October 12th, 2012
03:52 PM ET

White House backs Biden's statement about Benghazi security requests

The White House faced a political maelstrom after Vice President Joe Biden's claim during Thursday's vice presidential debate about who was aware of requests for additional security at the diplomatic office in Benghazi.

""We weren't told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security," Biden said during the debate.

As was pointed out by CNN's Fact Check team, just days earlier there were State Department security officials who testified to Congress about requests made and denied for more security.  But it's coming down to what the meaning of "we" is.

The White House explanation, on Friday, was that such requests were not made to the White House, they were handled by State.  Here's one of numerous exchanges between White House Spokesman Jay Carney and reporters:

QUESTION: So I'm wondering, what - what did the vice president mean? What did he mean by "we"? Did he mean the administration? Did he mean the White House?

CARNEY: He - he was speaking directly for himself and the president. He meant the White House.

In over four hours of testimony, the testimony that you've just referenced, the other day, no one who testified about this matter suggested that requests for additional security were made to the president or the White House. So these are issues appropriately that are handled by security professionals at the State Department? And that's - that's what he was talking about?

Again, if you look at the testimony, four-plus hours about it, there was no discussion of requests for personnel made here. Those are things that are handled by security personnel at the State Department. So that, I think, is - is very clear if you look at it in context in terms of what the vice president was responding to.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) came after - after that testimony it would seem he could have at least conceded...

CARNEY: I think the - the attack by and what has largely been a political attack by Republicans - in this case by Congressman Ryan - was to try to suggest that the president and the White House was responsible for assessing security in a diplomatic facility in Benghazi.

Over at Foggy Bottom, the State Department's Victoria Nuland did not dispute that questions about security are generally handled within the building:

QUESTION:  But specifically, and I'm sure you know why I'm asking this question, this relates to what the vice president said last night in the debate, specifically do you know in general if embassy security requests or diplomatic mission security requests are transmitted to the NSC or to people at the White House just as a - a general matter? I mean, not necessarily Libya, but could be, I don't know, Brasilia.

NULAND: If we're talking as a general matter, my understanding of these things, which is somewhat limited is that if the assets are all within the State Department, if that's what we're talking about, generally we handle it here.

If there's a policy reason for interagency coordination, then the policy team would take care of that. But if you're talking about using other agency's assets, or coordinating with other agencies, obviously that has to be managed interagency...

As CNN's Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin reports on Political Ticker, if it sounds like the White House is suggesting the buck stops at the State Department in Foggy Bottom, White House aides say not exactly.

A senior White House official, speaking anonymously, told Yelling that they recognize the president is responsible for the security of all U.S. personnel around the world. But their intent here is to make clear that the vice president was not misspeaking when he said that he and the president were not personally briefed on the security requests.

Post by:
Filed under: 2012 Election • Libya
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Sarah Goodwich

    From the article:

    >"As was pointed out by CNN's Fact Check team, just days earlier there were State Department security officials who testified to Congress about requests made and denied for more security. But it's coming down to what the meaning of "we" is.

    So the best case scenario is, that Obama's administration is so incompetently managed that his left hand doesn't know what his right is doing, and he's completely in the dark about his own personnel, deaf to their warnings even their pleas for basic security, as well as wrapped up in red tape.

    Is THIS what people want in a president?
    God help us all if he wins– not just because he's an utterly inept leader, but the people have such poor judgment as to elect one.

    October 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  2. Sarah Goodwich

    "White House backs Biden's statement about Benghazi security requests"

    And who's in charge at the White House?

    You guessed it!

    October 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  3. masha4756

    Obama and Biden are FOOLS! The truth will come out. Its just a shame that the NEWS CORPORATIONS will try to supress this until after the election. The BIAS is very real. WATCH FOX NEWS IF YOU WANT THE REAL STORY.

    October 15, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Reply
    • Sarah Goodwich

      They are not just fools, they're also CROOKS.
      Anyone who votes for them has a negative IQ.

      October 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  4. obamaliar

    Biden lies with a smile on his face

    October 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Ryan lies also, and doesn't have a smile!
      If you are going to screw me again. try to "create" a smile and make me feel good!
      Sounds a lot like "rape"! We have been screwed many times by the GOP (and all their hidden buddies). What is one more screwing going to change?

      October 14, 2012 at 10:19 am | Reply
      • masha4756

        Great logic!

        October 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
      • Sarah Goodwich

        Do you vote for the candidate or the party?
        Smart people vote for the candidate.

        October 15, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  5. obamaliar

    Obama's hands have blood on them

    October 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Reply
    • joe

      You're high fool....

      October 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
      • masha4756

        You're the fool!

        October 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
      • Sarah Goodwich

        It's not foolish to hold the Chief responsible, it's foolish to keep him in POWER when he proves unworthy of it.

