Mitchell Reports | November 19, 2012
>>> she was the most politically compliant person they defined. i don't know what she knew but the story she told was misleading.
>> this whole process is going to be checked out. we are going to find out who made changes in the original statement. until we do, i really think it's unwarranted to make accusations.
>> as the benghazi investigation continues so are the arguments over who's to blame and over whether ambassador susan rice should be caught in this crossfire. joining me is senator johnny isaacson, a member of the senate foreign relations committee , which is investigating the benghazi attack. senator, thank you very much for joining us today.
>> thank you, andrea.
>> you've been following this very closely, i know. tell us, what is your reaction to something that mike rogers , the house intelligence chair, said or suggested on "meet the press." he said he has no evidence of this and no evidence has been brought to bear but he suggested that questions should be asked about when the president first learned, for instance, about the petraeus affair, whether it's credible he did not know until after the election? do you have any information about that?
>> no, i don't. i would only be guessing if i tried to answer the question, but the more important question is, who knew what when with regard to benghazi , with regard to whether or not it was a terrorist attack , and with regard to the fact for the first time since 1979 america lost an ambassador in harm's way. that's something we need answers for.
>> well, it seems very clear that there were plenty of warnings, that the intelligence community repeatedly told washington that there was trouble in benghazi , that it was not secure, that the libyans could not secure it, that there had been, in fact, five separate attacks, so didn't washington have fair warning it needed do something about the security there?
>> it had fair warning . in fact, the brits had already pulled their consulate out of benghazi . we had several other eight bomb attacks going back as far as june. it was obviously a danger. we find out when a diary was recovered from chris stevens that was found he said he thought he was al qaeda 's number one target. there were lots of warnings and we should have had better security and a better warning in terms of specific event that took place at the consulate.
>> the white house says that there was no change made in the intelligence assessment other than to change one word, technically to change it from sun consulate to diplomatic mission , to be accurate, because it was not a full consulate. do you believe the white house when it says there was no political interference in the intelligence assessment and/or the guidelines from which susan rice was working when she went on television that sunday?
>> i have heard enough testimony both classified as well as other to believe that we knew early on in the attack that it was terrorist related and could have been al qaeda related. we didn't have the military personnel close enough to engage and protect our ambassador. i think that's pretty much a known fact now or has been stated by a number of different people in testimony. and if that's the case, we need to answer the questions why and what are we going to do to see to it in the future america doesn't lose a diplomat because we weren't prepared to protect him in the first place.
>> are you more concerned about that than the aftermath than how it was reportped and she presented it, given that she was working off the guidelines she had been given?
>> i think susan rice was reading on those sunday shows the five shows, she was reading what she was told to read. i've been around washington to know long enough when you represent the administration, they give you the talking points and you repeat the talking points . so i think that's what happened to susan rice . i need to know and we need to know and america needs to know and chris stevens ' family needs to know when we knew it was a terrorist attack , why we weren't prepared for it and the ambassador lost his life.
>> thank you, senator. thank you