tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 1, 2014 11:00pm-1:01am EDT
be faster response in the future? >> sir, one of the very first things i would look at would be the capacity and capability that is afforded to the combatant commander that would be immediately at his disposal. that is absolutely necessary, that is necessary given the sheer size of the content itself in the number of government that exists. so many things can happen on that continent in any of those countries. it can be anything from a need from a needle evacuation to comment you know, it use of alongand power, anything that spectrum. first and foremost would be to properly or equipped to the best .xtent possible
we have finite resources. we're doing the best we can. in this instance it seems focused on this particular command. i would say we're asking for them to do more and to ensure we the americans all and we are partnering with the african partners that we have, we certainly need these type of resources and locations proximate to where they would have to be engaged. >> enqueue. any other witness? thank you. any other witness? think you for taking times to appear before us today. we stand adjourned. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014]
nor does he offer specific courses of action not taken. nogoes onto say we have evidence that department of state officials delayed the decision to employ what few resources they have available to respond. facebook, we're asking if you think the benghazi attack has been fully investigated. at join the conversation facebook.com/c-span and let us know your hearts, john mcnair and lindsey graham said about the story. 19 months ago, a terrible thing happened in benghazi. four brave americans were murdered, and the issue has never been not only resolved but as each of the last 19 months has ensued, the issue of how and
under what circumstances this heinous crime was committed continues, and the senator from south carolina and i, the senator from new hampshire and some others have vowed we will never give up on this issue until the truth is known and the people who perpetrated it are brought to justice. we have seen another page turn in this chapter of cover-up and obfuscation by this administration by the belated 19 months later release of the following emails. first one we will not pay much attention to. this is from the benjamin rhodes, who is supposed to be the public relations -- public affairs office for the national security council. in fact, he is obviously the propaganda organ. the purpose, the goals as he states them to underscore that these protests are rooted in an internet video and not a broader
failure of policy. i tell my colleagues that that was not a fact. that was not a fact. there was no evidence that these protests were rooted in an internet video. in fact, the station chief before these talking points were made up sent a message, this is not a spontaneous demonstration. to show that we will be resolute in bringing harm to americans in justice, steadfast to these protests to reinforce the president's strength and steadiness, that's all about the presidential campaign. it's not about trying to find out who perpetrated this heinous crime. it's not about trying to respond to the people who committed these acts. in fact, because of the cover-up and the obfuscation and now 19-month delay, not a single person who was responsible for the murder of these four brave americans has been brought to justice, as the president
promised that they -- that they would. so yesterday, mr. carney says well, that it was -- that this was not -- the release of this information had nothing to do with the attack on benghazi. my friends, i have seen a lot of strange things in my time, but that has to be the most bizarre statement that i have ever observed. this is all about a presidential campaign. this is all about an effort to convince the american people that the president of the united states had everything under control. the next day after the sunday talk show, susan rice said al qaeda has been decimated, false, that the embassy was safe and stable and secure, false, and of course the whole issue of blaming an internet video lasted on and on for a couple of weeks
when it was clear that the evidence did not indicate it. i would yield to my friend from south carolina on this issue, and i will return. mr. graham: okay. thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: this email -- to remind the body of what we're talking about, this email was released as a result of a lawsuit, not voluntarily by the white house. in august of last year, the house of representatives, the committees of jurisdiction subpoenaed all documents related to benghazi, and basically were stiff-armed. senator mccain, ayotte and myself have written enough letters to destroy a small forest to the white house with nothing to show for it virtually. there was a private organization called judicial watch who sued under the freedom of information act and an independent judiciary -- thank god for
that -- ordered this white house to disclose this email just days ago. knowing that the email was going to come out, the white house provided it to the congress a few days ago. what does that tell us? that tells us that they did not want you to know about this email, and they talk about 25,000 documents they provided. it doesn't matter the number of documents you provided to the congress. you could have provided us the benghazi phone book. it's the relevance of the documents and the significance of the documents, and the reason they did not want you, me and anyone else to know about this email, because it's the smoking gun that shows that people at the white house level -- now, these are people that work for the white house, for the administration -- were very intent on shaping the story about benghazi away from what they knew to be the truth. and here's the problem for the
white house. this was seven weeks before an election. president obama had said repeatedly bin laden's dead, al qaeda is on the run, the war is receding, my foreign policy is working. many of us were critical of president obama's foreign policy, particularly in libya because africa daffy fell, -- after qadhafi fell, we did nothing to secure the country. senator mccain and a couple of others and myself, senator rubio, went in 2011 to libya and we said in an op-ed piece if we don't get rid of these militias, libya is going to become a safe haven for terrorists. and you have got to understand this about the benghazi consulate -- it had been previously attacked in april of 2012. the british ambassador had been attacked in june of 2012. the british closed their consulate. the red cross closed their office because they had been attacked, and we have got email
traffic coming from libya to washington at the state department level saying in august -- saying on august 16, we cannot secure the benghazi consulate from a coordinated terrorist attack, and al qaeda flags are flying all over benghazi. what they did not want you to know was the consulate in benghazi was very unsecured, everyone else had left the town and that the numerous requests for security enhancements going back for months had been denied. they didn't want to you know that because it would make the american people mad that the facility was so unsecured in such a dangerous area and people in washington constantly ignored requests for additional security. here's what they wanted you to know. to convey that the united states is doing everything we can to protect our people and facilities abroad. that, to me, is the worst of the whole email because they're
trying to convey to the american people the families of the fallen that these things happen but we did all we could to protect your family and those who serve this nation. nothing could be more untruthful about benghazi than this statement that they did everything they could to secure the facility. and the question as to whether or not this email relates to benghazi was the most offensive thing coming out of the white house in quite a while. no one else died. there was an attack on an embassy in cairo with property damage. what do you think susan rice was going to be asked about on sunday, 16 september? everybody in the nation wanted to know how our ambassador and three other brave americans died. to suggest they weren't trying to prepare her to talk about the deaths of an american -- three americans, four americans is just insulting to our
intelligence, but the document itself tells you it was directed toward explaining benghazi. to show that we will be resolute in bringing people who harm americans to justice, that was part of what they wanted her to convey. no one else was hurt, other than benghazi. so within the document itself, they are talking about reinforcing the view that we will go after those who harmed americans. the only people who were harmed, the four people killed were in benghazi. so that's just a bald-faced lie, that's insulting our intelligence, and it really is disrespectful to those who died in the line of duty to suggest this email they would not give us without a court order had nothing to do with the death of four americans. it had everything to do -- mr. mccain: i might add that all of the emails were supposed to be given to the congress in return for the confirmation of mr. brennan as head of the
c.i.a. they didn't do that. mr. graham: no. the bottom line here is the goals set out in this email are to try to convince the american people seven weeks before an election we had done everything possible to protect our people and facilities, to underscore that the protests were rooted in an internet video and not a broader failure of policy. i'm here to tell you, and i dare anybody to show you where i'm wrong, there is no evidence of a protest outside the compound that led to an eventual attack. i have talked to the man in charge of security at benghazi. the only survivor i have been able to talk to. he told me that when the ambassador went to bed shortly after 9:00, there was nobody outside the compound that would not have let him go to bed if there would have been protesters and they would have reported up to the chain of command a protest. mr. mccain: and the next day, the station chief sent a message
there was not, slash, not a spontaneous demonstration. mr. graham: that was the 15th, so i will get to that in a second. so this is in real time. people are reporting a coordinated terrorist attack. there was no protest. the video had nothing to do with this because there were no protests. why was this? they are far less culpable in the eyes of the american people and myself if, in fact, this was caused by a video we had nothing to do with, a protest that you could not see coming. the truth of the matter is this was a coordinated terrorist attack that you could see coming for months, and it was a result of a broader failure of policy. why did they not want to admit that. they are seven weeks out. it undercuts everything they were trying to tell the american people about their foreign policy. this is the smoking gun that shows they were consciously trying to manipulate the
evidence to steer the story away from a coordinated terrorist attack of the security into the land of the internet video, causing a protest. that, to me, is unacceptable and is clear as the sun rises in the east for those who care. now i will go to this and turn it back to senator mccain. president obama after this attack said the following -- "but everything that -- every piece of information we get, as we got it, we laid it out for the american people." i am here to tell you that that statement has not borne scrutiny, that this administration did not live up to this statement. here's another statement. from jay carney. "i can tell you that the
president believes that ambassador rice has done an excellent job as the united states ambassador to the united nations, and i believe that -- and i know that he believes that everyone here working for him has been transparent in the way that we've tried to answer questions about what happened in benghazi if you were trying to be transparent about what was happening in benghazi, why would you fail to provide the relevant information, the information that was provided was based on the available assessment at the time? i'm here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, they have not provided the relevant information. why? because the relevant information crumbles the story susan rice told on 16 september, crumbles the story of the president himself when weeks later he talked about a protest caused by video that never happened. the reason they haven't shared this with us is because it
exposes the lie of benghazi. and i will end with this thought. you would not know today about an e-mail on 14 september setting goals for susan rice to meet on 16 september to change the whole narrative if it were not for an independent judiciary and a private organization. this white house has stiffed the congress. mostly the media has been awol. but the reason we haven't stopped is because we've met the families. to any member of the congress who thinks benghazi is a republican conspiracy designed to help lindsey graham or anyone else get elected, why don't you go to the family members and explain to them what happened? why don't you tell the family members that your government -- the government was upfront and
honest and see if they will believe you. this e-mail that came from a court requiring the white house to disclose it is devastating. it's devastating because it shows that three days after the attack, their goal was not to inform the american people of what happened but to shape the story to help the president get reelected. and i hope and pray that matters to the american people, and i believe it does. and i hope and pray that our friends on the democratic side will start taking a little bit of interest, because i can tell you this about senator mccain and myself. when president bush's policies in iraq were crumbling, we did not have enough troops and john mccain, to his credit, said that publicly and asked for the resignation of president bush's secretary of defense because of failed policy.
