Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday that the military did not send immediate help to the consulate in Benghazi because commanders lacked enough information about the ongoing attack to put troops in harm’s way.
President Obama discussed the situation in Libya during a satellite interview Friday afternoon with 9NEWS reporter Kyle Clark, who also asked if it’s fair for Americans to be told to wait until after the election to learn what truly happened in Libya.
“The election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened,” President Obama said. “Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do.”
President Obama was directly asked twice whether pleas for help on the ground in Libya were denied during the attack. Both times, he repeated his standard call for a thorough investigation.
The President was also asked about the loss of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in the failure of Abound Solar, a Fort Collins company connected to one of the President’s billionaire fundraisers.
“These loans that are given out by the Department of Energy for clean energy have created jobs all across the country,” President Obama said. “Some of them have failed but the vast majority of them are pushing us forward into a clean energy direction.”
“These are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics,” President Obama said.
“This was a conversation after an interview in a casual conversation with a reporter,” President Obama said. “A major issue in any election is can you count on the person that you’re putting into the Oval Office?”
Excerpts of the full interview appear below:
KYLE CLARK: Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we’ll all find out after the election?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice. So, we’re going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again but we’re also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.
KYLE CLARK: Were they denied requests for help during the attack?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.
KYLE CLARK: In a national address, you touted the stimulus money going to Abound Solar – a Colorado company connected to one of your billionaire fundraisers. Now, as you may know, Abound Solar is out of business and under criminal investigation. The jobs are gone and taxpayers are out about 60 million dollars. How do you answer critics who see Abound Solar as Colorado’s Solyndra – a politically connected clean energy company that went under and took our money with it?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (Laughs) Well, Kyle, I think that if you look at our record that these loans that are given out by the Department of Energy for clean energy have created jobs all across the country and only about four percent of these loans were going to some very cutting-edge industries that are going to allow us to figure out how to produce energy in a clean, renewable way in the future and create jobs in Colorado and all around the country. And some of them have failed but the vast majority of them are pushing us forward into a clean energy direction. And that’s good for Colorado and good for the country. And these are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics.
KYLE CLARK: Mr. President, you’ve called for more civility in our nation’s political conversation – and much has obviously been made about the tone of this race. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, you called Governor Romney a “bullshitter.” What did you mean and why did you choose that word?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, this was a conversation after an interview, a casual conversation with a reporter. The basic point that I’ve been talking about throughout this campaign, is people know what I mean and they know that I mean what I say and what I care about, who I’m fighting for and you know a major issue in any election is can you count on the person you’re putting into the Oval Office fighting for you having a clear set of convictions that they believe in.
Westchester County Communications Officer Sandy Fried, an Amateur Radio operator and ODES staff member, had recently attended a training seminar at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Part of the training was a simulation using data from the Hurricane of 1938 that caused major losses on Long Island and in Westchester. The texts of the simulated bulletins, forecasts, discussions and strike probabilities along with the hurricane’s track were sent home with the seminar attendees. We named the simulated hurricane after Sandy, who incidentally was nine years old during the real Hurricane of 1938.
These texts were used as the drill stimulus. They were time-shifted to simulate land-fall around 6pm on Saturday, October 4th. Working backward from this time, we used these texts to generate and automatically update a World Wide Web status page (http://www.weca.org/SET) and send email to the Westchester ARES/RACES email reflector and fax to the County Emergency Operations center at the times that the National Weather Service would normally have sent them.