I’ve wondered about that - wouldn’t Obama telling Panetta to do what he needed to do constitute cross border authority? There are so many good followup questions to Lindsey Graham’s line.
Obama said he issued the directive, but he is lying. I don’t think Panetta testified that Obama responded at all. I don’t believe Obama gave any direction and by default with the cross border restriction, no order was in essence a stand down.
Obama had the perfect scape goat in Panetta if things failed. Therefore it only makes sense that he was totally disengaged.