when we discovered the abuses at guantanamo bay and abu ghraib when it came to detainee policy, both of us stood up and said the system failed. don't believe it when they tell you this was a few bad apples. why did we do that? i've been a military lawyer for 31 years. it means a lot to me to adhere to the conventions we've signed up to. senator mccain, if there was ever an american hero in the senate, it's him, who's lived through a country that practices torture and he did not want us to go down that road. when we did those things, we were great americans holding the system accountable and doing the country a service. now all of a sudden we're just party hacks. i'm here to tell you, what drove us then drives us now. when you ask people to serve in faraway places with strange sounding names and to go out on the tip of the sphere, you owe it to help them if you can, give them the best ability to survive
and if something bad happens, you owe their families the truth. just as in iraq, they tried to shape the story in a fashion that did not bear scrutiny. it wasn't a few dead-enders. it was system failure that led to the collapse of iraq. and thank god we changed tactics and we overcame our problems. this benghazi story is about a foreign policy choice called the lightfoot print that caught up with this administration. it's about an administration that said no to additional security requests because they didn't want to be like bush. it was a story about an administration too stubborn to react to facts on the ground, that kept a consulate open when everybody else closed theirs, unsecured, believing that
ignoring the problem would solve the problem. we have now found evidence of their willingness, desire to change the narrative from a coordinated terrorist attack of an unsecured facility to something they really couldn't control and they did the best they could seven weeks before an election. and all i can say, if the shoe were on the other 23509 and this had been the bush administration, it would be front-page news everywhere and our colleagues on the other side would be up screaming. and it is sad to me that it hasn't been news everywhere and it's sad to me that my democratic colleagues in the house in particular have disdain for trying to find out what happened in benghazi. mr. mccain: and the fact is, i would say to my friend, the time has now come for a select committee.
the time has now come because these talking points raise more questions than answers. it is time for a bipartisan, bicameral select committee to investigate the entire benghazi fiasco and tragedy and it needs to be done soon. the american people and the families of those brave ones who sacrificed their lives deserve nothing less. my -- my friend, lindsey graham, just mentioned -- senator graham mentioned that -- about the media. i'd like to say thanks. i'd like to say thanks to fox news. i'd like to say thanks to some in cbs. i'd like to say thanks to charles krauthammer and the handful of people who kept this alive when the -- quote -- "mainstream media" not only wanted to bury it but subjected it, of course, as senator graham just mentioned, he and i to
ridicule. i want to go back for a stoked this e-mail -- i want to go back for a second to this e-mail. in return -- in response to questions yesterday by mr. carney, the white house press spokesperson, if you look at this e-mail and then look at what mr. carney said, it is an absolute falsehood. it's a total departure from reality. how does the president's spokesperson tell the american people something that is patently false? the president's spokesperson, in regards to this e-mail, that says that to show the internet and this protest rooted in an internet video, not a broader failure of policy. what was he talking about? do you know what he's saying? he said the rhodes e-mail is explicitly not about benghazi. well, then what was it about? then he goes on to say, the fact of the matter is, there were protests in the region. the talking points cited protests at that facility. they didn't. talking points did not cite
protests at that facility; e.i., been gaz each. the connections between protests and video and the video turned out not to be the case. it turned out not to be the case because it was never the case and no one ever believed it. tut was aboubut it was based on the best information that they had. he had no information that there was no demonstration sparked by a video. that was manufactured somewhere. and we -- the american people and we need to know where those talking points that susan rice gave. if you look at that document, he goes on to say, that document that we're talking about today was about the overall environment in the muslim world. how cou could he say that and look at that email here, talking about events in the muslim world? he goes on to say talking about susan rice, she relied on her for her answers on benghazi on the document prepared by the c.i.a. as did members of
congress. mr. morell has stated the deputy head of the c.i.a. at that time, that he was astonished to hear that there was reference made on all five sunday morning shows that there was a hateful video involved. so mr. carney is -- he is saying things that are absolutely false. the american people deserve better than that from the president's spokesperson whom he should they rely on for accurate information. when the bodies came home and it was a moving event, i was there, the -- then-secretary of state told members of the family and have told me that she said we will get these people who were responsible for the hateful video. that was a number of days later when it was absolutely proven to anyone's satisfaction there was no hateful video.
and, of course, we still don't know what the final version of the talking points that susan rice used on all morning talk shows, who was the final arbiter of it. we know now that mr. rhodes played a very key role in that. and we need to know who gave her those talking points because they are patently false. and if someone gave her those talking points, then why in the world did that person manufacture out of whole cloth information that were told to the american people? mr. president, there's a lot of points here, we get into some of the details, but the fact is that this is a cover-up of a situation which was politically motivated in order to further the presidential ambitions of
the president of the united states. that's what this is all about. and that's why comments and instructions were given in this email because the narrative was the tide of war is receding, osama bin laden's dead, secretary rice said at the time, susan rice said at the time, al qaeda is decimated, and the ambassador was safe and secure. none of those facts were true. but most importantly, we have five americans who were killed. it's very clear that that should not have happened, would not have happened if proper actions had been taken and most importantly now or as importantly now is the fact that for the last 19 months this white house has been engaged in a cover-up. it calls for a select committee to examine all of the facts and
as always happens in these kinds of scandals, the cover-up is equally or sometimes worse than the actual fact -- the action itself, and the american people deserve to know the truth. i yield the floor. harf said the notion they cannot do everything they could to protect our people the night of the time is disgusting. he can see the entire briefing at c-span.org. here's a little bit of what she said. >> the military could have done more for they had not been asked to. and that if the state department had been more forceful or more interested in having -- in getting a military response, it
could have, and it might have made a difference in what happened. can you respond to that? >> well, i'll respond in a couple ways. first, using the words of the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, who i think is a couple levels above the gentleman that is now retired who testified today, when martin dempsey told congress last year, "there simply was not enough time, given the speed of the attacks, for armed u.s. military assets to have made a difference." the top military officer in our country, i think, probably has a good sense for where our assets are. i think there's this false premise out there that some have used for political purposes there's a notion that anywhere in the world, military assets should be less than an hour away. our military is the best in the world and we're great, but that just isn't how the world works. and the notion that we at the state department didn't do everything we could do to protect our people that night is just disgusting, quite frankly.
