Before the last presidential debate, focusing on foreign policy, President Obama’s campaign press secretary Jen Psaki told Fox News that the President “takes responsibility for the safety and security of all diplomats serving overseas.” But the White House revealed that Obama’s statement that he takes responsibility is about as far as his action goes during the Benghazi aftermath.
Reporters asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney if the President is keeping up with the developments in the Benghazi situation that have been slowly dripped out by the press. According to Carney, the President hasn’t been reviewing released cables or asking questions to his officials. Carney claims that the President, who has repeatedly claimed responsibility, is completely removed from any of the information concerning Benghazi because of the ongoing investigation by the Accountability Review Board (ARB).
But Obama also isn’t concerning himself with the integrity or the timeliness of the ARB investigation, the White House revealed, because he has chosen not to ask for any updates from the board. The White House said that the President is only “anticipating the results” and “committed to letting the facts come through.”
Read a transcript of the exchange below:
Q: On Benghazi, overnight, FOX News had a report on another cable. But the question is not about that. These cables have been coming out, news reports have been coming. How closely — I know an investigation is ongoing — but how closely is the President reading these reports, following them? Is he asking questions? Even the ones in The New York Times, elsewhere — is he engaged in the investigation and receiving updates on the investigation, or is he waiting until it’s complete?
MR. CARNEY: These investigations are being conducted by both the FBI and the Accountability Review Board, and he is not participating in the investigation. He is anticipating results that show us exactly what happened, who was responsible and what lessons we can learn from it in terms of how we ensure that it never happens again.
Q: Is it safe to say he’s withholding judgment and getting involved and asking questions and follow-ups until something comes out?
MR. CARNEY: The President was asked in interviews as recently as when he spoke with Brian Williams of NBC about what he expects. He expects the investigations to be rigorous. He is extremely focused on making sure that we find exactly what happened and who was responsible, and tracking down those who were responsible and bringing them to justice.
And his responsibility as Commander-in-Chief is for the men and women that he sends into harm’s way. And that is often thought of as just members of the military, but it includes members of the diplomatic corps who serve in countries that are dangerous, but who do extraordinarily important work and who serve their country bravely in doing that work, in promoting American values and building relationships that help our national security interests.
So the President is very committed to letting the facts come through and ensuring that we find out exactly what happened and who is responsible.
Follow @meredithdake on Twitter