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CBS "Face the Nation" - Transcript - Benghazi


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BOB SCHIEFFER: We're back now with another key Republican who has been asking a lot of questions, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz. Mister Chaffetz, thank you for coming. You heard Dan Pfeiffer. He said they released more than a hundred e-mails that should help people understand why they came to the talking points that we heard that Sunday morning after Benghazi that were given out by Susan Rice.

REPRESENTATIVE JASON CHAFFETZ (Oversight and Government Reform committee/R-Utah/Judiciary Committee): Well, listen, I'll always applaud the release of documents, but let's put it in perspective, Bob. There are nearly twenty-five thousand documents that they haven't released, most of which are unclassified. Release those. Most troublesome is one that we found in a pile that was done on September twelfth, hours after the attack. It was even before the wounded had been evacuated to Germany. It was done before the FAST team, the-- the Marines had come in to secure Tripoli. In this e-mail, Beth Jones from the State Department to the senior people at the State Department says that she told the Libyan ambassador--we, the United States--told Libya that was Ansar al-Sharia, Islamic extremists that committed this attack and then it was the president of Libya that came on FACE THE NATION and-- and talked about this, only to have Susan Rice come and say it was something different. That we knew within hours. Why didn't we release that information and why won't the White House today, right now, unclassified, release that document?

BOB SCHIEFFER: So what do you think is going on here?

REPRESENTATIVE JASON CHAFFETZ: Look, this-- this-- this administration says they want to be open and transparent but they haven't. Let's understand we have four dead Americans, four dead Americans. We have a military that couldn't get there in-- in less than twenty-four hours. We have a death trap that was in Benghazi and in Tripoli that didn't meet the most minimum of standards, and, yet, four and a half months after the attack, the secretary of state still says, well, the people on the ground made those decisions. People on the ground never made those decisions. And then you have Susan Rice, and the President, and the secretary of state, and the secretary of defense for weeks telling the American people, well, it was this video gone awry, there's this, you know, this mob that came-- that was never true. People deserve the truth, and the families deserve the truth. I can't imagine that this administration would say those same things about what happened in Boston, where we had four people killed by terrorists.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think that these talking points, did the administration, did they change things to make it appear that the e-mails said what-- what they finally--

REPRESENTATIVE JASON CHAFFETZ: Well, look, the consequence of Susan Rice going on the Sunday talk shows and spewing what is totally untrue thwarted their ability to get the FBI-- remember, it took eighteen days for the FBI to get in Benghazi, eighteen days. Imagine if that happened in Boston, we would be outraged and we should be outraged about this. So we weren't able to investigate. We still have terrorists that committed these attacks that are out there. They're on the loose. We don't know where they are. And we have facilities through North Africa and other parts of the world that are not as secure as they need to be. So all I'm seeking is the truth. That's my job. I'm in the United States congress. I am the subcommittee chairman on Oversight. All we ask for is the truth, that's what we want. No matter where it takes us. The President says he wants that but I can tell you there is no action by the White House or the Department of State that would back that statement up.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You did go to Benghazi.

REPRESENTATIVE JASON CHAFFETZ: Well, I went to Libya. I went to Tripoli. And I was there about three and a half weeks after. And it was interesting, the entire time I was there, there is not a single person who ever mentioned a video because it never happened. And when you have this whole thing going down, and you have the days after, and you're preparing for the Sunday talk shows, as we heard Gregory Hicks, you know, decades of service to this country, a nonpolitical person, do you think they would call the chief of mission in Libya and say, "Hey, what happened? Let's get your perspective?" They never even called him. He's the one person who did know what went on. And they didn't even call him.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you quickly about the-- the IRS situation. Do you have any evidence that anyone outside the IRS was telling the IRS people to give those folks in the Tea Party a hard time?

REPRESENTATIVE JASON CHAFFETZ: No. But if this demands an investigation, I'm glad to see a very bipartisan effort. We have a hearing coming up on Wednesday. Chairman Issa and Jim Jordan out of Ohio are leading this investigation. But I don't have anything directly that says there was somebody else, but it does sort of boggle the mind and raise the eyebrow to suggest that it was just some lowly person in some midlevel office. I think, as Senator Cornyn said, that seems implausible.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, Congressman, we thank you very much.

REPRESENTATIVE JASON CHAFFETZ: It's an honor to be here. Thank you.


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