and i would note one more point, and then i'm sure you have follow-ups, that there were multiple assets deployed to benghazi that night, including a six-man annex team, a predator uav, a seven-person security team from tripoli, and a marine fast platoon as well. so the notion that the military assets that were available were not deployed also isn't borne out by the facts. >> but -- >> well, couldn't it have been -- couldn't the state department have made an earlier and more forceful or more urgent request? >> earlier? what are you talking about, earlier? >> very early on, when it became clear that the >> that day? >> yes. in which case, general dempsey, when he says that they wouldn't have -- that had they been able to get there, that it wouldn't have made any difference -- but had there been a request made just as the attack began, would that still be the case? is that your understanding? >> i am absolutely deferring to not just general dempsey, but also the secretary of defense at the time, leon panetta, and others who have said that from the beginning of this attack -- a very fast-moving attack, as we've said, that we had no advanced warning of -- we were in communication with folks back here, with folks at dod, with other folks about how to
respond. there were assets moved, but again, there are not military assets just everywhere around the world -- >> i understand that. >> even in that timeframe that you're talking about, matt -- that would have made a difference. that's right. >> right, but when general -- well, that's what general dempsey said. >> mm-hmm. >> what the retired general said this morning was that -- >> retired brigadier general. >> brigadier -- well, a brigadier general is still a general, isn't he? >> mm-hmm, yes. >> retired or -- >> different than general dempsey. >> well, yeah. >> mm-hmm. >> but anyway -- but he said that you don't know if it could have made a difference. it might have made a difference. >> again, i will take the opinion of the nation's top military official, general dempsey, who has spoken very clearly -- again, "there was simply not enough time for armed u.s. military assets to have made a difference." >> well, i understand --
>> i appreciate this gentleman's point of view and his opinion -- the gentleman that was in stuttgart at the time. >> right. >> but again, the opinion of the military by its leader -- >> wait a minute. just let me -- >> is that it would not have made a difference. well, can you say the same about general dempsey? >> our nation's top military commander? >> well, yeah. i mean, was he following it also, in the same kind of real time and -- >> he and leon panetta have testified at length about what they were doing and how they were following it. they have spoken about this at length. they were very engaged, yes. >> can i try some? >> mm-hmm. >> the implication and what the, i think the committee was trying to bear out and what this retired brigadier general said was that the state department was at fault -- forget about the result, whether there would have been enough time -- but that the state department had not asked for specific help. >> well, again, i just noted all of these different assets that were deployed to benghazi that night in a coordination process that played out on the ground. so i'm not sure what they're
referring to, and i'm not sure exactly why they chose to hold another hearing looking at this when they could spend their time focusing on other things. >> not only that -- is that the kind of chain -- i mean, what is the chain of how the -- >> the chain of command? >> how does that work? i mean, does the secretary of state call up stuttgart and say "deploy some assets" or does she -- didn't secretary clinton speak with secretary panetta that night and general dempsey? >> there was a lot of coordination between the state department and the defense department about response to this. and, of course, there's a military chain of command about how assets get deployed and there are military decisions made about which assets make sense and can help to be deployed. believe me, again, what you -- the committee was getting at was a notion that we at the state department did not do everything we could, including coordinating with our military colleagues about a possible response. that notion is just not true. it has been repeatedly batted down by the senate select
committee on intelligence, by other committees, bipartisan committees, who have held multiple hearings, including the house armed services committee. so while i appreciate this committee's attempt to continue talking about this issue, really this notion that they were pushing today has been repeatedly proven false. >> well, but it's not an attempt to keep talking about it. it is -- they are still talking about it, and i think the reason -- >> instead of focusing on how to improve embassy security and how to do things better in the future and how to work with libya to improve their capabilities. >> but this retired brigadier general who testified this morning has not spoken to this before before that committee. he has a viewpoint, which you just said you disagree with. >> he has an opinion. he does. >> but surely they should be allowed to talk him if they want. >> i'm not saying they shouldn't be allowed to. what i'm saying is -- >> well, i thought you were denigrating the whole -- i thought you were saying that the committee is wasting its time and it has better things to do. >> i would never use term. look, nobody wants to get to the bottom of what happened at benghazi more than the people at the department of state. let me be clear about that.
>> right. >> my point has always been, look, we can talk about how to continue implementing the arb, how to make our security better. we can hold hearings on that, and we should, and we should talk about it. but constantly playing politics with this and trying to find somewhere something that they could use for political purposes isn't the way to address benghazi -- >> well i -- >> and is exactly what they were doing today in this committee. >> all right. well, i appreciate that you -- >> and there's a difference. >> i appreciate that you want to look forward, but -- >> and look at what happened and how we can do better based on that. >> surely congress has the right to look backward -- >> absolutely. >> and the whole idea of this -- >> absolutely.
>> i mean, it's the house -- >> and congress -- wait. >> and congress -- wait. congress has looked backward. hold on, one second. >> well, i know. that's what you're -- >> congress has looked backwards with -- >> you're accusing them of looking -- >> with nine hearings. we've given 46 briefings. >> right. >> they have looked backwards. >> well, okay. well -- but marie, the problem with that is that they -- you say that they've heard everything there is to hear, and yet, then this new email surfaces, which -- >> which isn't an email about benghazi, matt. >> well, all right. >> it's just not about benghazi. >> taking -- >> well, it -- you did say that it did have one question about benghazi. >> it mentions a question, yes. this is not about what happened that night in benghazi.
>> well, i mean, just, respectfully -- >> mm-hmm. >> this was a preparation for what she was going to do when she went on the talk shows. >> this was an email that had general top lines that if she needed to draw on them, she could. as we've all talked ad nauseam about, there was a separate process -- >> well, clearly, you knew that >> for over 30 years, c-span brings public affairs of friend from washington, putting you in the hearing. in offering complete gavel-to-gavel coverage of the u.s. house. all as a public service. televisionted by the tv company. what just than hd, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. moments, the white house ceremony honoring the teacher of the year. oversight committee
that killed four americans. fromabout attacks republican senators john mccain and lindsey graham. >> a couple of live event to tell you about tomorrow. check hagel to talk about the future nato. later, she speaks at the u.s. chamber of commerce about u.s. german relations and the significance of the transatlantic trade and investment partnership. >> president obama on thursday under the teacher of the year ending was teacher from maryland. this is 15 minutes.
