All-Star Panel: Continued scrutiny into WH Libya response

All-Star panel on the politics


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 11, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, just a little more than two hours, Vice President Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan will be on that stage with moderator Martha Raddatz and foreign policy will be a topic. It may actually be the first, that's my bet. It's in Martha Raddatz's wheelhouse as national security correspondent. We're back with the panel. Libya a big topic, and we just had a fiery interview with Stephanie Cutter with the Obama campaign on that topic. Steve, what about that and where the story is heading and where it's going from here?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, there were two things that struck me about your interview with Stephanie Cutter. One, she didn't have answers for many of the questions you were proposing.  Two, when she did have answers they weren't very good. The answers she gave about why they were still talking about the videotape, she said -- I believe she said, we learned three weeks later -- or maybe she said we learned weeks later that it was a premeditated terrorist attack. That is not true. It's simply false. They learned immediately that it was an Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb attack. We knew quickly that it was premeditated. They were briefing members of Congress on Capitol Hill, telling them this. There was a State Department comment that this was an attack that had been planned and premeditated. What she said tonight, I think, dug the hole deeper rather than helped them out.

BAIER: Juan, I read this quote, and it's really part of the conference call that we had this week that originally we weren't invited to but the State Department held, and this question about what prompted you to tie the attack in Benghazi to the video? And the State Department official says "that is a question you would have to ask others. That was not our conclusion." From the beginning. Then you had this testimony yesterday on Capitol Hill in which this woman Lamb says she was in constant contact.  They had video connection with the perimeter cameras there. They knew it wasn't a protest. It was calm all day. And they were in constant contact with the people there.

So where was the disconnect with Rice going out five days later, and then the president on David Letterman linking the video to the Benghazi attack, two days after rice is on the five Sunday talk shows?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: I think what you got here is a situation where there is a larger cache of intelligence material being interpreted by people like James Clapper, the director of national intelligence who has come out and said that in fact he had given information to people like Susan Rice.

BAIER: So now that's an intelligence problem.

WILLIAMS: It would be an intelligence problem because remember --

BAIER: Because that's what Stephanie Cutter tried to say --


WILLIAMS: That's what Clapper said, that's what Petraeus said, that's what Rice said, and that's what the Undersecretary Kennedy said just yesterday. But you know there are examples of specific instances that you just cited, where individuals say you know what, we thought right from the start this was highly suspicious, in addition to which they could link the individual who had been at Guantanamo who then became the focus of investigative efforts.

BAIER: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, we know there was no demonstration. It was all a fiction. The question is when Susan Rice went out, did the White House know what she was going to say? Did the secretary of state know? That I think is the ultimate question. Who told her to say those fictions? I think in the end, that is what is going to unravel this. The Watergate scandal was about who knew up high and when. And I'll remind you that nobody died in Watergate.

BAIER: The other thing to point out is the president is on David Letterman two days after Susan Rice is on those five Sunday talk shows linking those two things. This is a story that is not going away.

KRAUTHAMMER: Right. And they continue on that theme over and over again about the video when it was completely irrelevant.

BAIER: Charles, thank you very much. We'll see you later on for the coverage. Steve, Juan, as always. That is it for panel. But stay tuned for some final thoughts about our coverage here in Center College. 

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