Panetta: Obama never called back to check on Benghazi

posted at 8:01 am on February 8, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

We didn’t get to this yesterday, but it’s definitely worth watching — especially for the skill shown by Lindsey Graham in his examination of Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey.  The headline takeaway will be what is remembered most: the revelation that Barack Obama never bothered to keep in touch with his chair of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of Defense after being informed that an American consulate was under attack from terrorists.

But if that’s all you hear from this, you’re missing the big picture. Graham managed to elicit a number of damaging statements from the two.  Not one aircraft had been deployed during the attack; not one boot left the ground outside of Libya.  As far as the 281 concurrent threat reports that Panetta and Dempsey claimed kept them from considering Benghazi a special threat, Graham asks how many of those cables came from US Ambassadors stating specifically (as Stevens’ did) that an American installation was incapable of defending itself against a sustained attack and that government buildings nearby were flying al-Qaeda flags — “because I want to know about them, if they do,” Graham adds.  Dempsey tries to push that off to State, at which time Graham informs Dempsey that Hillary Clinton claimed never to have seen that cable, even though Dempsey clearly had, which he admits is “surprising.”

Graham then circles back to the lack of action from the White House once the attack was under way:

SEN. GRAHAM: Are you surprised that the president of the United States never called you, Secretary Panetta, and say, ‘how’s it going?’

SEC. PANETTA: I — you know, normally in these situations –

SEN. GRAHAM: Did he know the level of threat that –

SEC. PANETTA: Let — well, let me finish the answer. We were deploying the forces. He knew we were deploying the forces. He was being kept updated –

SEN. GRAHAM: Well, I hate to interrupt you, but I got limited time. We didn’t deploy any forces. Did you call him back — wait a minute –

SEC. PANETTA: No, but the event — the event was over by the time we got –

SEN. GRAHAM: Mr. Secretary, you didn’t know how long the attack would last. Did you ever call him and say, Mr. President, it looks like we don’t have anything to get there anytime soon?

SEC. PANETTA: The event was over before we could move any assets.

SEN. GRAHAM: It lasted almost eight hours. And my question to you is during that eight-hour period, did the president show any curiosity about how’s this going, what kind of assets do you have helping these people? Did he ever make that phone call?

SEC. PANETTA: Look, there is no question in my mind that the president of the United States was concerned about American lives and, frankly, all of us were concerned about American lives.

SEN. GRAHAM: With all due respect, I don’t believe that’s a credible statement if he never called and asked you, are we helping these people; what’s happening to them? We have a second round, and we’ll take it up then.

Graham just demolished the entire White House defense on Benghazi in less than ten minutes of cross-examination.


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where are the survivors??

Sachiko on February 8, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Well I do remember real well about what they told us in our de-brifing out in Calif. after our trip to places LBJ lied about.

You had “top secret clearance” you have national security information that can not be put at risk, you will have a “critical skill” note on your DD-214′s, you will be subject to recall to active duty until the age of 35.
You will not talk of any thing you did from enlistment to this day until you get a release from the DOD.

Blink if you have such a high security clearance as you would have us belive you are in a lot of trouble with the DIA, JAG, or Army Intl.ect. and some one will have some questions for you soon.

Or your full of yourself.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 8, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Again, most embassy evacuation plans require at least 24 hours. I’m sorry that you refuse to understand reality.

blink on February 8, 2013 at 1:21 PM

What? They need to reserve a U-Haul and order lunch?

C’mon. You really wanting to defend the indefensible?

kim roy on February 8, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Sachiko, hidden from the media…the latter don’t even bother to find them.

Schadenfreude on February 8, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Was the order given because the compound they were currently in was deemed to be more vulnerable?

blink on February 8, 2013 at 1:26 PM

As proven by Woods & the other SEAL, POLITICIANS worry about staying safe – SEALS are trained to respond, to fight, to save lives. gain, demonstrating you wre never in the military, like a Liberal, you can’t understand the concept of jumping into the fray to do one’s job – to protect a US Ambassador and save American lives, of putting someone else’s life above your own. Woods understood that, & thanks to him several people are alive today where as they would not be if they had listened to people who ordered THAT ‘stand down’.

And why is it so hard to believe that an order to ‘Stand Down’ was given to a response team 2 hours flight time away when one was given to SEALs MINUTES AWAY?!

