Stevens’ mission in Benghazi was to buy back Stinger missiles from al-Qaeda groups issued to them by the State Department, not by the CIA who refuse to do so; pressure put on General Carter Ham, commander of (AFRICOM) not to act to protect US personnel; leaking of Petraeus’ affair to silence the former CIA chief on these matters.
FBI identifies five suspects in Benghazi attack - no arrests have been made yet.
President Obama declares an end to the Global War on Terror.
Lawmakers release letter dated 5/17 by Rep. Issa, chairman of House Oversight and Reform Committee, to Sec. of State Kerry requesting 13 current and former State Department employees be made available for testimony.
White House announces President Barack Obama intends to nominate Victoria Nuland as assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, a position that requires Senate confirmation.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) subpoenas State Department documents related to the Benghazi talking points.
The Republican National Committee announces that it's filing a Freedom of Information Act request for the release of all "Benghazi Emails Between Obama’s Reelection Campaign and State Department."
State Dept.'s Rewards for Justice program offers $23 million in rewards for information on key leaders of terrorist organizations in West Africa: al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA);and the groups known as the Signed-in-Blood Battalion and Boko Haram.
President Obama replaces retiring National Security Advisor Tom Donolin with Susan Rice.
Libya’s government releases al Qaeda terror suspect Faraj al Chalabi, (also spelled Shibli) who US officials say was involved in planning the Benghazi attack. Chalabi, detained by Tripoli government in March, is released based on claims there is lack of evidence to hold him in custody.
CIA Director Mike Morell resigns.
Morell signed off on the requested edits of the CIA's Benghazi talking points.
He will join the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, the White House said.
The release of al Chalabi is first reported by the Benghazi publication New Quryna Online.
“A cyber security firm hired by CBS News has determined through forensic analysis that Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions late in 2012. Evidence suggests this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson’s accounts. While no malicious code was found, forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data.
This party also used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion.
CBS News is taking steps to identify the responsible party and their method of access.”
State Department declassifies first official photos from aftermath of Benghazi attack that includes jihadi graffiti.
House Republican chairman Issa subpoenas four State Department officials, saying the department is stalling on efforts to interview them.
House Armed Services Committee questions military members in the AFRICOM chain of command in a closed hearing. The witnesses include commander of Special Operations Command Africa Rear Adm. Brian Losey and former AFRICOM commander Gen. Carter Ham.
Members of Congress want to interview Marine Corps Col. George Bristol who was in a key position in the AFRICOM chain of command during Benghazi attack, but they don't know where he is and the Pentagon isn't telling. Pentagon spokesman Major Robert Firman says that the Department of Defense "cannot compel retired members to testify before Congress."
Former State Dept. spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, nominated by President Obama to be assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, tells Senate Foreign Relations Committee that she sought changes in the CIA talking points draft because it was “inappropriately crafted” and misleading. Nuland said she played only a limited role in the review of the Benghazi explanation and never discussed it with Hillary Clinton or Susan Rice.
Defense Department officials have told members of Congress that Marine Corps Col. George Bristol cannot be forced to testify because he retired after stepping down during a March change of command ceremony.
“Col. Bristol was not invited by Congress to testify before he retired,” said Air Force Maj. Robert Firman, a spokesman with the Office of the Secretary of Defense. “The DoD has cooperated fully with Congress and the Accountability Review Board since the beginning of this investigation, and we will continue to do so.”
That isn’t the case, however. While Bristol is preparing for retirement, he is on active duty through the end of July, said Maj. Shawn Haney, a Marine spokeswoman. He will be placed on the inactive list on Aug. 1, she said. That contradicts statements that Pentagon officials have issued to both Congress and the media.
Congressman Frank Wolf on the House floor: survivors of the Benghazi terror attack have been forced to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Former head of US forces in Africa (AFRICOM) retired General Carter Ham speaks about Benghazi attack at the Aspen Security Forum: We all knew "pretty quickly that this was not a demonstration. This was a violent attack."
CNN able to interview lead Benghazi suspect, Ahmed Abu Khattala, for two hours. He has not been contacted by the FBI. Khattala is described as the leader of the al Qaeda-affiliated militia group Ansar al-Sharia.
CNN report: 21 CIA agents were on the ground during Benghazi attack, and the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret. 35 Americans were in Benghazi on night of attack - seven wounded.
Justice Department files charges in sealed criminal indictment against Ahmed Abu Khattala and two others.
Unsubstantiated report: Over 400 surface-to-air missiles went missing after 9/11 Benghazi raid.
Secretary of State Kerry determines that the four State Department officials placed on administrative leave by Hillary Clinton last December after the attack in Benghazi do not deserve any formal disciplinary action and has asked them to come back to work at the State Dept. starting 8/20.
A senior State Department official confirms that all four officials placed on administrative leave were now returned to regular duty and would not face any formal disciplinary action.
US special operations team in Libya assigned to track Benghazi attackers being pulled from region.
NYT: Libyan government, which has little to no control over significant parts of the country, has rebuffed the Obama administration’s efforts to arrest the Benghazi suspects.
State Department is asked why the Benghazi Terrorists are not part of the US 'Reward for Justice' Program.
Sources: ex-Guantanamo detainee Sufian bin Qumu, who is suspected of running camps in eastern Libya where some of the Benghazi assailants trained and a "respected member" of Ansar al-Sharia, was on site during the Benghazi attack.
Report: Masked from public view, two of the U.S. military’s elite special operations commandos have been awarded medals for bravery.
Sources directly familiar with the attack say that a unit of eight special operators — mostly Delta Force and Green Beret members — were in Tripoli the night of the attack, on a counterterrorism mission that involved capturing weapons and wanted terrorists from the streets and helping train Libyan forces.
When word of the Benghazi attack surfaced, two members of that military unit volunteered to be dispatched along with five private security contractors on a hastily arranged flight from Tripoli to rescue Americans in danger.
The two special operations forces arrived in time to engage in the final, ferocious firefight between the terrorists and Americans holed up in the CIA annex.
“Yes, we had special forces in Tripoli, and two in fact did volunteer and engaged heroically in the efforts to save Americans."
Morell re-testifies before House Intelligence Committee, revises previous testimony - misspoke, mixed up recollection. Regarding seeing Rice on Sunday talk shows: "My reaction was two-fold. One was that what she said about the attacks evolving spontaneously from a protest was exactly what the talking points said, and it was exactly what the intelligence community analysts believed. When she talked about the video, my reaction was, that's not something that the analysts have attributed this attack to."
Court ordered release of Ben Rhodes email of 9/14/2012 at 8:09 PM.
Former NSC spokesman Vietor: "Dude, this was like two years ago!"