Benghazi timeline of terror
Inside how the tragic events unfolded on September 11, 2012
- Duration 9:57
- Date Mar 8, 2013
Inside how the tragic events unfolded on September 11, 2012
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
Now the terror attack and -- Ghazi -- hours of chaos and confusion not just in Libya but also halfway around the world in Washington DC.
Now let's take a closer look at how it all unfold.
September 11 2012.
Sometime in the morning US ambassador Chris -- sends a three page cable.
From -- -- -- to Washington.
Noting quote growing problems with security unquote.
The Libyan police and security forces work quote too weak to keep the country secure.
Ambassador Stevens is getting ready for bed inside the main residence of a temporary consulate complex made up of a series of rented villains.
Also in the building is information management officer Sean Smith and forged diplomatic security agents.
Fox's Greg -- cut travel to the complex in -- -- detract the events of that night.
At this point outside the main gate of the compound on the other side of the US mission walls in this -- on the neighborhood all is quiet.
And stirrings of any protests no sign of the real hell about 21 fold.
5000 miles away secretary of state Hillary Clinton is at the State Department.
And President Obama is at Walter Reed medical center in Maryland.
This amateur video apparently captures the first outbreak of violence outside of the compound walls.
Suddenly the compound has.
-- The -- -- of attackers breakthrough here in the main gate a weak point in the defense of the mission.
Then move on here today understaffed Libya militia barracks they stormed the place they tortured.
They light up embassy cars around us and -- They move on.
Inside the main residence is a safe haven area.
Fortified by a locked metal gate these special agent reportedly David -- comes over hearing gets ambassador -- out of this federal.
And along with Sean Smith brings them over here -- this room in the safe haven.
Aside for some medicine -- really just a big dark windowless closet.
A lot -- Hope for secure.
Other agents barricaded themselves inside the tactical operations center and -- alarm.
A diplomatic security agent working in the tactical operations center.
Immediately alerted the quick reaction security team station nearby.
The embassy in Tripoli.
And the diplomatic security command center in Washington.
And urgent email comes to the State Department with the subject line US diplomatic mission in Ben -- under attack.
It says that approximately twenty -- people fired shots of explosions have been heard.
At this point there are seven Americans at three different locations ambassador Stephens and two others -- the main residence over there.
Few special agents of the second residence -- cafeteria there and two more agents.
At this tactical operations center attackers are coming in all.
Around word of the chaos reaches the secretary state in Washington I was notified of the attack shortly after 4 PM.
I instructed our senior department officials and our diplomatic security personnel to consider every option.
To just break down the doors of the Libyan officials to get.
As much security support as we possibly could I spoke to the national security advisor Tom Donnelly and several times to be -- Libya the main residence is under siege.
Attackers coming here they -- ransacked the place and then they go for that locked gates.
They look inside it is dark they don't say anything they try to open up the gate they can't.
A mile away is the CIA annex where former navy seal tie woods and five CIA.
Global response agents launched a rescue mission and speed towards the fight.
The attackers have now poured diesel fuel around the main building and they set it on fire ambassador Stevenson Sean Smith.
-- forced to crawl through the smoke and flames towards a window to try and escape.
This is the window that special agent who wouldn't Jimmy's open and crawls out but Stephens and Smith do not follow up.
Even though he can't breathing and barely see he goes back game he goes back in and out to try to find them and then.
He is overcome with smoke.
At the Pentagon officials say there is not enough intelligence -- time to get -- -- in place to help.
Basic principle is that you don't deploy forces.
Into harm's way.
Without know hello what's going -- without having some real time information plus.
Tripoli 400 miles from -- -- a team of seven including former navy -- -- already.
Commandeer a small jet and fly in to help.
President Obama departs Walter Reed for the White House where he will meet with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
And general Martin Dempsey chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The CIA eighteen rescues the remaining Americans from the consulate complex amid heavy gunfire.
They recover Shawn Smith's body but cannot find ambassador -- in the burning buildings.
A second email reaches the State Department saying the firing at the US diplomatic mission in Ben -- has stopped.
And the compound has been clear.
Back at the White House the president meets with secretary Panetta and general Dempsey.
We just picked up BM information that.
That something was happening that there was an apparent attack going on -- -- -- And I informed the president of of that fact and he at that point.
Directed both myself and general Dempsey to do everything we needed to do try to protect lives -- Did you have any further communications with him that night.
How long did that conversation last.
We were there in the office for probably thirty minutes -- talk to him for thirty minutes.
And you never talk to them again.
-- the one idea until afterwards until after the attack was so that your.
If I could just to make it correct one thing I wouldn't say there -- no follow from the White House -- no follow up.
To my knowledge of the president but his staff was engaged with the National Military Command Center.
And -- pretty constantly through the period.
As the president has briefed the compound in -- Ghazi is completely overrun.
The American -- -- Smith's body into an armored vehicle and head for the CIA annexed.
Along the way they take heavy AK 47 fired grenade hits.
And despite sustaining heavy damage that make it back to the secure and it's.
Looters enter the compound and find Stephens unconscious they rushed him to a hospital.
Another email reaches Washington stating that a terror group is taking credit for the attacks on FaceBook and on Twitter.
A mile away the CIA and -- is now under attack.
Around 1 AM ambassador Stephens -- brought by car here to the nine -- medical center for doctors tried desperately to save them for some 45 minutes.
They fail he -- of -- fixation.
More than six hours after the attack begins Hillary Clinton calls President Obama to.
You bring him up today to hear he is perspective when did you -- as president.
I talked to the president at the end of the day.
But I had been in constant communication with the national security advisor -- -- on.
Video conferences with -- High level officials in the White House -- Defense Department by this point the CIA -- is under heavy attack.
The team from Tripoli finally arrived at the -- -- England Doherty join Tiger Woods.
Help fight off this assault.
Around 4 AM this -- compound is hit by another wave of attacks it is described as planned and -- size.
-- -- mortar fire targeting the roof of the building -- well behind this case.
That turns out to be dangerous and deadly former.
Navy SEALs authority and woods are killed when mortar rounds explode in the roof security agent David Goldman is severely injured.
Around the same time Hillary Clinton releases a statement confirming that an employee is died in saying quote.
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.
There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.
Ten hours after the attacks began a convoy evacuees the remaining Americans to the airport.
Were chartered jet takes them to triple it.
We are working to determine the.
Precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault.
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior along with the protest.
This took place at our embassy in Cairo yesterday.
-- a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.
Later that morning President Obama addresses the nation from the Rose Garden.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.
The White House sticks with this explanation for days -- in response to.
We have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.
September 16 five days after the attack.
Ambassador Susan Rice goes on five Sunday talk shows standing by that erroneous claims.
It was a spontaneous.
Reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo.
It as a consequence of the video -- -- people gathered outside the embassy and that then spun out of control.