According to Panetta, President Obama checked in with his military team early on during the attack, then checked out for the rest of the night. The next day, we already knew, he blamed the video maker and flew to Las Vegas for a campaign event.
Meanwhile, half a world away, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans had been slaughtered by Islamists. Their murders on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 gave the incident extra gravity and led the White House to conceal the facts. An honest chronology would have revealed the president’s shocking behavior during the most successful attack against Americans by foreigners since 9/11.
Imagine the questions that would have come: What did Obama do through the long, bloody night? Whom did he talk to? When did he learn that Stevens was dead?
There is still much we don’t know, but Panetta, under persistent Senate probing, revealed that Obama simply wasn’t involved. Did he just go to sleep?
That question, like other good ones, was asked by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Panetta and the chairman of the joint chiefs, Martin Dempsey, told Graham they didn’t sleep, but said they didn’t know if Obama did.
You would think a presidential conscience would keep him awake and engaged until he knew what had happened in Benghazi. You would be wrong.