President Obama made no phone calls the night of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, according to documents released Thursday by the White House.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., believes if Obama had made his involvement known by phone, at least two of the Americans killed in the attacks might still be alive because he might have been able to push U.S. aid to get to the scene faster.
“During the entire attack, the president of the United States never picked up the phone to put the weight of his office in the mix,” Graham said.
In a statement previously issued by the White House, Obama was said to have been kept up to date on the attack by his staff, though after he was alerted to the attack in an afternoon meeting, he never again contacted Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin E. Dempsey or then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Panetta told Congress last week it was immediately clear to him terrorists had orchestrated the attacks, although the White House told a different story in the days following the incident.
Republican senators said they will continue to demand more information on who changed the talking points spouted by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who went on the Sunday talk shows after the attacks and blamed them on protests against an anti-Islam video.
Sen. Graham said he will continue to block the nomination of Chuck Hagel to become Defense Secretary until the White House releases more information regarding Obama’s actions the night of the attacks.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., believes the shroud of secrecy must be lifted.
“We still don’t know what the president of the United States was doing the night of the attack and who he was talking to,” he said.
“We know who he wasn’t talking to.”
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