Posted by & filed under Timeline.

Timeline of Events

Early 2011

President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Intelligence Finding to authorize U.S. government support to Libyan opposition.

February 17, 2011

Libyan Revolution was launched on the date commemorating the 2006 Libyan security services killing of attackers at the Italian Embassy who were protesting an Italian Member of Parliament’s display of a free speech T-shirt.

February 21, 2011

Yousef al-Qaradawi issues a fatwa declaring that Muammar Gaddafi should be killed.

March 18, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces U.S. government support for the rebels. Christopher Stevens named official U.S. government envoy to the Libyan revolution.

March 19, 2011

U.S.-NATO bombing begins.

July 15, 2011

U.S. government recognizes National Transitional Council as official government of Libya.

October 20, 2011

Muammar Qaddafi ousted and killed.

November 2011

Former al-Qaeda jihadist/Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) commander, then Tripoli Military Commander, Abdelhakim Belhadj heads official Libyan delegation to Syrian Free Army (SFA) to offer Libyan government support, namely fighters and weapons, to the SFA.

Early 2012

President Barack Obama signs Presidential Intelligence Finding to authorize U.S. government support to the Syrian rebels.

Early 2012

U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) issues waiver to authorize U.S. financial support via the Chicago-based Syrian Support Group to the Syrian rebels.

March 28, 2012

Then-Ambassador Gene Cretz sends cable to Secretary Clinton asking for additional security.

April 6, 2012

Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi comes under attack from IED. No casualties.

April 19, 2012

Cable signed by Secretary Clinton responds to Ambassador Cretz, instead calls for drawdown of security assets.

May 2012

Ambassador Christopher Stevens assumes post.

May 3, 2012

Department of State signs security contract with Blue Mountain Security Group for $783,284.

May 22, 2012

International Committee for the Red Cross/Red Crescent building hit by two RPG rounds.

June 1, 2012

A car bomb explodes outside a Tripoli hotel where Ambassador Stevens was staying.

June 6, 2012

Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi attacked by IED that blows hole in perimeter wall. No casualties.

June 7, 2012

Ambassador Stevens requests two Mobile Security Detachment teams via email to State, is denied.

June 11, 2012

Britain’s Ambassador to Libya and his convoy are hit by an RPG. Two officers injured.

July 9, 2012

Ambassador Chris Stevens requests by cable that Washington provide an additional 13 American security professionals for Libya above the current 8 diplomatic security assigned to Tripoli and Benghazi.

July 11, 2012

Department of Defense offers to extend Site Security Team to protect Embassy Tripoli.

June 12, 2012

Defense Intelligence Agency produces report “Libya: Terrorists Now Targeting U.S. and Western Interests.”

July 13, 2012

State Department Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy refuses Department of Defense offer of military assistance.

June 17, 2012

British post in Benghazi officially closed.

June 18, 2012

Tunisian consulate in Benghazi stormed by individuals affiliated with Ansar al-Sharia Libya (AAS).

July 2, 2012

The “Innocence of Muslims” video is posted to YouTube by Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, also known as “Sam Bacile.”

July 6, 2012

Central Intelligence Agency produces report entitled, “Libya: Al-Qa’ida Establishing Sanctuary.”

July 9, 2012

In cable, Embassy Tripoli requests continued security support for an additional 60 days, through mid-September 2012. No official response received.

July 29, 2012

Mohamed Morsi pledges to work for the release of Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman.

August 2012

The Library of Congress releases the public report “Al-Qaeda in Libya: a Profile,” which states that “Ansar al-Sharia (Supporters of Sharia), a militia group led by Sufian Ben Qhumu, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, could be the new face of al-Qaeda in Libya despite its leader’s denial.”

August 1, 2012

Ambassador Stevens engaged in video conference with AFRICOM and expressed his concerns about transfer of authority.

August 2, 2012

Cable from Ambassador Stevens requests 11 additional bodyguards, calls Libyan security conditions “unpredictable, volatile, and violent.” Egypt makes a formal request that the U.S. release the Blind Sheikh.

