McCain 'saddened' but 'not surprised' by Benghazi

Reaction from key Republican senator


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 8, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Arizona Republican Senator John McCain has been demanding answers on Benghazi from the very beginning.

Senator, your reaction to today?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: Not surprised, but saddened by this testimony of these brave public servants who were told not to talk to Congress, which again is a violation.

But it's pretty clear what we knew from the beginning, that this was not a spontaneous attack sparked by a hateful video. And I was on one of the Sunday morning shows following Susan Rice. And they said, what do you think? I said, you don't bring mortars and rocket-propelled grenades to spontaneous demonstrations.

But then the question, Neil, is, why would they do that? And you have to put it in the context and understand it in the context of a presidential campaign. The whole line of the presidential campaign to reelect Barack Obama was, Bin Laden is dead, Al Qaeda is decimated, Al Qaeda is on the run, no terrorist attacks anywhere.

And then, of course, this thing happened and it had the capability of disrupting that narrative at a really crucial time in a presidential campaign. That explains some of these inexplicable actions on the part of the State Department and specifically the ambassador to the United Nations.

CAVUTO: Then it gets to the issue of, someone lied here. That's pretty clear. So then you sort of go up the chain of command.

Who was told to say what and by whom. How involved do you think this gets, Senator?

MCCAIN: I think it gets pretty involved because there are a number of questions still unanswered, like, why couldn't we get a -- at least an F-16 to fly over at low altitude while this attack was going on?

Believe me, that scares people. I think also that -- and I was at the hearing when our secretary of state said, what does it matter ,were they taking a walk or were they -- kind of an emotional kind of rebuttal to Senator Johnson's question. It does matter. It matters to the families. It matters to the people involved. And it obviously mattered to the witnesses today, because it was a -- in many ways, a preventable occurrence.

Remember that the last two Americans who died were in the last hour of a seven-and-a-half-hour conflict, first attack, then there was a lull, and then there was another attack. And still a question has to be, with all the military assets that we have in that region of the world, I mean tens of thousands of troops, hundreds of airplanes. Why is it that we couldn't get somebody there for seven-and-a-half hours? That's a legitimate question, among others.

CAVUTO: At the very least, Senator, what is going to come up is, if you didn't know about this, Mr. President, you should have known about this, that oddly enough, I have talked to some Democrats, Senator, who have said, well, the very fact that he went off to Las Vegas for an event shortly after that indicates how little he knew about this.

I think that was the gist of their defense on this. What do you make of that, that he wouldn't have gone and made that trip if he didn't believe what he would later say were his perceptions of what went down in Benghazi at the time?

MCCAIN: Well, what we do know is that he spoke to the secretary of defense at 5:00 in the afternoon in a meeting that was on another subject.

What we don't know is what he did in the intervening hours between then and when he left for Las Vegas. Now, we have got dramatic pictures of everybody watching the raid that took out bin Laden. Right? But we don't have any pictures, we don't have any depiction of what the president was doing while the lives of four brave Americans were being taken in this, what is clearly a terrorist attack by an Al Qaeda-affiliated organization.

And, by the way, another thing that Mr. Hicks testified on is that he was never interviewed by the FBI. Now, how could that possibly be a thorough investigation? I think not -- not interviewed by the accountability review board that was convened to investigate this whole thing.

CAVUTO: Right.

MCCAIN: Why would you not want to involve the number two guy at the embassy who was right in the thick of it?

CAVUTO: All right, we will watch closely. Senator, thank you very, very much, as these hearings continue.

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