I have little doubt that Congressional Republicans' principal purpose for the multiple Benghazi hearings is to embarrass the President and make a potential Presidential run by former Secretary of State Clinton less likely. Mission Accomplished! But the facts are more important to The People, and they are coming out because of those hearings.
The inadvertent result of a Congressional Oversight Committees doing, after the fact, what they should have been doing all along is that actual facts are coming out. The facts say that our Government lied at the highest levels for purely political purposes. And barely tried (if at all) to save Americans, all the while insulting a foreign Government and confirming for jihadis that America is weak.
Two months before his re-election, with the economy still in the tank, the National Debt twice what it had been ten years before, and unemployment still high, the President could not afford to acknowledge that he had also allowed the first terrorist attack on American territory (a Consulate) in eleven years.
According to the Pentagon (released Friday, January 18, 2012), the Benghazi attack began at 9:42 pm local time. A surveillance drone was redirected to the site within 17 minutes, and the Secretary of Defense was notified about an hour later. The drone arrived on-site an hour and a half after the attack began. Much confusion arises from the assumption of a "3 am call." Here are the highlights in DC time [from the article, abbreviated, with times converted]:
3:42 pm, [on a Tuesday afternoon], the attack begins.
4:32 pm, SecDef and the Joint Staff are notified. The Ambassador and a computer expert had been killed.
5:00 pm, Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey meet with President Obama at the White House where they discuss the unfolding situation and how to respond. The meeting had been previously scheduled.
5:30 pm, all surviving Consulate personnel are evacuated [apparently, to somewhere local ... they were flown out of country the next day].
.... US forces in Spain, Croatia, and the US are activated.
7:30 pm, A six-man security team from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli arrives in Benghazi.
11:30 pm, Attackers launch assault on a second U.S. facility in Benghazi. Two former U.S. Navy SEALs acting as security contractors are killed.
[NOTE: The Pentagon seems to have done what they could.]
Wednesday, the President met with his advisers, delivered a Rose Garden announcement [with no mention of "videos"] in which he used a word once in his tenth paragraph:
"No acts of terror [emphasis added] will ever shake the resolve of this great nation ..." and promised that " We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done."
... then he went on to a fundraiser in Las Vegas. Six days later, he attended a New York fundraiser with Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Thursday, the Secretary of State said: "I also want to take a moment to address the video circulating on the Internet that has led to these protests [emphasis added] in a number of countries."
"This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with."
The full transcripts of the latest Benghazi hearing are not yet available, but I watched them. My first take-away is that the "stand-down" order was for local, not overall forces ... but it remains a mystery who gave that order, and it might be the responsibility of an Armed Forces Oversight Committee to find out ... and also look into why three local commanders have retired since. My second take-away is that, despite a mention of conversations with the President and the Secretary of State after the attacks, I do not believe I ever heard (throughout carefully worded testimony) that the "folks on the ground" were able to talk with either directly during the attacks. Where were the President and his Secretary of State while Americans were being murdered?
One might wonder also about the media. This article was published on the night of the attacks, by the New York Times. Note the author, publication date, and the October 16, 2012 "correction" at the bottom. Oh yeah ... the wrong guy was accused of producing the video.