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Ten Questions for the White House

2:35 PM, Oct 27, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Friday, in response to questions regarding the events of September 11 in Benghazi, President Obama said this: "Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we're going to bring those folks to justice. So, we're going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn't happen again but we're also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks."

Barack Obama thinking, first day in the Oval Office

The interviewer followed up: "Were they denied requests for help during the attack?”

The president responded: "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. 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 people were safe. These were our folks and we're going to find out exactly what happened, but what we're also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks."

THE WEEKLY STANDARD understands that it will take some time to "gather all the facts" about what happened on the ground in Benghazi. But presumably the White House already has all the facts about what happened that afternoon and evening in Washington—or, at least, in the White House. The president was, it appears, in the White House from the time the attack on the consulate in Benghazi began, at around 2:40 pm ET, until the end of combat at the annex, sometime after 9 p.m. ET. So it should be possible to answer these simple questions as to what the president did that afternoon and evening, and when he did it, simply by consulting White House meeting and phone records, and asking the president for his recollections.

1.) To whom did the president give the first of his "three very clear directives"—that is, "make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to?"

2.) How did he transmit this directive to the military and other agencies?

3.) During the time when Americans were under attack, did the president convene a formal or informal meeting of his national security council? Did the president go to the situation room?

4.) During this time, with which members of the national security team did the president speak directly?

5.) Did Obama speak by phone or teleconference with the combatant commanders who would have sent assistance to the men under attack?

6.) Did he speak with CIA director David Petraeus?

7.) Was the president made aware of the repeated requests for assistance from the men under attack? When and by whom? 

8.) Did he issue any directives in response to these requests?

9.) Did the president refuse to authorize an armed drone strike on the attackers?

10.) Did the president refuse to authorize a AC-130 or MC-130 to enter Libyan airspace during the attack?

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has asked the White House these questions, and awaits a response.  

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