When will we know what really happened in Benghazi?
What did John Brennan know about the nine-eleven Libya consulate attacks? Eli Lake weighs in.
- Duration 12:00
- Date Jan 11, 2013
What did John Brennan know about the nine-eleven Libya consulate attacks? Eli Lake weighs in.
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-- women and men of the CIA are among the most dedicated courageous.
Selfless and hard working individuals.
Who have ever served this country.
At great personal risk and sacrifice.
They have made countless invaluable contributions.
Toward national security into the safety and security of all Americans.
Most times the successes will never -- don't outside the hallowed halls of Langley and the Oval Office.
Leading the agency in which I served for 25 years would be the greatest privilege as well as the greatest -- Possibility.
Of my professional life.
You're back in the foxhole I'm still James Rosen -- -- -- host of Washington you can still join us and -- via live -- just below me on your screen.
I just log in using your FaceBook or Twitter accounts and send us your questions that was John Brennan the counter terrorism advisor to President Obama speaking at a ceremony in the White House.
On Monday at which he was nominated.
To lead the Central Intelligence Agency as its next director this obviously in the week.
On the resignation of its former CIA director a General David Petraeus.
For reasons for which are which are well publicized I think.
Joining us to discuss the -- nomination and issues surrounding it is one of the leading.
Reporters in Washington on the subject of intelligence.
The senior national security correspondent for Newsweek Daily Beast my friend.
Eli lake thanks for coming in he lives for visiting the fox will be like Louisville with a plan.
I love it and thanks so much for having -- to be here John Brennan -- get confirmed yes.
Probably it looks like he will however it's a strange alliance that you're seeing right now in terms of people who are concerned about the nomination -- -- includes.
What I would say this sort of civil liberties left.
Who believes that they'd like answers on the drone program and think that he may have played a role on what they consider to be torture and the CIA's enhanced interrogation -- he was a senior executive.
It during the first bush term.
Then I think you're gonna see a lot of people concerned on -- the Republican side because.
Brain is the guy who originally said it.
There was a firefight in the bin Laden raid that was then taken back -- sometimes derisively known as the leaker in chief.
By age of Republicans who have been concerned about those -- as a journalist I'd like to say.
That should not be an issue tonight is Harry placed -- place I'd like more leaks of possible but.
And then finally I think that there.
Is this question.
John Brennan clearly had a role.
On the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 he must have known about these attacks in Ben Ghazi -- in bin -- Libya.
And he was old ones that I we -- heard nothing from on so.
It would be very interesting to see what he has to saying -- be very interesting to see whether he had any role in the infamous talking points that were then changed from.
What originally the CIA assessed to be and al-Qaeda terrorist attack.
And I'm sure that people are gonna ask -- I think it's a strange kind of left right alliance in some ways.
But I don't think it's going to be enough to it to -- the nomination because there's so much concern about.
Chuck Hagel -- the nomination to to leave the Pentagon where do you think that there is chance -- nada nada.
Not it's not a -- -- when citizens I'd say there's maybe 30% chance that he wouldn't.
-- -- come back to chuck -- but first for the benefit of our viewers we were referring to the attacks in Ben -- at the US consulate and and CIA annex.
In that city in Libya on September 11 of last year which resulted in the killings.
Of our US ambassador to Libya Cris Stevens and three other brave Americans.
And which of course figured prominently in the campaign season.
Do you as a reporter who has worked in the Ben Ghazi story very hard -- who has some -- a number of important exclusive stories printed on the Ben Ghazi story.
As have a number Fox News reporters like Jennifer Griffin and Catherine Herridge.
Do you regard to just as a reporter as an interest you've got talking to you do you regard that the the period of major disclosure.
On that story is over now.
I think we're still gonna see bombshells on the Ben -- story and if so what what might they relate to.
What we saw the.
Accountability review board that the state to what is -- State Department panel.
Which told us.
About some of the lapses in security leading up to it but didn't tell us anything about the CIA component of that night.
And we know there was a CIA base -- prime and and largely we we now know that diplomatic mission was largely CIA mission one of these people were undercover.
Exactly what they were doing none of that has really been reported out yet we have some sense of it but I think there could be more and I think the other thing is.
This administration has told us.
Very little about the perpetrators most of those disclosures of come through reporting.
From Fox News -- -- people like myself we haven't had any kind of official.
Successful nation who -- the people behind this in the intelligence community assuming they keep a list called the Ben -- attack network.
But they're not treating map the way.
They would treat a list of al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen or Pakistan.
Suitable for drone strikes -- -- or special operations action.
Instead this is being led by as an FBI kind of investigation if this was the Bush Administration recall that pre 9/11 thinking almost.
And so it's treated as a criminal investigation.
The only problem is the FBI works with host governments like Libya and -- -- -- what anybody even gain access to the so called crime scene for what twenty days after those attacks correct them main suspect described -- -- -- -- -- here's a Tunisian national who was fleeing Libya we caught that he was caught in in Turkey was eventually persuaded the -- -- and in Tunisia -- -- exactly.
