The Benghazi Timeline Updated: Where was the President for over Twelve Hours?

This article is part of an interlocked series of articles that will include updates of the timeline of the Benghazi attacks as information comes to light through 2015.compound

Included as of April 11, 2015 are the latest HINTS of president Obama’s whereabouts, actions, and intentions on September 11, 2012. We STILL don’t know.

Below is the confluence of the Pentagon’s released timeline as of November 2012, Jennifer Griffin’s original story, David Ignatius’ November 1, 2012, CIA sourced timeline, and other sources from this same period.  The updated information from earlier reports during this period and its implications are emboldened.

The emphasis within this accounting is President Obama’s absence. Some might claim that the President of the United States whereabouts should be made known from the hour of the first warnings of an imminent attack. Perhaps it’s possible that General Ham and others didn’t want to alert then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta or President Obama until the situation at the Consulate was clear. From this perspective, a later accounting of the President’s movements might be satisfactory. However, from the moment the first of the leaked email correspondence arrived in D.C. at 4:05 PM revealing an attack on the consulate, Americans have a right to demand accountability. During an attack on an American consulate, where was the commander-in-chief? During tumultuous events that cost American lives and American status around the world, where was President Obama.

From this perspective, the following timeline shows that the President of the United States was missing in action for over twelve hours. For over half a day, the President of the United States was absent without leave from executing his primary duties as commander-in-chief; or so, at least, it appears.

2:40 P.M. ET [8:40 Benghazi]—Warnings of an imminent attack received.

3:40 P.M. ET [9:40 Benghazi]—Jennifer Griffin’s original story. Tyrone Woods and others heard shots fired.

3:40 P.M. ET [9:40 Benghazi]—David Ignatius’ November 1st CIA timeline. The first call for assistance received. Alarms heard.

3:42 ET [9:42 Benghazi]—Latest Pentagon Timeline. Armed men attack the American Embassy

3:59 P.M. ET [9:59 Benghazi]Latest Pentagon Timeline. A surveillance drone is directed to fly over the U.S.compound, but it is unarmed. This seems to be the drone that arrives above the embassy compound at about 5:15, but its arrival is too early. However, the drone was supposed to be ninety minutes away. This one arrives within  only a seventy-five minutes.
Was it possible that the drone was diverted earlier than this report indicates, or were there two drones? Who ordered the drone to the compound?  Fox News reports that the commander of AFRICOM, General Ham, diverted the drone while visiting Washington D.C. General Ham, like General Petraeus, will soon be a civilian.

Sources claim Panetta hasn’t been notified yet and won’t be for another drone-300x168half an hour.

4:04 P.M. ET [10:04 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st Pentagon timeline. A six person rescue squad in two vehicles, one with Tyrone Woods, rushes to assist Ambassador Stephens and the embassy.

Jennifer Griffin’s original story: Sometime after 3:40 P.M. ET [10:04 Benghazi] . Tyrone Woods and at least three others ignore orders and leave the CIA Annex to assist Ambassador Stephens and the embassy. Jennifer’s sources confirm both the 3:40 attack time and suggest a twenty minute delay before Woods and others ignore orders.

4:05 P.M. ET [10:05 Benghazi] –the first leaked email from the State Department arrives in the Situation Room stating that the embassy is under attack.

4:10 P.M. ET [10:40 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st Pentagon timeline. The rescue team reaches the Libyan roadblocks that the Annex heard about no later than 2:40 PM. It took six minutes to return to the Annex under heavy fire. The negotiations with the Libyans seem to have taken only ten or fifteen minutes. Did money change hands?

4:20 P.M. ET [10:20 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st Pentagon
benghazi timeline. The first two agents, probably including Woods, enter the compound. They are soon followed by three others. About half the team, about five agents, including Woods, if Jennifer Griffith’s source is to be believed, retake the embassy. This was the work of heroes. The firefight took fifteen minutes. The GRS team was ten agents strong.

4:32 P.M. ET [10:32 Benghazi] –  Latest Pentagon Timeline. 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.” Two hours have passed since the CIA Annex was warned of an impending attack on the ambassador. An hour has passed since the attack.

4:35 P.M. ET [10:35 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st Pentagon timeline. The embassy mission compound is retaken.

4:40 P.M. ET [10:40 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st Pentagon timeline. The CIA team continues to search for Ambassador Stevens, and small-arms fire continues from the Libyan attackers.

5:00 P.M. ET [11 Benghazi]  – Latest Pentagon Timeline. 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.

5:11 [11:11 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st Pentagon timeline. A drone diverted from Darnah, Libya, ninety minutes away, arrives over the embassy.

This second Pentagon timeline confirms that all the events of September 11th 2012 that took place after 5:11 were available to President Obama via live feed from the drone flying over the American Embassy.

5:15 P.M. ET [11:15 Benghazi] – David Ignatius’ November 1st CIA timeline. The first car with embassy personnel returns, under fire, to the Annex.

5:30 P.M. ET [11:30 Benghazi] CIA November 1st and Latest Pentagon timeline. The last of the CIA team leaves the embassy, and under fire, reach the Annex six minutes later.
dm-map-of-benghazi-consulateThere are unanswered questions here. Two cars left the Annex but were there more now? Who left in which car? How long did it take for enemy fire to develop? Did the enemy discover the location of the Annex by following the CIA rescue team, or did they already have that information?

5:54 P.M. ET [11:54 Benghazi] The second of the leaked emails sent by the State Department arrives in the situation room stating that “Embassy Tripoli reports the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi has stopped and the compound has been cleared. A response team is on site attempting to locate COM personnel.”

This email is confused. The firing only stopped at the embassy after the CIA personnel left for the Annex. Was this email based on a composite of visual images sent by the drone and independently sent information from CIA personnel on the ground? Assuming this email is sent, again, about 25 minutes after the events reported, it corresponds to the moments after the last of the CIA left the compound.

6:00-8:00 P.M. [Midnight in Benghazi] –  Latest Pentagon Timeline. Panetta and other senior leaders discuss possible options if further violence breaks out. Where is President Obama?

6:00 P.M. ET [Midnight in Benghazi] –Jennifer Griffith’s Timeline/ November 1st CIA Timeline. The Annex itself comes under attack. 

7:00 P.M. ET [1:00 AM Benghazi] –Jennifer Griffith’s Timeline/ November 1st CIA Timeline. Fox’s sources say, starting at Midnight, additional calls for backup went out. The enemy fire was significant enough to warrant these requests. RPG’s and heavy caliber machine gun fire hits the Annex. Ignatius’ source calls enemy fire sporadic and suggests that at 1:01 AM, exactly, some (we are not told who) felt the attack might be over.

7:15-30 P.M. ET [1:15 Benghazi] November 1st CIA and Nov. 9th Pentagon timeline. A charter plane from [the American Embassy in] Tripoli,organized by Tripoli’s CIA station chief, arrives with another 5 CIA guys including a “case officer” and two G.I.’s.

8:00 P.M. ET [4:00 A.M. in Benghazi] –  Latest Pentagon Timeline. Panetta gives verbal orders for Marine anti-terrorist teams from Rota, Spain, to prepare to deploy to Tripoli and Benghazi.

There was serious, consistent fire following the rescue team to the Annex since 6:00. Why did it take Panetta two hours to give a verbal order? Why isn’t there a written record of these orders? Where is President Obama?

8:53 P.M. ET [2:53 Benghazi] –  Latest Pentagon Timeline. The National Military Command Center gives formal authorization for the deployment of the two special operations force teams from Croatia and the United States. This is three hours after calls from the Annex request backup. This is eleven hours after the attack on the embassy
mission compound.

UPDATE 4/11/2015:

According to Jay Carney’s report, two and a half years after these events unfolded, at approximately 10:00 Washington DC time, or about 4:00 AM Benghazi time, the President of the United States called Hillary Clinton from a location still not openly discussed. This is just prior to Clinton’s release of a statement connecting the Benghazi attack to a YouTube video made infamous by the Susan Rice’s Sunday morning talking points. An hour later Tryone Woods and Glen Doherty would be dead and the Annex would be surrendered and evacuated.

Carney said that President Obama called to receive an update. However, in her testimony before congress, Hillary Clinton added that she called the President to hear his perspective.

11:04 P.M. ET [5:04 AM Benghazi] David Ignatius’ November 1st CIA timeline. The team from Tripoli arrives at the Annex. This is when Glen Doherty arrives to support Tyrone Woods in firc-17_globemaster_vehicles_military_flares_hd-wallpaper-71487ing positions on the roof.

11:15 P.M. ET [5:15 AM Benghazi] November 1st and Nov. 9th Pentagon Timelines. A new Libyan attack begins, this time with mortars. Fox News reports that an anti-terrorism team was very possibly in the air at this time, and that radio calls reported “feet dry over Libya.” Would this CIF flight, in a C-17, have had the ability to take out the terrorists? There has been speculation that, because of its very low stall speed, a C-17 could be outfitted as a replacement for an AC-130.

11:25 P.M. ET [5:25 AM Benghazi]. Just ten minutes after the “new attack” began, it was all over. It sounds like surrender. What did Washington see via drone video that was so frightening?

Midnight ET [6:00 AM Benghazi] David Ignatius’ November 1st CIA timeline. The Libyan “cavalry” arrives. It escorts the Americans to their planes. They leave, never to return.


Fox reports that the troop movements authorized by Panetta were, primarily, in case of a hostage situation or a continued siege. Both events, bad, bad political outcomes were cleverly avoided somehow. It only cost a couple of American lives. Apparently, the use of armed drones or AC-130 gunships were, according to Panetta, not effective options.

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