We know of only two certainties within the White House timeline during the night of 9/11/12:
1. That both Obama and Biden were on the phone with Benjamin Netanyahu between 6:30 and 7:28pm DC time.
2. That President Obama and Hillary Clinton talked around 10:00pm DC time about the event.
That’s it. The time between the call with Netanyahu ending at 7:30pm (1:30am Benghazi) and Hillary at 10:00pm (4am Benghazi), is a void. What happens after 10:00pm DC time is also a void.
Sharyl Attkisson, the only journalist with any intellectual credibility on the issue, has been trying to use FOIA requests to find out the rest:
At the time we thought the picture was worth a thousand words. After research, and with the hindsight of the latest revelations, it appears we were correct. Yet again, it provides more sunlight into the events surrounding the Benghazi, Libya events and who made the critical decisions in those moments of crisis.
At 5pm, according to the White House and media reports, President Obama was set for a prior scheduled meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey. It was just prior to this meeting that White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon tells President Obama of the attack and the fire at the main villa…
…..how long the meeting took is unknown, but we do know by 6:30pm President Obama and Joe Biden were on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
(Sept. 11, 2012) – ”Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor, left, updates the President and Vice President on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and Chief of Staff Jack Lew are at right.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The picture above was taken at exactly 7:28:16pm DC time. It was dusk outside, and President Obama had just completed a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Why is this important? Because we know the conversation lasted an hour.
Sept 11, 2012 President Obama spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu for an hour tonight as a part of their ongoing consultations. The two leaders discussed the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, and our close cooperation on Iran and other security issues. (link)
So we know the phone call began at around 6:30pm and ended just before 7:28pm.
What is equally important is what was taking place in Libya (Benghazi) during the time the Netanyahu phone call took place.
The attack against the CIA/State Dept. Consulate began at 3:40pm D.C. time. So this phone call between Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama started three hours after the attack began.
What is also revealing about this photograph is who was where, why, and what decisions were being made.
It might seem odd that both President Obama and Vice-President Biden would simultaneously be tied up, indeed it is a breach of previously established security protocols for this exact “crisis” and “leadership need” reason.
But, they are used to doing it all the time – and besides, what are the odds of something actually being urgent while they are both engaged, and needing one of them immediately.
Indeed the odds are slim. Slim, but this was one of those moments when it actually existed; and had massive consequences.
You can see the phone notes in the hands of Joe Biden. Actually if you enhance the picture and zoom in on the notes you can see they are notes, in Biden’s handwriting, of the phone call discussion contents between Netanyahu and Obama. Whether or not BiBi knew Biden was also on the call is unknown, but he was indeed taking copious notes.
(on the left you see the notes from Biden 9/11/12 – on the right you see notes from Biden taken during the Vice-Presidential debate)
Context of Netanyahu Phone Call: It is important to remember how much flack President/Candidate Obama was getting from the opposition about his previously ignoring Netanyahu around the BiBi United Nations speech.
This call was perceived as important by both the Obama Campaign and White House advisors to a defensive pro-Israel narrative. It could not be skipped by a candidate needing to assure the Jewish electorate of his Israel-Cred. So from 6:30pm to 7:26 pm both Vice-President, Joe Biden, and President Obama, were “indisposed”.
This phone call took place between 12:30pm and 1:26am Benghazi time. Again, three hours after the attack began at 9:40pm. By the time the picture was taken at 7:26pm (DC) Ambassador Stevens was widely known to be missing – perhaps killed.
According to numerous reports, in Benghazi, around the same time, CIA operatives and former SEAL’s Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty were returning from the Consulate complex to the CIA annex with the body of State Dept. Aide to Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith. Ambassador Stevens was missing.
In Libya, during this Oval Office call, Woods and Doherty were setting up defensive positions on the roof of the CIA annex building and maintaining a defensive perimeter while calling for more support.
So we know POTUS and VPOTUS were out-of-the-decision-loop. Who was making the decisions on behalf of the Commander and Chief?
Back to the timeline – and remember, this is the TIMED VERSION initially released to the media:
(5 p.m. D.C.): Just ahead of the weekly meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey, White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon tells President Obama of the attack and the fire at the main villa….
(6:07 p.m. D.C): An alert from the State Dept. Operations Center states that the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli reports the Islamic military group “Ansar al-Sharia Claims responsibility for Benghazi Attack”… “on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.”
(6:30 p.m. D.C.) : The Pentagon issues an order to a special operations team in Europe to move to Sigonella, Sicily – less than one hour’s flight away from Benghazi…. [Obama and Biden are now on the phone with Netanyahu] Who is in charge?
