All-Star Panel: Previewing whistle-blower testimony on Benghazi

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 6, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. DARRELL ISSA, R - CA: The amazing thing about the ARB is that it is simply wrong. And it's one of the reasons that whistle blowers are coming forward right now. Gregory Hicks, for example, has never been allowed to see the classified ARB report, which is pretty absurd when you consider he is the most knowledgeable person in country that can testify as to what was going on and what the ambassador thought and said, and, ultimately, he was cut out of the process of those famous talking points.

REP. STEPHEN LYNCH, D - MA: Well, it was scrubbed, it was totally inaccurate. You're absolutely right. There is no excuse for that.  It was false information. And what they try to do is harmonize what happened in Benghazi with what happened everywhere else across the Middle East, which was totally wrong.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: And do you think it was scrubbed because of the fact that that didn't fit into the president's narrative that Al Qaeda was on the run?

LYNCH: I think it was a victory of hope over realty to be honest with you. They were hoping this wasn't the case.


BRET BAIER: Talking there about the talking points that led to Susan Rice's appearance on six Sunday shows after the Benghazi attacks. And then before that, the ARB, the independent panel report that the administration points to about Benghazi. This is ahead, of course, of the hearings up on Capitol Hill. Greg Hicks was the number two man on the ground in Libya.  He became chief of mission after ambassador Stevens died. He will be one of the whistleblowers who testifies. Also, Mark Thompson, a former marine who is part of the counterterrorism bureau. He alleges, according to Fox News reporting, James Rosen, our chief Washington correspondent, that Secretary Clinton and the undersecretary of state, Patrick Kennedy tried to cut the department's counter terrorism bureau out of the chain of reporting and decision-making after Benghazi.

We are back with the panel. James, we should point out, as well as Steve, you have done some great reporting on this in the past few days.  What do we make of all of these things? I mean, these are big developments ahead of this Wednesday hearing.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: They are. I think that's really, in some ways, the story.  You go back to your conversation with Brit. Is this sort of critical mass where you get members, Democratic members of Congress like Stephen Lynch saying in effect saying the talking points were scrubbed; they were bogus; they were bad. I think the more you have of that the more difficult it will be more the mainstream media to stop paying attention to this.

What we have seen over the weekend, first with the story about the talking points and now with Gregory Hicks coming out is the administration's preferred narrative crumbling. And we knew all along that a lot of the things that the administration was claiming didn't add up. And we had bits and pieces to point out that they were not -- that the story that they were telling wasn't accurate. But now we have got details. And we have got details both in documents, emails. We have got details in the actual verbatim talking points and you could see the revisions. And we have got details from credible firsthand witnesses who were on the ground and in communication with both Washington and the people who were in Benghazi that night.

It's going to be incredibly difficult, I think, for the mainstream media not to pay attention to all of these accumulating details because they fill out this story, this narrative, this inaccurate narrative in a way that I think is not helpful for the administration.


A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: I think the mainstream media has been forced to cover this and already knows that this is going to be an explosive week with regard to this story. What the average American who hasn't been paying attention to it and don't know a lot about it is going to learn this week is not just that there was were some talking points that ended up being wrong, as Brit said, perhaps an honest mistake, not just that this is confusing and tragic and no one ever really came up with really an explanation of what happened. They are going to learn that Greg Hicks, the number two guy, was never consulted for the Accountability Review Board report; that he was never brought in to key decision-making in the critical moments. They are going to find out that people were left out who knew the answers.

And that is going to be extremely damaging for the administration and potentially for Hillary Clinton and her presidential plans. The best thing for the administration to do is to be as forthright and open in airing facts as soon as possible. The longer that they are seen as slow walking, hiding, or intimidating anybody, the longer this will lasts, the more painful it will be.

BAIER: Charles, in this testimony that -- we have already seen some of this interview with Greg Hicks, the number two guy, again, on the ground, he specifically says that special forces in Tripoli were told to stand down and not get on a C-130 that was going to go from Tripoli to Benghazi that would have been there in time for the second attack, the second wave. They were told to not get on that plane.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: And he has also said that when he saw what Susan Rice said on television that his jaw dropped, that it was sort of -- it contradicted the first law of diplomacy. Do not contradict and embarrass a friendly foreign leader. Her statement came minutes after the president of Libya had declared that it obviously was a terror attack. It embarrassed him. Hicks was the acting ambassador of course at the time after the death of Ambassador Stevens. He said as a result of embarrassing, humiliating the government, that is probably why the reason there was no cooperation afterwards in the FBI investigation.

But he also says, or at least his lawyer now says, that after his reaction he has been threatened with intimidation, threatened with reprisals, as has Mark Thompson, the other official, the former marine.  And that is by definition a cover-up.

BAIER: Here is what I get most. To what end? This is what -- the question I get. To what end will these committee hearings -- what are they hoping to get? What are Republicans hoping to get to the end? It's essentially the genesis of Hillary Clinton's what --

HAYES: "What difference does it make?"

BAIER: "What difference does it make", in a different phrase. But that's the question you get from Democrats and people who say this is a political witch-hunt?

HAYES: I would hope that Republicans can answer that question with one word or two words - "the truth." I mean, stop thinking about the political implications of this. Don't race ahead of the evidence in front of you. You have seen some comments from Republicans frankly that do this. It's not clear that Greg Hicks wasn't or that the military team wasn't allowed to go to Benghazi because there had been a direct order from the White House or from Washington. We don't know that. So people shouldn't just suggest that we do.

The evidence, itself, I think, already suggests that the administration did not tell a straight story. Deal with the evidence we have. Try to learn more and try to come to the truth.

BAIER: That is it for the panel. We'll obviously have all of that hearing and the wrap-up of it this week. Stay tuned for a local news report that you truly have to see to believe, and a special notice of something that happened today.

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