All-Star Panel: Getting to the bottom of Benghazi attack

All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 31, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


MICHAEL MUKASEY, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: The lead up to this, the event itself, and the stories afterwards, all show a lack of both competence and honesty. It's shocking to think that the administration is willing to have the jury, which in this case is the American public, draw all the negative inferences in the world, and yet not speak the truth. You can only imagine what the truth must be like if they're willing to keep silent. The facts are known. The facts are simple. They're known, they're available. The only thing that remains is to disclose them.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey on "America live" with Megyn Kelly this afternoon talk about the Benghazi situation. This comes as new developments today, Catherine Herridge obtaining memos --  State Department cable, summarizing an August 15 emergency meeting, this, of course, the month before the September 11 attack, that essentially said that the regional security officer did not believe that the consulate compound could be adequately protected from the Al Qaeda groups, including Ansar al-Sharia that was in the area, and that there was a lack of manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, and nation support, and that they were very concerned about the compound there. This is a document, a cable, that was marked "secret" and was sent to Secretary of State Clinton. This is another document in a long trail that we have been uncovering as this continues to develop.

We're back with the panel. Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, it is. It's another piece of the puzzle. We knew from the congressional testimony that other security officers in Benghazi and elsewhere were expressing alarm, raising alarms about the state of security in Benghazi as far back as that spring. We know that the ambassador himself was sending cables on September 11 saying that he didn't feel adequately protected. Now we know that this was -- this emergency meeting was called in the middle of August just three weeks before the attacks expressing these same concerns.

BAIER: Naming those terrorist groups that eventually will be the ones that they now believe are behind the attack

HAYES: Part of the coordinated attack. It's almost like he had a premonition.

Look, I think the biggest problem for the administration here is that they continue to tell us that they are providing all the information when they are manifestly not providing all the information. The President of the United States has said on two different occasions, that I'm sharing all of this information as it comes in, in real-time with the American people. That is patently false. There is no way to dress that up as anything else. It's untrue. He is not sharing that information. I could come up with a list of three dozen questions that the White House isn't answering right now because they're not sharing information. They're not sharing it with the American people. They're not sharing it with the members of Congress who are asking. They're not sharing information. They are withholding information.

BAIER: To that point, Juan, Senator Lindsey Graham on that very point, he is dealing with the Tunisians, trying to get access to this guy who's being -- who's a suspect in their custody. Take a listen to this.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R - SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm not so sure we're trying very hard to get to bottom of it here at home. I think the Obama administration is stonewalling the Congress and misleading the American people. I have written almost a dozen, half a dozen letters to the administration. I haven't heard one word back.


BAIER: That is a sitting member of the Senate.

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, the investigation is not done. So I don't know what he wants to hear. If he wants to conduct his own investigation, he is free to do so. But to my mind, contrary to what Steve said, I think that the administration has tried to put out what they have, but they don't have the answers. And I think if they were putting out answers they would be self-serving answers.

So to my mind, they are taking a big hit on this. Clearly, people think something is up. What is going on? Why aren't you telling us more?  Look at this Fox poll here on handling of Libya among likely voters –


WILLIAMS: -- it says 39 percent approve, but 47 percent disapprove. So the handling is not exactly a political winner for this administration.

But when it comes to the question, did the administration intensely try to mislead the Americans on attacks in Libya, it's a split decision there, but the plurality say there is no misleading. And so the question becomes, should the administration be forcing this, or is it the case that the other side is trying to politicize it to indicate that somehow there is no reason for the people, for the American people to trust Barack Obama on foreign policy, which they still prefer President Obama on foreign affairs.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: You think that the administration is withholding information that could serve them? This is an administration that when they did the raid on bin Laden, SEAL Team 6, and they had a ton of information, a lot of it that should never have been released which served them well, they released it almost immediately in a scandalously open way. Because it exposed a lot of our methods and a lot of our people.

So this is not an administration which has shown itself to be a keeper of secrets that would actually help it. And clearly --

BAIER: Or the Stuxnet virus

KRAUTHAMMER: Exactly. And the drone attacks. I mean on all of this, it leaks whenever it will help them. And here we know that they know stuff, what happened in the nine hours when they had real-time information of what was happening? Where was the president? Why wasn't he directing actions? Who were the ones who countermanded any assistance? Where was the president when that happened? All of that the president knows. And it won't serve him, and that's why he is not saying it. He'll wait until after the election or after he is forced, otherwise you will not hear it. This is not an administration which is loathed to release stuff even if it will hurt our national security which will help them.

BAIER: It looks like another hour could be coming. That is it for the panel. Let's stay tuned for more on the final push toward Election Day.

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