Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey were in the hot seat Thursday during a hearing with the Senate Armed Services committee regarding the attacks in Benghazi and ongoing bloodshed in Syria.
“How many more have to die before you recommend military action?” Republican Sen. John McCain reportedly asked Dempsey and Panetta, citing estimates that up to 60,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war. “And did you support the recommendation by…then-Secretary of State Clinton and then-head of CIA, Mr. Petraeus, that we provide weapons to the resistance in Syria?”
During the hearing it was revealed that a proposal to arm Syrian rebels was backed by the Pentagon, State Department and CIA last year, but the White House decided not to act on the plan. The Wall Street Journal reports the White House hesitated on the proposal over worries if the rebels could be trusted with the arms. The recommendation for arming was supported the Secretary of State and CIA Director at the time, Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus.
On the September 11,2012, Benghazi attack, Panetta and Dempsey told the committee that they had only spoken with President Obama one time that day and had no further direct engagement regarding the attack that resulted in the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. It was also noted that the day after the attack, President Obama left Washington campaign in Las Vegas.
On ‘Real News‘ Friday the panel reviewed the hearing’s most heated exchanges, what was revealed Thursday that we did not know before, and if there is any indication that new leadership at the State Dept, Defense Dept. and the CIA will take things in a different direction.