Retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell told a House Oversight Committee hearing that United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), where he was serving at the time of the September 2012 attack in Benghazi, did not respond with military force because it was not clear that that was the response desired by the State Department.
“It’s not what they did in that particular situation; it’s what they didn’t do,” he said on Thursday. “They didn’t come forward with stronger requests for action.”
“Basically, there was a lot of looking to the State Department for what it was that they wanted and in the deference to the Libyan people and the sense of deference to the desires of the State Department in terms of what they would like to have,” he said at a different point in the hearing.
Later, when asked if he thinks the four Americans who died in Libya could have been saved, Lovell couldn’t say with certainty one way or the other.
“We may have been able to but we’ll never know,” he said.