Good Lord, Blink….just THINK for a minute.

easyt65 on February 8, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Blink, you say you know something about SEALs but demonstrated you have NO CLUE about the training/tactics/purpose of lasing a target. You question (and show little knowledge) of their mission. You demonstrated no knowledge of the use of AC130s by SpecOps. You question why they would rush into harms way. And you say it is a fact that the CIA gave a ‘stand down’ order but that it is not plausible that one was given to the team at sigonella…that according to Panetta did not even exist as a possibility.

So forgive me if I have a hard time believing YOU declaration that you were ‘IN’ the military and know anything about ‘SEALS’….

easyt65 on February 8, 2013 at 1:39 PM

So, lets us stay down at the gofer patsy level.

Ms Clinton, Penatta, Dempsey.

Say the Pink Commie King is guilty of only not spending 10 Trillion a year on the dole and some of the checks were one day late.

He gets a pass, that is all he was elected for.

These others, the ones so well proven as guilty.

Where and when will they be in the dock for crimes they committed.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 8, 2013 at 1:42 PM

What supposed SEAL teams are you claiming were in Sigonella and why were they there? You do realize that SEAL teams aren’t typically positioned in Sigonella, right?

So NOW you are saying there weren’t even SpecOps Teams at SIGONELLA? The links/media reorts I have posted beg to differ…. And it does not matter if a unit is USUALLY at a location or not — they were THER ON 9/11/12, WHICH IS ALL THAT MATTERS, genius! Ask yourself WHY a SpecOps Team specifically trained in counter-terrorism & terrorist-related rescue would BE positioned at Sigonella, 2 hours flight time from Benghazi! YOU, since you were in the military and are an Ex-SEAL yourself, should remember that if one is sitting alert, pre-positioned at a location for s specific mission, it doesnt take long for them to launch…but of course you knew that!

easyt65 on February 8, 2013 at 1:43 PM

The ambassador has the authority to order an evacuation of all State Department personnel in any given country. Stevens had the power to do this himself.

The Ambassador has the authority to order Americans out & can leave with the approval of the State Department.

easyt65 on February 8, 2013 at 1:47 PM

OK,

On being a leader, a “good General” ect.

All this static from Stevens about ones of terror out and about in Bengazie.

A “good General” with “good intel officers”, with instincs for ambushs ect..

A “good General” or his special ops people should have picked up on this and baited a trap for the local Al Quthugs.

They should have met one hell of a cross fire, AC-130 5 miles away, all hell should have fallen on them after their fist shot at the conslate.

But no, we got Generals put up top by Clinton, Obama, by Bush’s not so hot Gen. Powell.

But no, we want the islamic death cult to feel good when they see an American flag.

Bull shit 100% out of Washington D.C. now.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 8, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Blink, I am glad to see 1 thing we agree on — Obama, Hillary, & Panetta both FAILED MISERABLY to do their jobs and that they abandoned Stevens & those other 3 Americans to die. I hope you also agree that for that someone – one if not 2 of the 3 – should be FIRED and that Obama should be FORCED to somehow to be held accountable as well!

easyt65 on February 8, 2013 at 1:52 PM

You’ve yet to provide evidence that assets could have been in place within 4 hours.

1. Check the link(s) I have provided.

2. if you were ‘IN’ the military & know so much about the military/SEAL Ops as you say you do you would KNOW they could have been.

easyt65 on February 8, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Obama calls on the SEALs – UBL dead
SEALs call on Obama – SEALs dead

Schadenfreude on February 8, 2013 at 1:56 PM

1:48 PM “Lights Out”

No,to the whole of defending the useless White House.

“had the right people been on duty”

Stevens would be alive and not hung out to dry.

There would have been no screw up this horrible.

But no, we got low life hate America Commies like Bill Clinton, Ms Clinton, B. Obama, and this hapless group of yes boys Pennata etal.

They live in a make belive world that is getting people killed and it is putting all of U.S., freedom and liberty at risk.

For what. The dole for more. The fake world they made up in pot smoking dreams, sick and getting sicker.

spit

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 8, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Actually, many disparate military assets need to be brought together in order to execute an evacuation. This does, in fact, include “hauling” capabilities.

Do you honestly think that the military simply leaves all these assets sitting around just waiting for the occasional need for response? Do you really refuse to believe that it makes more sense to actually utilize these assets on a regular basis and rely on some additional lead-time as situations deteriorate?

blink on February 8, 2013 at 1:34 PM

You’re in a hostile place. People are trying to kill you. You have about 3 minutes to get people out.

Apparently there was no plan in place because no one thought that in a ME third world he!!-hole that this situation might occur.

What is wrong with throwing gas on the place and watching it go boom? Or a few well placed bombs, grenades, whatever and watch it go boom. The government can’t afford to replace some printers?

