Mitchell Reports | October 09, 2012
>>> the house oversight committee is investigating whether the administration overlooked critical warnings before the terrorist attack in benghazi on september 11th that killed u.s. ambassador chris stevens and three other americans . congressman jason chaffetz chairs the house subcommittee on national security and has returned from a fact-finding mission in benghazi . thank you, congressman, very good to see you. first, i wanted to share something with you because governor romney just at a campaign appearance in iowa shared a story of having met one of the navy s.e.a.l.s., since he refers to it to him as a massachusetts resident, massachusetts native, we think that he's talking about glen doherty, let me play them.
>> one of them was a guy from my home state of massachusetts and relatively young guy compared to me and he was a former navy s.e.a.l. living in san diego and learned about him, talked about his life, he skied a lot, in some of the places i had and we had a lot of things in common, he told me that he keeps going back to the middle east , he cares very deeply about the people there. he served in the military there. went back from time to time to offer security services and so forth to people there. you can imagine how i felt when i found out that he was one of the two former navy s.e.a.l.s. killed in benghazi on september 11th and it -- it touched me, obviously, as i recognized this young man that i thought was so impressive had lost his life in the service of his fellow men and women.
>> now, glen doherty from massachusetts was one of the two navy s.e.a.l.s. did you get to benghazi ? were you able to talk to people and witnesses and find out what really happened there?
>> thanks for having me on the show. no, i was not able to get to benghazi . it's still the volatile situation, too volatile, couldn't get there. i was in tripoli at the u.s. embassy for most of the day on saturday.
>> what did you learn? how does that inform the hearing that you're going to hold with darrell issa tomorrow?
>> you know, first thing we did, i got a little emotional. i expressed my -- how thankful i was that we were -- for their service to this nation. they had lost four colleagues had been killed, ambassador had been killed, but then i toured the facility, got a briefing, got an understanding. what i was struck with is i left with the impression that security wasn't dictating security but that politics were dictating security . for instance, i was there most all the day, never once did a single person mention a video, like it was not a factor. and it's -- it's -- what the administration was saying in the reality of what i heard on the ground were two different things.
>> the administration had come to the conclusion that it was terrorist terrorism, they got it wrong in initially but what about the key question whether they overlooked security concerns, intelligence warnings? did anyone share with you the allegations that more security was requested by the late ambassador chris stevens and that was denied?
>> that is clearly what i think we will hear tomorrow from two of the professionals that were there on the ground. you got to remember, in benghazi , you look at a map, tripoli , about two hours by air to the east is benghazi . twice in the six month lead up to 9/11, the british ambassador had assassination attempts . twice in the six-month leadup you had bombings at our compound there in benghazi and it's 9/11 in libya. what other warnings do you need? that seems like a clear and present danger unto itself. if you can't add that up as a potential security threat, my goodness, all the signs were there. there was a request for more personnel. that was denied. they reduced the number of personnel. they asked for building up of the infrastructure, that was denied. there were waivers that clearly were put in place. even still today, in tripoli , you don't meet the basics of what needs to happen at an embassy.
>> we've got one of the e-mails that you're going to be examining tomorrow and presenting tomorrow and it was the e-mail from six months earlier requesting more security and that was granted according to the state department , but then a second team was sent in and according to the witness, you refer to colonel wood, according to reports from colonel wood, more was requested, further extension was requested by chris stevens , the ambassador, and that was denied. have you been told that?
>> yes, i have. and we're talking about, you know, we're talking about in the neighborhood of two dozen people or less. let's remember that president obama has essentially a private army in iraq of 15,000, 15,000 security personnel there at the embassy in baghdad and the surrounding area and we're talking about, you know, half dozen here, another half dozen there in libya, after revolution, after two bombings, on our facilities, assassination attempts of the british ambassador. they're asking for a handful of more people and that was denied. they ended up getting less people than they originally had to start.
>> some other people have said that chris stevens had perhaps an unrealistic expectation about benghazi because he spent so much time there during the war, he knew how well liked he was by many of the people and perhaps he wasn't cautious enough about the threat from the militia? now that he's perished, i think of him in a fond way. he was part of a security apparatus asking for more help but didn't get more help. he said i'm going to do my job anyway, go into a difficult situation, so i walk out of there with more admiration for him not less. maybe perhaps other signs were ignored, but i think it's the responsibility of this state department to provide had him the resources so he can do his job. he didn't get those resources but he did his job anyway and had four americans killed.
>> the state department 's response is that if they had more security in tripoli , it would not have helped in benghazi , and that the libyans were building up and this logical transition to a libyan security force . can you respond to that?
>> i think clearly the political objective from the obama white house and the state department was they wanted to quote/unquote reach apparent normalization and i say that in quotes normalization as swiftly as possible and that meant hire as many libyans as you can. there's not a rent a cop around the corn. they barely have an government let alone to train people to provide the security needed in benghazi and tripoli . you have to look at the country as a whole but i mean look at the result, the consequences. an active al qaeda , other terrorists that are active and we have four dead americans at a compound that as a member of congress i can't visit. the fbi had trouble getting in there to visit it. so that's -- it's still a problem.
>> jason chaffetz , going to be an interesting hearing tomorrow, thank you very much for previewing it today.