With the House select committee preparing to ramp up their investigation on the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya – the person who stands as the president’s direct representative to that country on behalf of the United States of America – some interesting things are bound to come to light. Committee members have already been studying the past reports that have been compiled and are using those as road maps to discern what questions remain unanswered. The biggest difference with this committee is that unlike the others this one has and will use subpoena powers to get answers. In addition, nearly all the Republican members of the committee are attorneys with various backgrounds, so we should get solid questions from them.
One of the questions we’ve heard the most about concerns who changed U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s talking points for the Sunday political talk shows so that the blame for the attack would be placed on an obscure YouTube video that incited a spontaneous uprising instead of on al Qaeda-linked militants who carried out a pre-planned coordinated attack. (That would have destroyed the president’s campaign narrative that al Qaeda was “on the run.”) Another question relates to who gave the U.S. military the “stand down” order so they would not attempt a rescue of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the others despite the battle raging on for hours.
Earlier this month, former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor confirmed that President Obama was not in the White House Situation Room during the attack despite being in the White House.
BRET BAIER: People on the ground testified that they knew where the ambassador was, that they were military in their precision. It was not guys coming to protest. They had mortars and heavy weapons.
TOMMY VIETOR: Bret, a couple of things. I was in the Situation Room that night, okay. We didn’t know where the ambassador was definitively.
BAIER: Was the president in the Situation Room?
VIETOR: No. And the fact that your network at one time reported that he watched video feed of the attack as it was ongoing is part of what I think is a pattern of inaccurate –
BAIER: Where was the president?
VIETOR: In the White House. Let me finish my initial statement. The notion that we could, you know, divine motives from a drone feed I think is wrong. And I also think this idea that the military had the capability to rescue those individuals but chose not to is I think extremely unfair to the military. And Admiral Mullen said basically the opposite.
BAIER: In the ARB report.
BAIER: Where was the president?
VIETOR: In the White House.
BAIER: He wasn’t in the Situation Room?
VIETOR: At what point in the evening?
BAIER: Any point in the evening.
VIETOR: It’s well known that when the attack was first briefed to him it was in the Oval Office and he was updated constantly. And during that briefing he told Tom Donilon and his Joint Chiefs and Sec Def to begin moving all military assets into the region.
If we want to know the answers to the other questions, we need to start with the most basic ones.
Where was the president?
What was he doing for the duration of the attack?
This is where it is really going to hit the fan for the president and the American people will get mad.
According to a former high-ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, President Obama went to bed between 8:30 and 9 p.m. the evening of Sept. 11, 2012 (after all, he did have to get up the next day to fly out to Las Vegas for a campaign fundraiser.) Before turning in for the night, the president handed things over to Sec. of State Hillary Clinton to take care of since it concerned the State Department with an ambassador involved in the situation.
Is it any wonder that Hillary Clinton exploded with her now famous, “What difference at this point does it make?” remark before Congress? She was in charge. This was her failure.
Remember her 3 a.m. ad from the 2008 campaign?
Well, she DID get that phone call, but it didn’t come in the middle of the night – it came in the evening hours – and she still blew it. All while President Obama slept comfortably in his bed, dreaming of the campaign dollars he’d be raking in the next day during his trip to Vegas.
The very first thing that the select committee should do is obtain the Secret Service records detailing the president’s whereabouts for the evening of Sept. 11, 2012, as well as email and phone records in order to confirm these claims that have been made. Should these be proven true, it will show that not only was Hillary Clinton incompetent in this situation, but President Obama was derelict in his duty as Commander-in-chief.