Rep. Ed Royce on what happened in Libya hearings
House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman sounds off
- Duration 8:16
- Date Jan 23, 2013
House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman sounds off
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At the top of the program secretary of state Hillary Clinton accepted responsibility for the terror attack in Libya last September but still defended herself and the administration's actions.
Let's talk about what we heard today with house foreign affairs committee chairman.
Ed Royce chairman thanks for being here.
Good -- first of all your thoughts on on your committee hearing today what you heard what she didn't hear.
Well I think we had a lot more questions and we got answers.
And one of the things I think we really found today it was that all those this attack was unprecedented as they argue.
It wasn't that it wasn't -- -- scene.
Just three months prior to this attack.
There was communication.
On up the line in terms of the danger of an attack there they've been to -- -- on the facility.
We had a situation.
Where there was a desperate.
Requests for aid and it was not forthcoming so this is -- dealing here with an al-Qaeda franchise that's the fastest growing in the world.
And we've just had an attack in Algeria how do you change the culture of the State Department when -- four people.
That are culpable according to the State Department are still on the payroll we learned that today they're still on the payroll.
chairman that the thing I heard most today on -- -- on Twitter was really frustration.
They they thought there was a lot of speech making and not a lot of pointed questions.
That they didn't think questioning was that.
Great a lot of pointed questions not a lot of answers really you stand -- and one of the things we're following up with our written questions and the reason we do that -- -- order.
To be able.
To follow up on some of what we heard you probably don't have him run off the clock run out the clock and you saw some where you're gonna run out the clock and secretary Clinton's -- exactly exactly and that's where we're moving quickly in terms of those.
Additional questions that we are submitted so if you don't get those answers that you're looking for.
Would you subpoena -- -- come back.
Will we would.
We would if we didn't get the answers.
But the answers.
Frankly she was under oath today than when you appear before our committee you are.
And the follow up questions will further.
Proceed down that line of inquiry that you heard today and there were a lot of questions today as you.
As you probably would acknowledge if you think about the specific ones asked.
My house Republicans.
There was a lot of defense on the part of our colleagues on the Newsom Leo you hear what Democrats say you hear that they say this is all political that this is all about politics.
What what is the response to that well I think the response is obvious.
-- you had a massive failure here this is the first time in 35 years that we've lost an ambassador and in response.
For the questions that were asking.
We're either gonna change the culture in the Department of State or we're going to continue to have problems I say that.
Because if you have personnel on the ground.
That have an inability to reach the upper echelons of the State Department when there -- explaining that there are watching al-Qaeda.
That the al-Qaeda threat.
In that in the in their presence is growing that an al-Qaeda is out on the street march.
That al-Qaeda is carrying out attacks.
Two attacks on that very facility and you still can't manage to reach the upper echelons -- the Department of State.
In order to get the assets deployed when you turn down department -- defense assets that are in theater.
Because the State Department has this culture where they say well that would be embarrassing and that that's the words of State Department employees there.
Embarrassing to except the help of Department of Defense.
In defending that personnel this makes no rhyme nor reason.
But this is in fact what happened.
And so yes we have to we have to force a change in that culture and that's gonna require.
Quite a bit of work was chairman.
What was surprising to a lot of people is that that the term video really only came up one time in question and that we saw.
In the five hours of testimony and and here was.
The answer to that question about whether this anti Islam video played a role and something she said before.
I did not say that it was video from that that that it was about the video for Libya it certainly was for.
Many of the other places where -- -- watching these disturbances.
We've seen rage and violence directed at American embassies.
Over an awful.
Internet video that we had nothing to do list.
It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless.
And it is totally.
The people of Egypt.
Did not trade that -- of a dictator.
For that tyranny of a mob.
Your thoughts on -- those two clips that that last -- is obviously at the handers.
When the bodies -- come hell yeah I think obviously.
That contradicts the reality of what we know what we all know about this operation which was that it was al-Qaeda.
And it just it took this -- the administration what fourteen days.
During a campaign to admit that that was the case we still have a hard time extracting that admission no.
But the reality is in hindsight that everyone can see the evidence now.
And al-Qaeda operation that frankly is now expanded to.
All the way into well two thirds of -- is now under the control of the AQ I am -- -- the very -- -- they they took out of Libya with a very shoulder fired missiles.
That they took out any inventory and Libya and now -- in Algeria.
Made an attack on -- gas facility so yes we are trying to.
Push the information out to the American public as to who really was behind this attack and I think we've succeeded.
That this had something to do with the video or -- one more clip -- for for context here and then get your reaction from today and and looking back.
Briefed the president did you tell him that or did you tell him which admiral Mullen suggests you knew by -- That this was a well planned and executed terrorist attack.
Which was the presidential.
Well first of all.
I said the very next morning that it wasn't that an attack by heavily armed militants.
The president said that morning it was an act of terror.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.
-- that character.
-- clips the light of the values that we stand for.
Quickly a lot has been made about this sin and Democrats say it's all about semantics what do you -- well -- say that the administration.
Did not want to be charged.
-- -- Losing four.
American brave Americans.
At the hands of an al-Qaeda attack.
And I think they've bent over backwards.
For two weeks during the campaign in order to try to deny it and I think that part of that denial was this very.
Video that they put up front and center as the excuse rather than it in mission.
That al-Qaeda was operating in that area.
That al-Qaeda was carrying out attacks that al-Qaeda had to protect our allies such as the British ambassador attempted to kill him.
And was trying to kill our own personnel and so that was intact I think.
Maybe subliminally the motivation but certainly.
When it goes for two weeks in the face of all the evidence reported internationally in the press.
-- eventually was a position they couldn't sustain but you still see them trying to rationalize.
-- chairman and just be clear if you don't get the answers.
You're gonna subpoena.
Secretary Clinton that is correct that is correct we want the answers thank you very much -- -- think you're good do it.