Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta criticized Republicans of “Monday morning quarterbacking” for questioning why there was not more security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and why more was not done by the U.S. military during the attack that killed four Americans on Sept. 11.
Panetta defended Thursday the Pentagon’s response in the face of reports that there was an unmanned drone overhead and that officials could see the attack as it was happening. He claimed there was not enough time to respond before the attack ended.
“The basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place,” Panetta said. “And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, General [Carter] Ham, General Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.”
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) responded to Panetta’s comments:
“We know that Monday morning quarterbacks usually come about because of devastating losses. If they want to use those type of terms, they had scouting reports. They knew in the last year (there were) 230 attacks in Libya, 48 in Benghazi, two on our consulate. In fact, one attack blew a hole in the wall that 40 men could get through,” said Kelly, who is a member of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee.
Kelly said that Lt. Col. Eric Wood, who testified before the committee two weeks ago, told lawmakers the Sept. 11 attack “was inevitable” and that multiple requests had been made to the State Department for more security.
Chairman Rogers says the “Fog of Politics” Needs to Be Removed from Benghazi Discussion: