Saturday, October 27, 2012

Obama ducks questions on why help wasn’t sent to Benghazi

“We’re going to gather all the facts,” he says, echoing Hillary’s plea to let the investigation play out until, oh, say, mid-November at the earliest. Simple question: Why does he need “all the facts” about Benghazi to find out (a) whether anyone at the consulate called for help during the attack and (b) if so, who in the chain of command denied that request? He could find that out with 10 minutes of phoning around and then spend another 10 firing the people involved — assuming, of course, that it wasn’t The One himself who delivered the thumbs down on the calls for help. Problem is, there’s only one thing he really cares about, and that thing wouldn’t be well served by an admission 10 days out from election day that his administration screwed up badly enough in Benghazi to warrant canning people. So he’s playing the “all the facts” game. Estimated arrival of all the facts: 11 days from now.

Clark pressed again.

“Were they denied requests for help during the attack?” he asked.

“Well, we are finding out exactly what happened,” the president again said. “I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.”

Two things worth noting there. One: In claiming that he needs to “find out exactly what happened,” he’s professing ignorance about the distress calls. Remember that if/when it comes out later that he had earlier notice than we thought. Two: The first “directive” makes it sound like he’s blaming someone else for not informing him sooner so that he could send the help needed. Is that a reference to the CIA? If so, David Petraeus is prepared for it: Per Bill Kristol, he just threw Obama under the bus.

CIA spokesperson Jennifer Youngblood said, “We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night-and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.”

Read the full post and see two video reports

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