Sen. Graham: Obama AWOL on Benghazi, deceiving the public and 'trying to run out the clock'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 2, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The FBI, though, meanwhile, is finally on the ground in Tunisia, thanks to two Republican United States senators. President Obama didn't make it happen. It was Republican senators Saxby and -- Chambliss and Senator Lindsey Graham who did it. And they both did it in two days. So the good news, tonight the FBI is in Tunisia to finally question in person the Tunisian man caught on video at the Benghazi consulate during the terror attack.

So how come two Republican U.S. senators could get done in two days what the President of the United States could not get done in weeks?

Senator Lindsey Graham joins us. Good evening, sir.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SC: Good evening.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what is the explanation? I would think, with all due respect to the United States Senate, that if you are the President of the United States, you have -- you have more muscle than you do if you're a member of the U.S. Senate. And the FBI has been trying to talk to this man in Tunisia. Tunisia has said no, and then you and Senator Chambliss got into it two nights ago, and voila, you could talk to him.

GRAHAM: Well, I wrote a letter three days -- two days ago to the ambassador, U.S. ambassador, Tunisian ambassador to the United States, saying that this is a defining moment in our relationship. I'm the ranking Republican on the foreign aid appropriations subcommittee, so I know Tunisia well. I know the prime minister. And within two days, we were able to get the FBI on the ground.

I want to thank the Tunisian government for making this person available to be interviewed by our law enforcement officials, our investigative team. It's not enough to write questions. You have to be on the ground to look people in the eye. And Tunisia came through, and two days after the letter, here we are.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, yes, but I mean -- and it's quite extraordinary because we -- you know, the investigation has been stuck, and my hat goes off to you for getting it done, for picking up the ball and running with it. But the President of the United States, you know, I suspect has just as much influence, if not more, than two U.S. Senators. And so what is your explanation for the fact that you guys had to jump into this?

GRAHAM: Well, my belief is that this administration is trying to run out the clock when it comes to Benghazi. This is a story that changes by the day. What do we know? We know that before the attack in April and June of this year, the consulate was attacked twice. We know that the British withdrew their -- closed their consulate after the British ambassador was attacked in June. We know the Red Cross closed their office in Benghazi after the attack on the Red Cross office.

We know that on August 15, Ambassador Stevens and his security team met and discussed the fact that 10 al Qaeda groups have been identified to be roaming around Benghazi and that they told the State Department, Secretary Clinton August the 16th if there's a coordinated al Qaeda attack, the consulate will be overrun. So that's what we know before the attack.

During the attack, we know that seven, eight hours goes by, and not one military person was able to help these poor people for over seven hours on September the 11th. And after the attack, the administration for almost two weeks blamed this on a video, a mob and a riot that never existed.

The president has been AWOL when it comes to Benghazi, Libya leadership. They've been denying and deceiving the public. And the fact that they haven't pushed hard to get access to this witness is just part of the narrative of running out the clock.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, it's -- it's absolutely extraordinary because, you know, he said that he was going to get us answers. And I'm not suggesting...

GRAHAM: Yes, right.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I'm not suggesting that the FBI's interrogation be made public, but it certainly makes a lot more sense to get him in a time close to the event, rather than waiting three years or three months or whatever. And I -- you know, it's -- I mean, it's, like, it's extraordinary that we would not have wanted to get in there quicker, even that the FBI and the FBI director -- I'm surprised he didn't hound the president, you know, I want to get in there. I would -- you know, I want our people to interview this -- you want to find out what happened in this murder, let's move fast now, and especially since anybody else who's involved is going to scatter.

GRAHAM: Well, this has been the story of Libya for months. The people on the ground in Libya are begging and pleading for additional security. They're being denied additional security, military and civilian security, U.S. Security because we wanted to, quote, "normalize relationships" with Libyan government that didn't exist in Benghazi.

This has been a travesty of errors. It's been incompetency at every level of our government. It's been a lack of leadership by the president. President Obama's in denial when it comes to the true state of al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is alive and well throughout the Mideast. They're counterattacking and our attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is exhibit A of a failed foreign policy of leading from behind.

But you could see this coming for months. The people on August the 15th had a meeting and said, We cannot withstand a coordinated attack.

VAN SUSTEREN: But I mean, there -- there's that. There's all the sort of alarms or red lights, whether it's the attack in June or whatever in terms of security. But the thing -- but then we go into sort of stage two, which is what has been...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... what has happened since then. And it's not only that no one bothered to try to see this Tunisian guy. I mean, if two U.S. senators can make a phone call and send a letter and get us contact, but the president of the United States can't, that's stunning.

