Durbin, Graham debate US foreign policy in Mideast
Senators talk Libya, Syria and Iran on 'Fox News Sunday'
- Duration 16:47
- Date Oct 21, 2012
Senators talk Libya, Syria and Iran on 'Fox News Sunday'
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And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
-- just sixteen days till the election President Obama and governor Romney meet one last time Monday night for a debate on foreign policy.
We want to preview the issues with the debate of our own.
Dick Durbin the number two Democrat in the senate joins us from his home state of Illinois.
And a top Republican on foreign policy senator Lindsey Graham is in his home state of south Carolina's senators let's start with breaking news -- report.
In today's New York Times that Iran and the US have agreed in principle.
The one on one talks about Iran's nuclear problem like the White House -- Might last night that they have not agreed to talks -- that that you asked -- administration.
Is open to the idea senator Graham let me start with the -- what do you think of one on one talks with -- -- And what do you make of the timing of those coming out two weeks before the election.
Well I think the Iranians are trying to take advantage of our election cycle to continued to talk.
As we -- with the Iranians what this bilaterally unilaterally they continue to enrich.
And the vice president and the president said we will do nothing without coordinating with the Israel.
So we've -- with a -- Moscow we've taught more than in Baghdad they continue to our rich and rich.
I think the time for talking is over we should be demanding transparency and access to their nuclear program.
They've doubled those centrifuges so I think this is a -- by the Iranians I hope we're talking to the Israelis.
And as as we continue to tell what they continued their rich and are trying to break up break apart coalition.
What do you think of the -- -- -- story coming out one assumes from a US source is not a rainy and just two weeks before the election.
Well I think is pretty obvious they're trying to do to continue Dow -- using our election cycle.
And a pretty clever way I hope we don't take the bait and -- had a chance in 2009 to speak -- -- the Iranian rev revolution and we we did nothing I was a huge mistake.
And I out like to tell with Israel before making major decisions with the -- Well senator Durbin Israel's ambassador doesn't -- to the United States Michael Oren.
Says in the New York Times article that Israel should not be rewarded with one on one talks with the US but they should -- -- even tougher sanctions.
I can tell you Chris the president has put together a strong global coalition.
Imposing sanctions on the Iranians including not only Europe obviously you which is -- -- dramatic impact on the Iranian economy but Russia as well.
And it's had its impact.
This month of October the currency in Iran has declined 40% and value.
There's unrest in the streets of -- rim and the leaders in Iran are feeling it that's exactly what we -- the sanctions program to do.
And this is an indication I think it's a clear indication of the sanctions regime.
The president Obama's obamas put together with Israel and many nations around the world is putting pressure on Iran to sit down.
And finally acknowledge that they cannot have a nuclear weapon.
I think it is a positive step forward.
And briefly why if we have this international coalition why not continue talks in the why do what one on one -- -- Well -- I think there are many options I'm not gonna say one is better than the other.
If direct negotiations.
Are path toward a peaceful resolution with the run giving up on the notion of nuclear weapon -- it.
If -- collectively is better pursue that as well but is Nicholas Burns said who was the negotiator for president George W.
Bush and Tehran.
It would be unconscionable forced not to meet and talk.
He said we don't wanna drive and that brick wall of war and 4013.
Without sitting down and speaking to the Iranians.
All right gentlemen let's turn it to Libya and what are and I guess that -- -- -- -- -- -- -- The effort that the purpose of sanctions is to stop the Iranians from building a nuclear program and reaching Iran.
It's been a miserable failure during the four years we've talked to and they've quadrupled the amount of 20%.
Enriched uranium to produce a bomb.
There's a pattern here we talk they enrich it needs to stop we need to have bread lines coordinated with the his -- and in this before it gets out of hand.
All right gentlemen let's turn let's turn to Libya if we can.
And the question as to whether or not they need the president and his administration could've done more before hand.
To protect those four Americans who were killed and -- Ghazi on the anniversary of September 11.
We now know there were eight attacks eight attacks against western interest and bank Ghazi in the six months before the attack and we now know that US ambassador -- Stevens sent.
Repeated memos to Washington even on the day he was killed.
Asking for more security.
Senator -- is it conceivable.
That President Obama didn't know how dangerous Ben Ghazi was for Americans.
No no administration's gonna send the president United States out into the public arena.
Not telling him about a half -- attack in April and June where the president grasp our reporter engine tell me about the consulate attack and in Gaza what do you think about it.
And he said I don't know so -- find that.