He gets -- -- he was released this week.
The FBI got three hours -- them with a judge present.
And the US government is where this was.
Urging them not to release him so this is that this is I think an important element of this.
And so I think you're gonna see more and more.
I think there's a a lot of frustration from people like senator Lindsey Graham and Senator McCain.
So there's a chance he could see a sort of senate report that would get into some of these issues.
But I think you would also see at some point -- people inside the US government inside the US counterterrorism community.
Coming forward in a kind of whistle blower like -- Do we have any reason to believe that among his other duties as the ambassador Chris Stevens was involved in some kind of gun running program to the Syrians opposition review I'm sure you're familiar with those are better and around the -- I've heard it haven't been able to confirm it.
Mom it is a persistent rumor and that's all I can really say about at this point do we know exactly how Cris Stevens died.
OK the Libyan doctor said as much.
Yeah but -- was -- one of the photographs of him from that night invisible gash on his forehead as well.
What we don't know what happened between -- -- we know that he was he was taken to a safe for him right and they torch did.
And people tried to get out of there was an horrific scene.
What happened you know when they found the body haven't yet how -- -- audience and how did how did Chris Stevens get to the hospital was -- gets married in the taken there were there was he alone there when he went.
You know well I think right and worry about it I've heard that he probably died.
From the smoke inhalation.
When he was in that that's safer and it was a pretty gruesome fate.
But at what point -- -- are -- there are these there's none of these questions I mean and you had to -- the hospital you've been.
And talking with you more about the drones.
Opens drone program and that of which John Brennan isn't on the principal architects.
It has been reported by one of -- intelligence -- competitors from another organization I think it was New York Times.
That the president employs a kill list yeah when deciding which drone strikes to authorize -- do you believe that do we is that a confirmed fact that there was angels.
It was all this is also in my colleague -- Clyde and so but kill -- capture.
And I've heard that this is well and there was a there was a good follow -- during the Washington Post on how they have these meet your season.
It's a very complex system but yes out of the White House there is a kind of -- or ad hoc way.
In which I usually Brandon but -- the president -- -- -- deciding on.
Who will be marked for death from above citizen.
OK we want talk very quickly for about a minute we about that the nomination of former Nebraska GOP senator Chuck Hagel.
To serve as secretary of defense even prior to the announcement of the nomination.
He had come in for some rough sledding.
With Republicans who object to him on a whole range of bases in effect a number of Democrats are uneasy with the nomination because.
I hagel has a history of statements including references to the Jewish lobby.
He has at times as opposed us sanctions on Iran if instead favoring direct talks with that country and he wants -- -- an effort to get the European Union.
To designated Hezbollah a terrorist entity.
You suggested earlier -- that you think that nomination is in real jeopardy is that true or parallel some -- I would still say that.
Chances are he'll get through and I think there's more I think the chances -- -- on the floor -- -- it's because that's that's the president's pick him when just when the reelection.
Susan Rice backed down it was the president's first choice -- appears for secretary of state.
The White House understands at this point if they withdraw a goal.
It's gonna be almost a political crisis for them I mean they just won reelection they should be able to kind of get the cabinet.
Assuming he -- makes it through -- There's 55 democratic votes in the senate and picking off five Republicans to stave off a filibuster shouldn't be too difficult.
-- those confirmed do you think that the controversy that's been raised over his views about the -- -- and about Israel in particular and Jews.
Serve to constrain him such that.
His whatever policies -- would -- as secretary of defense will be more in line with what his critics would like to -- Well I think.
We should take this moment to just notice that he had first African American president who was reelected.
Has managed to appoint a white male secretary of defense nominee who has.
Created a factor coalition of Armenian Americans.
Gay equality advocates.
Pro Israel Jewish groups.
And I mean I'm thinking like you know opposition opposition and it says it's just a straight it's expected to me is a very interest -- kind of similar to -- anti -- coalition of right.
I think that he wolves I keep hearing this idea of -- in his nomination -- parents are missing it well kind of say it a catechism.
On Israel Iran sanctions and other things that will probably be you know is being negotiated right now and a mansion by Chuck Schumer and and other Democrats who would have to be an easy.
We have some of the positions of Chuck Hagel before chatter wants to know how close -- -- vote will be in your view.
At this point it's really hard to say I mean I I I don't wanna count heads yeah I mean there -- three Republicans have come out on the record saying they won't -- -- But John Cornyn who is you know the -- who who is the minority whip.
And told me things is -- -- terrible pick if he decides to actually win the vote and saying.
Republicans are not we don't like the sky it's going to be we're watching on this one right.
Then that could could could mean that you would really almost have a kind of party line vote then the question is will people poll when will they go for filibuster.
At this point I think it's it's hard to say some.
We got to leave it there.
You know what -- so we're leaving on it's hard to say is always safe terrain for journalists Eli lake is among the best in the -- -- this city he is the senior national car of national security correspondent for Newsweek Daily Beast.
We thank him and you for visiting the fox home.