Exclusive: Rep. Mike Rogers on Benghazi attack eyewitnesses

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," November 15, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Breaking tonight, eyewitnesses to the deadly Benghazi terror attacks finally get their chance to speak 14 months after lawmakers first requested to speak with them. Four Americans died in Benghazi, Libya, that night. Just this week Congress getting the chance to interview five CIA eyewitnesses in closed door sessions.

Now in an exclusive interview, Republican Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers, joins me. He's chairman of the committee leading the investigation. Mr. Chairman, great to see you.

REP. MIKE ROGERS, R-MICH., HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Great to see you, Megyn and by the way, congratulations on your show.

KELLY: Thank you, sir. It's great to have you here.

I want to ask you -- let's go through it piece by piece so the viewers can follow us. First of all, I want to ask you whether you believe it took 14 months to get witnesses in front of you. You were stone walled in getting access to them.

ROGERS: I don't. Let me tell you why. We had a good base of interviews from the FBI who interviewed them fairly shortly. Not as close as I would have liked but very close to the event. So we had this base of interviews that we were using to try to determine what leadership discrepancies were in what events happened on the ground. At some point it worked at a logical point where we needed to bring witnesses in -- even after they were interviewed by the FBI -- so we would have at least some base and some comparisons to see where the discrepancies were and where the investigation should go next.

KELLY: One of the big issues in this attack is whether the fighting that was going on there was constant or whether there was a lull in the fighting. The reason that's relevant is because the State Department didn't send the counter terrorism team. There was a counterterrorism team here stateside that could have been dispatched and is normally dispatched in incidents such as these but was not dispatched.

One of the explanations we have been given from the administration for the decision not to send that team is, well, the attack, we thought it was over. It happened. It was done. Some have said that's not true. The fighting was ongoing. There was no good reason for them not to send the team.

Do you believe that the fighting was ongoing that the night or do you believe as the administration claimed there were two waves, the second attack at the annex came much later and it wasn't this ongoing thing?

ROGERS: Well, by the testimony we have received over the last few days compared by the testimony that was taken earlier, and it does synch up, it was clear to me that there was intervals of lulls in the fighting including a three-hour block of a lull in the fighting.

KELLY: From when to when?

ROGERS: Well, the very last wave, 2:30 to 5:30. That last wave that happened around 5:30 there was a lull and in between that. Remember there were several different stages. One was where the ambassador was.

KELLY: Compound started 9:30 to 10:30ish.

ROGERS: Yes. By the way, the guys on the ground, heroes, these guys -- we should all be taking our hats off, patting them on the back. Huge courage to leave the annex, go over and rescue folks on the temporary mission facility.

KELLY: Absolutely.

ROGERS: That's beyond question.

KELLY: Just a refresher. The original compound where the ambassador was, was attacked sometime after 9:30 and guy at the CIA annex came to save him. They get there. He's missing. They can't find him. They get some people back to annex, but the ambassador was missing. So the guys who went are heroes and the first wave of attacks took place at the compound, go.

ROGERS: Second wave at the annex was roughly 45 minutes after they got back. Then you have another lull in the fighting. There was another attack. It appears the mortar attack happened some hours later.

KELLY: Let me ask you -- I will give you the floor. Congressman Nunes came on "Special Report" yesterday and suggested there was no lull in the fighting, which would be worse for the administration given the story it's been telling us. Let's listen to him.


CHRIS WALLACE, GUEST HOST: Is that your impression of what happened? There were two separate attacks with an hours-long lull in between?

REP. DEVIN NUNES, R-CALIF.: Well, there is conflicting testimony. I will tell you that I believe the survivors.

WALLACE: And the survivors tell you that it was more constant?

NUNES: I don't think it ever stopped.


KELLY: Why are you guys disagreeing?

ROGERS: Well, you, you're a former attorney, sometimes someone can see the same event and see three different things. The good news is we have the transcripts. We'll sit down next week, go over all the transcripts and we filled in all the gaps. That's why this part of it was so important. You're a recovering attorney yourself. You have to establish the record so you have things to compare with.

So that's really why this was a very, very important part of a very long investigation at least on the intelligence side of it. And by the way, we have done more hearings than anything else in intelligence since the Benghazi attack. This has been a serious effort.

KELLY: Strange to hear two guys from the same party --

ROGERS: I understand that.

KELLY: Let me ask you this. There is a lot I want to cover with you and we don't have a lot of time. There is an allegation that the CIA operatives were forced, asked, whatever, to sign nondisclosure agreements, confidentiality agreements. The accusation is that would be highly unusual for them to be asked because the CIA guys have to sign it at the beginning of their employment. There is no reason to turn around and ask them to sign that again. The suggestion is they were asked to do it at the memorial service for the guys who died in the Benghazi terror attacks. At the memorial they say, hey, can you sign another one, and they did it. Is that true?

ROGERS: It appears they did sign a nondisclosure agreement and they returned to the agency. There are three people interviewed, four that had to sign nondisclosure agreements. There is an explanation for all but one. That's certainly something that came out in the hearings here. We're have to go back and ask further questions on. You have to remember these folks are dispersed all over the world. Administrative things they have to do when there is a change in their agreement. There are rule requirements that they have to sign another one.

KELLY: Mr. Chairman, come on.

ROGERS: I'm just saying --

KELLY: They come back the day of the Benghazi memorial service with nondisclosures already in place. They are asked to sign one? It doesn't pass the smell test.

ROGERS: No, it doesn't. Unfortunately there are reasons to sign it but also it doesn't pass the smell test on the day they came back. That's the one discrepancy out of the testimony that will require further probing by the committee. As a matter of fact, we had meetings subsequent to that on that issue.

Let me tell you one thing that gets missed in this. We spent a lot of time on the time frame and a few minutes difference between the team leaders on the ground and maybe the guys on the ground. Then we spent a whole year worried about that eight, nine, ten, 15 minutes. We'll spend time -- and the nondisclosure agreement is a substantive issue. Here's the problem. The agency folks on the ground told the State Department people on the ground, if you guys behave the way you do now, you are going to die here in Benghazi.

That's a problem. So, they knew it. They requested up through the State Department for additional both armament and additional security services that was denied. Here's the other thing that came out of this I thought we need to get to the bottom of this. There was a posting of a threat in the area, nonspecific, that the agency personnel received leading up to the event.

So think about this. The agency personnel were on high alert. They understood that with 9/11 they had a generalized threat. Why didn't they react to the higher threat environment and why didn't they honor the requests by security guys on the ground at the temporary mission facility supposed to guard the ambassador. They ignored all of that. We'll spend time looking at what happened with the CIA officials on the ground --

KELLY: It's relevant. If the State Department didn't send help people want to know why.

ROGERS: That's a huge problem.

KELLY: Can I ask you very quickly -- is it a fact that Ambassador Stevens spoke to your committee prior to his murder?

ROGERS: Ambassador Stevens did spend some time with our committee prior to his passing.

KELLY: That's significant. You don't normally have ambassadors to Libya speaking to the House Intel Committee. That lays the foundation so the viewers understand for yet another question we should be asking about why he wasn't better protected and why he was even at the consulate on the 9/11 anniversary.

Mr. Chairman, you're a good man to come on. Thank you, sir.

ROGERS: Thank you, Megyn.

KELLY: All the best

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