Obama, Clinton hands off during Benghazi attack?
Panetta questioned on military response
- Duration 4:31
- Date Feb 8, 2013
Panetta questioned on military response
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Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta defending the administration's response to the big guys -- terror attack during a senate committee hearing yesterday we covered it here live.
Things getting a little tense when senator Lindsey Graham asked secretary Panetta a simple question.
Who was in charge and being -- Where you in charge secretary -- What do you -- church.
As running the operation trying to find a way to save our investor who was lost trying to prevent our people from being killed.
Providing assistance to people who are under attack.
If you know you.
And it's it's not that simple wish you know I mean I think the people that we're in charge for the people on the ground.
-- -- -- secondary Clinton was in charge partnered with Secretary Clinton in charge.
Now that people that were in charge -- You know the investors appear to have been no Washington and around that that that they can't you know they are trying to save their lives.
Richard -- as a former spokesperson for the last four US ambassadors to the UN Byron York.
Is chief political correspondent at the Washington examiner -- and good to see both in Rick.
You first because you worked in a number of administrations.
Odd that the president himself would be so hands off.
While one of our consulates was under attack.
You have very -- I think -- -- Mitt Romney was right it really was a weak response from the president he was off.
In Vegas at a fund raiser and the simple fact is.
They took a couple of pictures in the Oval Office where secretary Panetta was briefing the president but the president was hands off and the other thing that we learned.
Secretary Clinton was hands off these employees that were under attack -- State Department employees.
Where was Secretary Clinton she didn't know about the 9/11 and -- Cables coming in from ambassador Stephens and now we find out she wasn't even talking to her colleagues this is really.
88 more than just a lack of coordination in this is a lack of leadership.
And if it's no wonder secretary Panetta didn't know what leadership was or who was in charge by.
And so the president was initially briefed according to a secretary Panetta's testimony yesterday and then a long time passed before.
He got any updates but general Dempsey said that the president's national security staff was being.
Constantly updated so top staff members were in the loop throughout the whole thing good enough.
Probably not I think up until yesterday that's been -- story had been about Hillary Clinton about Susan Rice about the State Department.
Yesterday became about President Obama and the question was where was -- after having a pre scheduled meeting in the afternoon on that day.
Secretary Panetta spoke to him no more and I think what became clear.
With -- grams questioning about possible military activity.
Is that nobody in the Pentagon would have ordered military action without a specific order from the president and the president wasn't around.
I want to ask you both we have about a minute and a half left is another story that -- came out of these hearings and that is that the president himself Rick.
Himself opposed -- plan.
That was supported by pretty much everybody else in his administration to try to arm the rebels in Syria what do you make of that.
You know I think it's remarkable that his team was really recommending that we needed to do something to support.
What was happening there and and identify the opposition the right opposition and then tried to give them some sort of military support.
And the president said no I think this goes back to it exactly who he is.
And what he believes.
The inmate -- positive good -- people.
I think he doesn't understand the president doesn't understand that this is a dangerous world than that we need to take sides to make sure.
That the right people.
Are the ones who take hold in Syria it's the same thing that happened and Egypt.
It's that really the same thing that's happening throughout all of the Arab Spring -- -- your reaction what does this tell us about our commander in chief.
Well it tells us he's very cautious the question is always who are the right people to turn it over to -- -- the United States -- -- in for example in Libya which seems to have no government.
It all which in part resulted in the -- Ghazi rate we were just talking about.
So I think the president did show a lot of caution he did overrule secretary defense secretary of state and other top officials who want to do this but it shows the innate caution and this president after Libya Byron York -- Al gentlemen thank you both.
Thank you thanks.