>> thank you. well, welcome to the white house. let me start off by saying thank you to a leader of unbelievable passion and expertise and dedication; somebody who every single day wakes up and thinks about three things -- either his family, basketball or how to give child a world-class education -- our secretary of education, arne duncan. i also want to thank our members of congress who are here today. i am thrilled to have them here and always encourage all members of congress to focus on education and teachers. and i am thrilled to be welcoming all our state and national teachers of the year. so give them a big round of applause. good job. this is a phenomenal group -- in addition to being very good-looking. the best of the best. and they'd be the first to say that they're only here because they're surrounded by outstanding teachers who give all to their students every single day. today is a chance to thank not just the teachers on this stage but teachers all across the
country. we really can't say enough about how important their role is in making sure that america succeeds. so thank you for what you're giving our children and what you're giving our nation. now, it's been a while since i was in school, but i still remember all the wonderful teachers who made me who i am, who opened the world up to me, who made me feel that maybe i had something to offer, and
maybe saw things in me before i saw them in myself. we all had teachers like that. talk to anybody who's succeeded in business, or written a play, or invented an app, or broken an athletic record, and they'll tell you about a teacher or a coach who inspired them and who challenged them, and taught them values, and encouraged them to be curious and ask questions, and explore new realms and new ideas. everybody has got somebody like that in their lives. that's what great teachers do. they set us on a better path. and they do it even though we ask so much of them. teachers don't get an off day -- even when they're exhausted, even when you're up all night with your own kid, even if you've got bills or something personal on your mind.
once you're in front of that class, you've got eager minds depending on you. and what a lot of people may not realize is how emotionally taxing teaching can be, because great teachers really care about their students. you carry their struggles with you well after the school day ends. you worry about them. you're often the ones they go to with their troubles and their fears. and sometimes, you can see that they've got something on their minds even if they don't talk to you about it. sometimes they even reach back after they've gone off to college and may need a little advice. and it's that all-encompassing commitment -- that love that you feel for your students -- that makes so many teachers go the extra mile. it's why many of you dip into your own pockets to pay for
classroom supplies. it's why you spend your nights and weekends thinking about new ways to make your lessons come alive, and why you work hard to build relationships with your students' families -- because you want to make sure they all have the support that they need outside of the classroom, as well as in it. so being a teacher is a 24/7 job. and yet, many say there's nothing in the world they'd rather do. and that's the kind of commitment that the guests we have up on this stage today exhibit every day. we've got teachers here from just a few miles away. we've also got teachers who came from the mariana islands. they teach everything from biology to music to special education. what connects them is how they challenge their kids to reach their full potential; the creativity and passion that they bring to their work, instead of just going through the motions or teaching to the test. what separates them is the lasting impact that they have on
their students' lives. and that is the story of today's primary honoree, our national teacher of the year for 2014, mr. sean mccomb. [applause] now, i wish i could say this is the biggest thing that happened to sean this year, but that little bundle right there is sean's. so we clearly are ranked second or third in terms of big stuff happening in sean's life. but when sean was a high school student, he dealt with some pretty serious problems at home and spent his days feeling apathetic and disengaged. and then he entered mr. schurtz's english class. and mr. schurtz was one of those teachers who changes everything. he made sean want to work hard. when sean's mom passed away, mr.
schurtz gave sean the strength to deliver her eulogy. when sean went to college, it was, as he put it, through the force of mr. schurtz's will. so sean himself saw the impact that a teacher could have in a child's life. and it was mr. schurtz's example that led sean to become an english teacher himself. today, at patapsco high school and center for the arts in baltimore, sean works with kids in a college-readiness program called advancement via individual determination, or avid. and it's aimed at the kind of student sean was in high school -- students who have the ability to do the work but need that extra push to reach their full potential. among the last two graduating classes in the avid program, 98 percent were admitted to a four-year college. and they earned more merit scholarship money than the rest of the graduating class combined. it's a tribute to sean that one of his students asked him, "what
do you think about me becoming a teacher? " sean asked him what subject he'd want to teach, and his student said, "it doesn't matter. i just want to have as much fun as you do every day." and sean tries to instill in his students a sense of respect and obligation to each other. as one of his students said, "i feel like i'm not learning on my own here; i learn from everyone." and i think it speaks volumes about the kind of example sean sets for his students that, as part of his application for this award, the parents of one of his students wrote a letter on his behalf. and they wrote, "[our daughter] had the typical teenage drama in school that at times really got her depressed about school and life in general. we reached out to sean for help with getting her back on track. no matter his schedule load, if he knew one of his students was in need, whether [for] a shoulder to cry on or a calming word of encouragement, he would
be there to help." and there's an image from sean's application essay that captures what he and all the teachers here are trying to accomplish. every child has an invisible chalkboard attached to their hearts and minds that they carry with them through their lives. some people they meet write messages of love and support. some leave messages of negativity and doubt. it's a teacher's job to erase the negative messages and fill those boards with caring words, and inspire confidence and strengthen values. now, some of today's students might not even know what a chalkboard is anymore but they do know that what a teacher gives them stays with them for a lifetime, because teachers matter. when michelle and i talk to students, we often tell them education is a two-way street. it's our job to provide students with great schools and great teachers, and it's their job to do their homework and work hard and do their best. the people you elect have to make sure that teachers and school districts have the resources they need to do their jobs well. and investing in education has
been a top priority of mine since the day i took office. and it falls on all of us to make sure that we're encouraging our kids and reading to them, and teaching them healthy, successful habits that set them on a path to college and a career, and a lifetime of citizenship. teachers who work hard to inspire their kids every day, they too deserve our support, because these are our kids that we're grooming for all the challenges that they're going to face throughout the next generation. so i could not be prouder of sean and all the teachers who are here today. sean, i'm pretty sure mr. schurtz would be proud of you, too. and to all the teachers who are out there, and the millions who are working hard in classrooms all across our nation, we want
to thank you as well. you're doing the lord's work. and with that, i'm going to present sean with his apple. thank you, and god bless you. god bless america. [applause] >> that is a good-looking apple. >> thank you. ongoingu for your commitment to education. for efforts to maintain the hope of opportunity for all children and for having this group of representatives to the white house. it is a glitch in honor for us, our families and the families we search received this. i am blessed to be among the 50 passionate and dedicated educators before you. they take deep cry and making a
difference for children. i am a firm believer that we are a product of those who surround us in life. those who make as the people we are today. thank you so very much. teacher because i had incredible teachers who are able to shine a light of hope and possibility into a dark time. teaching is my calling to do that for others. an opportunity to spend my career living purposefully. helping children facility promise of their life. teaching is an opportunity to band together with others who deny the assumption that -- the demographics determine destiny. it comes with challenge and difficulties and with the priceless rewards including instilling hopes and children in singles come to fruition. i am not here alone. my students are with me here
today. they have become a part of who i am. oft matters is the quality what you have to say, not how long you speak. it is not how much you can see but that you always see the best in every situation. you stronger. when you're able to put them down, that strength can lift up others. our lives are not determined by our past but by arab resident choices and faith in our future. i hope to pass some of these lessons onto my newborn son. trustede relying on our public schools for his education. studentsilled with farm level of learning. they cultivate individual strengths and inspire students to be their best. i want the school that he will attend to deal with schools across this country.
we know changes hard in disney best interest of children. it must be taken judiciously. value the complexity of the work and i was civil and critical conversation that respect the knowledge of our children. the people who invested in each of us and here we stand. bless the american educators and god bless us all. winky. -- thank you. [applause]
the stories that have been told are worth ringing from the screen to the printed page. what stories are you telling here? guest: there is a step in breath but have not been in previous books. we have five sections in the book beginning with stories. we have american history. have media and society, money and politics in post 9-11 america. the book formed its and shape itself. the books themselves and stories are kind of a reflection of the times and that in breath of book notes and to a day over the years. lex what is the format of the book and how did it come together? > guest: you have one guest for one hour and you go through an
in-depth discussion and on whether it is up public policy issue or what have you. what we did is we took out the questions. they are there to facilitate answers. they fade away at a certain point. the answers are what matters. a minimal amount of editing we have allowed the guest in their own words to articulate their own story or viewpoint. whatever the issue or story is and let it speak for itself. what the viewer will get is basically the answers and and guest in their own words. host: what are some of your favorite stories? guest: it was a path of discovery for me and the team working on this. so many fascinating stories. just to mention one in particular, crystal right, the editor and publisher of
wasrvativeblackchick.com talking about her politics and upbringing in virginia and how she was influenced by her parents. one thing we all know about this from american history is the isa parks moment where she forced to give up her seat and then you have history unfolding before you in the south. she said her mother said to her, before that happened i had my own rosa parks moment. she said what do you mean? she said i got on the bus in richmond and went to the back of and sat down and an older white gentleman got on the bus and asked me to give up my seat and she said what he wants me to do? i am rad at the back of the bus. what you have wrapped up in that moment was personal history, politics of public private policy. ofs is an extension
everything we do here. a candid moment in an extended interview and revealed something about the guest that was fascinating and something about the country and the country's history. where can people learn more about the book and watch the interviews that have taken place over the years? guest: you can go to all the interviews at www.c-span.org /sundayat8 you can click on any of the toes or images and be able watch the transcript. watch clips. you can watch those and read about the authors themselves. if they have websites you can look at that. quite a lot of information there. i think people will find it useful and interesting. 8:00.sunday at
people can buy it now. what happens to the loyalties. they go to the educational foundation here at c-span. there are no profits. this was a collaborative effort. hats.ar a lot of there were a lot of people involved in the process from people who make the program-two people who edited the interviews and work with brian to make it all come together. all of the proceeds go back into the continuation of the work that c-span does, and that is basically the educational foundation. emmanuel touhey >> in a few moments, the house oversight hearing on the attack in bank ozzie, libya that killed four americans.