Seriously, if the Powers That Be did not have any kind of 3 minute evacuation plan then they should be up for treason charges.

THERE IS NO EXCUSE THAT THIS HAPPENED IN ANY SHAPE, WAY OR FORM.

We can argue about single points, but any government that does not have EVERY contingency planned for deserves to be shut down.

kim roy on February 8, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Additionally, I’m still waiting for you to tell me how you would have gotten the ground forces from a European base to the compound in Benghazi. Please be specific?

Thank you for AVOIDING my questions/point about lasing a target, about demonstrating that you are stuck on getting ground forces in place, which was un-necesary to stop the attack…but which should have been provided long before the attack. Thank you for again proving you were not ‘IN’ the military, that you have no clue about SEAL/Ops or their mission, no clue about current military tactics, etc.

easyt65 on February 8, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Col. West on drones

Schadenfreude on February 8, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Blink and Google Search Know Exactly The Same Things.

The good thing, Google minds its on buss.

Blink not so much.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 8, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Of course, whether there were forces available to respond or not – who woods was lasing a target for, is a sideshow circus meant soelely to distract from the FACTS that:

1) Terrorists attacked Stevens / his compound TWICE prior to that 3rd attack

2) Stevens requested additional security NUMEROUS times, specifically in response to those attacks

3) This admiistration REFUSED to provide that secuity, even when stevens warned he would die in the next attack

4) Instead of providing US security to guard OUR soil/Ambassador, Obama/Hillary hired Libyan Militias to protect them, which they ‘conveniently’ failed to do.

5) Obama, Hillary, & Panetta LIED about this whole thing.

And for all of those criminal failures, none of them will be held accountable/punished in any way…and Hillary will run in 2016, telling us she is the only one reliable enough to answer that 1am phone call to protect American lives.

Gotta go – duy calls

easyt65 on February 8, 2013 at 2:13 PM

A Republican President could never get away with being deliberately disengaged from a national security indecent at 5:30 in the afternoon so that they could be fresh for their big time in Las Vegas the following day.

But not only did the media allow Obama to get away with it, they covered for him and made sure he got away with it and then never challenged him on it when he blatantly lied about it during campaign season. And the media malfeasance is even worse because they also publicly shamed anyone who dared to ask questions about Obama’s leadership concerning this breach of national security which resulted in the death of 4 great Americans and those wounded, whom we’ve never heard of because the media is still in cover-up mode in their allegiance to Obama.

OxyCon on February 8, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Blink,

One of the first indications that your mind is going is talking and or blogging to yourself and not being aware of it.

Seek help.

awk

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 8, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Anyone remember this…?

Obama Scolds Romney About Libya Terrorist Attack (2012 Presidential Debate #2)

Seven Percent Solution on February 8, 2013 at 2:53 PM

SEN. GRAHAM: Are you surprised that the president of the United States never called you, Secretary Panetta, and say, ‘how’s it going?’

SEC. PANETTA: I — you know, normally in these situations –

SEN. GRAHAM: Did he know the level of threat that –

SEC. PANETTA: Let — well, let me finish the answer. We were deploying the forces. He knew we were deploying the forces. He was being kept updated –

SEN. GRAHAM: Well, I hate to interrupt you, but I got limited time. We didn’t deploy any forces. Did you call him back — wait a minute –

SEC. PANETTA: No, but the event — the event was over by the time we got –

SEN. GRAHAM: Mr. Secretary, you didn’t know how long the attack would last. Did you ever call him and say, Mr. President, it looks like we don’t have anything to get there anytime soon?

SEC. PANETTA: The event was over before we could move any assets.

SEN. GRAHAM: It lasted almost eight hours. And my question to you is during that eight-hour period, did the president show any curiosity about how’s this going, what kind of assets do you have helping these people? Did he ever make that phone call?

SEC. PANETTA: Look, there is no question in my mind that the president of the United States was concerned about American lives and, frankly, all of us were concerned about American lives.

SEN. GRAHAM: With all due respect, I don’t believe that’s a credible statement if he never called and asked you, are we helping these people; what’s happening to them? We have a second round, and we’ll take it up then.

Graham just demolished the entire White House defense on Benghazi in less than ten minutes of cross-examination.

SC.Charlie on February 8, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Obama couldn’t come to the phone on Sept 11 because he was instructing the MSM how to land on Romney (“for saying anything”) rather than confront this terrorist attack. The Left saw immediately the political damage that would result if the attack were told truthfully to the American people. The rest of the time Obama was concocting the ridiculous “tape caused a riot” crap.

