VAN SUSTEREN: Were you able to listen to Catherine Herridge's report about this cable?
CHAFFETZ: Yes. Being a classified piece of material, I really can't comment on it. But I will tell you that we were bombed on June 6th. That was a terrorist attack. We knew full well what happened then.
And I would also point to an unclassified cable that went on September 4th. This went from Ambassador Stevens back to the State Department. Because on September 1st, the interior minister there for Libya put them on high alert, saying, We're losing control in eastern Libya.
So it was crystal clear from unclassified material that they were losing control and the militias were taking over. Their al Qaeda and al Qaeda-related organizations were flying flags above government buildings there in Benghazi!
VAN SUSTEREN: Explain to me -- all right, the 9-16 cable about which Catherine just spoke, and the 9-4-1 that you spoke about -- both have, you know -- you know, important information. One's classified, one's not. What would be -- why would one be classified and not the other, and who makes that determination?
CHAFFETZ: Well, the State Department has some very rigid rules about that, and I think the ambassador was abiding by those. But we -- again, I can't comment on the classified. But let's remember, back when we were bombed...
VAN SUSTEREN: But what...
CHAFFETZ: ... on June 6th -- go ahead. Sorry.
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm curious, like, you know, I'm always curious whether the class -- class -- making a document classified is a very convenient way to keep things out of the hands of the public. I'm trying to figure out, you know, how you classify something. You just say it's classified and that's it and it's -- and it's protected or what?
CHAFFETZ: Well, oftentimes, there are specific informations about sources and methods, maybe specific people that are involved that are perhaps helping our government. We don't want those revealed or those people killed. And so that would put it into a degree of classification, where others, as more general information, that you can hand to anybody and they could read. And the information the committee has been talking about and released is in the unclassified category.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, just a short time after 9/11, you made a trip to Libya. And you had a number of conversations. And you spoke to even the deputy chief of mission in Tripoli. Did he tell you anything that he knew that night about what had happened that night?
CHAFFETZ: You know, he related this story which I haven't shared before. He's a good man. His name's Gregory Hicks. And I -- I think he's trying to do the right thing.
He said that shortly after 9: 0 PM, what happened is his phone rang. And he didn't recognize the number, so he didn't answer it. Then it rang again. Again, he didn't answer it because he didn't recognize the number.
But then, given the persistence, he did answer it. It was Ambassador Stevens. And Ambassador Stevens was saying, We're under attack. We're under attack.
Now, I can't say that he told me specifically that he was asking for help, but that's kind of what I -- I read into it. He hung up the phone. He immediately called in to Washington, D.C., to trigger all the mechanisms that needed to be put on, and then he wasn't able to contact them. And there were hours and hours where we didn't know where our ambassador was.
But the trauma, the -- the real-life trauma that he went through -- I mean, I really felt it in his voice. It was -- it was hard to listen to. He's -- he's gone through a lot, but he did a great job.
VAN SUSTEREN: Number of U.S. senators who've signed a letter to president -- in fact, I think there have been seven letters to -- from the Senate to President Obama or his administration asking for answers. Senator Pat Roberts sent one over today. And also, Armed Services chair McKeon has sent a letter over in the House. Have you seen the letter?
CHAFFETZ: Yes, Buck McKeon, in fact, I chatted with him this morning. He's chairman of Armed Services, doing a great job. And his letter, in essence, says, Mr. President, you said you gave a direct order to protect all of those people and make sure that we secure those people in Benghazi, but the military does -- you know, needs an order from you.
I talked specifically to General Ham. He's a four-star general. He told me personally he did not get a directive from the White House from the president of the United States to engage in the firefight to help protect those people.
Mr. President, you can't have it both ways. You can't say that you're doing everything you can to protect the people in Benghazi, when we're under attack, a firefight that starts at 9:40 at night, goes until the wee hours of the morning, and say you did everything when the military did not engage.
And Buck McKeon is spot on. He's pushing the president on this. He issued a letter. It's on the Web site today of the Armed Services Committee, and people should look at it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Could it be possible that the president's statement do everything you can was, you know, for better or for worse, it turned out to be sort of an ambiguous one and that the -- that the military didn't see it as a directive, and you know, these things have unfolded in a miserable, horrible, terrible way?
CHAFFETZ: We're in a firefight. If there's ambiguity, that's the president's problem! The president is supposed to be in command! He can't go out and tell the public, I did everything we could to protect the people in Benghazi. That's not true! We got four dead Americans! We got people sitting in a hospital tonight with their loved ones and their friends!
You can't have it both ways, Mr. President! It is not -- the military is very structured. If they were ordered to do so, they would have gone in there and helped save those people. But they did not because I don't believe the president gave that order!
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's interesting. Senator Roberts's letter today -- he's asking the president to answer questions and he's -- he's saying that -- he said members of the armed forces are now questioning the sacred bond of never leaving a comrade in distress or danger. So that's -- you know, this is sort of unraveling in many different directions.
CHAFFETZ: Three things the military did. They sent in a fast team of Marines the day after into Tripoli. They sent up drones to look at the situation. And then they helped with the evacuation. But they did not engage in the firefight! We had proximity. We had capability. The president did not pull the trigger! He did not go in and help save those people!
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you, sir. Hope that we do sometime get answers because a lot of questions here. Thank you, sir.
CHAFFETZ: Thank you.