But there's even more than that, is that the FBI did visit Benghazi after the attack sometime and left. But then fast forward to last week, October 26th, Foreign Policy journalists go in there, after the place has - - people have been walking all over the place and looking at it, and they he recover documents that are critical to this investigation. Like -- like, the FBI didn't even bother! Like, nobody even cared! Nobody even cared that four Americans are dead! It's a shabby investigation! We're not talking to people! Four people died! And I -- I mean, you wouldn't even see that kind of investigation in a local homicide case!

GRAHAM: I hope the people of the United States who really do care about our national security will understand the poor leadership by this president. Governor Christie said, I was called three times by the president, what can I do to help the people of New Jersey? The president has taken on a leadership role when it comes to Hurricane Sandy. He's been AWOL when it comes to Libya from day one until now.

There has really been no effort by this administration to help the people when they were under attack. This administration ignored many warnings coming from Benghazi, Libya, about the state of play. They've been telling us and the entire world al Qaeda's been dismantled. It was clear to anybody who was listening to what was happening in Libya that al Qaeda was taking Benghazi over.

The president of the United States let the consulate in Libya become a death trap. During the attack, he said he ordered people to help those in Libya, to come to the aid of the people in Libya. Not one person came to their aid. Did they ignore his order, or did he ever even give the order?

After the attack, he's been making excuses that have no absolute sense or bearing to the real facts. The person I blame above all else is President Barack Obama. He has oversold the dismantling of al Qaeda. He spiked the ball when bin Laden was killed and created a sense of security that doesn't exist. And he let these poor people in Libya...

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, but...

GRAHAM: ... go into a death trap and didn't do anything about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: But let's go back to my point, is that once all that happened and these -- and Americans want to know what happened to our murdered -- any murder investigation...

GRAHAM: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... is he doesn't bother to say to the director of the FBI, Look, if you're having trouble getting into Tunisia and talking to him, give me a call. I'll make a phone call so that two U.S. senators eight weeks from now don't have to do my heavy lifting. I got outsourced to two U.S. citizens. (SIC) I mean...

GRAHAM: Let's -- let's just walk through -- how hard would it have been for the president to pick up the phone to the prime minister of Tunisia and say, We're not asking you to turn him over to us. We just want access to this witness. We want to be good allies. We're helping your country get back on your feet. Four Americans were murdered, the first ambassador in 33 years. I want to get to the bottom of this. Mr. Prime Minister, we need your help.

I had one conversation, 48 hours later, the FBI is on the ground. It wasn't that hard. There is no sense of urgency about this investigation. They're trying to run out the clock. There was no sense of...

VAN SUSTEREN: But it -- but -- I -- you say it's no sense of urgency. I frankly don't think that, you know, that -- I don't think he cares! Because you know, if I were in charge of the investigation...

GRAHAM: Well, you know, I'm not going to say that.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know what, though? If you want to get the facts -- he's a lawyer...

GRAHAM: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... you move in really fast. If you've got someone who is a suspect on the scene who was part of this, you know the person's in custody, you don't sit around and say, Let's talk to him next year. You move right now! Any detective in any homicide case in any community in this country is going to tell you don't just ignore it and look the other way and let it sit like this!

GRAHAM: They don't want the truth to come out about Benghazi, Libya, before next Tuesday because if it does come out and it becomes crystal clear to the American people, it will show a failure of leadership by President Obama, that his foreign policy is not working, that al Qaeda has not been dismantled, they're very much on the rise, and leading from behind is not a viable strategy to make us safe in a dangerous world.

That's why you're not going to find anything other than pulling teeth from this administration. That's why they're not picking up the phone and calling people, what any other person would do if they wanted to get to the bottom of it. They don't want to get to the bottom of Libya before the election. They want the election to come, then they'll worry about Libya later.

And they -- thank God for FOX News. Thank God for other outlets like CBS. Thank God for the House Oversight Committee. If it weren't for a probing press and some people in the House and some people in the Senate, we wouldn't know anything about Libya.

This president promised transparency, and the only way you find out anything is to just -- just have brave Americans come forward and tell you the truth, in spite of what the administration is trying to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I'm going to throw in Foreign Policy, who discovered the documents last week in Benghazi, the ones that the FBI didn't bother to see or pick up. Senator, I'm going to take the last word on that, though. Thank you, sir.

GRAHAM: Thank you.