(7 p.m. D.C.): The first of two unmanned U.S. Predator drones, which already had been flying over eastern Libya, is diverted to Benghazi, as reported by CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson and David Martin on Oct. 15. [Obama and Biden are still on the phone with Netanyahu] Who is in charge?
(7:30 p.m. D.C.): A U.S. security team from Embassy Tripoli lands in Benghazi and learn that the ambassador is missing. They try to arrange for transportation into town, with the goal of locating Stevens. [Phone call over – Obama and Biden are being updated by Denis McDonough as per the picture]
But who was representing the Commander In Chief ? During that critical hour?
(From 2011) With little to no experience guiding them, everything becomes a first-impression type situation to Obama’s inner crew. To the point, Henry Kissinger reportedly, refers to Obama’s group of advisers as, “kids.” […]
One of Obama’s closest advisers is his Deputy National Security Adviser. The person acting the part of Deputy National Security Adviser is one Denis McDonough. While McDonough enjoys the credentials of a well-educated 41-year-old, he has sparse work experience. Working on the hill as a legislative aide before transferring to a liberal think tank before campaigning for Obama before becoming Deputy National Security Adviser, is good for McDonough but embarrassing to the position which he holds. […]
McDonough has a reputation around D.C. – as a rabid mind-fixer in his mission to ‘set the record straight’ with democratic politicians and mainstream media types, who dare veer off the political reservation. It’s rather humorous in a way to see a glorified political functionary like McDonough act the part of a seasoned and experienced political heavyweight. McDonough was promoted out of ideological loyalty over convention. Try telling McDonough that and he’ll likely piss ideological vinegar all over you. But the thing with McDonough’s verbal piss, it doesn’t stain things, it can’t… it’s too inexperienced.
Above said, guess who is guiding Obama on the crisis in Egypt and the pending melt-down in the Middle East? If you guessed the low cal aperitivo named Denis McDonough, you would be correct. The United States’ official response to the crisis in Egypt has so far been one big massive embarrassment. President Obama is getting bad advice; advice that is fueling his ideological ego; advice that is clearly immature in nature and devoid of geopolitical experience. (link)
“There is a rumor — I want to be clear, it’s a rumor — that at least two networks have emails from the National Security Adviser’s office [Denis McDonough? or Tom Donilon?] telling a counterterrorism group to stand down,” [Newt] Gingrich said.” (link)
Newt Gingrich was specifically talking about his knowledge of a communication known by at least one Senator, and given to two media outlets – who did not use it. It makes sense:
Did Denis McDonough tell people to “stand down” while POTUS and VPOTUS were on the phone with BiBi and unable to be interrupted ?
At 7:26pm (DC) 1:30am (Benghazi) -when this picture was taken – Ty Woods and Glen Doherty were fighting for their lives.
While Denis McDonough was bringing POTUS up to speed, at that exact moment, events in Benghazi had spiraled. What took place next, and why they did not reverse the “stand down call” is unknown.
Perhaps, as they later espoused ad infinitum, they considered it too late, after all, this 7:26pm update probably revealed the status of Ambassador Stevens as “Missing presumed Dead”.
Damage control time….. Here comes the origin of the talking points…..
Denis McDonough jumped into action and provided the good cover story.
The cover story already existed because earlier in the same day the State Dept was getting questioned about the attack in Cairo, Egypt. Again, at another embassy – and a story had already begun about a U-Tube video.
McDonough just needed to continue the same narrative story.
Which he did, effectively, the following day: [McDonough on Sept 12th]
“This work takes on added urgency given the truly abhorrent video that has offended so many people–Muslims, and non-Muslims alike—in our country and around the world.” (link)
There you have McDonough, the next day, attaching the little known U-Tube video from the Cairo Embassy explanation, directly to the Benghazi, Libya attack.
What followed in the days, weeks, and even months ahead, was just a continuance of the same manufactured explanation during the “peak” of the 2012 election cycle.
After all, it was this same 41-year-old “kid”, McDonough, who was the key deflector between POTUS and the crisis that was “Fast and Furious“:
“Investigative journalists have provided details on McDonough’s background and work history in politics, but the information that makes McDonough relevant to the continually breaking news on the Fast and Furious scandal is his role in silencing complaints from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)…” (link)
What’s more likely? Flawed intelligence, or having already succeeded in stemming the investigative crisis that became “Fast and Furious, McDonough just applied the same mindset and skillset to the Benghazi crisis. Creating a firewall between the absence of executive leadership during the critical crisis hours, and the State Dept/DoD failed response.
If the media would set their mind to it they might find this picture is worth “A Thousand Words” indeed: