Why Republicans care about Susan Rice and the Benghazi controversy and Democrats don't

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 27, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now the controversy over the Benghazi attack. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl now going "On the Record," accusing the Obama administration of a cover-up. And we spoke with Senator Kyl earlier tonight.


VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to see you, sir.

SEN. JON KYL, R-ARIZ.: Thank you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think so many Republican senators are interested in Benghazi, Democrats aren't, some news -- some new organizations are, some are not?

KYL: Well, it's a bad story for the administration. So if you're a friend of the administration, or a supporter, you're going to want to sublimate the whole story. If you're a Republican, you're going to want to know what are the facts. Why did this thing end up the way that it did? Americans were killed, and there were calls for help. There were warnings of a need for security unanswered.

So what happened? Who made those decisions? We've had a couple people take responsibility, the secretary of state and the president. What does taking responsibility mean? It means, first of all, acknowledging what happened. And so far, this administration has -- I'll say it -- been engaged in a coverup.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why is it so hard to get information? Is it because it was election season and the -- and the two -- the House and the Senate has been out campaigning, the president's been out campaigning? I mean, we are now two-plus months into this, and this is a -- for lack of a better word - - this is four homicides.

KYL: Yes. Well, as -- I think you have it right. For a while, attention was focused on the presidential campaign. The administration succeeded in running the clock out, in effect, not letting the story get out until after the campaign.

But remember, we were going to get a full report right after the campaign. It's now coming on December, and there's still no report for something that happened back in September. There is a reason why the information isn't coming out, and it's because the administration doesn't want it to come out. And they can be pretty effective at just slow-rolling everybody, changing their stories and hiding behind, There's an FBI investigation going on, so we can't talk about.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what I don't like, and maybe I'm wrong -- correct me -- wrong -- it seems to me that a lot of the discussion -- information that does come up here to Capitol Hill is done behind closed doors. I'm always suspicious that things are overclassified and sort of a way to protect the American people from hearing some information that really isn't classified. Am I wrong?

KYL: I hear you say -- I watch you religiously, and you make that point every time. You're right, except that there are some sources and methods that have to be...


KYL: ... protected...


KYL: ... and classified...

VAN SUSTEREN: I agree on some.

KYL: But not nearly to the extent that it has been done here. Much of this could be put out in the open, you're right. But they start with these classified hearings. And hopefully, eventually, it has to come out into open hearings and open testimony by the administration officials.

And they've got to stop hiding behind this notion that there's an FBI investigation going on. This was an act of war, this wasn't just a crime committed. And at some point, it's fine for the FBI to have a matter under investigation, but the American people have a right to know what happened here when the secretary of state and the president of the United States have both taken responsibility for the death of these four people, and now Ambassador Rice has issued a statement saying she was wrong in what she told the American people on five television stations on -- well, what was it -- five days after September 11?

VAN SUSTEREN: Would you be -- I realize that you're leaving the United States Senate, won't be voting on the next secretary of state. But I'm curious. Today, Secretary Rice was -- or Ambassador Rice, rather, was here, and she spoke to three U.S. senators, McCain, Graham and Ayotte, and also to Lieberman, Senator Lieberman. They are not satisfied, except Senator Lieberman seems apparently satisfied with what she said -- all done behind closed doors, nonetheless. But your thoughts on this.

KYL: Well, obviously, she's got to tell her story publicly. The big thing she has to explain is why, as intelligent a person as she is, in a prominent position as U.N. ambassador, having full access to our national intelligence -- it wasn't that this was hidden from her -- she nevertheless went out and made the statement she did. She now acknowledges it was wrong.

Surely, she had some inkling that this wasn't what actually happened. And surely, she read the intelligence information before she went out and spoke to the American people. And apparently, now we're getting stories about what that intelligence contained at the time. Although the thing that really confuses me -- you've now had about three different conflicting stories as to who did what, when within the administration, the intelligence community, secretary of state's office, the White House. And obviously, we have to get to the bottom of it.

It's not all about Ambassador Rice. It's about the White House operation, their press shop, the political operation, the president himself, and as I said, the secretary of state, who does have responsibility for security at the embassies.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, fiscal cliff, House Republicans, a very important decision, Democrats here in the United States Senate, and the president. Do the Senate Republicans have any sort of active role in this discussion on the fiscal cliff?

KYL: Yes. Obviously, we're leading. To Speaker John Boehner and the House, the Republican negotiating position, and the president representing the Democrats in both the House and Senate, to make the -- to kind of present the -- their conclusions to the rest of us to evaluate and vote on. But it still has to be voted on in the House of Representatives. The Republican House members need to support it for it to pass.

And in the Senate, it's not just enough for 51 Democratic senators to be supportive. The rules here permit the minority to have some rights. At least, we still have some rights until the rules are changed. And as a result, we do have a voice. It has to be something that's acceptable to Senate Republicans, as well as House Republicans.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you seen any indication that Senator Harry Reid wants to cut any of the spending?

KYL: No. No.


KYL: You never get him to talk about reducing spending by a dime. It's always about adding revenue. And they're not even satisfied to have more money. They have to specify where it comes from. Rich people have to pay it as a result of an increase in tax rates. Otherwise, we don't want it. Now, that's kind of theology rather than policy, it seems to me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you. Nice to see you, sir.

KYL: Thank you, Greta.