Is Mike Morell trying to rewrite history on Benghazi?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 12, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


JAY CARNEY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It was explicitly not about Benghazi. It was about the overall situation in the region, the Muslim world.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: It was about Benghazi.

MORELL: I believe it was about Benghazi because the second tick in those talking points was something to the order of, we need to -- we need to bring to justice those people who have harmed Americans. And the only place that happened was Benghazi.

BAIER: So, when the White House talked about that, they were lying?

MORELL: "Lying" is a strong word. I didn't believe what they were saying.

I think the line in there that says one of our objectives here right on the Sunday show is to blame the video rather than a failure of policy.

I think that that is crossing the line between national security and politics. Were they intentionally lying? I don't know. I don't know. You have to ask them.

KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS: Yesterday he said Jay misled the public and reporters in suggesting that that memo was not politicized. Was he lying then or is he lying now?

EARNEST: Well, again, I you think that the point that Mr. Morell makes in his book is the relevant one, which is that it is false to suggest that this thing has been politicized, this tragedy had been politicized by the administration. I think unfortunately we have seen some -- again, as Mr. Morell says -- some who have sought to, rather cynically, try to score political points by politicizing what is a legitimate tragedy. And that's unfortunate.


BAIER: Well, the reaction to Mike Morell's interview. He has got a new book out talking about Benghazi. And there specifically about the talking points and the White House version of the talking points that steered Susan Rice to those five Sunday talk shows. We are back with the panel. Steve, overall, the interview and this specific point?

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I think on that specific point you get sort of a window into the problem with Mike Morell and what is he trying to do now. Mike Morell is trying to rewrite history on Benghazi, particularly with respect to his role. And, frankly, if I were Mike Morell and I had his history on Benghazi, I would want to rewrite it too. But the problem is what he has done in rewriting it in his interview with you and his interviews elsewhere and in his book is as misleading as his original role was on Benghazi. And I will give you two examples. We can talk about this for an hour but I don't think Greta wants to give up the next hour.

BAIER: She doesn't.

HAYES: So two examples. One, he complains bitterly in the book about cherry-picking. He says, well, my critics are cherry-picking and taking some information that supports their case and leaving out stuff that doesn't support their case. He does the exact same thing, and he does it throughout an entire two chapters on Benghazi. He did it in his interview with you. One specific example was when we were talking about or when he writes about whether this was a preplanned attack or not. Well, you interviewed the CIA contractors had who wrote the book "13 Hours," and they said there had been surveillance of the facility. And in their book they wrote that that surveillance sent them into high alert. It was a big deal. They were casing the facility hours before the attack. It doesn't appear in Mike Morell's book. He simply leaves it out.

You can have questions about what they say. You don't have to agree with what they say. But you can't just set it aside. And that's what he does repeatedly.

The other example is your exchange with him on Abu Khattala in the indictment, and, again, whether this was a preplanned attack. He seemed utterly unfamiliar with the specifics of that indictment. He says, well, it wasn't clear that they were attackers. It wasn't clear that they wanted to hurt anybody. It wasn't clear really what they were doing. The indictment very specifically and repeatedly five different times says they came there to kill. Abu Khattala knew that this was a CIA facility. He knew that this was under CIA cover. He wanted to go in and kill Americans because he thought what they were doing, he thought their intelligence activities there were illegal, very specific language, presumably based on intelligence that we have gathered. And he sort of shrugged that off when you asked him about it. Well, you can't shrug it off.

And I guess the final question I would have is don't we deserve something better in this country than to have intelligence professionals who mislead as a matter of course, who did it at the time, who do it in their book, who do it in interviews, and shouldn't we expect that our intelligence professionals would tell the truth and be straight with the American people?


A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL: Well, I mean, Steve is right. This man's credibility has been questioned now going back years. He was accused by Republican senators of lying in his Congressional testimony. And it is true that it's -- it doesn't make a lot of sense that he sees it both as a spontaneous event, but one that was a terrorist attack. So that was sort of confusing.

I think going forward, if nothing else happens to Hillary Clinton on Benghazi, the fact that an Obama administration official said that the State Department failed to protect that ambassador and those three other men is a big deal and will follow her in the campaign.

BAIER: You weighed in last night, but the biggest thing out of all of this?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: He comes out as an unreliable witness, a man who appears to have been over his head and is now covering his tracks.

BAIER: That's it for the panel. But stay tuned for a look at one candidate's awkward moments.

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