Rep. Gowdy on Benghazi hearing: 'Congress did its job today'

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

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: We begin with today's explosive hearing on Capitol Hill where three high-level State Department officials now collectively known as the Benghazi whistleblowers testified before the House Oversight Committee. Now, their message to lawmakers was very powerful and it was emotional. And it helped confirm once and for all that in the wake of that terrorist attack, the Obama administration engaged in a widespread national security cover-up and it was all done simply to ensure that President Obama was re-elected. Now because you were probably were not able to watch all seven-plus hours of today's hearings, well, we did it for you. We put together all of the highlights. Let's start with a quick look.


REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF.: Our goal in this investigation is to get answers because their families deserve answers.

GREGORY HICKS, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION IN LIBYA: I'm a career public servant. Until the aftermath of Benghazi, I loved every day of my job.

REP. NORTON, D-D.C.: Do you believe you were kept out for political reasons?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I do not politicize my job, madam.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Was there any awareness that the events occur because of a YouTube video?

HICKS: The YouTube video was a nonevent in Libya.

The only report that our mission made through every channel was that there had been an attack on a consulate.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Not a protest?

HICKS: No protest.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, R-UTAH: There was never an attempt to actually get these military aircraft over there.

REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: Fast forward, Mr. Hicks, to the Sunday talk shows and Ambassador Susan Rice, she blamed this attack on a video, in fact she did it five different times. What was your reaction to that?

HICKS: I was stunned. My jaw dropped. And I was embarrassed.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Did she talk to you before she went on the five Sunday talk shows.

HICKS: No, sir.

GOWDY: You were the highest-ranking official in Libya at the time, correct?

HICKS: Yes, sir?

GOWDY: And she did not bother to have a conversation with you before she went on national television?

HICKS: No, sir.

GOWDY: When Ambassador Stevens talked to you perhaps minutes before he died, as a dying declaration, what precisely did he say to you?

HICKS: He said, Greg, we're under attack.

GOWDY: Did he mention one word about a protest or a demonstration?

HICKS: No sir, he did not.

At about 3:00 a.m. I received a call from the prime minister of Libya. I think it's the saddest phone call I've ever had in my life. He told me that Ambassador Stevens had passed away.


HANNITY: Incredible testimony. Now, earlier the White House was asked to react to today's hearing. Let's take a look at this.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is our view, and it is a simple fact, that from the early hours of the attack there have been attempts by the Republicans to politicize what was a tragic attack on our facility in Benghazi that led to the deaths of four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya.


HANNITY: And joining me now to respond to those charges, the two men who were on hand for today's bombshell testimony, from the House Oversight Committee, Congressman Jason Chaffetz and Congressman Trey Gowdy. Gentleman, welcome to the program.

I got to be honest, this was riveting, compelling at times spellbinding, it was, these guys were incredible, believable. Congressman Chaffetz, let me start with you. There are three components here. We know that they were denied the additional security they requested. That's number one. Number two, we learned from the people there that YouTube was nonevent issue here. There was no protest, no spontaneous protest, and that was the spin that we got after. And then when he heard, you know, about Susan Rice's testimony, I was stunned, my jaw dropped, I was embarrassed when she blamed the YouTube video. What do you make of what happened today?

CHAFFETZ: You know, we had three people who did a very difficult thing, did a very honorable and patriotic thing is, they stepped up. These are political appointees. These are people that have a combined service of nearly 75 years of Foreign Service, Marine Corp, all types of service and they stepped up and they told the truth. And that's what made the White House so nervous. That's what makes a lot of people running. And when he says, his jaw dropped, there are a lot of ramifications for telling these lies.

I mean, they testified, the one of the reasons we couldn't get the FBI in there for 18 days is the fact that we embarrassed the president of Libya who had gone to Benghazi and in his own political peril said that this was a terrorist type of event. And yet Susan Rice undercut that and diminished that and it impeded our ability to catch the terrorists who did this, they are still on the run and there are still four dead Americans who don't have the truth about what really happened.

