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Pentagon is moving 2 Navy warships toward Libyan coast

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Soot and debris spills out of the U.S. Consulate after an attack by protesters angry over a film that ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad in Benghazi, Libya. The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed.

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon ordered two warships to the Libyan coast in the aftermath of the attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three others, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

One destroyer, the USS Laboon, moved to a position off the coast Wednesday, and the USS McFaul is en route and should be stationed off the coast within days. The officials said the ships, which carry Tomahawk cruise missiles, do not have a specific mission. But they give commanders flexibility to respond to any mission ordered by the president.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said: "Without commenting on specific ship movements, the United States military regularly takes precautionary steps when potential contingencies might arise in a given situation. That's not only logical in certain circumstances, it's the prudent thing to do."

There have been four destroyers in the Mediterranean for some time. These moves will increase that to five.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss troop movements.

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