Former White House chief of staff Jack Lew dodged a simple and direct line of questioning about who briefed the president on the night of the Benghazi terrorist attack as lawmakers grilled him on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) asked Lew to reveal who briefed President Barack Obama on the night of the terror attack. Just like everyone else who has been asked the same question, Lew said it wasn’t him who briefed Obama on Benghazi and would only say “the national security staff” did the briefing.
“In the armed services hearing last week, Secretary Panetta testified that following his and Gen. Dempsey’s five o’clock meeting on Sept. 11 after the Benghazi attack, they had no further contact with the White House and it was their understanding that it was you as chief of staff were the individual briefing the president,” Burr said. “Is that accurate?”
“Well, Senator, I did speak with the president that evening — the national security staff was working on the issue on a non-stop basis,” Lew responded.
“But who was actually briefing the president? Were you?” Burr interrupted.
Lew squirmed and replied: “I was not — I was in, in the room when the president was briefed, but I was not briefing the president.”
“Because John Brennan testified yesterday it wasn’t him. Secretary Panetta said it wasn’t him. In hearings, the ODNI Clapper said it wasn’t him. Acting DCI Mike Morell said it wasn’t him. Ambassador Kennedy said it wasn’t him, and the FBI said it wasn’t them,” the senator shot back.
“Let me ask you again. Who briefed the president on actually what was happening throughout this seven hour period?”
Lew said the “national security staff” was present, but wouldn’t say if CIA head nominee John Brennan was involved in the briefing and didn’t reveal which officials made up the group.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panneta testified last week that he spoke to Obama just once on the night of the Benghazi attack and he was absent the rest of the night.
(H/T: Weekly Standard)