Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey faced harsh Senate criticism on Thursday for failing to send rescue forces during the deadly Benghazi terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012.
The two officials, appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, also disclosed that President Barack Obama spoke one time that day and had no further direct engagement regarding the attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
Obama, in the midst of the presidential campaign, left the White House a day after the attack for a campaign appearance in Las Vegas.
Panetta and Dempsey, under fire for not sending military forces to defend the Benghazi outpost despite warnings it was vulnerable to attack, blamed poor intelligence for the failure.