Meet the Press | May 12, 2013
>> let me widen this discussion. david brooks , as we talk again about benghazi , you know, here this morning and what's new this morning, the chairman of the house oversight committee is falling short of saying this was hillary clinton and president obama 's fault. but he does say the administration essentially directed the intelligence community to back off what they wanted to say.
>> there's an underlying narrative here which i think is wrong. the narrative is that the cia is the this bunch of technically pure nonpolitical people and then they produce a product which is then doctored by a bunch of political people either at state or the white house . my reading of the evidence is that a very terrible event happened at a cia basically a cia facility. they went into intense blame shifting mode trying to shift responsibility onto the state department , on to anywhere else. and the state department pushed back. they said no, it's not our fault. it's your facility. they pushed back and said why are we seeing is information we haven't been seeing before? so the cia was super aggressive. all the talking points were reduced to mush and politics was inserted into it. i don't think we should necessarily say this is politics intruding on a cia pure operation.
>> congressman, don't you see the muddle in all of in that it's not so clearly watergate as some republicans allege?
>> look, i'm not out to try to bring anybody down. i just want the answers. i look at a couple of things. number one, who i think chaed the talking points ? these are questions that go to motivation. i know that ambassador rice went on every morning show and said this was a result of a youtube video . this was not a terrorist attack . it was frankly told to us in a closed door meeting in congress by hillary clinton , too. as a pilot in the military, i went to survival training and the first thing they tell you, your country, just know your country will be move heaven and earth to come get you and it appears in this case the country didn't move haven nor earth to can get them. the administration said we had seven hours and we couldn't have made it in time. to me that's irrelevant. what matters is you didn't know when the second attack was coming. why did you not pull ought owl the stops to save these four men or any future attack that could be happening
>> wes moore, you're also a veteran of wars in iraq and afghanistan. that is something you hear a lot in this community, in the special s and diplomatic community. which is why didn't they go after our guys to try to do something and was there enough contingency planning to be able to move if something like this were to occur.
>> the challenge was coordination, who had the jurisdiction to send in, what was the timeline. i agree with you on the point that regardless of what the timeline was, there should have been contingency plans particularly once we heard about the level of the threat. where the challenge comes in, this comes into an idea of lesser included where we cannot by trying to overstate the argument, we also undermine the argument where we have to also understand that at its fundamental core that investigations should happen. there needs to be more we should understand and a baseline we can understand from this issue. we can start clouding the issue by trying to put in all the other elements like trying to implicate specific individuals are responsible. that's where the truth becomes muddles.
>> katty kay , a historical precedent is interesting, that's the beirut bombing of 1983 when our servicemen were killed on a landing strip there. a deadly video. there were recriminations politically, the president taking responsibility. i was looking at the time. same gibbons saying i've only got three words, reagan's vietnam. all they're doing is sitting there waiting to be killed and on and on he goes. a tragedy that became a political issue here in benghazi , it somehow becomes a scandal. what is the difference between tragedy and actual scandal.
>> it is the insertion of politics. and if you are a republican who feels that this is a cover-up, you feel you've been vindicated this week. the dras feel that the republicans are trying to smear the white house with this. and i think actually for the american public, the points of whether there were 12 different versions of the talking points and the e-mails that were sent, that's not what concerns them or perhaps should concern them. the bigger picture here is one about missing intelligence in benghazi in the run-up to this attack, the fact that there were 40 separate attacks against foreigners in the six months before the attack against this facility. why were those not connected. why was the security not sufficient? those are the issues that should concern us. those are the issues that actually matter to american security abroad. this issue of talking points i think is becoming so intensely political, so confusing, that it's going to be missed by the american people and probably should be missed by the american people .
>> before i go to break, senator feinstein, the bottom line is, if there is something you would have liked to see the president or the secretary of state do differently after this broke, it would have been what?
>> oh, to move faster, to say yes, this was, in fact, a terrorist act . i mean, it was so evident and --
>> but why did they drag hair heels on this? if you believe that.
>> i can't -- because i think this is a cautious administration. you see it in other respects. i respect that. but this is one instance where, you know, it was what it was. and you saw it. the minute you knew what happened, you knew it was a terrorist attack . and you knew these groups had camps all around the area. so.
>> did you think the political campaign was i an factor?
>> hard for me to tell because i'm not sure what impact it would have had if someone had said from the administration, yes, our mission was attacked. we believe it was some terrorist groups . we need to identify which one. i don't see what harm that would have done to