Obama must answer critical questions about Benghazi disaster
The Kansas City Star
Last week during a campaign swing in Colorado, President Obama said he issued a directive the “minute” he found out what was going on in Benghazi “to make sure we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to do.”
Well, OK then. Let’s see the order.
Whether the president actually issued a directive is one of the many questions hovering over the Benghazi disaster. And we still don’t have an explanation for why Americans under fire received no aid.
Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods called repeatedly for assistance. He pinpointed targets with a laser, radioed the info. Nothing happened. No aid was forthcoming. Woods and three other Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, ended up dead.
Who gave the orders preventing aid from reaching these people? CIA Chief David Petraeus issued a statement last week saying any order not to respond didn’t come from the CIA. So who dropped the ball?
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta offered a lame explanation Wednesday, saying you don’t send people into harm’s way “without knowing what’s going on” — which was no doubt news to a lot of combat veterans. It’s called “the fog of war” for a reason.
Former Assistant Defense Secretary Bing West today put his finger on a key point: The accounts of Panetta and Obama are now in conflict.
Obama says he ordered the Pentagon to “do whatever we need to do.” If there was such an order, did Panetta disobey it?
West: “Surely it is in the president’s best interests to release a copy of his order, which the military would have sent to hundreds in the chain of command. And if the president did not direct the NSC ‘to do whatever we need to do,’ then who was in charge? When the American ambassador is attacked and remains out of American hands for over seven hours as a battle rages — and our military sends no aid — either the crisis-response system inside the White House is incompetent, or top officials are covering up.”
Indeed: Who was in charge? When will someone in this administration provide a credible account of what happened and take responsibility for it?