in three hours, more about the white house response to the libya attacks from republican senators john mccain and lindsey graham. the committee on government ordered oversight will continue. successes and failures of u.s. intervention in libya. missionsight committee statement is that we exist to secure two principles.
first, americans have a right to know that the money washington takes from them is well spent. second, americans deserve an efficient, effective government that works for them. our duty on the committee is to protect these rights. our responsibility is to hold government accountable to taxpayers. work tirelessly in partnership with citizen watchdogs to deliver the facts to the american people and bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy. this is our mission. , the oversight committee convenes a fourth hearing related to the security before,n in libya during, and after the september 11 terrorist attack in benghazi which claimed the lives of four americans. has previously
brought forward important witnesses who offered new, enlightening testimony on security failures that forced the administration to walk back false claims about the nature of the terrorist attack. testimony of previous witnesses also identified key questions in the interagency process that only this committee has the jurisdiction and the charge to investigate. committee'sf the effort in the investigation has focused on the department of state, we have recently conducted several joint interviews of relevant military personnel with the house armed services committee. we had requested that these interviews be conducted as .nclassified the pentagon leadership insisted that they occur at the
inexplicable and unreasonable level of top-secret. some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have called for an end to this investigation. these calls are clearly premature. they only raised other concerns about the political agenda to stop an important investigation before it is completed gathering ,acts about this interagency obama administration debacle. in particular, the committee seeks insight into communications and directions that float between the state department, the department of defense and yes, the white house. that we fullyl understand areas of responsibility before, during, and after the attacks. it is my hope that today's hearing will help us add to our
investigations expanding body of knowledge. i am pleased that we will be proceeding on an entirely unclassified basis. the americanuse people, more than anyone else, have the absolute right to know why four men are dead in an attack that could have been prevented. distinguished a panel of witnesses before us that will bring expertise to us about the current situation in libya. witnesses, robert lovell brings with him firsthand knowledge of u.s. military , as he servedya at u.s./african command. u.s./african command is africom. thised effor
is the organization that had responsibility not just for libya but for the entire continent of africa. this unit's mission included and the libyan revolution the september 11 2012 terrorist attack on a diplomatic compound in benghazi. at the u.s. african command, general lovell served as the deputy director for service and and asge development commanding general of joint task odys on the seat guard -- sey guard. we appreciate all of our witnesses taking time to testify and enlighten the public about the situation in libya and the effects of u.s. decisions.
to pursuing the relevant information about the military's involvement in libya, we continue to receive documents from the state department. alone, we haveh received over 3200 new documents , many of which have never been outside of by anyone the administration. all of which should've been turned over more than one year and a half ago when the committee launched its investigation. some of these documents, which were brought to light only days ago through a four-year request by an organization known as judicial watch, show a direct , the house role outside documents from judicial watch is
-- which were pursuant to our request more than a year and a half ago, show a direct white house role outside of talking points prepared by the intelligence community. the white house produced the talking points that ambassador rice use, not the intelligence community. in pushing the false narrative that a youtube video is responsible for the deaths of four brave americans. it is disturbing and perhaps criminal that these documents were hidden by the above him -- by the obama administration. particularly after secretary kerry pledged cooperation, and the president himself told the american people in november of "every bit of information we have on benghazi has been provided."
has been toee's job get to the facts and the truth. i, for one, will continue to chip away at this until we get the whole truth. the american people -- the americans who lost their lives at benghazi, those who were wounded, and the american people deserve nothing less. is critical for what our witnesses will give us, and i welcome you and thank you for being here. it comes in a week in which the american people have learned that you cannot believe the white house says, you cannot believe with the spokespeople say, and you cannot believe what the president says, and the facts are coming out that in fact this administration has knowingly withheld documents pursuant to congressional
subpoenas in violation of any reasonable transparency or historic precedent, at least since richard nexen. ixon. at the time, republicans and democrats alike strongly supported helping armed rebels in their efforts to overthrow qaddafi. in april 2011, senator john mccain traveled to libya and met with the rebels after which he proclaimed, "they are my heroes ." during a national title -- television appearance, senator mccain warned that allowing qaddafi to remain in power would
be far more dangerous to united states than the alternative. , "this notion that we should fear what comes after qaddafi ignores that if he stays in power, it is than a direct threat to our national security." a television appearance on april 20 4, 2011, senator lindsey graham agreed that taking the fight directly to qaddafi would protect our national security. "you cannot protect our vital national security interest if qaddafi stays." he also stated, "the focus should now be to cut the head off." as the revolution grew stronger, gaddafi embarked on a crackdown.
march 17, 2011, he threatened his own people. president obama explained to the world why the united states was trying to remove gaddafi. he said "the world watches events unfold in libya with hope and alarm. last month, protesters demanded universal rights. in a government that responds to them. they were met with an eye and. -- with an iron fist. qaddafi chose the path of brutal suppression. innocent civilians were beaten, imprisoned, and in some cases killed." senator mccain supported obama's
decision. he said "if he had not acted, history would have remembered qadhafi in the same breath as former yugoslavia. a source of international shame." in an op-ed in april 2011, senator mccain wrote this, "the president was right -- gaddafi finally met his ugly demise. he was an extremely dangerous tyrant. during the 1980's he supported international terrorism during the 1980's, including a bombing which claimed the lives of 270 innocent civilians.
he also reportedly pursued chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons. after gaddafi was killed, the new libyan government reportedly uncovered two tons of chemical weapons gaddafi had kept hidden from the world, yet armed and ready to use. as we all know, a dedicated and patriotic special envoy named christopher stevens arrived in benghazi to work with the libyan people on their transition to democracy. he had forged deep connections with the libyan people during his career. he understood the challenges caused by 40 years of oppression. ambassador stephens believed in the promise of a new future for this country. today, libya is at a crossroads. open a newspaper and you will read about violence, weapons in a central government that has not yet consolidated its control over the country.
