How was President Obama in the dark about Petraeus affair?
Ellen Ratner & T.J. McCormack debate what the Obama administration knew and when they knew it
- Duration 15:34
- Date Nov 13, 2012
Ellen Ratner & T.J. McCormack debate what the Obama administration knew and when they knew it
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This transcript is automatically generated
-- let's bring -- Ellen -- the bureau chief of talk radio news service.
Out of New York TJ McCormack is a host of Sunday night.
With TJ -- there's a lot to get into we talk about the -- we talked about.
About the failure to notify congress and talk about -- -- well what we haven't gotten into so much respect the White House wasn't made aware of this investigation until the November the sixth.
So the first question I'll -- to you Alan.
How could be political they're gonna have a very hard time making a political because Eric Cantor.
Who as you know is one of the leadership in the house knew about it apparently two weeks ago.
And he didn't bring it up to his committee he and bring it up to and to the president as far as we know.
So all how can you will that -- on the democratic ads.
Let's -- -- say can be political liberty LOK so on the democratic side I get your point there.
I can't -- -- -- is a great it's an American issue.
This is an American issue you can take you can pick sides again -- it's -- it's his president it's my congressman.
This is an American situation because at the end of the day we're talking about people who are charged with the safety of Americans lives overseas.
This is about national security.
This is an American issue that involves an American president.
-- as CIA director.
And at such a Tetra -- just so you know what I can easily -- make it an easy partisan thing and then Ellen could you know bite me and say yeah.
All well commitment that they -- it's it's a got Harry can't barely had deleted go back and forth but I'm not gonna.
So -- I think the question is one of the one of the issues here is.
Our American president Democrat or Republican our American president has -- and to answer for here because -- the highest -- said why and whether or not.
They knew before or after.
Right now we had eight centrally -- a director of central intelligence who either they knew about this affair and Letterman.
Or are they didn't pick it up in the vetting process so this this administration is -- up.
Either way you do what you don't either like.
Well they don't I don't point.
-- I don't see it that way I do see it as a way TJ says that.
Act as it is an American problem look Petraeus was not a Democrat or Republican appointee.
General Allen certainly is not general Allen has been drawn in to -- this is this is an issue of military discipline.
Of people who opt for whatever reasons hadn't strayed from their marriage but an and you what's so fascinating.
And it could have -- at that point given the point is that the point telling you miss -- -- TJ just made is either this was covered up or it wasn't detected.
-- back -- the Democrats and that.
And and and well the point is is that why.
When this became an issue why wasn't the president notified I think that that is -- very important issue I think that's an important issue especially because we don't know how do we know if the present we know for sure that he wasn't notified.
This is an issue this -- thing this thing -- thing is the prevalent issue a bald -- and all shoes of all time.
This I have yet to get I'm going back to the beginning.
You know what TJ I'm gonna be very surprised if the president was notified I really am what you gonna do talk about it in the run up to the election but.
No I -- because what president what action from.
I think -- would have to get.
-- and right away.
What you do you think that -- just because president wasn't notified.
Doesn't mean that -- political elements -- where people.
Further up the food chain were saying let's just keep this thing quiet until I'm a -- thing you have ever again commander inaudible I have no I don't -- ability.
If -- talk about the food chain you have to look at Eric Cantor why then congressman leader cantor keep it quiet.
That's I mean people -- keeping it quiet all along the food chain.
Somebody said that's why we -- Mormon women in positions of power in the military.
-- well there are not at nine jokes that Ellen just set up for me that I'm gonna let it go and again got -- Well who knows if the women -- -- vested did acted in such it's such a high school manner does seem that -- -- two of the women some of them -- I'm on it and I mean yeah now his turn at 30000 emails.
This is just very he's very accurate very bad mistress -- -- -- -- -- because.
-- if you heard from not represented Peter King who said this has elements of a Hollywood movie.
But I think you -- -- put this in a movie it would be too simple and and childish and -- I mean maybe one is that what Hughes movies with sixteen.
How do you know right now.
I mean the Petraeus -- OK that that is you know that is expected an unexpected but none of us would be shocked.
But when you -- that Kelly piece of it.
And in general Allen it becomes like this is even nobody would if somebody if -- if TJ and I had sent down to manufacture script.
And we hand and they say -- -- this would never happen it's not.
Yeah you would expect powerful man to be acting that badly.
