WH Silent on When Obama Learned of Benghazi Attack and Whom He Ordered to Secure U.S. Personnel There

Fred Lucas | October 30, 2012 | 1:06pm EDT
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Ruins of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The White House is not saying when exactly President Barack Obama first learned of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, nor is it saying whom exactly Obama ordered to make sure our personnel in Benghazi were secured.

Terrorists ended up killing four Americans in Benghazi that day, including former Navy Seal Tyrone Woods, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghan wars; former Navy Seal Glen Doherty, also a veteran of the Iraq and Afghan wars; State Department communications specialist Sean Smith, an Air Force veteran; and U.S. Amb. Christopher Stevens.

In an interview on Friday with reporter Kyle Clark of KUSA TV in Denver, Obama said that the “minute” he found out that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was under attack he ordered someone to “make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.”

In the Friday interview, KUSA’s Clark asked Obama: “Were they denied requests for help during the attack?”

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Obama did not directly answer this question. Instead he said: “Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. 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,” Obama continued. “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 [our] people were safe.

“These were our folks,” Obama said, “and we're going to find out exactly what happened. But what we're also going to do is make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.”

So what exactly was the “minute” Obama learned of the Benghazi attack and who exactly did he order to take action at that time to secure threatened American personnel? On Monday, Oct. 29, CNSNews.com contacted the White House by phone and e-mail and asked the following questions in writing:

1) “At exactly what minute and hour did President Obama find out that our diplomatic mission in Benghazi was under attack?”

2) “Who did he order at that minute and hour to ‘make sure that we are securing our personnel’ in Benghazi?”

3) “Who carried out President Obama's order to secure our personnel in Benghazi and what exactly did they do to accomplish his order that they secure our personnel in Benghazi?”

4) “Did President Obama follow in real-time the efforts of his subordinates to carry out his order to ‘make sure we are securing our personnel’ in Benghazi?

5) “If President Obama did not follow these efforts in real-time, what was the president doing when his subordinates were carrying out his order to ‘make sure we are securing our personnel’ in Benghazi?”

CNSNews.com initially sent these questions to the White House at 10:56 a.m. on Monday, then followed up with a phone message for the White House National Security Staff (NSS) press office. CNSNews.com emailed the White House press spokespersons again at 4:22 p.m. on Monday to give them another opportunity to respond.

At 7:54 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, CNSNews.com contacted the White House and NSS press offices again with the questions. When CNSNews.com called the White House press office at 10:04 a.m. on Tuesday, the person answering the phone said these questions—about national security actions taken by the commander in chief--should go to the Obama reelection campaign because the president had made his comments about making “sure that we are securing our personnel” in an interview with a Colorado TV station.

CNSNews.com left a message with the White House NSS press office and also called the president’s reelection campaign at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday and emailed the campaign at 11:01 a.m. Neither office responded before this story was posted at 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

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