Meet the Press   |  May 12, 2013

Issa: 'This is a failure. We need to be investigating'

Congressman Darrell Issa talks about the roles played by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama in the Benghazi incident and the investigation.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> hillary clinton failed to disclose or fail to do that makes her a target for you?

>> hillary clinton 's not a target. president obama 's not a target. the target is how did we fail three different ways? fail to heed the warnings of an impending attack, fail to respond properly during the attack at least we skoernl have done better and i think everyone knows that, and then fail to get the truth to the american people in a timely fashion.

>> you don't hold the president and the secretary of state responsible for those failings?

>> it's their administration, but we have to find out how the did we not get it right before the attack, how did we not get it better during the attack and how did we not get the truth after. if they're involved in it, of course they should be held responsible. but one of the problems with this arb report is, it doesn't seem to find anybody at the high level of state department or anyone else to have failed. and i'm going to tell you something. certainly under secretary kennedy who has not been held accountable, these of his people have been held supposedly accountable, but he was getting the facts on a daily basis and one of the questions is, isn't this career professional of 34 years or more, isn't there some accountability? we certainly think that it needs to be asked.

>> you've got republicans talking about this being watergate. one republican raising the specter of impeachment. conservative groups raising money off of the benghazi story. are you hurting your own credibility and your own fact finding mission by politically overreaching?

>> i was, then i would be. but i'm not. you know, i investigated the mineral management service and made strong are recommendations to the bush administrationing that it needed real change because it was a dysfunctional agency. and i'm sad that i didn't stay on top of it more tenaciously because ultimately, the gulf of mexico got if i would with oil because that agency wasn't doing enough of its job of making sure the oil companies did their job. so i can never again look at something where four men died and i believe needlessly and then say, well, i'm going to just say they've taken care of it, it won't happen again. no, congress has an obligation to say, what did you do to make sure it doesn't happen again? and charlene lamb and other low ranking people being reassigned to other jobs, that's not going to prevent these three separate mistakes from happening again.

>> the issue of security that you talk about, how do we prevent this from happening again, the reality chairman, as you know, it's happened throughout our recent history. look at attacks on diplomatic compounds or facilities or u.s. interests over the years.

>> you know, gregory hicks, in fact, testified to what happened inch bahrain under his watch. how in fact they prepared for a possible attack and they survived the attack even though they will lost a few cars.

>> look at these attacks on u.s. interests spanning republican and democratic administrations including president bush 's administration. why is there not more of an effort to beef up security after these attacks happen? and even, you know, even before this happened in benghazi .

>> david.

>> and isn't this congress job to spend the money to beef up security?

>> first of all, money is spent by the secretary of state and her people. we an appropriatate the money. have i spent over 12 years both on the intelligence committee and on the foreign affairs committee and now on the oversight committee. i visited countless embassies and consulates. i've seen both behind the scenes on the intelligence committee and the overt actions of what we do. and we do a great deal. and we do it well. but in areas of high risk , in areas like north africa and for that matter, sub- saharan africa , we're not really prepared for the kind of attacks we're getting. we haven't been since the two bombings of our embassies and then the cole. can we do better, must we do better? yes. but when you have clear signs and you have career professionals asking for more security and they're second-guessed for reasons of apparently wanting a normalization, an appearance of normal, that has to be asked. why wouldn't you let the career professionals have their way when they say here's a risk, they tried to kill the ambassador, the british ambassador twice. they blew up the wall at it very facility in benghazi two separate times, one they actually breached it, and yet security was cut, not increased. that's not about the broad picture. it's about this example of what went wrong.

>> do you need a select committee on something like this? your investigation sufficient here?

>> let's not blow things out of proportion. this is a failure, it needs to be investigated. our committee can investigate. now, ambassador pickering, his people and he refused to come before our committee.

>> that is not true.

>> we'll get to ambassador pickering.

>> we have it in writing and white house correspondence. it may not have been his decision but it was the white house decision. that has been reversed. we're inviting had imon monday along with admiral mullen to go through with his papers a private deposition so we can get the facts in a nonpartisan way.