It was obvious that Panetta was being very careful with his words during his interview with O’Reilly last night, trying to balance not throwing Obama under the bus, defending Hillary and telling the American people the truth.
Having served under Obama as both the CIA Director and Secretary of Defense, Panetta took a tempered approach with his criticism of Obama’s policies and indecisiveness. But as a well known Clinton supporter, also having served under President Bill Clinton as his Chief of Staff, Panetta was transparently trying to distance Hillary from Obama as he explained that he and Clinton gave Obama good advice that he didn’t take, and that he was sure Hillary would have taken action had she been aware of security concerns in Benghazi.
In the end, being pinned down with hard questions and as O’Reilly noticing his hesitation pointed out that Panetta was very critical of Obama in his book, he couldn’t offer much defense for Obama and Hillary is still left culpable as she was right out there with the rest of them pushing the Benghazi internet video line with Obama and Susan Rice.
Panetta: Obama Told Benghazi Was Terrorist Attack
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he immediately told President Barack Obama that the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, was carried out by terrorists.
Panetta is on a whirlwind of media interviews to promote his new book, “Worthy Fights,” which contains several criticisms of the president.
Panetta appeared Tuesday on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” during which host Bill O’Reilly played a clip from his Feb. 2 interview with Obama. In that interview, Obama would not admit that Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey told him the Benghazi attacks involved terrorists.
Panetta told O’Reilly a different version: “We told the president that there’s an attack that’s going on, that terrorists are involved in the attack, and, as a result, we have to respond to it.”
Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in the attack.
Panetta told O’Reilly that when then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on the five Sunday morning news shows describing the attack as a spontaneous protest sparked by an anti-Islamic YouTube video, he initially assumed she was using the CIA talking points that said the same thing.
“I thought those talking points, frankly, were not on point,” Panetta said. “My view was, with the kind of weapons that showed up, there was no question in my mind that it was a terrorist attack.”