() The Benghazi scandal has been treated by critics of the Obama administration as an example of extreme administrative malfeasance up to this point. Given the swift appearance of a photoshowing President Obama seemingly embroiled in discussing matters with his advisers on national security after the attack, such an interpretation is not at all surprising.

But what if it’s wrong? What if the problem on the night of Benghazi was not extreme incompetence, but simply extreme negligence? What if, in fact, the people treated as the two most relevant actors in this drama — President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton — weren’t made aware and didn’t do anything about it?

That is the interpretation that has emerged from a series of shocking admissions by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday. Each of these admissions — breathlessly reported by the Weekly Standard and CNSNews — paints a picture of a White House that was perilously disengaged from the crisis as it was happening in real time.

First, there was the bombshell that not only was President Obama not involved in the process except for a single phone call, but he was absent entirely from the White House during the attack. Video (all videos courtesy of the Weekly Standard) and reporting follows:

Read more: The Blaze