“The State Department is responsible for assessing security at its diplomatic installations and for requesting support from other government agencies if they need it,” a senior U.S. Defense official said. “There was no request from the Department of State to intervene militarily on the night of the attack.”
The president, however, would have the final say as to whether or not to send in the military. By 11 p.m. Benghazi time, 90 minutes after the assault began on the U.S. mission, Obama met with the National Security Council to discuss the attack. NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor said the president “ordered Secretary Panetta and Chairman Dempsey to begin moving assets into the region to prepare for a range of contingencies” at that meeting . . . By the time the special operations team and the Marines were prepared to go forward with the rescue mission, however, the first wave of the attack was over. . . .
Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of a House oversight subcommittee investigating the Benghazi attacks, told The Daily Beast that General Carter Ham, the outgoing U.S. commander of Africa Command, “told me directly that he had no directive to engage in the fight in Benghazi.”