This is going to be a case study studied for years of a breakdown of national security it ever let a level.
-- presidential leadership senior members of the -- administration failed miserably.
-- -- Ghazi Libya consulate was becoming a death trap the British left the Red Cross left because of the deteriorating security environment.
We requested additional security was denied because we want to normalize relationships whether -- nonexistent government we should have closed that consulate.
Long before September 11 are heavily reinforced that and I put that on the president of United States this was a national security breakdown before gearing and after the attack.
Now senator Durbin I I think we would all agree the president doesn't get down into the weeds and decide the actual security level and -- Ghazi.
But given all of these warnings why didn't he.
And as administration do more or whether it was to beef up security -- Closed the consulate why they didn't didn't do more to protect those four Americans who work helped.
Well Chris I could tell you that senator Graham and I were -- -- close briefing classified briefing.
Just I guess two weeks ago in Washington when we came together -- -- Secretary Clinton the CIA and others.
They are engaged in -- -- comprehensive investigation of what actually occurred here.
And that's what we've got to have think back -- history hasn't been that long ago we lost over 230 Marines.
In the barracks in Beirut Lebanon under president Ronald Reagan.
These acts of terrorism as horrific as they are have to be understood to be part of living in a dangerous world -- let's let's -- the on this questions.
Let's gather the evidence let's make sure that we understand exactly what did occur.
But jumping to conclusions I think Darrell -- does a documentary dumped on his web -- of sensitive information.
Those in Libya who were helping keep America safe.
It shows the links many will go to to try to politicize this tragic situation.
Senator Graham is that what you're doing politicizing the situation.
Well thank god for a media that less questions thank god for some Republican control of one branch of the government.
If you left it up to this administration to inform the American people would still be believing this was a spontaneous riots -- Video there was no Bob there was no riot.
So no I am totally convinced this is going to go down in history.
As one of the most.
Major breakdowns of national security in a very long time this exhibit a of a failed national security strategy.
This consulate was under siege for months have been attacked twice.
Everybody else had left in Gaza but us we refuse additional superior request -- wanted to normalize relationships.
For over seven hours on September the eleventh that they have heightened concern throughout the world.
For America the anniversary and our September 11 attack this consulate was attacked for over seven hours there were no land forces available to reinforce the consulate.
No air force no air power sent over to help these people for over seven hours and after the attack you had one convoluted distorted.
Even when we're ex senator Graham we're gonna get a we're gonna get to the added to the accounts the shifting accounts at a moment but I want to press my question -- you again senator bring to you didn't really answer why didn't with all of these warnings I mean we had repeated memos from the ambassador.
Repeated requests from the security team on the ground.
Why didn't the administration do more to protect these people and bad policy.
You know the question is going to be answered Chris we gathered the information together but.
Let me also -- I was illiterate I started it was a skeptic would -- yacht and -- -- the investigation is gonna end sometime after election what group.
-- and shouldn't this investigation be done any thorough professional and complete way.
As senator Graham can tell you when we sat down for this classified briefing they said it was days literally days before we can put our investigative team on the ground.
In bad guys who doesn't have -- have you and and events if I'm dangerous then Ghazi was then both forehand.
If we couldn't get the FBI -- little -- -- English.
Of course it was dangerous and we lost three Americans are four Americans.
But look at the situation on the ground immediately afterwards when the Libyans were demonstrating in the streets in support of the United States.
It isn't it volatile situation.
It is always easier of the day after just say -- you could've won that football game.
We're boils down to -- let's get the facts together.
This idea of German ice that he's going to dump the names in public of Libyans were risking their lives to support America and keep us safe.
In an effort to get a political toehold in this election is unconscionable.
It is unacceptable I'm sure that senator Graham doesn't support that.
Well let's move on to the to the question of the shifting story after the fact the presidents that.
In the debate this week that on the day after the attack on September 12.
That he called it an act of terror here's what actually happened in the Rose Garden.
Yesterday four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in -- Gaza.
-- We reject it all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.
We're just there was already -- painful day for our nation as we mark the solemn memories of the 9/11 attacks.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve this great nation.
Senator Graham we we did it that way to show that there was quite a gap between various things that he was discussing in the Rose Garden.
Did the president did his team call this an act of terror from the start and do you really believe.
That they were playing politics with the way they were spinning out the story.
-- I believe this administration has a history of playing politics -- foreign policy this is the very administration that leaked every detail of our bin Laden raid to make themselves look good.
This is the administration leaked details -- cyber attacks against Iran.
The underwear bomber plot was fold.
