Mitchell Reports | October 03, 2012
>>> fire increasing fire, from congress over its handling of the benghazi attack. new questions being raised about security and intelligence flail yours house republicans issa and chav fits.
>> they diminished the security profile. it was not some spontaneous video out there that caused this. there were lots of signs out there and we need this administration to come clean on it.
>> they're going to be holding hearings next week. joining me former ambassador to iraq . we are on your campus. thank you for having us here.
>> good day.
>> we've seen this movie play before, but right now, the administration went out, probably too early with an incomplete report from the u.n. ambassador susan rice on "meet the press" and other programs and now are being called to task. the security in benghazi was very, very thin. and we have the situation where there was clear -- there were clear warnings. what does the administration do? how do they handle these inquiries?
>> first of all there's an investigation under way. it's an accountability board that's looking into it. the first thing is, they probably need to pick up the pace because in the first place, you have people really rushing out to try to give an account and often the first counts are wrong. and so i think they've taken a hit for that. now they're going to take a hit unless they get moving on the accountability review board and try to get something out there that is -- explainable. and frankly i think there are a lot of issues there to look at. the question of security, the question of, you know, the whole issue of whether benghazi was butnd down. i don't think this is really a presidential issue. i mean the notion that the president is supposed to know where each security officer is at a given time, but it is an issue about the overall ability of the administration to manage these problems in a troubled part of the world.
>> in this political climate the republicans were saying that the president should have been responsible for what a press officer in cairo put out. this does rise to the level of whether the state department anticipated security problems, whether they, you know, they clearly were aware of the warnings, the fact that the brits had shut down their mission, their consulate or whatever, the mission was in benghazi , we understand that chris stevens wanted to be there, had a connection to benghazi , had been there during the war. but was he adequately secured and what about the nurfailures of intelligence.
>> they knew libya was not going to calm down overnight and have multiparty elections and a normal place overnight. they had to look at the tactical issues there and it seemed there were a lot of problems with militias running around not integrated into any police force let alone the national army . there were issues they needed to look at. on the other hand you're trying to manage that risk with the need to get out, talk to the libyan people, make sure they understand that we care, that we didn't just lose interest once gadhafi left the scene. i think it is -- it was very important to get out there, but, you know, i think the accountability review board is going to look at that very crucial question how well did they manage the risk? you cannot eliminate the risk. this is what diplomats do. we are out there, many of these circumstances, so i think it was the right thing to be out there, but how did they really manage this risk?
>> the other question is retaliation. we are told that there is planning going on, there isn't a plan, they don't have a target list, but they're looking for opportunities in north africa to go after some of the terrorists who may have been involved?
>> well, i sure hope so and i mean, i was out in these places and if i had ever been killed in these places, i sure -- i'm sure my last wish would be they would go after these people. i'm sure they're doing it. i would rather it not be done on the front page of newspapers as today but it's important people know if you come after americans like that we're coming after you.
>> hillary clinton is speaking about this at a news conference at the state department right now. i think we can drop in and hear what she's saying.
>> formed an accountability review board to examine this attack and to explore how we can prevent anything like this from happening in the future. the board is beginning its work this week under the leadership of ambassador thomas pickering . the board's mandate is to determine whether our security systems and procedures in benghazi were appropriate in light of the threat environment, whether those systems and procedures were properly implemented, and any lessons that may be relevant to our work around the world. the men and women who serve this country as diplomats deserve no less than a full and accurate accounting, wherever that leads. and i am committed to seeking that for them.
>> secretary clinton under pressure and saying that there will be a full and accurate accounting but as you have pointed out ambassador hill, they need to speed this up. they can't be bureaucratic about this. they are being requested on the hill by next week and darrell issa has shown with fast and furious he's not going to let go of this.
>> that's clear. they also have to be careful not to have any more mistakes or, you know, errors in these sort of narrative of what actually happened. i think they have to be really careful but my goodness, ambassador pickering managed i think some eight embassies. if there's one person who can know something about security, it's going to be ambassador pickering. i'm sure he'll get to it very quickly.
>> thank you so much. great to be here.
>> thanks, ambassador hill.