All-Star Panel: The Benghazi blame game

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 16, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R – S.C.: You want to know what Chris Christie did? Fine. Absolutely fair game. We know what he did when he found out what his people did about the traffic jam. He fired them, and he got up in front of the whole world and said I'm embarrassed, it's my fault.  I'm going to fire the people who did this bad thing. Name one person that has been held accountable for this bad thing called Benghazi.

JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: The ARB found that no one engaged in misconduct or willfully ignored his or her responsibilities, so I would point you to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody ignored his or her responsibilities.

PSAKI: That's what the ARB recommended.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone in charge of security, I mean, clearly did not do his or her job.

PSAKI: Do you have a question?

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Why hasn't one person at the White House State Department hasn't been fired? How do you answer that?

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Recommendations have been put forward, including on personnel, and the State Department adopted those. It strikes me a little bizarre to try to compare what's happening in New Jersey to that.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator McCain taking to the floor, talking about the Senate Intelligence Committee bipartisan report on Benghazi. We are back with the panel. Judge, what about the case that Senator Graham makes there and some of the findings of that report?     

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: I think that the report asks more questions than it answers. It doesn't tell us why it happened. It doesn't tell us why protection was declined. It doesn't tell us who was responsible. It doesn't tell us why the nonsense about a video for which there is no evidence whatsoever. And to Senator Graham's point, which is superb, it holds no one accountable. How could no one be responsible? How could no one be accountable? I will tell you why. Because the people who caused this are the ones who did the investigating. And that's not the American way. We have a neutral investigator who doesn't have an interest in the outcome of the investigation assemble the truth, and let the chips fall where they may. That's not what happened here.

BAIER: Here is what Senator Feinstein said in a statement. Quote, "Statements on the Senate floor this morning and some media reports about the Senate intelligence committee's bipartisan report on the attack against our diplomatic mission CIA annex and Benghazi, Libya, intimate that the report assigns culpability to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton for the tragedy. This is patently false. The report approved on a bipartisan basis says no such thing. As a matter of fact, Secretary Clinton is not mentioned a single town in the 58-page bipartisan section of our Benghazi report. I regret that the additional views of the report adopted solely by six members of the Republican minority unfairly criticizes Secretary Clinton." What about that A.B.?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, I think it does point to culpability on her part. I disagree with the judge. I think it's a very tough report on the administration, members of the administration who the report says flat out mischaracterized the situation, offered conflicting accounts of what happened on the ground, and says these attacks were preventable, that the security situation was woefully inadequate and they likely could have been prevented if the security was adequate.

I think it's going to be very tough for Hillary Clinton in the years to come because the report places the blame squarely on the State Department. For her to answer these questions, I don't think any Democrat would ever use it against her, but every Republican and any Republican who goes up against her will in a presidential cycle because they will say, you know, you are the one who questioned President Obama about his experience and you are the one who counts yourself responsible. And there was no cover-up that was found, but they blamed the State Department for attacks that they called preventable. I think it's very tough for everyone involved.

BAIER: Well, you say no cover-up. But there is clearly an open question about this story about the protest and about where that all came from considering what the president was briefed about and what the facts are on the ground. Take another listen to Senator Graham today in his Senate statement.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R - AZ: Despite these clear warning signs, the State Department was unprepared. Our diplomatic facility in Benghazi was insecure and had already been attacked multiple times. The false narrative that the New York Times is furthering just so happens to align with the Obama administration's account of the events. But again, facts are stubborn things, and the Senate Intelligence Committee report clearly supports the conclusion that the administration knew or should have known of the terrorist threat in Benghazi during the relevant period and should have prepositioned assets or made other preparations to better protect our people serving there.

GRAHAM: I talked to the deputy director of the FBI who is now retired. He said not one person interviewed by the FBI in Germany ever said there was a protest. All of them said it was a terrorist attack. So how could the FBI have interviews every person on the ground in Benghazi who worked for the State Department saying there was no protest, it was a terrorist attack, and that not get into the system? Did the FBI just sit on those interviews? Who did they give those interviews to?

How could the President of the United States after the interviews were taken go before the American people time and time again for weeks and tell a story about a protest that never occurred? Ladies and gentlemen, this may not be a big deal to you but it's a hell of a big deal to me.


BAIER: OK, Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: And knowing that it wasn't a protest from the first few minutes, because as Fox reported earlier in the week, from the released interviews, the president met with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, with the defense secretary, who had heard immediately that it was a terror attack and not a protest. So he knew it by 5:00 of that day. And then he went on and pretended two weeks.

But I think what's wrong the weakness of the Senate report is this. It blames buildings. The State Department, it blames the CIA, it blames the military, these bureaucracies. In the end nobody, no individual, no human has been held accountable, and on either side of the attack. Remember how the president solemnly said, make no mistake, those who did this will be held accountable? Nobody has been arrested. In fact, on the contrary, 15 people in Libya who cooperated with us are now dead. They have been held accountable.

BAIER: Yes or no, an issue in 2016 or not?


STODDARD: Oh yeah.

NAPOLITANO: Definitely.

BAIER: That's it for the panel, but stay tuned for a special ObamaCare message from one late night show.

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