Meet the Press   |  August 04, 2013

Panel talks terror in a post-Benghazi world

A Meet the Press roundtable examines the current worldwide U.S. embassy shutdown and the administration's foreign policies.

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

>>> rick santorum . i'd come back to you to ask the same question i asked the senators. how significant is this? we know it's a big reaction. is it a big deal ?

>> i think it's a huge deal and i think it's a consequence of the policies of this administration . you look at benghazi and what happened there. we had an attack on our embassy. we've seen really nothing other than cover-ups. we haven't seen anything from this administration really go after the people who were responsible or the network behind it. and there -- i'm sure if you're looking at it from a terrorist perspective, you say, well, here's an administration that's pulling back, that's tim duncan , and the opportunity to go after additional embassies. so this is to me a direct consequence from what we saw in benghazi and the general program that this administration has, which is not being aggressive in confronting --

>> the critics of the administration 's drone program would say tim duncan in the face of terror.

>> i was going to say even the president's critics inside the cia have been surprised at his drone policy, bp surprised that he's adopted a lot of dick cheney and george w. bush 's approach in the war on terror . i will agree with rick on one point, and that is we do live in a post- benghazi world, especially when it comes to embassy protection. and there are a lot of families of people who were killed at benghazi that wish they'd gone on this sort of alert. so this is, this is, benghazi is the 800-pound elephant that nobody's speaking about on this matter. that's why so many embassies have been shut down. but i don't know that there would be a lot of people saying it's because of the tim duncan ti of barack obama but rather the mistakes made in benghazi .

>> look, drone policy is one policy. what we've seen is an administration that has refused to confront radical islam , that embraced the muslim brotherhood in egypt and now you see the consequences of that and what's happened there. they have not been -- they won't even use the word "terror." they have withdrawn politically from the engagement and fight. yeah, sure, they're going after bad guys with drone programs, but that is not a comprehensive policy --

>> but, rick, i have not, if you've watched my show, in the business of defending barack obama . but if you talk to people in the intelligence community , they will tell you that al qaeda is busted, it's broken, it's splintered. there is a reason right now that they're in yemen, because they've been chased out of afghanistan, they've been chased out of a lot of other countries. add kid is not any stronger today than it was when barack obama came into office and most people, conservatives in the intel community, will tell you that, in fact, it is weaker today than it was because the president surprised a lot of people.

>> i've seen --

>> the president surprised -- i've got to finish this. the president surprised a lot of people. he's adopted the policies of dick cheney and george w. bush in many, many instances.

>> right, but not the policies which i think really did risk america's image around the world and in a sense a lot of people would argue foment more terrorism and policies. the president has rolled back the rhetorical bluster we got used to during the previous administration but has actually amped up in terms of going after al qaeda directly. i don't think the administration that got osama bin laden , rhetorical bluster didn't bring oun osama bin laden , actual intelligence and aggressive maneuvers ron insana side of pakistan did. i don't think the former dictators in libya or in egypt would think that this president has been weak. i think what we've seen is a president who has tried to get the united states to conform and comport with the sort of moral standing that --

>> i don't think -- now i feel i need to counter on the other side, because the fact of the matter is barack obama has adopted policies that i think have actually been less targeted. he will fire drones into countries where we aren't even at war. when we had a plan, a policy, a program that would allow us to go and snatch terrorists out like khalid sheikh mohammed . bring them out without killing their 4-year-old daughters, without killing their grandmothers, without killing everybody in the general vicinity. and i've got to say, nothing that he has done has made us comport to international standards more than under george w. bush or dick cheney . in fact, you look at a lot of these countries, and america's approval ratings lower than they were when george w. bush left office.

>> i want to get to andrea. the level of specificity we heard from senator chambliss --

>> that was really something.

>> the level of alarm is what struck me.

>> he said this is the kind of chatter we heard before 9/11, which, be i the way, was a republican administration . so he's talking about a very serious intelligence threat, not specific in terms of whether this is going to be a car bomb or a suicide vest, but specific enough to warrant the closure of these embassies. the other thing that they're doing today, i'm told, is homeland security has ordered much tighter airport screenings on flights coming from overseas into the united states . and they do not think that this is related to the prison breaks. but you have to be concerned about the prison breaks in libya, iraq, and pakistan where all of these arrested terrorists are now on the loose.