on the other hand, the libyan people continue to look with the west with to the respect and hope. they aspire to work with united states to build a state-controlled democratic country. if we want them to succeed, we must find a way to reengage the world and ourselves. this was the bipartisan goal shared by republicans by lindsey and johnindsey graham mccain who called on the united states "to build a partnership with a democratic and pro-american libya that contributes to the expansion of security, prosperity, and freedom of the region at a time
of revolutionary change. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses about how we assist people of libya. >> i thank the gentlemen. all members may have seven days in which to submit opening statements for the record and any quotes of senator lindsey graham or john mccain. for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? >> one is from the harvard kennedy school belford center for science and international affairs, entitled, "lessons from libya, how not to intervene." another is an associated press article entitled "libya's guns." "libya, transforming a country into a failed state." the other is a state department document partially referenced by
congressman -- the subject line is "libya update." the date is september 12 at 12:46 p.m. there is a paragraph pertinent to our discussion today. it is referencing the libya n ambassador. when he said his government expects the former qaddafi regime elements carried out attacks, i told him the groups carried out the attacks is affiliated with islamic extremists. this coming from the state department, cheryl mills, secretary clinton's chief of staff. i would like to enter this into the record. >> what was the date and time? >> september 12, 2012, hours after the attack. it is what the state department told the libyan government what was happening. "i told the libyan ambassador
that the group attacks are affiliated with islamic extremists. those were the facts as the state department knew them. >> without objection, so ordered. copies will be distributed. we now welcome our guest and witnesses. brig. general robert lovell is the former deputy director for intelligence and knowledge development director at the united states after command. and the former deputy command general of the joint task force. and a research fellow at the hoover institution. mr. david ross, phd, is a senior fellow at the foundation for defense of democracies. mr. frederick is a senior
associate for middle east program at the carnegie endowment for international peace. your title is impressive but they're all doctorates. pursuant to the rules, if all witnesses could please rise and raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? thank you and please be seated. all witnesses answered in the affirmative. in order to allow sufficient time for questions, i would ask each witness summarize their opening statements, which will be placed in the record in their entirety, as well as other extraneous material. please try to stay close to the five minutes. as my predecessor often said, green means go everywhere and yellow means hurry up through the intercession and read means
-- and red means stop. please observe that on the countdown clocks. with that, general, you are recognized. general -- >> thank you -- >> for all the witnesses, pull your mic's close to you because -- they are fairly insensitive. >> thank you. i retired this past year after 33 plus years of service. my service began in 1979 upon enlistment of the united states air force. it has been my honor and privilege to serve as an officer since earning my commission in 1985. i served with many brave and distinguished women.
i thank them for their service and example. my time in service was filled with great and humbling opportunities. i am thankful for these as well. i have been shaped by professional education, training, and it's.'s. these personal influences have informed my thoughts on the subject. to present a sense of context, here's an outline. the chairman has already covered some, but i -- i would like to add i twice served in africa command, first as a colonel and representative to command and next as a general officer as the deputy director of intelligence and knowledge development division. i served as an officer for the operation center. during the dawn. and operation unified protector. in addition, i also served as the senior military liaison to the national science foundation. that is relevant since the science foundation was also an interagency partner. that greatly influenced my views on how interagency partnership works.
my three topics are submitted in my opening statement. the first is the nature of the command. second is the military operations with regard to libya. it discusses strategy, supporting policy, and policy in a highly dynamic and limiting -- it can be highly dynamic and limit strategy when it is challenged to achieve a desired result. benghazi in 2012, this is the most serious. there are many sayings in the military. one that rings most true is you fight the way you train. in benghazi, we did. many with firsthand knowledge recounted the heroism displayed that night. they fought the way they trained. that is in the record. outside of libya, there were discussions that churned on about what we should do. these elements also fought the way they were trained, specifically, the predisposition to enter agency influence had the military structure and spirit of government support waiting for a request for assistance.
there are accounts of time, and capability, and discussions of the question, could we have gotten there and made a difference. while the discussion is not, could or could not of time space and capability, the point is we should have tried. as another saying goes, always move to the sound of the guns. we did not know how long this would last when we became aware of this, nor do we completely understand what we had in front of us, be it a kidnapping, rescue, recovery, hostile engagement, or any and all above. what we did know early on was that this was a hostile action. it was no demonstration gone terribly awry. to the point of what happened, the facts lead to the conclusion of a terrorist attack. they were focused on attribution. the attacks became attributable
very soon after the event. thank you for the invitation to appear before the committee. i take this matter very seriously. i am prepared to take your questions. >> thank you, general. >> the starting point for a conversation about libya is that this is a failing state. security is eroding and governance is ebbing. as a result of those things, libya is not able to capitalize on its one big advantage, the oil revenue on which its economy is predominantly based. unless we are uninterested in the outcome, both for libyan themselves and from the threats that are emanating to us from them, american policy should actually work to strengthen security in libya and strengthen governance in libya, so that the economy can help buffer the
transition period of a fragile, democratizing government. our policies are not doing that. our policies are principally interested in limiting our involvement and, as a result, the problems inherent in all transition societies, the societies that have lived 40 years under a repressive government, and had dysfunctional economies, they need structure assistance and help to the united states knows how to do that in terms of security sector reform, in terms of governance, and yet, we helped overthrow a government without helping establish security or governance. we have largely ignored the growing restlessness of the militia in libya, and of the migration of jihadists to libya,
where jihadists are now in possession of a libyan government military base less than 20 miles from the capital. in overtaking the base, they also got ready valuable american military equipment, which we will be seeing in syria, libya, and even in our own country, unless we really help manage the problem of jihadist him in libya m in libya and hi elsewhere. building government capacity is the key to doing that. we cannot expect the libyan government is going to be able to disarm militia or to control the spread of jihadism in their territory. that will be the result of political to go see a shin it cannot lead clinical negotiation. militia will not disarm until they have a high level of confidence that the reason for the political vacuum that exists in libya -- the libyans are having a messy and slow, one step forward and one step back conversation about governance in their country. but they deserve an awful lot
more help from us and from nongovernmental institutions the united states supports. instead, we have largely been silent on an election that was marred by violence and enrich yesterday's parliamentary vote in tripoli was prevented from coming to conclusion by storming out of the parliament by armed men. as was said, we need to do all that is necessary to help the libyan government transition and we are not. the last thing i would say is that if american policies will not help the fragile government transition to establish security and governance, that we actually ought to encourage other states to do so, states in the region
that constituate it, politically amongst its neighbors, or states from outside the country. predominantly, the administration's policies have criticized the motives and actions of others instead of encouraging them to avoid our own policies. >> thank you. it is an honor to appear before you to discuss successes and failures of the nato intervention in libya. it seems two days ago that we were seeing rare good news out of libya. oil experts were about to resume after rebels holding it had come to an agreement with the government. on another optimistic note, the parliament had reconvened despite the new prime minister. the previous prime minister had resigned after only six days after his family was attacked. the prime minister before him was kidnapped by rebels. the prime minister vote did not go well.
gunmen stormed the parliamentary building and forced lawmakers to abandon plans. this is libya today. each step forward for this is another step or two back, usually driven by security problems. the central government cannot execute basic sovereign functions in its own capital building. gunmen shut down justice and foreign affairs for two weeks due to a political dispute. outside countries are questioning whether it is safe to even keep diplomats in libya. jordan's ambassador was kidnapped last month. two diplomats are being held by jihadist. there have been many other attacks on embassies and staff. i do not have to remind anyone of what happened to ambassador stevens. i have submitted testimony explaining at length why i conclude the cost of nato's -- nato responded with extraordinary speed to the
situation and saved the lives gaddafi would have taken. this was accomplished with no allied casualties and only a 1.9 -- a $1.1 billion cost. the question remains -- was going to war in libya the right choice? i would suggest the strategy of intervention would -- should be called into question. several argue the arab spring had stalled at the time and intervening could help breathe the revolutionary events. the desire to see dictators fall is noble but noble intentions do not automatically make for wise actions. the intervention came when there were already wrenching changes and and unpredictable situation. egyptian leaders have fallen and there were other revolutionary rumblings. it was not just the decision to stop gaddafi's advance but to speed up change. the problems associated with
speeding up events could be seen in the second order of consequences. the most well-known occurred in north mali, where a collection of al qaeda linked jihadist, including al qaeda's north african affiliates gain control over a broad swath of territory, prompting a french led intervention in january 2013. the rebellion has a long history, but gaddafi's overthrow transformed dynamics. the via's dictator had been a long supporter and with him gone, they lost a major contributor. there are other ways libya's intervention contributed. after the dictator's defeat,
they later wept as caches. the heavily armed return to molly reinvigorated. there were signs that now, a year later, the jihadist may be back and indeed, southern libya has laid a role in their combat areas fighters from al qaeda fled from the advancing french and allied forces into southwest libya and blended with local militants. jihadists in north africa have also been in a situation in libya. a variety of groups operated training camps there. millions have benefited from the flow of arms to neighboring countries. the factors make libya a concern. 30 miles from the libya border, which have multiple links to libya, including training. despite the superb execution of nato's intervention, this created a complicated regional dynamic for the u.s. senate helped jihadist groups and has had negative consequences for libya's neighbors. it is not clear the intervention saved lives.
