Friday Lightning Round: Benghazi suvivors speak out

Panel sums up this week's hot topics


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," November 17, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. RON JOHNSON, R - WI: Director Comey, For 14 months it's been the consistent excuse of this administration that the reason members of Congress do not have access to the survivors of Benghazi is because of the FBI investigation. You are aware of that, correct?

JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: I'm not. Senator, I'm not. I don't know whether the prosecutors would feel differently or some other reason I'm not thinking of. But speaking of my perspective, yes, I don't have an objection to that.


CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: Well, that's interesting. New FBI director James Coney seeming to directly contradict the main White House argument against letting Congress talk to the survivors of the Benghazi terror attack. Each week we ask you to vote online for your favorite Friday Lightning Round topic. This week you chose Benghazi. And we are back now with the panel.  Well, now, that comment from the FBI director, Steve, comes just as Congress is beginning to gain more and more access to the survivors of the attack. Is it your sense that we're gaining a different understanding than the White House narrative about what happened that night?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think in some important respects we are, particularly from the three survivors, CIA affiliated survivors who testified yesterday. I think they raised some questions about the timelines. But there were also additional questions raised about these nondisclosure agreements which the agency had insisted were not presented to Benghazi survivors. There was no effort to try to keep them from talking.

And we find out that these nondisclosure agreements, which were legally unnecessary, were presented to Benghazi survivors at a Benghazi memorial held at the CIA headquarters at Langley. Now, they didn't mention Benghazi specifically, but you tell me what you think the message was intended to send.

I think between that and between the news today on the State Department, the idea that the rewards for justice rewards were actually authorized but never announced or publicized, which defeats the entire purpose of having the awards in the first place, suggest that the administration is reeling. I have no idea why they would make these kinds of mistakes unless there is something that they don't want to disclose.

WALLACE: Charles, your response to that, and also you heard FBI Director Comey basically saying I don't have any problem with Congress talking to the survivors.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It completely undercuts the administration's story. The administration can't even get its story right in this stonewall. And if you don't, that doesn't help you a lot. I'm not particularly impressed by the bounty -- the $10 million that was offered. We had CNN and why had the New York Times speaking with one of the people involved in a coffee shop in Benghazi just a few months ago. So, instead of a bounty in the millions, how about an expense account, send a journalist and we will find those guys?

WALLACE: All right, issue 2, offensive lineman Jonathan Martin met with the lawyer appointed by the NFL, there you see him today in New York City, to investigate allegations of bullying on the Miami Dolphins. Of course no, idea what the investigation is going to turn up. But, Chuck, let me bring you in. Is this a tipping point for attitudes towards bullying from the classroom to the office to the football field?

CHARLES LANE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: It might be. I think, you know, obviously pro-sports, especially a violent one like the NFL, prize toughness. There is hazing. It could be more gentle. It can be more violent. But the stuff that we're being told about really went over the line. We have stuff that you could legitimately call extortion, where rookies are being told to cough up money in the five figures to finance the trips to Vegas of the veteran teammates, and if they don't do it they will get -- who know what is will happen to them. And it's about time the NFL investigated and didn't turn a blind eye to stuff that goes over the line.

WALLACE: You know, it's interesting, though, this whole attitude about bullying. You wonder is it going to go too far or not? I was hearing a story about a player on the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the NBA who was being forced a rookie to wear a backpack – a Jonas Brothers backpack, which is kind of embarrassing for an NBA player. And they said no more of that.

HAYES: It's kind of embarrassing for anyone, actually. But, look, this is the right question. I mean, is it the case that, you know, you have some serious -- anybody who saw the voice mails, the texts of the voice mails that were left for Jonathan Martin, certainly those raised some questions. But this anti-bullying campaign takes what is a serious issue and serious problem and I think, threatens to minimize it by claiming that everything is bullying all of the time.

WALLACE: All right, we have got about a minute and a half left. So 30 seconds each. Start with you, Steve, winners and losers of the week.

HAYES: So my winner is obviously this Bat Kid in the Make-A-Wish Foundation. What happened in San Francisco today was so fantastic to be able to follow this in real-time, this five-year-old Miles who had leukemia, is in remission and was allowed to be Bat Kid for the day with the contributions of the entire city. If that didn't sort of warm your heart, you don't really have much of a heart.

And the loser, I think, is probably Barack Obama. It should be Barack Obama every time. But I'm saying Nancy Pelosi, because she is defending the White House on the Affordable Care Act when the White House isn't defending the White House.


LANE: My winner is Max Baucus of April of this year who stood up and said implementation is going to be a train wreck. My loser is Max Baucus in September of this year who after being given a tongue lashing by the White House said, don't worry, I think the train is going to keep running.  Poor Max.


LANE: More train metaphors.

WALLACE: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: Loser is Mary Landrieu. She is a Democratic senator up for Louisiana, desperate about the ObamaCare. She needs a vote where she can say I voted affirmatively in trying to allow people to keep the plans. She didn't get a vote. She is going to need one badly.

The winner, Mohammad Zarif, foreign minister of Iran. It looks as if our side is caving on the interim agreement and we are actually going to silently or implicitly grant Iran a right. It doesn't have a right of enrichment.

WALLACE: And no aspersions on the Jonas brothers. That's it for the panel. But stay tuned for and early peek at the surprising way Macy's is planning to celebrate Thanksgiving. Plus, the results from our SR Bing Pulse.

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