House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, on Oct. 29 wrote to President Obama to press the White House on his recent requests for information about the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
Mr. McKeon, California Republican, is seeking answers from the Pentagon and the U.S. military about what the military knew and how it responded during the attack by some 40 terrorists believed tied to the al Qaeda-linked Ansar al Sharia, an Islamist group that operated a camp in Benghazi. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack on the Benghazi consulate and annex,
Mr. Obama said in an interview Oct. 26 that he immediately ordered efforts at “securing personnel” under attack.
“There appears to be a discrepancy between your directive and the actions taken by the Department of Defense,” Mr. McKeon says in his letter.
“As we are painfully aware, despite the fact that the military had resources in the area, the military did not deploy any assets to secure U.S. personnel in Benghazi during the hours the consulate and the annex were under attack.”
Mr. McKeon asks the president to explain whom he ordered to secure U.S. personnel; how the order was transmitted; whether he ordered specific military assets into Libya; whether air assets were sent into Libyan airspace; and if he communicated with the Pentagon and military commanders.
“Members of the Committee on Armed Services are keenly concerned that any breakdown in communication that may have occurred not be repeated,” Mr. McKeon says.
“Given your stated interest in transparency and sharing all relevant information with the American people and the families of our fallen, I am hopeful you can promptly address these questions.”
Bill Gertz can be reached at insidethering@washingtontimes. com