WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (Rep.-CA) has sent a letter to Obama demanding that he reveal precisely whom he ordered to do what on the day our U.S Ambassador and others were murdered in Benghazi, Libya.
The congressman’s inquiry was prompted by the President’s statement in an interview on October 26 in which he stated he issued a directive to subordinates “to make sure we are securing our personnel the minute” he found about the attack in Benghazi.
“Although this response did not specifically answer the reporter’s question, your first directive would appear to involve potential actions by the U.S. military,” McKeon said in a letter sent to Obama on Monday. “Since you personally provided this directive, I have a series of additional questions that I am confident you can answer in advance of the conclusion of any formal investigation.”
During an interview Friday with Denver TV station KUSA, reporter Kyle Clark asked Obama, “Were they denied requests for help during the attack?”
President Obama did not answer Clark’s question directly but indicated he “instantly” issued directives when he first learned of the attack. “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,” Obama said.
“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,” he said. “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 the number one priority of making sure that [our] people were safe.”
Congressman McKeon, whose committee has oversight over the U.S. military, says there are a number of things that do not add up in the President’s statement:
“There appears to be a discrepancy between your directive and the actions taken by the Department of Defense,” said in his letter to Obama. “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. 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.”
McKeon listed four questions he is demanding that Obama answer:
- “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 them?”
Chairman McKeon told the president that members of the Armed Services Committee are alarmed that there might have been a ‘breakdown in communication” between the commander in chief and U.S. military forces while the crisis was unfolding in Libya.
“Members of the Committee on Armed Services are keenly concerned that any breakdown in communication that may have occurred not be repeated,” McKeon wrote the president. “Given your stated interest in transparency and sharing all relevant information with the American people and the families of our fallen, I am hopeful you can promptly address these questions.”