White House widens covert war in North Africa
WASHINGTON - Small teams of U.S. special operations forces arrived at American embassies throughout North Africa to set up a new counterterrorist network months before militants killed the U.S. ambassador in Libya. But officials say the network was too new to stop the Benghazi attack.
The White House approved the plan a year ago, worried about a spread of al-Qaida after the killing of Osama bin Laden. But it moved slowly in order to win approval from U.S. ambassadors, intelligence and military chiefs and local governments. That's according to officials who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the strategy publicly.
With U.S. elections nearing, Republicans say the White House failed to react aggressively to new al-Qaida threats before the attack and has failed to strike back quickly enough.