But right now let's examine this issue General Petraeus is out of a job general Allen is keeping his job why.
I and it's interesting yesterday.
Leon Panetta and the secretary of defense was asked on a flight to -- it when he was in Asia by the press.
Well what about general Allen not -- me do this -- The this situation Afghanistan and and -- to secretary Panetta act kept saying we're waiting for general -- report on what he's suggesting for Afghanistan while now what happened.
It's yeah I think you know what I think they're running at a generals.
And also like that wouldn't be surprised that now part of the vetting process is going through Craig's list and doing -- -- Back now at 30000.
I wonder if in the course of my kind of Fox News if I have sent out 30000 emails total.
-- TJ would you -- time.
To spend that much time -- flirting apparently online that's a lot of crazy and you know and I don't know that all 30000 was.
Earlier in my 20000 inappropriate and 101000 I don't use you know I don't know that I back -- it's obsessive it's it it is a little kooky and an and I I don't mean to be cavalier I started off this conversation.
It's an American issue and his lives at stake and and I got to keep come back to -- easy to get into the -- said the John muse aspect of -- But but you know yeah it's creepy when you look at the volume of emails the multiple people involved.
And it just it just makes you wonder.
You know this -- you remember a couple of months ago we found out about the skinny dipping congress people at the in Galilee he.
Whatever that wasn't in -- I -- it what.
What what does standards are we holding.
Our health officials and their appointees to this is really really go beyond the pale.
The problem -- a day and -- -- and and it is that you know something.
People are people and their people whether their present -- United States in the Oval Office or whether they are.
Human frailty and fortunately.
Exist along all lines law classes.
-- it out.
But Alan you know I don't necessarily -- -- hang out with the church choir and the people that I hang out with.
Don't really act react badly he and certainly of civil -- set -- -- 30000 emails but let's get it could -- brought up a great point.
This has become a terrific distraction from what is something that's very important out there and that is what happened with Ben -- And I I know a lot of people in the press or talk them all the time.
And when you bring up stuff about Ben -- what the president new before he dispatched ambassador rice out to the Sunday talk shows.
They want puff -- their -- they say this is just a Fox News issue.
And this is just you know I don't -- what conservative -- That's what I gets certainly from within the press corps so does this provide the distracting you need obviously this -- too sexy you can't.
EEE -- can't wrestle all the monkeys until you -- the 800 pound gorilla.
You've got to deal with this story but you still having issue about what was known and what was refused.
In Ben -- so TJ -- do you think it's going to be AA you know the distraction that will ultimately allow Ben -- what happened there to be swept under the -- But you know I Ellen's gonna jump on this one and -- I don't blame America's it's what she needs to do.
But you know the myself on the street level guy I just call like I see it you know I don't have a degree in this stuff.
But -- my radio listeners the people I talked to it might mind and in my realm.
-- all this this whole thing is reeked of a cover up from the very beginning and it's reeked of not just a passive media.
Doing their best to sort deflecting shields running up to an election.
This now is is starting to smell of a pro actively.
Miss leading wag the dog wagon although I would go away all that stuff.
An actual pro active on the part of of the media that's what this is starting to -- got to the regular street level people in America.
All right L and I see you're ready to -- go go go -- got.
Well I I mean I just don't and and I'll be talking about this and -- bash today.
Look the media is complicit in a lot of things but they're not that Smart to figure this whole thing out said.
They're just not right that.
-- heard that.
Well that's -- they listen Axelrod app so I don't I don't I don't mean in -- wreaths.
But now let's talk about that because he -- -- when -- talk -- other reporters they say -- -- -- just a Fox -- -- you guys are trying to blow this thing out of the water and I disagree first of -- I think there's one key element.
The fact that you had a gunman on the ground and American gunman who paid at the target with the laser.
And and -- a request for support from the Specter gunship was denied.
Now at -- have you heard any information that that has been walked back -- that somehow -- -- -- Well as I understand that there is a closed hearing today in congress honestly -- And my guess is that after that they're going to be some open hearings and my guess is that General Petraeus will wind up testifying.
Now as Zack and as a correspondents and perhaps -- lawyering up.
That may be but the fact is we are gonna -- -- testified be shocked if we -- now.
Right TJ do you think there's anyway that the General Petraeus can avoid the -- avoid the subpoena.
