WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the U.S. military did not intervene during the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya last month because it was over before the U.S. has sufficient information on which to act.

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At a news conference, Panetta lamented second-guessing about how the U.S. handled the attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11. He said the U.S. military was prepared to respond but did not do so because it lacked what he called "real-time information."

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack.

Panetta said he and senior U.S. military commanders felt strongly that they should not put U.S. forces at risk at the time.

He said — quote — "It was really over before we had the opportunity to really know what was happening."