KYLE CLARK: Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we’ll all find out after the election?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice. So, we’re going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again but we’re also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.
KYLE CLARK: Were they denied requests for help during the attack?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, 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. 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. 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 number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.
So President Obama is saying that he gave a "very clear directive" to "do whatever we need to" to "make sure that we are securing our personnel." But, the same day, CIA Director General David Petraeus stated that no one at the CIA gave operatives in Benghazi the order to stand down, notably not denying that such an order was given by someone. And Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard, with long experience in Washington, argues here that the only person who could have given such an order to stand down was the President.
So which is it, Mr. President? Did you give a "very clear directive" to "do whatever we need to" to "make sure that we are securing our personnel"? Or did you give an order to "stand down"?
If the former, please tell us who disobeyed those orders from the Commander in Chief and explain why they haven't been fired yet.
If the latter, please explain (oh, please, please, please, try to explain) why the Commander in Chief would ever leave Americans hung so far out to dry.
UPDATE: What I noticed above is getting noticed elsewhere too:
Francis “Bing” West, who served as an assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan, told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren that the president’s explanation about his actions when the U.S. mission in Benghazi was attacked should be easily verifiable.
“President Obama today said that he gave an order to everyone while the attack was going on to do everything they could to secure the personnel,” West said. “Now that’s really big because that means that those who were turning down [former Navy SEAL] Ty Woods when he was asking for the help were going against the orders of the president of the United States.”
Woods was one of four Americans killed in the Libya assault. Obama on Friday wouldn’t answer directly whether pleas for help on the ground were denied during the attack, telling KUSA-TV, “the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.”
“A chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff doesn’t take an order from the president when he says ‘do everything’ and not put that in writing and send it out to the chain of command,” West said. “If that actually happened the way President Obama today said it happened, there’s a paper trail and I think people reasonably enough can say, ‘well can we see the order?’ because hundreds of others supposedly saw this order.”