The White House left Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, and Sean Smith on their own on September 11 in Benghazi. That is the upshot of today’s Capitol Hill hearing featuring Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey.
After a pre-scheduled afternoon meeting, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified that he never heard from President Obama the night of September 11. In fact, Panetta said, he had no further communication from the White House that night—even as the attack turned deadly. This is truly extraordinary—and appalling.
And both Panetta and Dempsey admitted in today’s hearing that they were not in touch with Clinton at all the evening of 9/11. “[W]e never received a request for support from the State Department,” Dempsey said, explaining why the American military had not made any attempt to save the endangered Americans.
So the Cabinet officials weren't in touch with each other, and the president wasn't in touch with anyone.
UPDATE: A reader writes in:
We were told that Mr. Obama issued a "directive" to do whatever necessary to protect the ambassador and our U.S. citizens. Who received the directive? His mother in-law?
If Obama did issue that directive at the end of the 5 o'clock meeting, did no one at the White House follow-up to make sure it had been followed? Did neither Panetta nor Dempsey report back to the White House?
Neither the secretary of defense nor the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke to the secretary of state during the 8-hour attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. At a Thursday hearing in the Senate, Republican Ted Cruz asked both Leon Panetta and Martin Dempsey, "In between 9:42 p.m., Benghazi time, when the first attacks started, and 5:15 am, when Mr. Doherty and Mr. Woods lost their lives, what converations did either of you have with Secretary Clinton?"
"We did not have any conversations with Secretary Clinton," Panetta responded.
General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared to be unaware that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified that she did not see a cable from Ambassador Christopher Stevens in August of 2012 in which the late ambassador warned the consulate in Benghazi was not safe from attack. Republican senator Lindsey Graham asked Dempsey about Clinton's testimony.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted in a Senate hearing Thursday that no military assets, individual soldiers or aircraft, sent in response to the September 11, 2012, attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Watch the video below:
Earlier this week we wrote that the chairman of the Joints of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, had “provoked a public confrontation” with House Budget Committee leader Rep. Paul Ryan. It appeared that Dempsey had made a grievous error by claiming that Ryan had “called [the JCS], collectively, liars.”
In an interview on CNN, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that “we are of the opinion that Iran is a rational actor,” from which he derived his conclusion that “we also know, or we believe we know, that Iran has not decided to make a nuclear weapon.”
NBC reports: "Iran would take pre-emptive action against its enemies if it felt its national interests were endangered, the deputy head of the Islamic Republic's armed forces was quoted by a semi-official news agency as saying Tuesday. . . .
At a House Armed Services Committee yesterday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey warned against making further reductions to future defense spending, telling lawmakers that further cuts will “truly devastate our national defense.”
“Extraordinarily difficult and very high risk.” That’s how General Martin Dempsey, the Army’s chief of staff and Obama’s pick to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff, bluntly described proposals by the president and certain lawmakers to cut national security spending by anywhere from $400 billion to $1 trillion or more over the next decade.
President Barack Obama named nominees of new military brass today, on Memorial Day, for the positions of chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, vice chair of the Joint Chiefs, and chief of staff of the Army. USA Today reports: