The White House now claims President Barack Obama called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at approximately 10 PM on the night of the Benghazi attacks, September 11, 2012.
Obama’s claimed phone call to Hillary and Hillary’s statement would occur approximately six hours after the attacks had started.
The White House made this assertion only after outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told Congress that Obama did not contact him the night of the attacks after a “pre-scheduled” 5 PM meeting. Panetta said neither he nor General Martin Dempsey heard from Obama after this meeting and that no one from the White House called at any point during the attacks.
White House spokesman Jay Carney insisted that the President remained in contact with his national security team: “Like every president before him, [Obama] has a national security and deputy national security adviser. He was in regular contact with his national security team directly, and spoke with the Secretary of State at approximately 10 p.m.”
Carney’s claims also run counter to Counsel to the President Kathryn H. Ruemmler’s intimation that no phone calls were made by Obama while the Benghazi consulate was under attack. At 10 PM Washington DC time, the consulate was still under attack.