Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) issued blunt warnings to the White House on Sunday: Give us real answers on Benghazi, or the nominations for Secretary of Defense and director of the Central Intelligence Agency will be on hold.
Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) has nonetheless scheduled the Armed Services Committee vote on Chuck Hagel for this afternoon, with the full Senate voting potentially tomorrow if all goes according to Levin’s plan. Which it may not. Whether Hagel will make it to the Pentagon anytime soon could depend on whether the White House is willing to come out with the answers that the American people deserve regarding Benghazi.
Kudos to Senators Graham and Inhofe. It is high time someone held President Obama and his team accountable for the abysmal failure of leadership that cost four brave Americans their lives in the service of this country on September 11, 2012.
Graham has been particularly outraged—as should all Americans—by the shocking revelations he managed to squeeze out of outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey during Thursday’s hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee.
To wit: President Obama received, all told, one— yes, one—briefing on the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi while it was going on for over seven hours. This briefing took place at a 5 p.m. scheduled defense meeting in the White House, a little over an hour after the attack in Benghazi had started. After that, nothing.
Neither Panetta nor Dempsey gave the President any updates on efforts (or non-efforts) to help the beleaguered personnel in the Benghazi consulate and nearby CIA facility, nor did the President care to ask until it was all over.
“No confirmation without information,” Graham told CBS’s Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation.” “I don’t think we should allow Brennan to go forward for the CIA directorship, or Hagel to be confirmed for Secretary of Defense, until the White House gives us an accounting.”
“I don’t know what the President did that evening,” Graham said. “I don’t know if he ever called anyone. This was incredibly mismanaged, and what we know now, it seems to be a very disengaged President. What did he do that night? That’s not unfair.”
Inhofe on “Fox News Sunday” also said he would threaten to cause a 60-vote margin in the Senate. “If it took a filibuster, I’d do it that way.”
Perhaps President Obama was too busy that evening with other pressing world affairs to make a call to the Pentagon to ask what was being done to save our people? But the White House schedule for September 11 contains no further events of meetings after the 5 p.m. defense briefing.
The next day, after a totally misleading Rose Garden press conference in which the President and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed the death on a ludicrous Internet video, President Obama flew to Las Vegas for a mega campaign fundraiser. He was entirely undeterred by the fact that Americans had died that night in Benghazi and their families frantic for answers.
Other Presidents have faced similar situations and acted entirely differently. Jimmy Carter obsessed over the loss of Americans in the failed operation to rescue American hostages in Tehran in 1979. Ronald Reagan ordered the rescue operation of American medical students in Grenada. Bill Clinton worried over a single missing pilot over Bosnia and celebrated when he was found. From Obama, not as much as a phone call. Unprecedented is the one way to describe this behavior; cold is another.