WH: Obama Called Libyan President One Day After Benghazi Attack

February 15, 2013 - 5:15 PM

Obama

President Barack Obama waves as he walks off Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama first called Libyan President Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf  “on the evening of September 12,” one day after the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya that killed 4 Americans, according to a White House letter to senators this week. (See WH letter-Obama-Libyan.pdf)

That was also one day after the president departed Washington, D.C.  for a Las Vegas campaign event.

According to the official White House schedule for Sept. 12, 2012, Obama departed the White House at 2:05 p.m. en route to Andrews Air Force Base. At 2:20 p.m. he departed Andrews en route to Las Vegas. He arrived in Las Vegas at 6:50 p.m. (3:50 p.m. local time) and delivered remarks at a campaign event at 9:10 p.m. (6:10 p.m. local time).

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) sent a letter to President Obama on Feb. 12 that said, “During the eight hours the U.S. mission was under attack, did you personally speak with any officials in the Libyan government to request assistance for our American personnel?”

Then, on Feb. 14, White House Counsel Kathryn H. Ruemmler sent a letter to the senators. (See WH letter-Obama-Libyan.pdf)

“The President spoke to President Margariaf on the evening of September 12,” Ruemmler wrote.

The letter did not specify whether "the evening" referred to U.S. Eastern Standard Time or to Libya time (Libya is 6 hours ahead of U.S. EST).

Obama did deliver remarks that morning from the Rose Garden about the attack. According to the White House schedule, he also visited the State Department.

The White House did not respond to inquiries from CNSNews.com Friday regarding the letter.