some scholars argue that the fact the nato intervention prolonged the war meant that it cost more lives than it safe. even if it saves more lives than libya, further lives were lost as a result. this is why i cannot join with those who reclaim nato's intervention to be a strategic success. i appreciate the opportunity to testify and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you. chairman, ranking member cummings, committee members, i am grateful for the opportunity to speak with you about libya's security crisis and what the international community can do to assist. i bring the perspective of both a scholar who travels frequently to the country and a military officer who served in tripoli prior to the revolution.
i have spoken with libya government officials, military officers, and militia leaders across the country, including benghazi. at the core of libya's crisis is the power of its militias, who draw support from a wide array of local tribal, ethnic, and religious constituencies. their persistence is rooted in the absence of an effective municipal governance, representative institutions, and a strong and central army and police. since 2012, these militias have become politicized. they use armed force to compel the passage of a sweeping law barring gaddafi era laws from the government. they kidnapped a prime minister and stopped oil production in the east. weapons are the de facto currency through which demands are pressed. militias have also captured illicit tracking networks. -- trafficking networks. libya's instability has been aggravated by the weak transitional government to put the militias on the payroll. under the loose authority of the ministries of defense and interior, the idea was to harness the manpower of the revolutionaries to fill the security void left by the
nonexistent army, which was deliberately kept weak by gaddafi, who feared its potential. by all accounts, this has been a disastrous bargain. it has attracted new recruits and has given the militia bosses even more political power. that power is especially evident in the east, where militias demand the removal of personnel from state institutions and the implementation of a sharia-based competition before they surrender arms. these actors remain on the outer fringes of libya's politics and security institutions. overwhelmingly, the the islamistsntries reject violence for political means. based on a weakness for the central government and an array of informal societal actors come a ngo's and religious authorities have mobilized against the militias, especially radical groups.
they have demonstrated a societal resilience and a moderation that is kept the country from sliding down the path of civil war. i want to emphasize that every libya and i spoke with a true to the crisis to the enduring legacy of gaddafi's rule, rather than policies or decisions during the nato-led intervention. he deprived libya of even a basic rule of governance. he wrecked the economy, kept the security institutions deliberately weak, and marginalized the eastern part of the country. libyans overwhelmingly remains supportive of the operation and welcome outside assistance. where are the areas where this insistence can be best supplied? most important task is reforming the sector. the u.s. and its allies are currently engaged in such a project under the offices of of what ise auspices
known as the general-purpose force. in doing so, they must ensure the ranks of the new force are inclusive of libya's diverse tribes and region and that effective oversight is in place so that political factions do not capture the new security entities as the personal militias. it is important to recognize that lasting security cannot be achieved without a dressing the economic and clinical motives that drive support for militias. the government has tried to disarm, demobilize and integrate the young men of the militias. none of the efforts has succeeded because the country is paralyzed between opposing political factions. each side sees any movement on the security sector as a win for its rivals. in essence, libya suffers from a balance of weakness amongst its factions and militias. no single entity can compel the others to coercion, but every entity is strong enough to veto the others. with this in mind, the ultimate solution for libya's woes lie in the political realm.
in the drafting of a constitution, the reform of its elected legislature, and a broad-based reconciliation under the broad-based national dialogue. these are areas where outsiders can lend advice and measured assistance, but where the ultimate burden must be borne by libyans themselves. thank you for the opportunity to speak with you here today. >> thank you. i now recognize myself for five minutes of questioning. you were not on this or the armed services committee's primary list of people that were interviewed in the process, and yet you came forward here today, came forward to the committee, and could you explain to us why you believe it was necessary to come forward to offer us your testimony? >> yes. i came forward because, as a
retired officer, most importantly having served a number of years, i felt it was my duty to come forward. the young men and women who serve in uniform, those that serve along with us, in civilian clothes, the circumstances of what occurred in benghazi that day need to be known. with all of the discussion that ensues over a full forthcoming to the american people, it is important. it is a duty to be here. >> thank you. our committee has interviewed a number of people, including those downrange, people both in libya and benghazi. but as i said earlier, we, for the most part, have not interviewed people, the exception being general ham,
although carter ham was at the pentagon on september 11. do you believe it is appropriate for us to interview other officers and enlisted personnel that serve with you that day as part of our discovery of what they believe could have been done, not just in what we military people call the two shop, but also in the three shop and so on? >> sure, i think is any information that gives the most well-rounded picture, they are important to obtain. one of the questions, as we fan out here, one of the questions i have for you is, your primary job is knowing the risk, knowing who the bad guys are and where they are and knowing what might face them. is that correct? so your expertise is not in the
operational response of what refuelers were where and react with in time. however, you are intimately familiar with the risk of extremist groups in egypt, libya, and throughout north africa and all of africa. now, african command, basically, does not have any jets. it does not have any conventional divisions. so you leverage all of the other commands when you need physical boots on the ground. >> boots on the ground, planes in the air, ships in the sea, etc. >> however, the role of african command, and i'm not trying to put words in your mouth so please correct me if i'm even a little off, it is in fact to look at a continent in which we have almost no troops and almost no basing.
we have a small joint base but for the most part, we have no military assets in africa. is it fair to say that counterterrorism, looking for and being aware and working with the government in africa, with or without, if necessary, to combat terrorism and to make sure governments are stable and able to support our missions and the eight missions and the embassies? is that really to a great extent why there is a unique command with a four-star general in charge of it that focuses on this continent of a billion people larger than north america? >> that is precisely the understanding. it is to help africans help africans, and work with africans and our other partners to do so. >> so in that role, on september 11, earlier, there was an attack in egypt. did you know of, anticipate, or
do you believe that the attack in egypt was based on seeing a youtube video? >> personally, no. >> that never came to you even though intelligence and what may have caused something would have been right up your alley. and in the hours that ensued after the attack on our compound in benghazi, did you hear youtube video? >> briefly discussed, but not from any serious standpoint. >> what time did you first hear there was a video? >> it was early in the evening. >> beforeork times
3:15 in the morning. >> absolutely. i would have to say probably i dismissed the notion by then by working with other sources. >> i want to follow quick one last thing. you have heard about this early on and, as the deputy and the highest-ranking person that moment working these issues, you dismiss the idea that this attack was in fact a demonstration that went awry and was based on a youtube video out of los angeles. >> yes, sir. >> thank you. more than three years ago, a wave of clinical change swept through the middle east and north africa. -- a wave of political change swept through the middle east and north africa. the arab spring promised hope for people oppressed by dictators for decades. but it also led to abrupt change and i look forward to learning about how this movement has
evolved over the last three years, and how the united states can support a peaceful democratic transition in the region. i would also like to focus on the choice our country faced when the uprising against dictator gaddafi again in 2011. -- began in 2011. time, the united states could have done nothing and allowed gaddafi to remain in power or we could have supported the liberation of libya. at the time, both republicans and democrats called on the president to support the rebels and gaddafi. for example, lindsey graham -- "you cannot protect our vital interests if gaddafi stays." lovell, do you agree with senator graham? >> yes, i do.