        October 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Sarah Goodwich

      Obama's in lies up to his ears... and thus he's drowning.

      October 15, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  6. d

    Obama Bin Lyin
    Chris Stevens did the dyin

    October 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      It appears now that Stevens made a very serious judgement call. He already knew that no extra security would be provided in Benghazi, yet he chose to go there anyway! Had he remained in Tripoli until after the date 9/11, he would still be alive. People make mistakes. This was clearly Stevens' mistake, not Obama's and not Hillary's!!

      October 14, 2012 at 10:26 am | Reply
      • Sarah Goodwich

        Obama can pay for his mistakes by stepping down voluntarily or being helped.
        Only a gutless fool would excuse him.

        October 15, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  7. lance

    obama's a retard clown just a big ignoramus joke on this ounce great nation.

    October 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
    • joe

      And you're inbred.

      October 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  8. Monroe

    Mitt Romney's hypocritical foreign policy posturing:
    Mitt says that Obama shouldn't take any credit for bin Laden's death because it was carried out by intelligence and military professionals. He also boasts that he will pursue and bring to justice those responsible for the attack in Benghazi. Does he mean that he will do that personally, or will he rely on intelligence and military professionals?

    October 12, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      The "facts" are becoming more clear! Stevens knew he would have no extra security when he chose to travel to Benghazi. He failed to look at the calendar and realize his trip would include the date of 9/11! Had he remained in Tripoli, he would still be alive. A poor decision was made by Stevens, not by Obama!

      October 14, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
      • masha4756

        Yes blame the guy that is dead. He cannot defend himself. Fool

        October 15, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Sarah Goodwich

      That's it, change the subject.
      Do you really want a gutless wonder like Obama?

      October 15, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Reply
  9. JuJuBee

    I'm curious. The WH is now saying that they had no idea that additional security was requested, needed, etc...

    So – what exactly do they discuss in the Daily Intelligence Briefings? I've read that these are either conducted in person, via phone or Obama gets this on his Ipad. So – who exactly attends these meetings or these calls? His aides state that he meets with the National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon several times throughout the day, along with others, and discuss issues raised in the intelligence reports. Isn't he part of the Intelligence Community?

    I'm finding it a little hard to believe that the WH had no idea that additional security was being requested. After numerous attacks in Libya (some on the consulate itself) – the discussion never came up?

    Have a feeling the "we" in Biden's discussion last night is going to end up more like an "I"...

    October 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • cowboy

      JuJuBee get your head out of your ass !!!! Our Ambassador in Libya was the person responsible for everything involving the U.S. and the civillan personal stationed in Libya. No one can be blamed for his mistakes. He was forwarned of the conditions in Benghazi and requested extra security. The security personal didn't arrive but he went to Benghazi anyway knowing of the danger to himself and anyone around him. The compound in Benghazi was less secure, the anniversary of 9-11 was a time when all U.S. outpost around the world were on heighten security, but he still chose to be in benghazi. Nothing can be made foolprof. If extra security had arrived for the Benghazi post, they wouldn't have helped. The compound was to hard to defend. The ambassador was the person most famillar with the area and the dangers. He ignored comon sense and put everyone at risk with HIS DECISION to be there at that time. The embassy in Tripoli was a more secure place and his primary residance. Everyone may have been safe had they stayed there.

      October 13, 2012 at 9:43 am | Reply
      • obamaliar

        there's a marine detachment in france guarding that embassy. Which one do you think needed it more on 9/11/2012?

        October 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
      • StanCalif

        Excellent point! It is not Obama's fault that Ambassador Stevens didn't look at the calendar before leaving Tripoli to go to Benghazi! What was he thinking? People make mistakes, no one is perfect. But it just plain foolish to "blame" Obama for Stevens' poor judgement. He knew the situation. he knew no extra security would be provided yet he went there anyway on the worst day of the year!

        October 14, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • obamaliar

      Obama doesn't attend the briefings. One of his advisors says Obomber is so intelligent he doesn't need to attend. His lack of attendance killed 4 Americans

      October 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply
    • Sarah Goodwich

      " The WH is now saying that they had no idea that additional security was requested, needed, etc..."

      They don't HAVE to make sense, this is clearly a stalling-tactic until November 6; after that it doesn't matter.
      So we're going to see a wild goose-chase to keep the attention off of Obama for 3 weeks.

      They've got nothing to lose– not even their souls, since they obviously sold those DECADES ago.

      October 15, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  10. josh

    for this white house there's always someone else to blame

    October 12, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Reply
    • Sarah Goodwich

      With 3 weeks to go, they have nothing to lose by lying.

