By Greg Campbell
White House Counsel Kathryn H. Ruemmler has written a letter to Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, all senators on the Armed Services Committee that have been aggressively pursuing answers that would explain the apparent abandonment of Ambassador Chris Stevens and his staff and their murders at the hands of Islamic terrorists in Benghazi.
The Senators have been critical of the Obama Administration and the State Department for their apparent unwillingness to address the security concerns of Amb. Stevens in the days leading up to the attack. They have furthermore questioned why nothing was done to aid the consulate as it was under attack and they have also questioned why the Administration continually lied about the nature of the attack in the aftermath.
Ruemmler’s letter was a direct response to a query sent to the White House by the Senators that asked if President Obama had been in contact with Libyan officials the night of the attack, September 11th, 2012. According to Ruemmler’s letter, Obama had no contact with Libyan officials.
This is in addition to Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey’s testimony last week, where they each claimed that neither President Obama nor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton communicated with the defense department as the attack occurred. On the night in question, it appears that after a regularly scheduled meeting with Panetta, President Obama went home as the attack was underway and never checked in or anything of the like.
Ruemmler’s letter clarifies that while President Obama did not call Libyan officials, Clinton called Libyan President Mohammed Magariaf on Obama’s behalf that night “to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya and access to Libyan territory.” According to Ruemmler’s etter, Obama called Magariaf the next evening.
“Republican lawmakers have threatened holds on Obama’s nominees for secretary of Defense and CIA director if they don’t get more answers about the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012.
‘The president was virtually disengaged’ from ‘an attack you could see coming,’ Graham told reporters Thursday at a press conference alongside McCain and Ayotte.
Graham called the response a ‘breakdown in national security’ and said that if Obama had called the embassy in Tripoli or anyone else in Libya that night, ‘it could have made a difference.’
McCain said the administration has been ‘stonewalling’ Congress, while Ayotte bemoaned the fact that there were no U.S. air assets nearby despite warnings about the deteriorating security situation from the departments of State and Defense.
Ruemmler’s letter defended the Obama administration’s response to the attack.
‘This intensive response, which was directed by the President, included 13 meetings of interagency Principals and Deputies within a week of the attack and involved continuous outreach by senior administration officials to the Government of Libya, including by the President and members of his Cabinet.’”
Just what, exactly, President Obama was doing as Americans were being slaughtered still remains a mystery to the American people. Obama apparently did not coordinate with Panetta or Dempsey and did not coordinate with Libyan officials. However, in the aftermath of the attack, in October, Obama stated in an interview,
“…the minute I found out what was going on I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure we are securing our personnel and that we are doing whatever we need to. Number two, we are going to investigate exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice.”
To whom he gave these supposed directives has yet to be clarified. In any case, the personnel were not secured, the investigation has been sluggish and the Obama Administration has been stonewalling investigators and nobody has been brought to justice for this attack.