CNN politicalticker blog ~ March 5, 2010:
The White House confirmed that Jay-Z did visit the White House Wednesday for a quick, unscheduled visit with the president. A white House aide told CNN that special visitors occasionally visit the Situation Room.
"It's not like there's classified information laying around," the aide said. "It's really just a conference room."
That was then; this is now.
While we wait to see who loses power from that nasty Sandy Frankenstorm.... we're reading The Optimistic Conservative. J.E. Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer, and her blog is Highly Recommended.
.... If a US mission is under attack, “flash”-precedence reports go directly to the White House and the president is notified immediately, regardless of what he is doing.
His relevant cabinet heads – e.g., Defense, State – are being notified by their people at the same time. Each one has a 24-hour watch, like the watch in the White House Situation Room, whose senior officers are charged precisely with ensuring that such notifications are made, that inter-agency coordination starts immediately, and that a running assessment of the situation is maintained for briefing and decision-making at the drop of a hat.
If that did not happen on 11 September, and if it really takes two months to reconstruct what did happen on 11 September (the administration’s investigative report is due to the Senate on 17 November), then that itself is a serious breach of national-security protocol.
One would be driven to wonder how things could have gotten so bad. It is simply not the case that the chain of command falls apart and no one can tell what’s going on, or who’s giving orders, and that it all has to be sorted out later. (This is especially true, incidentally, in the era of instantaneous emails, voice communications, and live Predator video being fed to command centers in Europe and the Washington, DC area.)
One thing that is always known is what the president ordered – because it is recorded in logs and other official documents. And again, if it wasn’t, that is not an excuse but an indictment.
We can say for sure what Obama should have known; we can’t say for sure what he did know. But what he should have known is enough.
Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer said tonight that his sources tell him that Obama was one of the people in the room watching the Benghazi attack go down and both he and Col. David Hunt agree it would have taken an order by the president to intervene.
Further, Col. Hunt said that we were only 20 min away by jet and a couple of hours away by AC-130 gunships and special forces, and the decision not to intervene had to be political.