Just A Thought
Did Obama authorize Panetta to send United States aircraft into Libya airspace without Libya's permission?
Putting aside the obvious lack of concern that Obama showed by not keeping up with the situation, the fact of the matter is that only the President of the United States can authorize the violation of another nation's sovereign territory. If he did not give Panetta that authority then for all practical purposes, Panetta really could do nothing. I would also suggest that such an order would have to be in writing, a verbal command would not suffice.
The fact that the only rescue mission that eventually did go to Benghazi was sent from Tripoli tends to lead one to believe that Obama did not give such an order and in fact one must wonder if he did not specifically deny such a request since everyone involved would know that his authorization would be required and certainly they would have asked for it.
Why the Senators during the hearing did not press him (Panetta) on this is curious. Perhaps they did not have time to think through the implications of what Panetta revealed, but nobody seems to be asking the right questions that would get to the bottom of this. So we probably never will.