August 6, 2012

Following the transfer of authority, two special forces members are forced off the road while driving a diplomatic vehicle and attacked, escaping unharmed.

August 8, 2012

A cable from Amb. Stevens to D.C. says “a series of violent incidents has dominated the political landscape” and calls them “targeted and discriminate attacks.”

August 15, 2012

Emergency Action Meeting held in Benghazi prompting cable to State Department.

August 16, 2012

Secret Emergency Action Meeting Cable indicates that Temporary Mission Facility cannot withstand coordinated attack. Cable also indicates that “a CIA officer ‘briefed the EAC on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and [al Qaeda] training camps within Benghazi,’” according to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

After August 16, 2012

General Carter Ham says that he contacted Ambassador Stevens and asked if he would like to extend the special forces. Ambassador Stevens refuses. This offer was made “shortly thereafter” in a meeting in Germany, and again refused. In an editorial Gregory Hicks, former Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya calls this interpretation “strange” because, he says, “Gen. Ham wanted to withdraw the entire special forces team from Tripoli until they had Libyan government approval of their new mission and the diplomatic immunity necessary to perform their mission safely. However, [Ambassador Stevens convinced Gen. Ham to leave six members of the team in Tripoli.”

September 6, 2012

Libyan-flagged ship, “Al Entisar” (The Victory), docked at Turkish port of Iskanderun loaded with weapons bound for Syrian rebels.

September 6, 2012

Morris Sadek, an Egyptian American Coptic Christian, blasts email including link to “Innocence of Muslims.”

September 8, 2012

Portions of “Innocence of Muslims” trailer rebroadcast in Cairo. Outrage ensues.

September 9, 2012

Wissam bin Hamid, a Libya Shield militia commander, directly threatened U.S. diplomats in Benghazi that Libya Shield would withdraw security support for Ambassador Stevens’ visit if U.S. did not back the Muslim Brotherhood candidate for Libyan Prime Minister.

September 10, 2012

Al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri issued video calling for “sons of Libya” to avenge CIA drone killing of AQ deputy Abu Yahya al-Libi earlier in 2012 in Afghanistan/Pakistan border region.

September 10, 2012

Ambassador Stevens travels to Benghazi..

The Benghazi Attacks

September 11, 2012

U.S. Embassy in Cairo condemns “Innocence of Muslims” film. Demonstrators begin to assemble outside the U.S. Embassy, a protest actually announced on August 30 by Jamaa Islamiya, a terrorist group, to protest the imprisonment of the “Blind Sheikh,” Sheikh Omar abdel Rahman.

Libyan Time:

6:43 am (which is 12:43 am EDT)

Libyan uniformed policeman observed taking pictures down into Benghazi compound from vacant building across the street; his marked patrol car #322 is parked on the street.


Sean Smith posts at online gaming site: “Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.”


Official Benghazi mission document drafted, but not signed, and addressed to Mohamed Obeidi, the head of the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ office in Benghazi, reporting the policeman taking photos.

8:00 pm (2 pm EDT)

Ansar al-Shariah fighters with machine-gun-mounted pick-up trucks bearing Ansar al-Shariah logo on the doors begin to cordon off neighborhood around Benghazi mission.

7:30-8:30 pm

Turkish Consul General meets and dines with Ambassador Stevens at the compound.

8:10 pm

A British security team dropped off vehicles that they had used in supporting a visit by British diplomats earlier that day.

8:30 pm

The British security team departs the consulate via the C1 gate. Nothing unusual is reported. State Department says nothing unusual had happened all day.

8:30 pm

Turkish Consul General departs Benghazi mission compound and exits area. There are no reports that he sent a warning about gathering forces to Ambassador Stevens.

9:42 pm (which is 3:42 pm EDT)

The U.S. Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi is attacked.

9:45 pm

Ambassador Stevens tells Gregory Hicks on the phone, “Greg, we’re under attack.”

