Panetta defends military response in Libya attack
Washington: Defence Secretary Leon Panetta says the speed of the attack on the US Consulate in Libya last September kept US armed forces from responding in time to save the four Americans who were killed.
Panetta is making what is likely his final appearance before Congress today. He told a Senate panel that the military prepares for a range of contingencies, but there were no specific signs of an imminent attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
Panetta says the raid was not a prolonged assault the military could have ended, but rather, two short attacks six hours apart. He insists the government spared no effort to save lives.
Panetta is wrapping up a Washington career of some 40 years.
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