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He is also a Republican candidate for Congress this year in Maryland’s Sixth District.

White House aides have said the president’s advisers kept him updated throughout the evening of the Benghazi attack, which began around 3:40 p.m. Eastern time. Press Secretary Jay Carney has said Mr. Obama learned of the attack from then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that afternoon, in a meeting that began at 5 p.m., and he was “routinely updated” throughout the evening by his national security team.

Mr. Carney has said the president told Mr. Panetta “to do everything possible to ensure that whatever assistance can be provided was provided, and that action was taken to secure our facilities in the region and around the world.”

Mr. Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified to Congress last year that they spoke to Mr. Obama only once that night about the attack, in the 5 p.m. meeting that lasted about 30 minutes.

The president also spoke by phone that night to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a call that reportedly began around 6:30 p.m. and lasted nearly an hour.

The White House later released a photo taken of the president, Vice President Joseph R. Biden and top aides in the Oval Office after the call with Mr. Netanyahu.

At 6:07 p.m., the State Department’s Operations Center sent an email to the White House, Pentagon, FBI and other government agencies that said Ansar al-Sharia was claiming credit for the attack.

Around 7 p.m. Washington time, while Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden apparently were still on the phone with Mr. Netanyahu, the first of two unmanned U.S. predator drones was diverted to Benghazi. White House officials haven’t said what actions, if any, the president took as a result of that surveillance.

About 10 p.m., Mrs. Clinton issued a statement confirming that one State Department official had been killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Her statement made reference to the anti-Muslim video.

The Pentagon’s timeline of its response to Benghazi showed that the U.S. African Command was hamstrung by not having its own special operations quick-reaction force, and that it took nearly 20 hours to position borrowed forces, by which time the crisis had ended.

A CIA timeline showed that it took 3.5 hours after the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli learned of the attack to charter two aircraft and take off with a rescue force for the 50-minute flight to Benghazi.