The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is demanding answers from four senior United States military officers about whether there was advance warning of terrorist threats and the need for greater security prior to last month’s terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

However, an aide to the chairman, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, (R., Calif.), said the office of secretary of defense Leon Panetta blocked the senior officers from providing the answers last night.

“The chairman is disappointed that the administration won’t respond to this basic request for information,” the aide said. …

The chairman’s letters are dated Thursday. They were sent to Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of the U.S. Africa Command, which is responsible for military activities in Africa; Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command; Vice Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, director for operations at the Pentagon’s Joint Staff; and Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.