I got bush on sadly there I don't think I kind of after the recent -- I think -- -- he's gonna communal Ed and I agree and and you know it'd be nice I don't want to hear anymore again I'm I'm feinstein's Democrat -- a -- does not want amber she's the one who's talking about threatening subpoenas.
They should be -- cleaning.
And -- want this thing needs to come -- ahead -- -- needs to come to a head now Hillary Clinton needs come home from Australia.
And to testify.
Petraeus needs to show up in it in what in whatever capacity showed these all these people need to be subpoenaed because it's it's it's it's not the -- -- opinion must -- come and testify.
Under I mean he can be maybe the -- a statement needs to be made by the by our elected leaders on on Capitol -- that they care enough and that they don't they're not partisan enough to have to worry about who's -- they should issue the subpoenas as a statement.
But you know you have -- we tell our -- and -- that.
Partisan on this I mean you have people like Bernie Sanders I mean definitely not -- even undemocratic mean Bernie Sanders says he's a -- store.
Really trying to get to the bottom of a lot of this and I think that there is a bipartisan interest insurers I don't I don't think you're gonna see this follow along party I.
Greens I agree that's I don't think there's any kind of thing anybody that any risk for going ahead and I think again a subpoena makes a statement whether let him come on their own volition great fabulous -- initial about -- like nice.
Issue a subpoena to all the principles involved that makes a statement the American people.
Well I get it all on the record it sounds like I don't think he really didn't you only -- some money.
TJ it congressman they won't come if you invite somebody couldn't have come and they come you don't need to subpoena them they show up.
I got what I don't think so it's -- -- don't want me.
The -- like the issue of general behaving badly.
Who will be a distraction but today it kind of puts -- -- the argument that this is some part of a grand conspiracy needed to.
Get the big -- -- issue out of the spotlight or out of the headlines even though will be for a while because it's just too -- -- you can't pass it up.
That being said.
And I get back to conversations I've had with it with people and they and the mainstream media.
The idea that this -- -- story defense something that only Fox News has treated champions.
Alan I'll go to you has there ever been any information that the president knew.
That this was.
Something more than a spontaneous demonstration -- guys -- -- the attack and the guys who was more than.
You know I I have tried to -- on -- -- Ghazi story and and I'm gonna tell you.
The only way I think we're gonna find out what happened in Ben Ghazi is by hearings.
In congress I think they're going to be pretty bipartisan and so I'm not gonna say is there any evidence that the president because I.
I don't know and that's the ferret as a reporter that Simon -- I don't now.
-- -- Well well TJ.
Let's -- you about that that that if I haven't heard any solid challenges to the idea that the president knew and the president still this passion Bassett right out to the Sunday talk shows to say that this was a spontaneous -- The demonstration.
That went terribly.
That right about now well if everybody holds on to all their sixty minutes archives they can see -- -- as they collect them over the weeks that they released them.
You know today that in the end.
The president was there talking about it in in -- late very very late released footage there's -- president talking about why he wouldn't call it a and act of terrorism.
The semantics involved now our our our -- trite and cliche it's -- it's it's a -- now to talk about it the president did not refer to this as an act of terrorism.
As -- as as weeks later easier to add the at the United Nations talking about -- the video's video.
-- and I think that's that's silly it's duke beat everybody in America smarter than that.
And it is also an indication if you're talking about a -- about the video -- it talk about it not being a terrorist attack this is a terrorist attack and this definitely comes down to what did the president know when did he know and right now we don't know.
What seems pretty clear that he know it and he said something else when he got in front of the public but let's hold that thought because we kind of have made the transition.
In to bias -- the discussion about the media TJ you brought up the sixty minutes segment -- we saw that came out pretty strong words from the president indicating that he knew what was going on.
And the -- and the crew at sixty minutes they held onto that tape -- after the election what do you think about.
It is what it is look again I I think we've gone beyond the idea of a media bias being a conspiracy gain or Kool -- thing.
It's it's cool the media is made up of it is it is -- -- the upper west side.
That is to it is that -- that that they socialize with their kids that are missing school's Halloween parties it's all commitment and that and that's why I normally gets angry about it anymore because I accepted is just the fact that just is what it is.
And and unfortunately -- now I think -- get so comfortable in that they're not on on this denial time thing -- more than not and an and that and now I think they're -- so company unit.
That brings us to what I mentioned a moment ago where it's getting pro active.
They're -- -- some days to do what they can to further the institutions that -- ascribed to.
That's disturbing especially when American lives are at stake and American elections are --