      October 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Reply
  11. Walk613

    Anybody who wants WW3 vote for Romney. Any Rich people who want to get richer vote for the muppet Romney. Any middle class people who are struggling to make ends meet and want things to get WORSE and end up jobless and homeless vote Romney and boy blunder Ryan. Anybody that believes the Republicans aren't the reason that the economy was it the toilet, and that the Republicans didn't fight against any efforts to fix the mess THEY made vote for Romney. Anybody that believes one thing Romney says I got some ocean front property in the Wisconsin.

    Anybody with half a brain in their head will vote for Obama, hopefully Americans aren't as dense as the people on FOX news.

    October 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Reply
    • josh

      you lie!!!

      October 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Reply
    • William Simendinger

      It is true that anyone with half a brain in their head will vote for Obama. However, those among us with a complete brain will vote for Mitt Romney.

      October 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
      • joe

        I bet you thought that was funny.

        Not nearly as funny as watching you get bullied by packs of 14 year old kids though.....

        October 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • StanCalif

      Sure, Romney and Ryan want to make the country more profitable for the wealthy. They still believe this "trickle down" nonsense! The "trickle" never happened, and never will! It's all about greed, nothing else!
      Vote for Romney and you vote for Wall Street to take away anything you have left! I know it's not much, but "they" will get it!

      October 14, 2012 at 9:42 am | Reply
    • Sarah Goodwich

      "Anybody with half a brain in their head will vote for Obama"

      I AGREE. You'd HAVE to be half a brain short in order to vote for that CHARLATAN!

      October 15, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  12. Steve

    Biden: How'd you learn to lie with a straight face so well? I suppose if you're clueless in the first place, it makes it a lot easier. This administration wouldn't know the truth if it bit them in the backside.

    October 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Reply
    • Sarah Goodwich

      Biden DIDN'T have a straight face, he was smirking and laughing the whole time– at the STUPIDITY of anyone who believed him!

      October 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  13. Pattianne

    I have never seen such perfect people as there are in the White House now They never hear about anything from their own administration, they aren't to blame for anything. Although George Bush still gets a lot of blame ,they are now blaming their own– The State Department and others. As I was watching the debate last night, I was saying a silent prayer hoping that Biden doesn't make those faces in front of dignitaries from other countries. PBS at least has a replacement, if Romney gets elected and gets rid of "Big Bird They can just call on VP Biden.

    October 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Reply
    • Sarah Goodwich

      Yep, it's not Obama's fault that he's in the dark about his own people!
      Oh wait, it IS!
      Vote Romney.

      October 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Reply
  14. MitziW

    So when is Hillary going to fall on her sword? And why didn't this make CNN's front page? This is much bigger than Watergate. People died here because of someone's negligence.

    October 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
    • josh

      the question is will Hilary give up her own chance to be pez to give pez Obama political cover. I'm sure they told her they'll deny her the nomination in 2016 if she doesn't. but if Obama loses the whole thing will go away so I'm guessing she'll vote for Mitt

      October 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Reply
    • Sarah Goodwich

      Oh, nobody dies under Obama's watch, he resurrects them like he did Lazarus.
      At least that's what we're to believe.

      October 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  15. Bob C

    So, the same intelligence community that is being blamed for informing the President and the VP that there was a protest over a video in Benghazi Libya (there WAS no such protest and the intel community did NOT report this), can be relied upon to assure these clowns that Iran has no bomb to stuff fissile material into? Biden DID vote for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, so he is as guilty as Ryan of "putting two wars on a credit card". Anyone who interprets Biden's sneering, laughing, interrupting, blowhard buffoonery as winning this debate needs to have their head examined.

    October 12, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Reply
    • QueSpr90

      "Anyone who interprets Biden's sneering, laughing, interrupting, blowhard buffoonery as winning this debate needs to have their head examined."

      LOL. They need their heads examined no more than the folks who interpreted Romney's loud, overbearing, disrespectful nonsense as winning the initial Presidential debate.

      October 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply
      • Bob C

        Many Obummer supporters conceded the first presidential debate to Romney, bitterly disappointed in the president's performance. You won't find any conservatives conceding this debate to Biden!

        October 12, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
      • Romney's win was evident Obama was too busy looking at his arrogant self in the mirror rae summers

        No question about Romney's win-what a contrast to that arrogant, bored, jerk on the other side. Just like no question Biden lost. What a clown-he can work kids parties after he and the big O leave town.

        October 12, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
      • Sarah Goodwich

        He's not THAT kind of clown– more like the Joker, you want HIM showing kids "magic tricks"?

        October 15, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Sarah Goodwich

      " Anyone who interprets Biden's sneering, laughing, interrupting, blowhard buffoonery as winning this debate needs to have their head examined."

      What for? You can't fix stupid.
      And anyone who thinks Biden "won the debate," obviously can't put 2 and 2 together to show that bad intel in Benghazi = bad intel in Iran too.
      They really ARE THAT stupid!

      October 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.