9:59 pm

An unarmed surveillance drone is directed to fly over the U.S. compound.

Prior to 10:00 pm

General Carter Ham of AFRICOM says that he was notified of the attack and immediately verbally notified Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey and then Secretary Leon Panetta of developments. “But I think at the command, I personally and I think the command very quickly got to the point this was not a demonstration, this was a terrorist attack,” said Ham. “Well, and with General Dempsey and Secretary Panetta, that is the nature of the conversation we had, yes, sir.”

10:32 pm

The Office of the Secretary Defense and the Joint Staff are formally notified of the attack, according to General Carter Ham.

11:00 pm

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey meet with President Obama at the White House. President Obama claims that he was told it was an “attack,” not a terrorist attack, although he understood it as such.

11:10 pm

The surveillance drone arrives over the Benghazi facility.

11:30 pm

Survivors leave consulate and flee to nearby Annex.

September 12, 2012

12:30 am

After delay, six-man security team leaves from nearby Tripoli to travel to Benghazi to assist.

1:00 am

Local Libyans find remains of Ambassador Stevens and transport him to Benghazi Medical Center.

1:30 am

Six-man security team arrives in Benghazi.

1:30 am – 4:30 am

The Tripoli rescue team was delayed for 3 hours at the Benghazi airport by Libya Shield militia members who fought Qaddafi under black flag of Islam, but were used as ‘security’ by the Benghazi mission.

2:00 am

Embassy Tripoli receives cell phone call indicating that Ambassador Stevens’ body is at hospital, but Tripoli rescue team cannot go there, as it is controlled by Ansar al-Sharia, “which just attacked the mission.”

2:00 am Secretary Hillary Clinton holds special phone call with Gregory Hicks, then U.S. deputy chief of mission in Libya. Hicks later testifies that he mentioned no protests in call.

5:15 am

Immediately after Libya Shield militia brings the Tripoli rescue team to CIA Annex, the Annex comes under attack by mortar fire. Two former Navy SEALs, Glenn Doherty of Tripoli security team, and Tyrone Woods, CIA Annex security team, are killed by precision fire from a professional mortar team.

6:00 am to 6:30 am

Libyan transport plane leaves Tripoli for Benghazi.

7:15 am to 7:45 am

Libyan transport plane arrives in Benghazi.

7:40 am

Learjet that carried six-man security force departs for Tripoli with most seriously wounded.

10:00 am

Libyan transport leaves Benghazi for Tripoli with second wave of Americans, including bodies of those killed.

The Cover-up

September 11, 2012

During the night, al-Qaeda franchise Ansar al-Shariah took credit on Facebook for attacks, even as they were still ongoing.

Eastern Standard Time:

5:00 pm

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey meet with the President at the White House. Panetta returns to the Pentagon, meets with others, including General Carter Ham, Chief of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).

6:07 pm

State Department issues internal ops alert that Ansar al Sharia is claiming responsibility for Benghazi.

10:00 pm

President Barack Obama called Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Shortly after 10:00 pm

WDC media report Department of State issued statement from Secretary of State Clinton blaming “inflammatory material posted on the Internet” for Benghazi attack.

September 12, 2012

President Obama gives Rose Garden speech, calls the attack an “act of terror.”

September 12, 2012

Hillary Clinton links attack to “Innocence of Muslims” film, says no justification.

September 12, 2012

Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey phones Pastor Terry Jones to request that he withdraw his support for the Innocence of Muslims film because of the “tensions it could inflame and the violence it could cause.”

September 13, 2012

Press Secretary Jay Carney says “The protests we’re seeing around the region are in reaction to this movie…”

September 13, 2012

General David Petraeus testifies before Senate Intelligence Committee regarding Benghazi attacks.

September 14, 2012

CIA begins drafting talking points memo, with State Department and White House input.

September 14, 2012

Press Secretary Jay Carney asserts the “protests were in reaction to a video.”

