As he left his Marine One helicopter Wednesday evening and walked to the residence of the White House, President Obama did not respond to a question shouted out by ABC News’s Mary Bruce about when he would begin to provide answers to the numerous questions building up about what exactly what went wrong in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.
The president smiled and continued walking.
Perhaps he couldn’t hear the question over the din of the chopper’s blades, but either way the smile and wave – almost Reagan-esque in style – underline the apparent strategy the president specifically and his administration in general have seemed to adopt when it comes to the myriad inquiries about the decisions that led to the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens: they are deferring detailed answers to the investigation and – critics say –running out the clock until Election Day.
As of now, the White House has disclosed that President Obama was informed about the attack on the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi at roughly 5pm by his National Security Adviser Tom Donilon as he was in a pre-scheduled meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey. At that meeting, senior administration officials say, the President ordered that the U.S. begin moving military assets into the region to prepare for a range of contingencies.
But beyond that, the White House has punted, saying the Accountability Review Board established by the State Department is investigating the matter and what went wrong. No detailed tick-tock, no information about the president’s involvement in decision-making. In addition, they’re preparing for a closed-door hearing of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence on November 15.