NBC News | January 23, 2013
>> thank you very much, mr. chairman and thank you for being with us today and putting yourself through this.
>> thank you.
>> let me know that fixing the responsibility was what we are trying to do and identify bad policy and mistakes is the way that democracies fix problems. it is not all politics. it's how we do things to make it better. none of us should it's all apologize for trying to get to the nitty-gritty. let me note that assistant secretary of state lamb testified here in congress that budget considerations played absolutely no role in her decision. it was her decision, not yours, but you have proven her as to what the level of security would be thera at benghazi. any suggestion that this is a budget issue is off base or political. you said you learned of the attack on that day and were involved widely in the coordinated response which included the differently defense at the white house and did not speak to the president until later that evening. when did you talk to the president?
>> two things on the first point. the arb disagree with that and found they were at stake.
>> she testified under oath.
>> that's why you have an independent group look at everything.
>> everybody has their own --
>> it's important to do.
>> what about when you saw the president? when did you see the president?
>> i talked to the president at the end of the day , but i had been in constant communication with the national security adviser and had been on secure video conferences with high level officials in the white house and the defense department .
>> secretary lamb, the lady that we are talking about said she witnessed this in realtime. the attack on a monitor. at any time did you see the initial attack on a monitor?
>> congressman, there was no monitor. there was no realtime. we got the surveillance videos some weeks later. that was the first time we saw video of the attack. there was a perhaps i am trying to clarify this and i may be going beyond my brief here. what she meant -- she was talking to ds people who were trying to understand what was going on.
>> i will say that admiral mullen and in briefing us suggested that they have seen some kind of video and within a few moments it was very clear that this was a very coordinated terrorist attack and not some demonstration that had gone a wry.
>> the surveillance video that some of you may have seen in a classified setting does demonstrate what happened that night.
>> as you were dealing with the crisis as it went on, did you think or act on the basis that this was a film protest gone out of control and when you briefed the president, did you tell him that or tell him which admiral mullen suggested you knew by then that this was a well-planned and executed terrorist attack . which was the president told?
>> first of all, i said the very next morning that it was an attack. the president said it was an act of terror. at the same time i was dealing with protests against our facilities that were clearly connected to that video. so we were managing a number of such events.
>> you noted that and it can be people who do this. you said that you said it. the emphasis, we all remember what it was. over and over again, it was repeated that we had enraged the islamic terrorists that by the way, what does that do? we enraged the terrorists. that means we are at fault. they are not. for them to look and see that the only people i know are in jail is the filmmaker. it's a little disconcerting.
>> i want to be clear that of course it was a terrorist attack . the very next day i called it an attack by heavily armed militants on the compound. there is still however questions about exactly what caused it and who the attackers were. the arb after months of research said the picture is complicated. i think it's worth members looking at the unclassified and classified arb with that in mind.