The White House in any modern administration has an official photographer whose duty is to take pictures all day long of official and unofficial activities of the President. Sometimes those events are obviously momentous, while others only become so in retrospect. The White House releases some into the public domain on its Flickr site, but only those that please the administration. Others — like the photos of Barack Obama being briefed on the unfolding attack on our consulate in Benghazi on September 11th — require a little more effort to have released. In this case, it took public criticism (and perhaps the threat of a lawsuit) from several media outlets to get this picture released (via Fox and The Blaze):
Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor, left, updates the President and Vice President on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and Chief of Staff Jack Lew are at right.