The Heritage Foundation hosted a panel on the Benghazi attacks this past Monday, featuring stimulating discussion from a wide range of experts. Dan Bongino, who was the top Secret Service agent for President Obama’s international trips before he stepped down in 2011, was appointed as a moderator for an hour dedicated to the President’s response to the attacks.
In his opening statement, Bongino poses several important questions, including one overlooked by much of the mainstream media: “Where was the President on the night of the attack?”
Testimony by then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta indicates that President Obama was not in the Situation Room, despite the fact that the attacks took place over a period of seven hours. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attacks. Testimony by Gregory Hicks, a top State Department official in Libya on the night of the attack, suggests that there was a stand-down order for the FEST team that had been preparing to make a rescue operation.
Panetta’s testimony revealed that Obama was not present nor interested in the Benghazi attacks, which the administration blamed on an American-made YouTube video for 17 days in the midst of the 2012 presidential campaign. The day after the attacks, President Obama made a brief statement before jetting off to Las Vegas for a campaign rally and other events.
There have also been reports that witnesses to the Benghazi attacks were sworn to secrecy, increasing speculation that an extensive cover-up had been committed. The administration repeatedly called the controversy a “phony scandal.” Bongino made headlines last year for saying, “Phony scandals don’t come home in body bags.”
Bongino, who penned a bestselling book about his experiences as a Secret Service agent under three administrations, is a Congressional candidate in Maryland’s 6th District.
Watch the entire Heritage Foundation panel on the Benghazi attacks: