Sen. Lieberman, Sen. Chambliss on Petraeus testimony
Inside Benghazi investigation hearings
- Duration 15:04
- Date Nov 18, 2012
Inside Benghazi investigation hearings
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Joining us now two leading senators on national security issues Saxby Chambliss vice chair of the intelligence -- it.
And Joseph Lieberman had about homeland security committee senators before he got to the Ben Ghazi.
Investigation -- -- ask you both about this growing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
In Gaza senator Lieberman.
While Israel clearly has to be able to defend itself do you worry about a ground war in Gaza especially.
In this changing -- Arab Spring meddling.
Well ultimately obviously this is up for three in the first instance to Hamas it cannot I don't think Israel is really want a ground where they're only gonna go and two guys if they feel they need to to eliminate the remainder of the missiles a lot of which are supplied to Hamas by Iran.
That have been they're coming over to Israel hundreds of them this year.
So really the the decision is up to Hamas as to whether there will be a ground invasion of Gaza or not -- remember what hamas' it's not.
The Palestinian Authority which is recognized right of Israel to exist and has diplomatic relations with Israel and us.
It's a terrorist groups -- to the destruction of Israel it actually seized power in a quote from the Palestinian Authority.
Soviet -- these people are bad actors and -- would put up with what Israel has up until now they have to defend their their people and their nation.
But senator Chambliss obviously the situation.
All over the Middle East has changed dramatically in the last year Egypt is no longer run by a pro American dictator.
It's run by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood should President Obama put more pressure on the Egyptian government even threatened to cut off aid.
-- -- Hamas to stop firing those rock.
He needs to exert every kind of pressure he can Christian try to make sure -- -- escalated into a full blown no war between.
The Palestinians and the Israelis and you know whatever that -- but.
Now the problem the Israelis have it is that.
These rockets have been fired on from places that they Kate reached -- a plan over and airmen to put an immense New York where they're surrounded by school children.
They're fired him from.
That are crowded with people.
And Israel has a right to protect itself and -- send in ground troops in him is the only way they can clean out these myths of rockets in -- -- You know.
You can't blame them for different.
-- right let's turn to Ben -- both of you held close historic hearings this week with top administration officials.
And David Petraeus reportedly sat in these closed door hearing this.
That -- always believe that terrorists were behind the attack.
That the administration watered down the talking points that Susan Rice ended up using because they didn't want to tip off the terrorists that they were on to them.
Let me start first of all would you senator Chambliss because you were in one -- those closed door hearings with Petraeus one -- -- -- and if so do you believe.
I don't Petraeus did not say that in those were large groups all right and and I did not interpret any thing he says to be that.
General Petraeus number one is obviously a great man and a great leader both were military stand alone and would also -- of a funeral so you it.
And what he did Saturday is that from day one.
We knew it was a terrorist attack and there was no question about it you don't bring.
Automatic weapons in our peak season and mortars to so called demonstration.
Com there still are some questions that are yet to be answered about -- that the planning of this whether it was.
-- over a period of time or whether it was truly a spontaneous reaction.
There's no indication now that it was -- -- other than planned attack.
You have an understanding as to why the talking points changed over the course of that first week the White House said yesterday they made one.
Change in the talking points and that was a change the word consulate to diplomatic for something.
Well it was kind of -- -- Chris that the here and we -- on Thursday and Friday we had every leader.
Of the intelligence community there including.
Folks from the State Department the FB.
Everybody knew there was a -- do you know who made these changes and nobody knew -- the only entity that reviewed the talking points that was not there.
Was the White House.
And I don't know -- whether what they said yesterday is exactly right or not but what I do know is that they remember -- -- -- community says -- references to they'll try to work.
Removed about somebody and -- And references to attacks.
Were in the about somebody and.
Let me ask you a question will your committee the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Call ambassador Susan Rice to ask her to testify.
I don't know the answer that question right now senator -- and I won't talk about that we've got two more hearings schedule where we've already got a list of witnesses in default.
She's gonna have to come -- and and testify at some point whether it's in a closed hearing -- an open here we're gonna have an opening to.
But at some point she needs to come in on and say what the president of the White House directed -- -- Senator Lieberman Dianne Feinstein the democratic chair of senator Chambliss is Senate Intelligence Committee read the unclassified.
Talking points to reporters.
And she says that they show this -- -- rice -- just sticking to the talking points do you buy that.
-- I've looked at the talking points or committee heard testimony from the intelligence community very important -- here.
That during that first week after the attack on our mission in Ben Ghazi.
The initial opinion and they kept saying it was an initial of the intelligence community.
Was that there had been a protest.
-- before the terrorist attack nobody can deny it as sex you said that there was a terrorist attack.
And that's what the talking points reflected whether -- -- names like al-Qaeda terrorist corporates are also grocery.
I must say that as I look at what the what we now know the intelligence community was saying that week and I look.
Rice's statements on television ounce on the following Sunday morning I don't find anything inconsistent.
Between those through but I I must tell you.
That I think we're focusing on questions that are not insignificant but they're not not the most significant of course there was a terrorist attack.
Whether or not there was a protest before it is interest being.
But not -- critical to me there was a terrorist attack the question is who did it.
And then march were important for the long run why in the midst of a rising crescendo of intelligence that made clear that.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic McGrath announced a rosary a bunch of radical groups were coming into eastern Libya.
In the surrounding -- -- -- guys he did we leave our State Department personnel there without security and why -- they were attacked.
Did our Defense Department not have resources anywhere nearby to come to their defense in the long run those are the critical -- -- we're gonna go through it.
And I want to ask both of -- a series of questions in this regard because you do would hold these closed door hearings this week but all the top officials.
