WASHINGTON A CIA security team rushed to the U.S. consulate in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi less than 25 minutes after receiving the first call that the mission was under attack, while a second squad was dispatched by air from the capital, Tripoli, according to a timeline released Thursday by U.S. intelligence officials.
The timeline is the most detailed accounting to date of the U.S. response to the attack on the consulate and was released to rebut news reports that U.S. officials had delayed a rescue.
"The officials on the ground in Benghazi responded to the situation
as quickly and as effectively as possible," a senior intelligence official said on the condition of anonymity. "There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support."
The timeline also revealed that a nearby CIA annex came under attack twice.
Four Americans died in the consulate assaults, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens.
The events have become an issue in the U.S. presidential election campaign. Republicans have accused the Obama administration of failing to provide adequate security to the Benghazi mission despite threats from al-Qaida-linked extremists and other Islamist groups.
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