RUSH: I mentioned that the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on the Benghazi consulate attack took place today. Up first, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey testified, and he threw Mrs. Clinton under the bus here. McCain said, "Why didn't you put forces in place to be ready to respond when all broke loose over there?"
DEMPSEY: Because we never received a request to do so, number one, and number two --
MCCAIN: You never heard of -- of the Ambassador Stevens' repeated warnings about the lack of security?
DEMPSEY: I had, sir, through General Ham. But we never received a request for support from the State Department, which would have allowed us to put forces on the ground.
MCCAIN: So it's the State Department's fault.
DEMPSEY: I'm not blaming the State Department.
RUSH: You know, at this point this business of shifting blame is a distraction, because we all know what happened. The important thing here is we never... This is the Joint Chiefs of Staff! This is the US military. This is the guys with the guns and the ammo. These are the guys with the RPGs and the helicopters. These are the guys with the laser-guided bombs. These are the Americans who ride to the defense of Americans under assault.
(summarized exchange) He said, "We never received a request to put forces in place. We," the US military, "never were requested to send forces." "You mean you hadn't heard about Ambassador Stevens' warnings about lack of security?" "Oh, we'd heard about it but nobody ever asked us to do anything about it, and we just can't send people all over the world on our own. General Dempsey can't just deploy troops on his own mere, no matter what he hears. We never got a request for support from the State Department," that would be Hillary, "that would have allowed us to put forces on the ground."
(McCain impression) "So! So! So! It's the State Department's fault."
"I'm not blaming the State Department."
Well, we will. We'll blame 'em all! I'll blame Hillary. We'll blame Obama. Who else? Up next was Leon Panetta, the secretary of defense. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) said, "Secretary Panetta, you said that you were in a briefing with the president -- I believe it was about five o'clock our time -- and you had just learned about the incident at the consulate. What conversation did you have with the president? What did he ask you to do as a result of learning about this attack on the consulate? And throughout the night, what communications were you having with the president?"
PANETTA: I informed, uh, the president of, uh -- of that fact, and, uh, he at that point, uh, directed both myself and General Dempsey to do everything we needed to do to try to protect lives there.
AYOTTE: Did he ask you how long it would take to deploy assets --
AYOTTE: -- including armed aviation to the area?
PANETTA: He -- he basically said, "Do whatever. Do whatever you need to do to be able to protect, uhhh, our people there." He just left that up to us.
AYOTTE: Did you have any further communications with him that night?
RUSH: "No." So Obama votes "present." I guess this means they weren't in the Situation Room. Obama voted "present." He said, "Nah, you guys do whatever you need to do." Well, why didn't anybody do anything then? I mean, clearly, if the president says, "Do what you need to do to protect our people there," and they weren't protected, then why didn't they do it? So up next we have Senator Ted Cruz. During the Q&A, Cruz and Panetta had this exchange...
CRUZ: At five p.m. DC time you met with President Obama for a regularly scheduled meeting during which you discussed the attack at Benghazi that had happened about an hour and 20 minutes earlier. You said the total meeting lasted roughly 30 minutes. How much of the meeting would you estimate covered Benghazi?
PANETTA: We teed up that issue, uh, when we walked into the Oval Office. So I would say that the first 15 or 20 minutes was spent on the concern about that, uh, as well as Cairo, uh, and what might happen there.
RUSH: So Panetta discussed it with Obama for less than 15 minutes, and that was it. Here's Ted Cruz...
CRUZ: Do I understand your testimony correctly that neither of you had any subsequent conversations with the president rest of that day and that evening?
PANETTA: Once that concluded, we both went back to the Pentagon and immediately, uh, I ordered the deployment of those forces into place.
RUSH: Ted Cruz with another question...
CRUZ: In between 9:42 p.m. Benghazi time when the first attack started and 5:15 a.m. when Mr. Doherty and Mr. Woods lost their lives, what conversations did either of you have with Secretary Clinton?
PANETTA: (pause) We did not have any conversations with Secretary Clinton.
RUSH: "What difference does that make? Especially now! What's the point? What difference does that make?" That's what Hillary said when she was asked about all this. "What difference does it make?" Four people are dead! What difference it make now? The four people are dead. Don't you understand? We are about protecting American lives. That's what we do. That's what I care about, Senator. We protect America. What difference does it make? By this time, they're dead! What can anybody do?"
