tv Senator Mc Cain and Graham on Benghazi Emails CSPAN May 4, 2014 1:30pm-1:56pm EDT
the number of countries. so many things can happen on that continent in any of those countries. and it can be anything from a need for a neo-evacaution to the use of power. first and foremost would be to equip or agree to other arrangements with centcom, and we have finite resources and we are doing the best that we can. in this instance it seems focused on this particular command i would look and say if we are asking for them to do more and to ensure that we have got the backs of all of our americans around the continent and we are partnering with the african partners that we have there on the continent, we certainly need these types of resources in the locations proximate to where they would have to be engaged.
>> thank you. any other witness have anything else? in that case i would like to thank the witnesses for taking time out of their busy schedules to appear before us today, and we stand adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
>> just after the end of thursday's hearing on a consulate attack in benghazi, senators john mccain and lindsey graham spoke about it on the senate floor very they called for a select congressional committee to investigate whether the obama administration tried to downplay the attack. >> 19 months ago, a terrible thing happened in benghazi, libya. four brave americans were issue has never been not only resolved but as each of the last 19 months has how andhe issue of
under what circumstances this heinous crime was committed continues. the senator from south carolina and i and a senator from new hampshire and others have about we will never give up on this issue until the truth is known and the people who perpetrated it are brought to just us. turnve seen another page in this chapter of cover-up and obfuscation by this administration by the belated 19 months later police of the following e-mails. 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