|Obama lied, embassy staff died|
Speaking to Smerconish during a 15-minute Oval Office interview, Obama also declared he was "absolutely" prepared to kill those behind the assault but would prefer to capture them and "bring them to justice."
Asked whether the Administration's shifting explanation for the September 11th strike reflected the intelligence he was receiving, Obama replied: "What's true is that the intelligence was coming in and evolving as more information came up.
"And what is true," he continued, "...This is something that the American people can take to the bank -- is that my administration plays this stuff straight. We don't play politics when it comes to American national security," the president said. "As information came in we gave it to the American people. And as we got new information, we gave that to the American people."
When and if the location of those behind the attack is known, Smerconish asked, "Will you take that person out without regard for the election timetable?"
"Absolutely," Obama replied. "But I think our goal would be to bring them to justice."
Questions have arisen about Obama's response to the "Arab Spring" occurring in countries across the broader Middle East. State Department officials have acknowledged turning down requests for more security in Libya. And Republicans have questioned the president's truthfulness after the administration spent days, they say, blaming the assault on reaction to an Internet film that ridicules Islam.
Yahoo News reported in late September American officials had concluded on "Day One" that terrorists were behind the siege. But The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Obama's "presidential daily brief" from the CIA tied the assault to on a spontaneous protest linked to the video — despite intelligence contradicting that scenario.
Asked whether he knew Americans in Libya had asked for more security, Obama replied: "I was not personally aware of any request. Obviously we have an infrastructure that's set up to manage requests like that," in reference to the State Department.
"But we're going to find out exactly what happens," he said. "Ultimately, though, any time there is a death of an American overseas, I want to find out what happened, because my most important job as president is keeping the American people safe."
"And we will get to the bottom of what happened, and we're going to make sure most importantly that those who carried it out, that they are captured," Obama said.
He also said he takes "full responsibility" for the circumstances in the attack, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
The suspects have not been publicly or conclusively identified, though Egyptian officials say a man suspected to have been involved was killed Wednesday in a shootout in the capital, Cairo.
"My biggest priority right now is bringing those folks to justice. And I think the American people have seen that's a commitment I always keep," the president said, an apparent reference to the bin Laden raid.