September 15, 2012

12th revision of Talking Points Memo settled upon, sent to Ambassador Rice.

September 15, 2012

Members from the Annex indicate that there were no protests prior to the attack, according to the “Flashing Red” Report.

September 15, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assures Tyrone Woods’ father at son’s funeral that they are going to “arrest and prosecute” the man that made the YouTube video critical of Islam.

September 16, 2012

MORNING- Senior official on the ground in Libya informs senior leaders at State Dept. that there was no demonstration prior to Benghazi attack.

September 16, 2012

UN Ambassador Susan Rice appears on 5 Sunday talk shows, attributes attack to “Innocence of Muslims” film.

September 16, 2012

Rice is contradicted by President of the Libyan National Congress, Mohamad El-Magariaf, who calls the attacks criminal and preplanned. Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf told Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation”: “…this leaves us with no doubt that this was preplanned, determined—pre-meditated months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their arrival.”

September 17, 2012

Tariq Ramadan, scion of Muslim Brotherhood founding family, posted about the YouTube film on The American Muslim website.

September 17, 2012

Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago spoke on local radio show about violence and anti-American protests as result of the YouTube film.

September 18, 2012

One Diplomatic Security agent concludes there were no protests prior to the attack, according to the “Flashing Red” Report.

September 18, 2012

The FBI arrives in Tripoli, Libya.

September 18, 2012

Press Secretary Jay Carney says “…it was the video that caused the unrest in Cairo, and the video and the unrest in Cairo that helped — that precipitated some of the unrest in Benghazi…”

September 19, 2012

Press Jay Carney says we “do not yet have [an] indication that it was pre-planned.”

September 19, 2012

National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) Director Matthew Olsen says in Congressional hearing that Benghazi was a “terrorist attack.” Rhetoric surrounding the event changes.

September 20, 2012

Jay Carney admits the attack was terrorism.

September 20, 2012

President Obama says at Univision townhall meeting that “What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.”

September 20, 2012

Obama and Clinton run a $70,000 Pakistani ad campaign disavowing the “Innocence of Muslims” film to curb mob action.

September 20, 2012

The American Muslim website published a collection of statements from Muslim Brotherhood front groups and affiliates in the U.S. (CAIR, ICNA, ISNA, MPAC), all citing the YouTube film as cause of Benghazi attack.

September 21, 2012

Secretary of State Clinton admits it was a terrorist attack and after that, post-UN speech, the video narrative was abandoned.

September 24, 2012

Obama says on The View that “it wasn’t just a mob action” but that we’re still gathering information.

September 25-26, 2012

Speeches from Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary General and heads of state at the U.N. General Assembly condemn the YouTube film and call for restrictions on freedom of speech.

September 25, 2012

US President Barack Obama told the U.N. General Assembly that “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

September 28, 2012

Office of the Director of National Intelligence releases a statement saying intelligence led it to “assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo” and that they provided this “initial assessment” to the Executive Branch and Congress.

September 28, 2012

Film producer Mark Basseley Youssef was arrested and sentenced to 1 year in jail for “probation violations.”

 October 3, 2012

Accountability Review Board is formed. Four of its five board members are appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

October 4, 2012

FBI finally gains access to Benghazi crime scene, spends less than one day collecting evidence.

 Between October 3 and October 10, 2012

Admiral Michael Mullen, Vice Chair of the ARB, initiates a “friendly call” to Cheryl Mills–Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton–to say he “didn’t think that Charlene Lamb would be a witness at that point in time that would represent the [State Department] well.”

October 10, 2012

Charlene Lamb and others testify before House regarding Benghazi security. Lamb says that funding issues did not influence the amount of security in Libya at the time.

Early November 2012

The Tripoli Embassy team, including the CIA, travel to Benghazi to seek security protection recruits from Libya Shield militia (the same militia that fought Qaddafi under black flag of Islam and delayed the Tripoli rescue team at Benghazi airport for 3 hours the night of the attack.)