And they leak the details of the the double agent we had that put our allies at risk and operatives at risk so the question as.
What administration who leaks -- detailed classified information -- series of weeks to create a narrative that they're strong on foreign policy would they deceive and did not.
The -- and they do not want to admit.
It was a al-Qaeda inspired militia attack -- to be seen coming for months.
And it deteriorated security environment for the British and red cross and her body left but us.
It down because the narrative that not killing bin Laden al-Qaeda has dismantled on the run.
And the wars are -- this is exhibit day but felt foreign policy al-Qaeda is alive and well and Libya.
Our -- Syria and the wars and not receding and what happened being Ghazi.
Is a case study in failure at every phase before gearing and after what they did after the attack.
I think is just absolutely.
They tried to confuse delay and deny create a narrative this was a spontaneous advance when it was not.
Because the truth of the matter is the -- -- Libya consulate was with death trap long in the making and this is failed presidential leadership that is.
-- let me bring in senator Durbin despite what the president says he did his team clearly.
Refused to call it an act of terror for at least a week take a look.
This is not a case.
Protests directed at the United States.
Writ large or at US policy this is in response to a video that is offensive.
It was a spontaneous.
Reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo.
It as a consequence of the video.
Now during the second debate the president said that he is offended.
By any suggestion senator Durbin that he or his administration was playing politics with the as.
How do you explain then I think continued refusal to call -- terrorism.
Even as the evidence -- that it was terrorists.
Take a look at the article by David Ignatius.
He puts on the record the CIA he's posting the information they sent to Washington.
After our ambassador and the others were killed.
And they said they believe that it had something to do with this video but they were going to -- the evidence to be sure and then of course over the next few days more information came in.
That was an indication that the -- wars they say it was opportunity in this situation.
What I find really hard to accept I have to disagree with my friend senator Graham.
Is this notion about the president's foreign policy.
The president has been -- strong and steady leader we have responsibly ended the war in Iraq we're going to end the war in Afghanistan.
Al-Qaeda don't is a shadow of its former self Osama bin Laden is smoldering in some.
Some watery grave somewhere and we've now put enough pressure on Iran with the sanctions regime.
So we won't develop a nuclear weapon that they -- to sit down and talk these are all positive developments moving us toward a more stable nation.
Is more stable world when we faced threats of terrorism is every direction senate majority -- but a strong leader.
Senator Durban I and I hate to interrupt that we are running out of time I just have one question -- and and you're quite right there is a report.
That -- CIA put up talking points that sad that this was a spontaneous demonstration.
But if that was what the CIA's best intelligence was then why does -- -- -- why -- President Obama claim that he called a terror the day after.
Well of course it involves an act of terror whether it was a result of a spontaneous demonstration or something that was planned.
You know this just is unacceptable that you would attack another embassy and kill the ambassador it is terrorism in any form what -- administration refused a site for the first break and we're asked repeatedly that.
Know of credit that I -- let me let me try to channel can't Candy Crowley for a minute here this president did say acts of terror and you can play the tape when fox anyway you wish.
But he said it.
And it was an act of terror and we were waiting to find out what the real motivation and driving force was behind it we need to have a thorough investigation get to the bottom of and there's the president's hold those at how subtle dig at senator -- get.
Last -- Chris.
This was not a spontaneous.
Riot there was never a mob there's a video of the consulate.
Nobody was there.
Ambassador Stevenson met the Turkish ambassador that wasn't sold around the compound there's a 125 people.
Using heavy mortars it was a seven hour planned attack.
Pre plan in the making the Intel was that al-Qaeda is on the rise in the Gaza Libya.
Everybody else left but us.
They CIA chief said this was a militia attacked within 24 hours the -- Olivia said this was an al-Qaeda attack.
There was still -- there was no -- are rockets falling apart bin Laden may be dead.
Al-Qaeda is on the rise if you don't believe me go to the training camps in Iraq that it's.
Come up after we left Syria is a contagion affecting the region 32000 people have been killed while we're doing nothing.
Islamic extremists to begin in his military Syria and as to -- -- they've got quadrupled the amount of enriched uranium to make a bomb.
They had before Obama got an office.
Nothing is working the whole race is falling apart leading from behind is -- failure.
And over selling the bad -- the bin Laden jolly caught up with a -- Libya.
Now I really do feel like one of the moderate -- -- you both ran -- let me senator Graham senator Durbin -- -- thank you both thanks for joining us today we'll see if the candidates do as well as you guys dead.
Tomorrow night and experience.