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On Their Own

2:29 PM, Feb 7, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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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?

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