Report: US special forces tracking Libyan militants tied to Benghazi attack

Special operations units are conducting surveillance operations, communications intercepts and gathering human intelligence from local sources, in an attempt to pinpoint the individuals who carried out the deadly strike, according to CNN. 

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Libyan militants launched a deadly attack on the Consulate in Benghazi during the early morning hours of Sept. 11. During the attack, gunmen raked the American diplomatic outpost with automatic gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades.

At the end of the assault, four Americans lay dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. 

Quoting a U.S. military official with knowledge of the Libyan operations, the intelligence being gathered by American special operations forces is part of a White House counterstrike plan to eliminate those responsible for the raid. 

The Pentagon's elite Joint Special Operations Command, in conjunction with the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies, are assembling "target packages" on suspected militants associated with the attack, should President Obama give the order for the strikes. 

The target packages include background intelligence on terror suspects in Libya and elsewhere in North Africa who may have played a role in planning or executing the Benghazi assault, according to recent reports. 

The range of counterstrike operations being considered by DOD and the intelligence community run the gamut from armed drone strikes to covert kill or capture raids similar to the Osama bin Laden mission in Abottabad, Pakistan that ended with the al Qaeda leader's death. 

The Pentagon has already deployed two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the USS Laboon and USS McFaul, armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles to the coastal waters near Libya. 

An team of FBI agents recently completed their investigation of the Consulate in Benghazi, DOD announced Thursday. The FBI team was airlifted to and from the U.S. compound under military guard, due to the still-tenuous security situation in northern Libya. 

While the results of that investigation are still pending, DOD, State and Justice Departments are conducting their own internal review on the security measures in place at the Consulate during the time of the attack. 

Defense Department officials are assembling a team of experts to participate in the inter-agency review, Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters on Thursday. 

DOD leaders have yet to name which department agency or official would head up the review, according to Little. 

The State Department and White House have been subjected to heavy criticism over the lack of security at the Benghazi outpost since the attack. 

"It's pretty obvious they did not have adequate security," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon said after a classified briefing on the consulate attack by State, DOD and intelligence officials on Capitol Hill earlier this month. 

In May, State Department officials denied a request from the U.S. Embassy security team in Libya for a DC-3 aircraft to assist in security operations, ABC News reported on Friday. 

However, it remains unclear whether the DC-3 would have helped security forces better prepare for the Benghazi attack.