That was the way she approached it.
So Ted Cruz, "Between 9:42 p.m. Benghazi time when the first attack started and 5:15 a.m., that's eight hours, essentially, when Mr. Doherty and Mr. Woods lost their lives, what conversations did either of you have with Secretary Clinton?" That's the secretary of state who runs consulates, who runs embassies. "Uh, we didn't have any conversations with secretary, uh, Clinton." "And General Dempsey, is the same true for you?" Cruz asked, and Dempsey confirmed that it was. So what was Hillary doing to save lives?
Now, the Democrats did their best to change this hearing on Benghazi into a hearing about the impact of the sequester on the Pentagon. They did. They tried to shift the focus to the sequester, 'cause this did not go well. It could have been a lot worse for the regime, but it still didn't go well. Obama said (paraphrasing), "Well, do what you gotta do," and left. And not a word spoken for eight hours during all of this with Obama, and they never talked to Hillary at all during this thing. And General Dempsey, "I never got an order to send troops." You know, which raises a question. One of the SEALs, I forget which one, forgive me for that, by the way, went over there. They had violated orders. They were told to stand down. That's another thing about this, that consulate personnel were told to stand down.
Not only was there no military, they went anyway to try to save lives. And one of the SEALs, remember, lit up one of the terrorists with his laser as though he was expecting a laser guided bomb to follow. And all he did was expose his position when he did this, and they were able to kill him as a result of that. Now, this guy would not have lit up the terrorists, and he wouldn't have exposed himself if he hadn't thought there was something up there that was gonna fire a bomb targeted by his laser. I've always been curious about that. At some point the question needs to be asked, "Did they think that there were reinforcements in the air? Did they think they had air support at that point?"
They went over to the consulate, these guys, and they lit up the target, and in so doing, exposed themselves, by the way, to the terrorists. But they lit up the target, and that enables an American aircraft with laser guided bombs above to fire the bombs guided to the target by virtue of the laser being focused on it by the Navy SEAL. There's no reason to laser the terrorist target if you're not gonna launch a laser-guided missile, bomb, whatever weapon. Why did they think they had air support? I would love to have the answer to that question.
RUSH: I remember in the early days of the aftermath of the Benghazi attack, I remember one of the focal points, one of the questions was, why all this effort to blame the video? Why all this effort to blame forces outside of Washington, to blame protests from a video? And somebody said to me, "Rush, when it gets down to brass tacks what's gonna be revealed is, where was Obama?" That's what they're trying to massage here. And the way it was explained to me was, the question, was Obama disengaged, meaning could he be found? We just heard Panetta say that after five o'clock, that was it, there were no more conversations with Obama. After five that was it, Obama said (paraphrasing), "Look, do what you have to do."
Panetta says, "Well, I informed the president, and he just said to do whatever you needed to be able to do to protect our people there, and he left it up to us, and that's the last we heard of Obama." The question then and the question now is where was Obama, why was he disengaged? And we still don't have an answer to that. What was he doing that night? Where was he? You can say, well, he didn't talk to Hillary. Hillary's not the commander-in-chief. She can't order forces into place. And I'm sorry to say here, folks, but the president telling Panetta, "Well, do whatever you have to do," that's too vague and open-ended and wide open. Do what you have to do to save lives? It's like Obama, okay, I'm gonna wash my hands, "Do what you have to do, I gotta go." And he was then off the grid, folks, for the rest of the night.
This is why they deflected all this focus. This is why they tried to shift everybody's attention to the video or other distractions. They were trying to keep any inquiries into Obama's whereabouts from being made, and of course the media dutifully complied. They didn't ask those questions. They're not asking the question now. "Well, I informed the president. He said me and General Dempsey, just do everything you need to do to try to protect lives there." I'm sorry, but that doesn't strike me as the way presidents talk to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense in the middle of a pretty intense terror attack. "Well, you guys go do what you have to do. Whatever you need to do to be able to protect our people." "He left it up to us." You have any further communications with him that night? "No." Where was he? Why wasn't he reachable?
I have no wild guess here. But when the president isn't consulted for longer than eight hours. Five p.m. 'til the next day, where was he? What was he doing? Why was he disengaged? I was told early on, that's where the focus of this is gonna end up before it's all said and done, and it looks like with this hearing today that's being born out, at least in part.