President Barack Obama met with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House on Sept. 11, 2012 at 5:00 PM—just 55 minutes after the State Department notified the White House and the Pentagon that the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi was under attack.
The meeting between Obama, Panetta and Biden had been scheduled before the attack took place, and the Department of Defense is not commenting now on whether the three men were aware when they met that day of the ongoing attack or whether Obama used that meeting to discuss with his defense secretary what should be done to defend the U.S. personnel who at that very moment were fighting for their lives in Benghazi.
“Secretary Panetta met with President Obama, as the White House-provided scheduled indicates,” Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a Defense Department spokesman, told CNSNews.com on Tuesday. “However, neither the content nor the subject of discussions between the President and his advisors are appropriate for disclosure.”
The fact that the president had been scheduled to meet with Vice President Biden and Defense Secretary Panetta at 5:00 p.m. on Sept. 11 had been publicized in the Washington Daybook--a planning service to which news organizations subscribe--and included on the official White House schedule posted online by the White House itself.
The State Department email notifying the White House and Pentagon of the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack was obtained by CBS News and reported by Sharyl Attkisson on Oct. 23, almost six weeks after the attack.
The terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi began at about 9:40 p.m. Benghazi time—or about 3:40 p.m. Washington, D.C. time. “The attack began at approximately 9:40 p.m. local time,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in written testimony submitted Oct. 10.
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