>> dr. strake, how about you? >> yes, i do. >> earlier, i think you would agree with me that there are things you would do to be supportive of the government. what with those things be? -- what would those things be echo >> there are several things. several panelists helping establish a national mentioned helping establish a national army that is helping to , police libya'territory, rain ein in the militia as you begin to get political solutions to problems that will permit their disarmament. second, support and structure that helps organized civil society and elections in libya. we are doing much too little in helping libya move forward. we do that largely with examples, our own but also what all of us know about society. we know how to do this and we are just not doing it nearly
enough. >> three months later, on july 3, 2011, senator john mccain stated, and i quote, "if gaddafi stays, it is a direct threat to our national security." what is your view and did you agree with senators make cane and graham? -- senators john mccain and lindsey graham? >> i did not. he was a brutal dictator. but he was also about as rehabilitated as a dictator could be. the statement he threatened our national security would have been very true in the 1980's, but in 2011 -- >> therefore, you disagreed with the senators. >> yes, i do. >> do you agree with the senators? >> i believe gadhafi was keeping a lid on a lot of things
that were brewing. he was probably not a direct security threat the way he was in the 1980's. it depends on how we define security. many of the ills that spilled over from libya in the current of libya were because of his rule, how we kept things quiet down and civil society, marginalize the east. the seeds of extremism were sown during his regime. in that sense, it was a security threat, i think it we know libyans were fighting in iraq and afghanistan. he was exporting a lot of those problems beyond his borders. >> what do you think we should be doing? what steps should be taken to improve the situation in libya? >> under the circumstances, the u.s. is doing quite a lot with other partners in europe and elsewhere. the u.s. is committed to train over 19,000 new libya soldiers as part of the general purpose force. this proposal is underway.
we are engaged with the civil society. much of the problem is the other side. there is such disarray in the libyan government that we cannot really interface with them. they have not agreed to provide payment or the general purchase force, which is why we are unable to move forward with the training of the new army. during my travels to libya since the revolution, i found the international community has been engaged in terms of reforming the defense sector, helping ministerial oversight, reaching out to libya's vibrant civil society. the security situation does not a lot of the problem is access. permit us to go out and reach libyans. >> what would you have us do
there? >> no longer serving and having access to a lot of the pertinent information and data, i would not be able to give you a strong military answer to that. my personal answer would be one where it is a set of circumstances where we would have to work together. that development would have to be very engaged on the ground. >> thank you. i ask unanimous consent to put something on the record at this time. >> our records show that we have interviewed the advice commander. the admiral, and admirable -- admiral losey. would you agree to provide the committee additional suggestions
of the people for your recollection outside the hearing it not be public, the people you so that believe would be most helpful to gain knowledge directly on the fact of the ground on that day? >> yes sir. of course. of the list of people we have already interviewed, would they be people that would be able to render an opinion? i am not saying you would come up with the same conclusion, but to have the same type of information? we have the same public service,
motor people -- i'm just curious. >> each of those general and, i know them. they are fine officers. >> would they be in a position to render an opinion? >> yes, sir. >> we have established we will get additional names and the names we already interviewed to be ones on your list. >> thank you. a couple of questions. >> he testified we view the -- we knew the night of september 11 that this night was not just some of the video that has been shown -- and assert -- a concerted attack. that being said, in your
position, you would know who knew what. the state department would also have known pretty instantaneously that there was an incident going on, i've seen videos of some of those transmitted. we had a pretty good idea of what was going on. would you say the state department should have or could have? >> they could or should, yes sir. >> the attacks started at 9:40, 3:40 in the afternoon here. approximately a six hour
difference, i think. >> yes. >> so it was not an unusual time here in the united states, that the appropriate people in the highest level people should be alerted that something serious was going on at one of our posts. >> during the day here in the united states, yes sir. >> i do not know if i could have saved the ambassador or the aide with him. that was they may have been killed -- would you say that is a pretty good assumption? that it was not possible to save them because they were probably killed within an hour or two? the u.s. does not have the capability of responding, not that we should not have had on the ground the capability to respond to some kind of attack. would that be a correct assumption? >> typically, the greatest desire or whatever situation you
in, to have be adequate security. >> i know we have over 100 posts. there were about listed and 14 benghazi was one of them. >> you wouldct? have to look to the state department. >> someone failed. they failed to have the proper protections every post does not have the same risk and every point does not have the same risk, but that was one of the major ones. the time frame did not allow us to save the ambassador as they came in and attacked. it was an attack. it wasn't a little demonstration in the street. enough time tod
save the two former navy seals that we trying to protect the post. they were killed at approximately 5:15 a.m. it started at 9:40, a good six hours. i have been to italy, spain, turkey. as a member of congress, if we had an incident, this is for -- before benghazi that we could respond and had the capability of responding. particularly, an ambassador or american citizens from north africa, it is not exactly the toughest spot. there are places deeper in africa that are tougher to get to. i believe we could have saved those two, if someone had taken action. do you think we have the ability to do that? >> presently or at the time?
at the time, it did not happen that way. others have discussed -- >> did the united states have the ability to protect -- people at that post, within six hours -- >> the military could have made a response of some sort. >> the military could have made a response. i believe those two individuals were not saved. we went and interviewed people. our military personnel, they were not given the go-ahead. they were not given the assets. no one responded to go in and
save the two individuals who were lost. i believe we had that capability. can you tell the committee if you think we had the capability of saving them at that time once again? >> you mentioned personal assets and time and distance. all those things put together at do i think we hadall those things put together at that moment? i was not in operations -- i don't think -- >> again, we had that capability, i believe. i was told even before this if we had an incident, we could go in and rescue or resolve a situation. do you believe we have that -- we had that capability? >> if capabilities were in hand, then they could be employed. >> thank you. >> welcome to our panel. let me pick up on that. you were not in the operational chain of command at the time of the tragedy? >> not in the chain of command.
i was serving in a staff role at that point in time. >> you were not making decisions. >> that is correct. >> i do not know if you're familiar with the fact the service committee on february 10 -- i want to quote from it and see what part of this you disagree with. my friend from florida suggests we could have done something from italy. "secretary panetta, in consultation with general ham, general dempsey, and others, verbally authorized three specific actions. first, two marine fast the tunes were ordered to prepare and deploy. second, a special operations unit known as commanders -- cif, was ordered to move to a nato air station in italy and wave
-- and await further instructions. these orders were issued approximately 2-4 hours after the initial attack there it is it your contention we should have done this sooner or more of it? or do you deny it happened? >> my belief is i put in my statement, it has to do with, we should have continued to move forward with whatever forces we were going to move forward with. the timeline was in the operation of the channels. what i am looking at is how we choose to respond in the future really needs to be along the lines of the military feeling empowered to take action under the authorities it has. so that it can move forward and do that -- >> i want to read to you the conclusion of the chairman of the committee, the republican chairman. he conducted formal briefings
and oversaw that report. he said "i am pretty well satisfied that given where the troops were, how quickly the thing all happened, and how quickly we dissipated, we probably could not have done much more than we did." do you take issue with that conclusion? >> the conclusion that he could not have done much more than he did, that is a fact. >> i am sure you can appreciate there might be some who, for various reasons, distort your testimony and say we could have done more than we did because -- that is not your testimony. >> that is not my testimony. >> thank you. if i understood your testimony, libya is a mess. it is a very unstable
, violent environment. that is the environment in which we are trying to work and which we were working at the time of the tragedy in benghazi. is that correct? >> that is correct, sir. >> no amount of u.s. troops and security forces were going to change that environment. >> they will not change the fact the central government cannot that the central government writ. >> mycise a friend in utah, i went to tripoli, not benghazi. the airport at the time, security was controlled by the militia and not the government. >> let's hope their friendly. but, it is obviously painful, transparent symbolism of the lack of any authority. i see you shaking your head as