HANNITY: Congressman Gowdy, what did the American people, what are they to conclude here? You had a great line of questioning here. They never talked to Mr. Hicks before they went on these shows? We know that the talking points originally got it right before they got it wrong, that they were altered. I mean, do you believe that the American people were purposely deceived and lied to, to cover-up something before an election?

GOWDY: Oh, there is no question. Anyone sitting in that committee room today would draw that same conclusion, that there was a concerted effort shortly after Benghazi to protect the president's re-election bid, and right now there's a concerted effort to insulate and protect Secretary Clinton. For once, Congress did its job today. It's our job to provide oversight.

There's no statute of limitations when it comes to the truth, and the least we can do for our four murdered fellow Americans who were serving on our steed under our flag, is to find out exactly what happened. And we took a big step today. But, Sean, today is just one step. We need to have more hearings with more firsthand eyewitness accounts.

HANNITY: When you look at the before no security that was request granted when you look at the middle, troops that were ready to go and help, were told to stand down we learned today, Congressman Chaffetz, and then the after, a concerted effort to lie and cover-up. I mean, of those three aspects, what's the worst to you?

CHAFFETZ: Well, to hear the fact that we had four Special Forces there on the ground in Libya ready to risk their lives. They wanted to get in the fight. Their fellow, fellow Americans were under attack. They were being killed. And these brave people had their guns, they were ready to go, they were getting in the convoy, and then word came down and said you had to stand down. That's not the American way. That's not the American military I know. But we've got to find out who made that order.

We were told by the president, we've been told by everybody that they did everything they could to save those people, but we heard testimony today from the chief of missions that they were toll to stand down. And that is just -- that is not going to stand. We have got to get to the truth.

HANNITY: Congressman Gowdy, where was the president? We know he was briefed by Leon Panetta. Is there any indication the president ever inquired as to an update when our embassy was under attack and that our ambassador was in trouble? Was there ever any communication that's been confirmed or that he just went to bed and got up and went fundraising the next day?

GOWDY: There was nothing brought out today by our colleagues on the other side of the aisle that would indicate what the president was doing while this seven-hour long siege took place. So, I want to be fair to him, but the simple fact is I, even after eight months, cannot tell you what the commander-in-chief was doing when our people under our flag were being murdered and under assault on a foreign land. It is sad that a member of Congress after eight months can't answer your question.

HANNITY: Congressman Chaffetz, you went to Benghazi. You met with Mr. Hicks. And then, apparently, he was excoriated for daring to talk to you. It sounds to me like there was an attempt at obstruction. This was Hillary's chief of staff, as I understand it?

CHAFFETZ: Well, it's a little bit surreal for me to hear this. But the reality is, the first week of October, I did go to Libya. I didn't go to Benghazi but I was in Tripoli. I did meet with Mr. Hicks. And we heard testimony that Mr. Hicks was coached ahead of time, did not allow me to speak to three individuals there, including Mr. Hicks. That the State Department had sent along a babysitter, a reminder to listen and take notes of everything I did, that this person, that Mr. Hicks was then chastised by Hillary Clinton's chief of staff.

HANNITY: And then demanded to know what was said to you I guess to cover their story or to merge their stories?

CHAFFETZ: I mean, the idea that a member of Congress trying to seek out the truth and they are being told not to allow that member of Congress to have an individual conversation, I mean that's pretty stunning.

HANNITY: One last question and I'll throw it out to both of you. Do you see any obstruction issues, any potential criminal issues in all of this?

GOWDY: Well, I'll take that only because I'm a former prosecutor. I think it's too early. And again, it's embarrassing to say that after eight months, but we are still going through documents. We are still gaining access to documents. It's too early to make that call, Sean. But it's also this, it's too early for Jay Carney to say that was a long time ago. Jason and I watched a row of grieving parents and spouses and children and I promise you to them eight months was not a long time ago.

HANNITY: Yes. Well, I appreciate both of you. I got to tell you, it was -- it takes your breath away what happened and how it was covered up, and I hope you both will continue to get to the bottom of it. Thank you both.

CHAFFETZ: Thanks, Sean.

GOWDY: Thank you.

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