Facts Still Bubbling Up on Benghazi Scandal

While the networks try to stay silent on Benghazi, some journalists are still trying to piece together the facts. Terry Jeffrey of our CNSNews.com website reported "Obama met with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on Sept. 11, 2012 at 5:00 PM — just 55 minutes after the State Department notified the White House and the Pentagon that the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi was under attack."

A Defense Department spokesman, confirmed the meeting to CNSNews.com on Tuesday, but added, “However, neither the content nor the subject of discussions between the President and his advisors are appropriate for disclosure.” Why on Earth not?

Fred Lucas of CNSNews.com asked the White House on both Monday and Tuesday to reveal exactly when Obama learned the U.S. mission in Benghazi was under attack and who exactly Obama directed to "make sure that we are securing our personnel" there. The White House did not respond.

Washington Post blogger (and former Bush staffer) Marc Thiessen reported National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor wrote him the following:

I’d also note that this focus on just the PDB and not the countless other NSC meetings the President has each week really misses the point. For example, the President had a briefing with the Principals Committee to review 9/11 threats and mitigation efforts on September 10th. Seems like a relevant data point for you[r] piece. [Emphasis added]

Thiessen concluded from this:

If the NSC Principals Committee did not discuss Libya as part of their briefing on “9/11 threats and mitigation efforts,” then it would seem to be an example of gross negligence. If they did discuss Libya, then Americans deserve to know what they told the president about the security situation in that country one day before our ambassador was killed. And if the president was in fact briefed on the growing al-Qaeda threat in Benghazi a day before the attack, it would further call into question the administration’s efforts to blame the attack on a YouTube video.  

The only way to answer these questions is for the administration to release the records relating to the September 10 NSC meeting — including any briefing slides or papers prepared for the meeting. Those records will tell us a great deal about what the president knew — and when he knew it.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis