At Benghazi, Neglect Came Right From The Top

Security: The deaths of four Americans in Libya may be old news, but the president who failed to protect them remains in office. A Senate hearing has shown just how bad the negligence was.

It’s an uphill battle keeping the public focused on any story more than a few days old. But Republican senators did their best Thursday to draw attention to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The story continues to reveal much about Barack Obama’s leadership and priorities.

Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee were the two men with key roles in the Libya debacle — departing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Their testimony was as much about a disengaged president as it was about their own failures.

The biggest attention-getter was Panetta’s revelation, during questioning by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that Obama talked to him only once during the Benghazi assault and never called him back for updates.

Panetta suggested that this is how things are normally done: “The purpose of staff is to be able to get that kind of information, and those staff were working with us.”

But Graham rightly expressed wonderment that, with a U.S. diplomatic mission under attack, American lives in danger, the president didn’t show more curiosity.

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