Embassy Attacks

Military Prepared for Benghazi Rescue, But Arrived Too Late

Timing, confusion prevented an intervention

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On the night of the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, a team of American military commandos was sent from Europe to an airfield at Sigonella, in Sicily, Italy, putting them at least an hour's flight away from Benghazi, CBS News has learned.

The team, known as the Commander's In-extremis Force, was designed specifically for quick reaction to unforeseen emergencies. But U.S. officials say it did not arrive in Sicily until after the attack was over.

Even if the team had been ready in time, confusion about what was happening on the ground in Benghazi—and State Department concerns about violating Libyan sovereignty—made a military rescue mission impractical, the officials say.