Romney then got dirted by Candy Crowley in the 2nd debate. This was the most vile, dirty, and biased MSM intervention in the history of presidential debates.

How Hillary and Obama can dance on the graves of those heroes – next to their caskets – and peddle a sack of lies – well, it’s beyond my moral code, perhaps there is a special place in Hell reserved for both of them.

matthew8787 on February 8, 2013 at 2:56 PM

There are plenty of contingency plans that require quite a bit of lead time. Again, if you want to allocate more budget dollars to maintaining assets just for this time of thing 24/7, then feel free to tell me why you would cut from the budget.

Do you need to link to the QDR?

blink on February 8, 2013 at 2:38 PM

How so? If you are going to a third world he11-hole, then you have the money and equipment to get people out in three minutes.

End of issue. Or don’t send them. It’s the cost of doing business.

As for finding the money, really? That’s just a silly question. Gee, I dunno. I’m sure there are tons of places where bureaucratic waste and idiotic “social” programs could be cut to ensure that embassy staff can get out alive.

Your question reinforces that you are here to argue and defend an indefensible situation and administration. I refuse to participate in a hamster wheel discussion.

kim roy on February 8, 2013 at 2:57 PM

So, Panetta was the clownhead in charge?

claudius on February 8, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Obama couldn’t come to the phone on Sept 11 because he was instructing the MSM how to land on Romney (“for saying anything”) rather than confront this terrorist attack. The Left saw immediately the political damage that would result if the attack were told truthfully to the American people. The rest of the time Obama was concocting the ridiculous “tape caused a riot” crap.

Romney then got dirted by Candy Crowley in the 2nd debate. This was the most vile, dirty, and biased MSM intervention in the history of presidential debates.

How Hillary and Obama can dance on the graves of those heroes – next to their caskets – and peddle a sack of lies – well, it’s beyond my moral code, perhaps there is a special place in Hell reserved for both of them. – matthew8787 on February 8, 2013 at 2:56 PM

You are absolutely correct.

SC.Charlie on February 8, 2013 at 3:48 PM

So, Panetta was the clownhead in charge? claudius on February 8, 2013 at 3:24 PM

I am sure former Senator Hagel will do a much, much better job./s

SC.Charlie on February 8, 2013 at 3:51 PM

End of issue. Or don’t send them.

So, you want to close embassies throughout the world? Is that what you’re saying?

blink on February 8, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Exactly what I’m saying. If the staff cannot be guaranteed safety, no matter the cost then don’t send them. If it’s that important, then find the money. Maybe don’t fund the study on the reproductive cycle of the blue-bellied weevil or something as equally inane.

What is the price of American lives? Apparently it’s a budget expense to you.

I call it the cost of doing business – that and actually having a plan.

Since we apparently disagree, I’ll say my laters to you now.

kim roy on February 8, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Simple question.

1. Was ambassador Stephens and the Libyan embassy part of the arms conduit to Syrian and other rebel groups in the Middle East?

Seems to me that there are only two clandestine groups that can operate this, The CIA and The US Embassy.

WoW! Guess what the CIA and The US Embassy in Benghazi were working together.

2. Was this a cover-up to protect the Presidents by plausible denial in his reelection bid?
3. Didn’t President Nixon get impeached at the start of his second term because of actions taken during his reelection bit?

What are we waiting for?

jpcpt03 on February 8, 2013 at 4:38 PM

blink,

Yes, strange I am, but still alive after 2 years 6 months doing cross border operations into Laos from Monkey Mountain Da Nang while bunking in the rear q/hut in the Southwest corner of mash hospital accross the road from the Marine helo base of I-Corps.

The Col. and Lt. Gen. Lewis M. Walt wanted my team there due to the VC spys about so that we would not be noticed by them due to all the helo traffic in and out of the mash unit.
Then Pres. LBJ would not secure our work nor would Amb. Sullivan aka nut job commie enabler over in Laos kept his commie hands off our work of keeping Gen. Walts Marines alive. LBJ knew the S. Viet Army leaked our secrtes like Clinton and Obama do now and would not do shit about it.
So ya, I am a bit strange about commie Democrats getting American Fighting Men killed due to their bull shit commie lusting.

So strange I am that 4 Captins Mast in the time.
$50.00 fine the biggest deal out of that because Walt wanted the shit done that my team could do.

