Terence P. Jeffrey
February 7, 2013
Under questioning by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R.-N.H.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.) in the Senate Armed Services Committee today, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified that they spoke to President Barack Obama only once on the evening of the Sept. 11, 2012, when U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya were under attack by terrorists.
Panetta and Dempsey had a pre-scheduled meeting with Obama at 5:00 p.m. Washington, D.C. time on Sept. 11.
A Defense Department timeline says that Panetta and Dempsey had been informed of the terrorist attack in Benghazi at 4:32 p.m–28 minutes before they went into their meeting with Obama. At today’s hearing, Panetta said he informed Obama of the attack when they entered their 5:00 p.m. meeting. That was one hour and 18 minutes after the attack started and while it was ongoing.
Gen. Dempsey told Sen. Graham that the 5:00 p.m. meeting with Obama lasted about a half hour. According to DOD, an unarmed drone arrived over the Benghazi mission at 5:10 p.m.
Full story here.