November 28, 2012

Jay Carney falsely claims edits to talking points were “single adjustment” of “consulate” to “diplomatic facility.” This reflects the last set of edits only.

The Investigations

December 20, 2012

The Accountability Review Board Report is issued. It declares that the “interagency response” was “timely and appropriate, but there simply was not enough time given the speed of the attacks for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference.”

December 20, 2012

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds hearing on Benghazi.

December 30, 2012

The Bipartisan “Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi” Report is released.

January 23, 2013

Secretary Hillary Clinton testifies before House and Senate, makes famous “What difference at this point does it make?” comments.

February 7, 2013

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Martin Dempsey testify about Benghazi attack before Senate. Dempsey claims it would have taken 13 to 15 hours to get boots on the ground.

April 23, 2013

The Interim Progress Report for the House Republican Congress is released.

May 8, 2013

Three State Department officials, classified as whistleblowers, testify about Benghazi before House. Gregory Hicks, former Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya, calls the Innocence of Muslims video a “non-event in Libya.”

May 10, 2013

ABC News Obtains 12 copies of revised talking points, contradicting Jay Carney’s Nov. 28 statement.

May 21, 2013

House Committee on Armed Services begins a series of closed briefings on Benghazi that will later be made public.

June 26, 2013

Lt. Col. S.E. Gibson speaks before a closed-door session with the House Armed Services Committee about his orders not to proceed to Benghazi to assist with the evacuation. “Madam Chairman, I was not ordered to stand down. I was ordered to remain in place,” he says. Other speakers include General Carter Ham of AFRICOM and Rear Admiral Brian Losey.

July 18, 2013

Representative Frank Wolf, R-Virginia, says on the House floor that the survivors of the Benghazi attacks have been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements. This keeps them from sharing what they know.

July 31, 2013

House Armed Services Committee solicits testimony from Colonel George Bristol, Joint Special Operations Task Force—Trans Sahara in a closed briefing.

September 16, 2013

Republican House Members release interim report on Accountability Review Board, “Benghazi Attacks: Investigative Update Interim Report on the Accountability Review Board,” which criticizes the impartiality of the ARB.

September 18, 2013

House Committee on Foreign Affairs brings Patrick F. Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management at the State Department as a witness.

September 19, 2013

House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform brings the Chair and Vice Chair of the ARB forward as witnesses and criticizes the Accountability Review Board’s impartiality.

October 10, 2013

Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey speaks in a closed briefing for the House Armed Services Committee.

December 14, 2014

A senior intelligence official tells The Washington Times that “the CIA officers on the ground in Benghazi responded to the diplomats’ call for help by trying ‘to rally local support for the rescue effort and secure heavier weapons.’” This led to the delayed response. “’When it became ‘clear that this additional support could not be rapidly obtained,’ the team moved toward the diplomatic compound,” reported the Times.

December 28, 2013

New York Times prints article, “A Deadly Mix in Benghazi,” which partially blames the YouTube video for the Benghazi attacks. The author also states that  “Months of investigation by The New York Times…turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.”

January 10, 2014

U.S. State Department designates three Ansar al Sharia organizations as foreign terrorist organizations (FTO’s), denies their connection to “core al Qaeda.”

January 15, 2014

The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence releases report, which states that “Individuals affiliated with terrorist groups, including AQIM, Ansar al- Sharia, AQAP, and the Mohammad Jamal Network, participated in the September 11, 2012, attacks.”

February 4, 2014

CIA Director John Brennan tells House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that the non-disclosure agreements signed by those in Benghazi were because the documents were being updated, not to discourage witnesses from talking with Congress.

February 7, 2014

House Foreign Affairs Committee issues majority report, “Benghazi: Where is the State Department Accountability?”

February 10, 2014

House Armed Services Committee issues Majority Interim Report which questions why troops and military assets were so poorly positioned on September 11, 2012.

Comments are closed.