Chris, the American people have the right to know. And that is what they are demanding here in Wisconsin."That directive" refers to what Rob Portman was talking about earlier:
Let's face it. What was the president doing, during those seven hours? Did he give that directive? Or didn't he? Did Leon Panetta directly defy him? I mean, what happened?
Who sent out? Who sent Ambassador Rice out five days later when they knew it was a terrorist attack that was preplanned, sent her on Sunday talk shows to say in fact it was a spontaneous reaction to, of course, the video. This administration purposefully misled the American people for weeks. This president misled the American people for weeks.
And, I think the American people have the right to know.
It was either misleading or is incompetent. I think we are finding out it was probably both, misleading and incompetence on the part of this administration. The American people have the right to know.
Chris, I got to tell you, I am member of the Armed Services Committee and I appreciate what my friend Mark Udall just said about not politicizing this.
This is not about politics. This is about a huge national security issue that affects all of us and there was a shocking break down, operationally, not to have the security there in the first place and not to respond to these guys, in their pleas for help for seven hours, during a firefight. It's unbelievable.
And now, we are hearing that the president of the United States, based on his own words, issued a directive immediately after he found out about the firefight, saying, he wanted to be sure those people on the ground were safe and they were getting what they needed. It didn't happen.
This means either that the president's order was not followed, which would be a break down in terms of the White House procedure, or, it means the order wasn't issued. We need to find out about this, it's not about politics. It's is a very serious situation.
After the fact, of course, there has been a lot of confusion about what happened and why it happened. I think the bottom line for us, it shows a lack of leadership. And it shows the policy in disarray and I think it's perfectly appropriate to ask these questions.
As you know, John McCain and I sent a letter more than two weeks ago to Secretary Panetta asking for some of these answers. We haven't heard anything. We sent another letter yesterday, with the additional information. We're now hearing directly from the president about this order that he issued.
Why wasn't it followed? This makes no sense.