So, strange in fact I got you beat on strange, is that what jams you up so bad, peckerwood long finger pointing person.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on February 8, 2013 at 4:55 PM

To: APACHEWHOKNOWS

Knew something sounded familiar about you. We never meet but the E-Vac Hospital was in my local area of defense. My unit was on the other side of the helo base. Class of ’68

jpcpt03 on February 8, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Hey blink, to continue things from the other thread, I didn’t get the chance to peruse the QDR, but considering that fleet readiness is at its lowest level in decades thanks in part to lack of money for training, spare parts, etc., and that there are more cuts to come, I guess I can see how maintaining a CTF in the Med might not be a high priority. But it does seem strange, considering there used to be two on station at all times back in my deployment days. A sign of the (not so good) times, I suppose. Btw, you say you’re prior military. I detect Corps in your attitude. Not being snarky. Am I right?

Moose Drool on February 8, 2013 at 6:41 PM

I think we will regret allowing the number of carriers to dwindle as much as we have. In my opinion our response capabilities have been in decline since the early 1990s – this makes response much more difficult and much slower.

I agree. All of the old DFM-fueled, 1200 lb. steam plant carriers are gone; only nukes are left (maybe not a bad thing). 10 active carriers with three under construction. Nimitz and Eisenhower approaching 40 years of service, so they’ll be decomm’ed in a couple of years. So much for parking a CTF just outside of the territorial waters of an adversary or potential adversary and saying “don’t f*ck with us”.

Moose Drool on February 8, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Our Commander-in-Chief was AWOL for 8 freaking hours while our embassy was under attack and 4 Americans died.The House should impeaqch his sorry ass and then the Senate can embarrass itself trying desperately to exonerate him.Obama was more concerned about his own re-election than his duty to protect our country and its citizens.If a private went AWOL during combat he would be court martialed and imprisoned,and that is exactly what should happen to the treasonous Obama1

redware on February 8, 2013 at 8:27 PM

If these people are willing to publicly admit* that the president basically ignored the brutal murder of one of our ambassadors as it was happening and never checked back on the situation, the truth must be absolutely appalling.**

*Their lips are moving, so I’m pretty sure they’re lying. But since their lying actually makes the president look bad, I assume they chose the least worst “admission” they thought they could get away with.

**If this admission is the actual truth, it’s still stunningly, sickeningly, grotesquely appalling.

butterflies and puppies on February 9, 2013 at 2:07 AM

Notice how Panetta threw Clinton under the bus under close questioning about her not knowing about this attack?

He’s in trouble now and may need to reconsider his position re: the truth about Benghazi.

There’s no reason Clinton cannot be brought in again to clarify her contradicted testimony.

virgo on February 9, 2013 at 4:11 AM

The sad thing is that Obama has proven very convincingly that as far as presidential re-elections are concerned lying works and having many broken promises, scandals & exhibiting gross incompetence do not really matter. The main thing is to have celebrity status, promise to give out free stuff, and work for amnesty and the third world immigration that appeals to many minorities here. Hillary looks like she will fit this paradigm and so could be our next president.

Looks like John Derbyshire is right and we are doomed.

Chessplayer on February 9, 2013 at 10:57 AM

So what? It appears that no one is going to push this even with this testimony. Obama slides again. At least he was reelected to finish the job of destroying America as she was

ksmoola1 on February 9, 2013 at 1:44 PM

And there were assets in Sicily well within range of an 8 hour attack. The video drone was on site wasn’t it?

ksmoola1 on February 9, 2013 at 1:47 PM

And there were assets in Sicily well within range of an 8 hour attack. The video drone was on site wasn’t it?

ksmoola1 on February 9, 2013 at 1:47 PM

From someone who actually knows something:

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/former-special-forces-commander-dod-could-have-flown-rescue-team-tripoli-benghazi-dod

“But just dealing with the aircraft issue, we could have moved a military plane in there, picked those people up, moved them to Benghazi. And, in fact, we could’ve gotten people moved by helicopter, launched them out of the Sixth Fleet or the naval base in Rota, Spain.”

Obama let those people die. He abdicated his responsibility AND WENT TO BED.

dogsoldier on February 10, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Go to Wikipedia on “COVER-UP” it is a check sheet for the Government to cover up anything that does not work for them. Take a look at it then go to any of the many “OFFICIAL TIME LINES” and “NEWS RELEASES”, plug them in. You will see the nails in the impeachment coffin emerge. Even with the 6 months effort to muck this up. This also works with “Ruby Ridge”, “Waco TX” and “Fast and Furious”.

jpcpt03 on February 12, 2013 at 1:53 PM

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