Obama twice ducks reporter’s question on Libya, McKeon follows up
On Friday, a local news reporter in Denver, Kyle Clark, tried twice to get a straight answer out of President Barack Obama on whether Americans in Benghazi, Libya were denied requests for help while the consulate was under attack last month.
During a satellite interview, Clark threw Obama a hardball.
“Is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we’ll all find out after the election?” he asked.
But after Obama ducked that question (“the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened…Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do.”) and a follow-up on whether requests for help during the attack were denied (“well, we are finding out exactly what happened”), Clark had to move on to a different topic.
Today, House Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) sent Obama a letter asking the president to explain his answer to the journalist and square it with what happened that deadly night in Benghazi.
During the interview with Clark, Obama cited three “very clear directives” he said he had given when he was initially apprised of the attacks.
“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,” Obama said.
McKeon asked Obama to break down just how that first directive was put into action.
“As we are painfully aware, despite the fact that the military had resources in the area, the military did not deploy any assets to secure U.S. personnel in Benghazi during the hours the consulate and the annex were under attack,” McKeon wrote. “I find it implausible that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Commander of U.S. Africa Command, and the Commander of U.S. European Command would have ignored a direct order from the Commander in Chief.”
On behalf of the House Armed Services Committee, he asked Obama to answer the following questions:
. To whom did you issue this first directive and how was this directive communicated to the military and other agencies – verbally or in writing?
. At any time on September 11, 2012, did you specifically direct the military to move available assets into Libya to ensure the safety of U.S. personnel in Benghazi? If so, which assets did you order to Libya?
. At any time on September 11, 2012, other than ISR assets, did you provide the authority for the military to take any and all necessary measures to secure U.S. personnel, including specifically the authority to enter Libyan airspace?
. Did you have any communication with the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or any Commanders of regional Combatant Commands regarding military support to U.S. personnel in Benghazi on September 11th? If so, could you please describe any recommendations provided to you regarding available military support and any orders you gave to them?
McKeon requested a prompt response from the president to set the story straight.
Watch the full interview with Denver’s 9News below.