Despite several news reports of CIA involvement during the Benghazi attacks, there is no mention of the intelligence agency in a special report that was released yesterday by the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
On Sept. 11, 2012, at about 9:40 p.m., Ambassador Chris Stevens and his security team came under attack at a diplomatic facility in Benghazi. One mile away was a secret facility used by the CIA, according to various media reports. The facility is discussed in the report, but it doesn't say who it was used by or what it was used for.
In the government report titled Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi, written by senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, the building is referred to as "an Annex facility (“Annex”) approximately a mile away used by another agency of the United States Government."
According to the report, while the diplomatic facility was under attack, one of the diplomatic security agents called the annex and requested help from "security personnel" located there. The personnel immediately began preparations to rescue those at the diplomatic facility. Before leaving, they attempted to contact the February 17 Brigade, other militias, and the Libyan government for assistance.
At 10:04 p.m., six security personnel and a translator left the annex and headed to the diplomatic facility in which Ambassador Stevens was under attack. It is reported that while on the way, they again attempted to contact the militias and Libyan government for help.
At 10:25, they entered the compound and engaged in a 15-minute firefight. They reached the ambassador's building at 10:40, but were unable to find him. At 11:15, the annex security sent the diplomatic security agents ahead of them to the annex. Along the way, both groups encountered gun fire. At the time, the Department of Defense was using an unarmed drone in the area and redirected it to monitor the diplomatic compound. Just before midnight, the annex was attacked by rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire. The attacks stopped at 1:01 a.m.
The report states that "U.S. government security personnel" arrived at the Benghazi airport at 1:15 a.m., but for unknown reasons they were delayed from reaching the annex until 5:04 a.m. Ten minutes later, mortar rounds were launched at the annex which killed security members Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, both former Navy SEALs according to various news reports, and injured two others. The attack stopped at 5:26 a.m.
The report doesn't state how many people were in the annex, but did say that the Libyan military arrived at about 6:00 a.m. with 50 vehicles that "escorted the Americans to the airport." The report said that two planes carried all U.S. personnel out of Benghazi, the last one leaving at 10 a.m.
The report was released 11 days after Lieberman received two awards from the CIA. On Dec. 20, 2012, he was presented with the Agency Seal Medal and the Director's Award. They were presented by CIA Acting Director Michael Morel during a "low key ceremony" in the committee hearing room.
Lieberman said at the presentation: "I don’t take this award casually, it means a great deal to me. I have a lot of respect for the role of intelligence in our national security and thereby our freedom. After 9/11, demands on the intelligence community changed drastically, and the agency has transformed remarkably to meet those demands. I deeply appreciate Acting Director Morell’s work and all that the CIA does to keep us safe."