Krauthammer: Benghazi threatened White House narrative

Columnist on how Libya attack was spun by the White House


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 27, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY: Lead story tonight, three Republican senators -- McCain from Arizona, Graham from South Carolina, and Ayotte from New Hampshire -- met with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice today. You may remember that Ambassador Rice misled the world about how Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens was murdered in Benghazi on 9/11.

The Senators wanted to hear Miss Rice's explanation because she might be nominated as Secretary of State. But the meeting did not go well because the issue of initially ignoring the terrorist involvement was not explained by Dr. Rice.


AYOTTE: As I understand it, the explanation is that that was being withheld, the al Qaeda involvement was -- that point of the talking points was being withheld for classified reasons, but I also explored. Didn't you question that because that left, if you were to omit that portion of the talking points it leaves a very different impression to the American people. And frankly, I didn't get a satisfactory answer to that.


O'REILLY: And joining us from Washington to react, Fox News analyst Charles Krauthammer. So it's a bigger mess now than it's ever been. And here is my assessment based on what happened today. I'm just going to go on the record. And this is what I think is going to happen and you can tell me if I'm right or wrong in your opinion.

I think that the White House and the Obama re-election committee, all right, that means David Axelrod, basically said that after the murder of the Ambassador, they were going to tamp the story down so it didn't intrude on their narrative that the Obama administration had decimated al Qaeda.

And so they ordered Dr. Rice, the Ambassador to the U.N., to go out on the Sunday shows and say that the stimulus for the murder was a video rather than a planned terrorist attack, which the Ambassador did. She followed orders. She was a good soldier.

Now it's all caught up to them. Am I wrong?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think you're absolutely right. In science, there is a principle called Occam's Razor, which means that the simplest explanation for any physical phenomenon is most likely the true one. This is the clearest and most simple explanation for why a complete whopper was told to America on all five shows by Susan Rice. It did -- the real story would have gone against the narrative.

Remember the time frame here. We're just a week and a half after the Charlotte Convention. We are just after day after day after day of Democrats dancing on the grave of bin Laden, proclaiming al Qaeda dead since that was their only achievement in foreign policy, saying it over and over again, saying "GE alive and bin Laden dead".

So after saying that as a way to fend off all attacks on their otherwise feckless foreign policy, they now have the assassination of an Ambassador, first time in 30 years, happening within a week and they have to find a cover story. I'm not saying that there was a deliberate conspiracy from day one, but as this story unfolded, they saw a way to make this non-political.

One other context you got to remember, Bill, that for the first three days after the Benghazi attack, the media were concentrated exclusively on trashing Mitt Romney for a statement he made on September 11 about the Cairo demonstration and the craven statement issued by our embassy in Cairo as it was developing.

So that -- it would have been very logical for someone in the White House to say, look, the media is high on the trail of Mitt Romney. They're not interested in the real story. It is a perfect way for them to bash Romney as they had on everything else. We can get away with this. Let's go with the video story rather than that it was a terrorist attack.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, here's a -- it's troubling -- if that's true, is what Charles and I believe is true, if that's a fact, then we got into a lot of different areas. Number one, the CIA is politicized because General Petraeus would have to go along with the charade. All right, and indications are by the three senators today that he did.

Also the Defense Department, all right, would have to go along with the charade, all right, and that is Secretary Panetta, Leon Panetta. So they would be compromised. So you'd have two huge agencies compromised by party politics.

I mean, now we're getting into the fabric of our democracy here, are we not?

KRAUTHAMMER: Yes. But we're also getting into more speculative territory. We know the fact that what Susan Rice said was false. We know the fact that her defense is not credible one. The one where she says well, there was a classified and there was unclassified.

Look, when you have a classified thing that you can say, the unclassified is simply stuff that is detail to back it up which you don't want to reveal. But in this case, they're claiming that the classified was a completely different story, a pre-planned --


O'REILLY: Yes and so she shouldn't have said anything.

KRAUTHAMMER: And unclassified is a spontaneous demonstration. So it isn't a back up of the classified story. It's a contradiction of it.

O'REILLY: Yes it doesn't make any sense and it's obviously -- it didn't make any sense to McCain and to Graham and to Ayotte today. I mean, it doesn't.


O'REILLY: If you have classified information you can't say, you don't say anything. You don't go out and say something that's totally false. But when you say speculation, though, Charles -- we have a minute to go -- the CIA would have had to have known, Petraeus would have had to have known that Rice was spinning a false narrative, yet he didn't say anything.

KRAUTHAMMER: Oh you're talking about why nobody reacted afterwards?


KRAUTHAMMER: I think the question that they're looking into is why between the Friday when the intelligence community gave its report and the Sunday when she spoke, why the intelligence report was changed, who changed it, where and what happened exactly.

O'REILLY: And even after that.

KRAUTHAMMER: That we don't know.

O'REILLY: Petraeus could have come out and said she misspoke, here is what it was.

KRAUTHAMMER: But -- but Bill, it's worse than that. The President did not do anything. In fact, the President went around repeating her story for another week. So if you're going to talk about high levels of the administration being in on this false story, you've got to go right to the top where the President says --


KRAUTHAMMER: Don't you pick on the damsel in distress. Pick on me. Ok. We'll pick on the President. He was at the center of this.

O'REILLY: All right, Charles. Thanks very much.

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