Meet the Press   |  December 29, 2013

Issa defends stance on Benghazi

Rep. Darrell Issa defends his harsh criticism of President Obama’s handling of the Benghazi attack.

Share This:

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

>> review came up with its conclusions about what happened, you and i had the following exchange. i'd like to play it and ask you about it now.

>> the fact is we want the facts. we're entitled to the facts. the american people were effectively lied to for a period of about a month. that's important to get right.

>> i want to be clear what you believe the lie was.

>> this was a terrorist attack from the get-go. it was never about a video.

>> have you changed your mind based on the "new york times" investigation? were you wrong about that?

>> well, the "new york times," quite frankly, david kirkpatrick did some very good work. but interviewing people in benghazi after the fact, after the world has been told about this video, is really not realtime. we have seen no evidence that the video was widely seen in benghazi , a very isolated area, or that it was a leading cause. what we do know is that september 11 was not an accident. these are terrorist groups , some of them linked to or self-claimed as al qaeda linked, but i think david -- before i go on, i wanted to make a very good point that david put out. look, it is not about al qaeda as the only terrorist organization any more than jihad or hamas or hezbollah.

>> you said repeatedly it was al qaeda , and the reason that matters is you and other critics said the president won't acknowledge al qaeda because it's an election year and he wants to say that after bin laden , it's been decimated and would make him look bad if it were al qaeda .

>> al qaeda wasn't decimated and there is a group there involved that's linked to al qaeda . what we never said, and i didn't have security look behind the door, that's for other members of congress, of what the intelligence were on the exact correspondents with al qaeda , that sort of information. those sorts of methods i've never claimed. what i have claimed, and rightfully so, is ambassador stephens and others alerted well in advance that they had a security threat, including, of course, the two attempts to kill the ambassador, the british ambassador, the closing down of these facilities and so on, on the d the day the ambassador was killed, it was not a question of if, but when there would be an attack. so we had warning beforehand, and instead of increasing security, we reduced security. during the attack, in 8.5 hours, we didn't launch so much as one m-16. the question is what the military capability is in response there and why there wasn't greater security. and lastly, there was this clear attempt, and andrea said it very well, there was an attempt to put a bright spot, and maybe it was to cover up cia activities , but they went out on five stations and told a story that was at best a cover-up for cia, and at worst, something that cast away this idea that there was a real terrorist operation in benghazi . and by the way, there is nobody from the u.s. government in benghazi today. it is too dangerous to go there.