Panetta: Obama Absent Night of Benghazi 12:05 PM, Feb 7, 2013 â¢ By DANIEL HALPER Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified this morning on Capitol Hill that President Barack Obama was absent the night four Americans were murdered in Benghazi on September 11, 2012: Panetta said that Obama left operational details, including knowledge of what resources were available to help the Americans under seize, "up to us." In fact, Panetta says that the night of 9/11, he did not communicate with a single person at the White House. The attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Panetta said that, save their 5 o'clock prescheduled meeting with the president the day of September 11, Obama did not call or communicate in anyway with the defense secretary that day. There were no calls about the what was going on in Benghazi. He never called to check-in.