Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made the same point. "You can't just willy-nilly send F-16s there and blow the hell out of a place without knowing what's taking place," Panetta told senators.
State's review board concluded the military did what it could. An unarmed Predator drone flew over the diplomatic post beginning shortly after 11 p.m. to gather information. Two military personnel were with the team from Tripoli that arrived at the CIA annex in the morning. A C-17 from Germany carried the evacuated Americans out of Tripoli. Special operations forces and other personnel who were deployed from Europe and the United States in response to the crisis didn't reach Libya in time to help.
"The interagency response was timely and appropriate," according to the review board, "but there simply was not enough time given the speed of the attacks for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference."
The FBI is still investigating who carried out the attack, and Attorney General Eric Holder says there has been "very, very substantial progress."
Republicans on five House committees are pursuing inquiries. Many GOP lawmakers are pushing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to appoint a special select committee to investigate.
The leaders of the review board, veteran diplomat Thomas Pickering and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, have offered to testify publicly about their findings and to answer critics who say the probe was incomplete. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight committee, has issued a subpoena to compel Pickering to testify in closed session first.
And congressional Republicans say they will keep pressing for more documents, such as details of military orders during the attack.
Associated Press writer Donna Cassata contributed to this report.
Follow Connie Cass on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ConnieCass
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