And I'm gonna try to ask -- to do -- a lightning round quick questions quick -- as somebody said good luck with that senator Lieberman.
After meeting with top.
This isn't quite to the point but we're -- promise -- we're gonna get there after meeting with top FBI officials this week are you satisfied.
With the air decision not to notify congress and the White House about the investigation of General Petraeus is -- -- Until as late as they did which was lastly.
You know I hit I.
I still have questions about that.
I think first we go to -- dollars that the FBI has developed a very important -- security.
Capacity was important to -- -- country.
They've got this.
We're on lightning -- this weren't a lightning rod -- -- -- I have I have an answer that to my satisfaction yet another words.
I understand why they would keep an FBI investigation.
A confidential from everybody until is so there was a crime but this suddenly involved.
Two of our highest ranking generals Petraeus and Alan.
And I I think that was a different circumstance and I stole.
Have a an inclination to believe that that somebody should -- for the white -- of that early in the investigation senator Chambliss.
Are are you satisfied.
That -- personal affair involving General Petraeus.
Did not -- that either one the way he conducted.
The whole bank Ghazi matter and to his testimony to congress had to back in September or this -- I've seen nothing to indicate that that that had any impact on his decisions that he made relative to of them guys here any other issue for -- And and nothing no impact on his testimony there's some suggestion perhaps he was towing the line in September to try to keep his job.
I don't think there was -- of any indication as testimony on Friday of that he's he's always been very straightforward and he was very straightforward on Friday -- -- -- Chambliss win and this is one of the issues that senator Lieberman was was raising.
What all the warnings both -- -- who do you now feel is responsible with the failure for the failure to beef up security.
At the Ben Ghazi consulate before the it.
Ever happen I think that's a question yet to be answered Chris we've got to get -- State Department officials and -- to really explain why.
You send an ambassador basically on guarded with a few Libyan guards.
The CIA was not there regarding the presence would have Patrick Kennedy one of the top State Department he would live and you that's not his function to determine security though but we've got the right person commend him for our next hearing to talk about and -- Hampshire that.
Joseph win and Susan -- do like what but we got to find out from different from the State Department about why decisions were made relative to -- up next here they were obviously in adequate.
Yeah hopefully -- that look it up.
Let me just ask -- both of you in this regard.
Sped secretary of state Clinton has not testified is that someone do you need to hear from on this I think she's -- -- -- eventually managed to.
You know it's very important look and if you -- with.
Well what we know now about the intelligence of the terrorists who were in the vicinity -- been -- in my opinion it was irresponsible to have.
Our State Department personnel there were going through security guards there were you've easily overrun.
In the attack of September 11 either we should have given them.
The protection they deserved or should have closed that mission and been Garcia as the British government had done.
A short while before.
The second point is really an important one were cutting back and supporting our defense.
We during the war in Libya against -- we had ships.
If those ships were still there.
They -- sense of resources to knocked out the second round.
Of terrace theater art because I -- -- about it during the seven hours -- between the terrorists first attack on the consulate the second attack on the CIA -- Given the forces we had on the ground could.
US forces have done more corporate realistically to protect the US forces and -- and protect at at at the US personnel and have prevented the last two.
Enough that I was -- and it goes to preventing -- less -- -- the former seals from being killed the answer is we didn't have resources in -- secretary Panetta general Dempsey.
Acted quickly but they had to get somebody from Spain somebody from Croatia and -- a group of special operating forces from these -- of the US who arrived.
March to late and if we -- they sent a drone but it was an unarmed drawn if we had an armed drone -- that dangerous part.
Of the world it probably could've knocked out the people who were firing those words that killed.
The two civilian and what we have there you're saying it was it there was no capacity to defend our personnel.
And a timely way once the attack occurred and we we can't let that happen again.
And part of what we've got to do to make sure doesn't happen again is that we adequately support.
Are our defense budget and one quarter compared to Connecticut and audio leaves thought there was that State's fault we don't know him and protect and and finally and we got about a minute left.
Senators McCain and Graham this week called for a special.
Committee to investigate and -- let's take a look at what does Graham -- this.
Investigation benefited from a joint select committee Iran Contra contract benefited from a select committee.
I want to ask you you both briefly do you think that we need and let me start -- -- -- -- -- -- do we need a special committee -- -- that.
You're standing committees do it well first of all these two -- -- -- -- my best friends -- to -- best -- we travel a lot together just a very dangerous places but.
The committees within the United States senator very capable of investigating this in the right way and this one time I have a slight disagreement with my good -- Yeah I I respectfully separated from it to a -- goes from this one and agree with.
Sex -- and this was a tragedy but it doesn't rise to the level of 9/11 01.
Our committees can handle listen come up with the answers if for some reason our colleagues think when we're done that we haven't done a good enough job moment and think about -- And has been some speculation I know you're not haven't been that close did this president but.
There has been some speculation -- -- any talks with the administration about your taking over the top spot at state and defense and CIA.
Any talks about it and you have any interest.
The answer is.
No there have been no talks.
The second it's not what I'm planning for the next step through -- -- -- really is as I've always said before this is come up.
When a president of the United States as -- to serve your country.
That I love and believe and so deeply -- you've got to give it serious consideration.
But I'm not waiting by the fall ha I don't expect to -- so.
Got my vote for confirmation on any of the of there were gonna miss Alaska relevant science senator Lieberman no more but you may be back here in a few months as secretary Lieberman.
That would surprise me.
-- there would always be good to be with you.
On the fair and balanced.
Fox on the show there you got a senator I want and I -- -- I thought it was voluntary senator Chambliss spiky balls will stay on top of bulk and Ghazi.
And -- -- the conflict in Gaza thank you about to do it is.