Tags: Benghazi Scandal | Leon Panetta | benghazi | terrorist | attacks

Panetta: Obama Told Benghazi Was Terrorist Attack

By    |   Tuesday, 07 Oct 2014 09:42 PM

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he immediately told President Barack Obama that the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, was carried out by terrorists.

Panetta is on a whirlwind of media interviews to promote his new book, "Worthy Fights," which contains several criticisms of the president.

Panetta appeared Tuesday on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" during which host Bill O'Reilly played a clip from his Feb. 2 interview with Obama. In that interview, Obama would not admit that Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey told him the Benghazi attacks involved terrorists.

Panetta told O'Reilly a different version: "We told the president that there's an attack that's going on, that terrorists are involved in the attack, and, as a result, we have to respond to it."

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Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in the attack.

Panetta told O'Reilly that when then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on the five Sunday morning news shows describing the attack as a spontaneous protest sparked by an anti-Islamic YouTube video, he initially assumed she was using the CIA talking points that said the same thing.

"I thought those talking points, frankly, were not on point," Panetta said. "My view was, with the kind of weapons that showed up, there was no question in my mind that it was a terrorist attack."

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Panetta also responded to criticism from three CIA contractors, who write in their own book that they were stopped by the station chief from responding to the attack for a half-hour before deciding to take action anyway.

"If, in fact, there was a 30-minute delay, I think that it is important for the congressional committee to look into that and determine what happened," Panetta told O'Reilly.

Panetta has served in the administrations of both Bill Clinton and Obama. He told O'Reilly that Clinton likes the engagement part of politics and Obama doesn't. Obama's dislike of talking to Congress, even to members of his own party, hurts his presidency, he said.

"If the president doesn't engage with them, then you have a situation where everybody gives up," Panetta said.

He also criticized his old boss' leadership style.

"We govern either by leadership or crisis," Panetta said. "And today we are largely governing by crisis."

Panetta said he is worried about the future of America and whether today's children will have a chance at a better life.

"We can either be a great country, an America in renaissance, or we can be an America in decline," he said.

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Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he immediately told President Barack Obama that the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya was carried out by terrorists. Panetta is on a whirlwind of media interviews to promote his new book, ...
Leon Panetta, benghazi, terrorist, attacks
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2014-42-07
Tuesday, 07 Oct 2014 09:42 PM
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