DOD, State, Justice launch review of security in Libya

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

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"We're forming a team of experts who will look into this over the coming months," Little told reporters at the Pentagon. "It's important that we get to the facts here." 

Little was quick to point out the review was not an official DOD investigation or inquiry into security measures, or lack thereof, in place at the consulate during the terrorist strike. 

"I would call it an internal look at anything that we may have done with respect to security in Libya," according to Little.

DOD is still coordinating the effort inside the Pentagon, and has not yet named which department agency or official would head up the review, he said. 

"The goal here is to help the entire government figure out how we manage ... security for [American] personnel and diplomatic installations worldwide," Little added. 

News of the interagency review comes as American soldiers successfully airlifted a team of FBI investigators to and from the site of the consulate attack in Benghazi. 

The FBI team had been stranded in the Libyan capitol of Tripoli for the past three weeks, unable to enter Benghazi due to the volatile security situation on the ground. 

Little declined to comment on the specifics of the military security escort, but DOD officials had been in talks with State counterparts to use Marine Corps units in Tripoli to do the job. 

The Marine Corps units attached to DOD's Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams (FAST) have been on the ground in Libya since mid-September, securing the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli days after the Benghazi attack. 

FAST units were also sent to Tripoli to protect American diplomats and personnel stationed there. 

On Thursday, Little refused to confirm whether the U.S. military escort assigned to the FBI team was pulled from the FAST units in Tripoli. 

The State Department and White House has drawn heavy fire from administration critics over the lack of security at the Benghazi outpost. 

"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. 

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, noted after the same Sept. 20 briefing that U.S. or Libyan security forces "did not have the capacity" to deal with the strike, which the White House is now calling an act of terrorism. 

Republicans have been critical of the Obama administration's initial statements that the attack was sparked by protests of an anti-Islamic video posted online, and that it was not a planned assault.

Initially, White House officials claimed the consulate attack was the result of an anti-American protest that grew violently out of control. 

Last Friday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence admitted the Benghazi attack was a “deliberate and organized terrorist attack” carried out by groups "affiliated with or sympathetic to al Qaeda."