But those units also had the capability to deal with the aftermath of the attack — and the Pentagon isn’t saying what happened to them once they arrived at a Sicilian airbase a few hundred miles from Libya, leaving the possibility they might play a role in hunting the perpetrators of the attack.
Much remains unclear about the Libya assault. But now different parts of the bureaucracy have taken to explaining they were thisclose to helping stop it. State Department officials last month testified to monitoring it almost in real time, but U.S. officials have said State’s hired guard force lacked the capacity to repel the attack. (They may have a point.) The CIA portrayed itself as responding to the attack from multiple fronts as it was happening, successfully extracting U.S. personnel from the site — except for the four Americans who died. (Additionally, top intelligence officials have blamed themselves for the White House’s initial, incorrect explanation that the attack emerged from a protest over an anti-Islamic video.) On Friday, Pentagon spokesman George Little weighed in, explaining a little more than previously about how the Pentagon rushed special operations units into position near Libya, except that the assault subsided before they could reach the country.