During a Tuesday morning interview on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," former CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson spoke of the brick wall she encountered while attempting to obtain official White House photographs of President Obama from the night of the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks in Libya.
Attkisson said she was first told by the photo office that she would get the pictures by the end of the day, but was then referred to the then-deputy press secretary, Josh Earnest, who refused to communicate with Attkisson or her team, Breitbart reported.
"One of the things my producer and I did early on to try to get clues, because you know they told us so little initially, we requested White House photos taken that night. Because if you know how the White House works, a photographer is omnipresent. He would have been there taking photographs in the Situation Room. He would have been taking photographs of the president that night. So we asked for the photos, which in my view, are public information. They are paid for with tax dollars, and they release them when they want them released and they are positive.
The Photo Office indicated initially- this was probably in October or November of 2012- that we could have the photos at the end of the day, and that never materialized. They suddenly started referring us a White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest, who is now press secretary. And they said that Josh would have to approve it, and Josh would never return a call or e-mail.
We would try to maintain communication with him or try to make communication with him over a long period of time, and he wouldn't even answer. We would go back to the White House press, photographer's office and say, 'You have given us an impossible task. You have told us to talk to someone who will not talk to us. You need to give us another route to follow to try and get these photos.' And they would say no, you have to talk to Josh Earnest.
So that just went down a dead-end road. I think that is entirely unacceptable. The press officers work for the public. They are publicly paid to be responsive to the press and the public. Those White House photos belong to the public, in my view, to the extent that they wouldn't reveal any national secrets. To this day, they remain secret."
Following various reports that Obama was not in the Situation Room the night of the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks, Republicans have put pressure on the president to confirm his whereabouts that night, many speculating that he went to sleep during the attacks.
While Obama's exact location throughout the entire attack may not be known, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the president was "well-informed" during the attack, also saying that he and General Martin Dempsey were meeting with the president when they first learned of the attack, and that Obama told them to "deploy forces as quickly as possible," reported The Associated Press.
One photo has been published of Obama being briefed in the White House on the day of the attack, found on the White House's Flickr page.