Questions for the President: Benghazi Edition

By Peter Kirsanow, National Review - November 27, 2012

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Today’s Questions for the President: Benghazi Edition

Although the press displayed its usual tenacity during the recent presidential news conference, it may nonetheless benefit from a review of some of the more basic questions about the Benghazi controversy Next time, perhaps members of the press might ask more than one question about the matter (congressional staffers are welcome to use the following as a starting point).

Failure to Secure the Consulate Prior to 9/11/12

Why were several requests for enhanced security prior to the attack on the U.S. consulate denied? Who denied the requests? On what basis? Why weren’t previous attacks on the consulate and the departure of the British and the Red Cross sufficient evidence that enhanced security was necessary? If the perilous circumstances leading up to the attack wouldn’t trigger enhanced security, what would? Why did Joe Biden falsely claim during the vice-presidential debate that no one asked for enhanced security? Was it due to ignorance or duplicity? Why wasn’t the false statement corrected immediately?

Failure to Secure Personnel During the Attack on the Consulate

What time on 9/11/12 did you learn of the attack? What were you told? By whom? What did you say and do upon being told?

It’s reported that you were meeting with SecDef Panetta when the attack began. What advice, if any, did he give when the two of you were told of the attack? Were you meeting with anyone else when you were told of the attack? If so, who, and what did they say and do?

It’s reported that real-time video feeds were available during the attack. Did you watch the attack? If not, why not? If you did watch it, for how long and what did you observe? What conclusions did you draw from the fact that the attackers were using RPGs and mortars? Who else watched the attack with you?

On October 16, you were asked by a reporter whether you denied requests for aid during the attack. You responded, “The minute I found out this was going on, I gave three 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 to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice.”

To whom did you give the directive to secure our personnel? What did these individuals do to carry out your directive? When did they do so? What did they do? Why weren’t our personnel secured?

The New York Times reports that the Defense Department maintains that they didn’t get a request for help from the State Department. Why would the Defense Department even need to get such request if you had already issued your directive to secure our personnel?

Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin reports that former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Ty Woods were ordered to stand down from securing our personnel three times during the attack. Is this true? If so, who gave such orders in violation of your directive? Why? Have they been disciplined? If not, why not?

Griffin further reports that when Doherty and Woods asked for armed support at the CIA annex, the requests were denied. The CIA insists no one at the agency denied such requests. Who, then, denied the requests for armed support and why?

Panetta, who was with you at the time of the attack, said about the lack of military response, “The basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.” How is Panetta’s statement even remotely consistent with your directive, especially since you did, in fact, have real-time information from two drones and a continuous stream of emails from personnel in Libya?

Have any personnel been discharged or disciplined for the evident failure to follow your directive to do whatever’s needed to secure our personnel? If not, why not?

Why weren’t nearby Delta operators deployed to assist Doherty and Woods? Why were there no air strikes on targets painted by Woods?

The Obama Administration’s Varying Explanations After the Attack

During the second presidential debate you asserted that on the day after the attack you identified it as an act of terror (in truth, you made only a general reference to terrorism unrelated to Benghazi).

Accepting your assertion, why, then, did you thereafter dispatch U.N. ambassador Susan Rice to five talk shows to falsely claim that the attacks were due to a spontaneous demonstration resulting from a YouTube video? Why didn’t you correct Rice after she made the false claims? Why did you decline to identify the attack as terrorism when asked about it on Letterman and The View? Why did Secretary of State Clinton make the same false claim to Ty Woods’s father?

Who came up with the video story? Why?

General David Petraeus testified on November 16 that the CIA knew from the beginning that the attack was an act of terrorism, but on September 14, he told Congress the attack was due to the video. Have you asked General Petraeus why he changed his testimony? If so, what did he tell you? If you didn’t ask, why not? Did you or anyone in your administration instruct Petraeus to refer to the video in his September 14 remarks? Do you know why Petraeus, knowing that the attack had nothing to do with the video, never corrected the record until after the election? Did you or anyone in your administration instruct him not to correct the record?

The original CIA talking points on Benghazi states that the attack was an act of terror with links to al-Qaeda. But the revised version Rice claims she relied upon does not. Who deleted the references to terrorism and al-Qaeda and why? DNI spokesman Shawn Turner says that office removed the reference. If so, why did DNI James Clapper earlier claim he didn’t know who did it? Since you claim you said from the beginning the attack was an act of terror, why didn’t you instruct that the references to terrorism and al-Qaeda be reinserted?

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