On the night of the Benghazi attacks, September 11, 2012, only President Obama could have obtained clearance from Libya’s government for U.S. aircraft to use that country’s airspace to back up our people.
But according to previously secret documents that have now been released under the Freedom of Information Act, Obama didn’t join in on an emergency conference call for six hours.
The log, created by the State Department, shows that U.S. agencies were talking to each other beginning at 1621 hours, or 4:21 p.m. Eastern time, working to get information and trying to formulate a response to the attacks on two U.S. facilities that ultimately left four Americans, including our ambassador, dead. That’s 10:21 p.m. Libya time. Ambassador Chris Stevens was declared dead only four hours later, at around 2 a.m. local time. Sean Smith was found dead even earlier.
The conference call log shows a NOIWON — National Operational Intelligence Watch Officer’s Network — call was convened by the White House Situation Room. Hillary Clinton appears in the log, referred to only as “the Secretary,” and it appears she was at least issuing orders to get people in the loop.
But for some reason that is not made clear by the documents, Obama’s name is nowhere to be seen until six hours after the NOIWON call was begun, and there is no indication that Clinton tried to find him during that time.
Where was the president? Was he playing golf? Did no one actually tell him what was going on? Did he know what was happening and just not care?
We know that when the attacks began, our military forces were quickly alerted, and available information indicates that several units, including air units, were “spooled up,” ready to go as soon as they received an order.
The order didn’t come.
In the just-released logs, Obama’s name doesn’t appear until 2227 hours, 10:27 p.m., and that was to patch him through to Clinton. By then, Stevens and Smith were already dead for more than two hours.
The logs don’t hint at the actual conversation between Obama and Clinton, but other information released previously indicates that was around the time that the Administration began compiling its cover story blaming a YouTube video for the violent battle in Benghazi, when Clinton and others knew all along that it was a planned assault caused by terrorists from Ansar al-Sharia, not some random attack.
Was the conversation about an appropriate military response? Not likely, since there wasn’t one. More likely, Obama and Clinton chatted about how to cover Obama’s scrawny behind and save his re-election chances. After all, he had been bragging on the campaign trail about killing Osama bin Laden and having al-Qaida on the run.
With Obama currently halfway out the White House door, it’s unlikely there will be any more Benghazi revelations until he’s living on a beach somewhere. Congressional drive to prosecute anyone for what happened in Benghazi is already somewhere below zero.
If we ever find out the full truth, it will probably be years from now, unless a President Trump comes along and wants to conduct a real investigation.
But one thing’s clear. For those six hours, Obama, wherever he was and whatever he was doing, was not paying attention to his job as president. And then he and Clinton covered it up.
There’s always a golden window in emergency situations, during which victims can be helped, damage can be prevented, and lives can be saved. Obama missed that window, and subsequent events show he just didn’t care.