tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC January 24, 2013 1:00pm-2:00pm EST
>> i'm tired of -- >> when i first came to washington and testified, i was testifying as part of the group of people who came here to have their voices heard, and that is, above all, what this place is about, so i respect, i think, the woman who was voicing her concerns about that part of the world. >> women at war. the pentagon lifts the 20-year ban on women in combat. opening new career opportunities for thousands of soldiers. live coverage coming up of secretary panetta's big announcement. >> perpetrators of these horrific crimes to attain powerful military-stiz weapons. >> can the weapon get bipartisan
support? coming up here new york city kirsten with new details on her bill to crack down on illegal gun trafficking. and the lip sync controversy continues. stephen colbert. >> yes, lip-gate. beyonce-gate. the crisis in lipia. beyonc-ghazi. was there a second singer on the grassy knolls? mr. president, the american people demand answers. what did beyonce sing? when did she sing it? is that even beyonce? it could have been sasha fierce. >> good day. i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. as expected, senator john kerry technically still the chair of the foreign relations committee holding his confirmation hearing today and counted no op sxwligs at that meeting. joining me now is senator bob corker, the top republican on the committee. senator, is it safe to assume
that barring some unexpected, unforeseen circumstance senator kerly will indeed be our next secretary of state? >> it would have to be really unforeseen. i don't think there's any question, and we'll have the business meeting, i think, on tuesday morning, and the senate committee, foreign relations committee, and i think it will be voted on immediately and sworn in probably on february the 1st. i think that's what's going to happen. >> having someone in charge of seeing all the incoming. >> you know, i really looked at secretary clinton's testimony yesterday as a way to semi close the chapter on that. i do think there are a number of recommendations through the arb that was put fort to really find out what the flaws were and why this happened. yes, it was the -- >> that was the accountability
review board just to explain the arb, but the review board led by tom pickering and admiral mullen, two very experienced people. >> right. so it will be -- actually john kerry's responsibility, as you know, to carry forward with those. as you know, andrea, there are four people that are on administrative leave, and there's still no one really that has yet been accountable for the fact that they knew there were issues there. you have the ambassador just screaming for help, if you will, security-wise. i still think there are things that will occur. i'm fully confident that future secretary kerry will deal with those issues. i think he will be committed to trying to rectify that and make sure it doesn't happen again. >> when the frustration boiled over during the conversation between senator johnson and
secretary clinton, she was not saying that they didn't make mistakes and they didn't need to fix it, but she was saying that it doesn't matter whether the talking points were wrong or misphrased, that that was not the issue. that at the time she was dealing with four dead americans and trying to figure out protests around the world, and there was a lot of other stuff that was happening. is that acceptable to you? >> yes. i think what was happening in that exchange i think they were talking past each other. i think she was trying to convey what her state of mind was at the time, and i think did a good job, actually, laying out the fact she was dealing with issues in egypt and other places. let's face it, the way this got off on such a terrible foot, it was a sunday morning programs that were out there. we all knew it was a terrorist attack. secretary clinton said the next
day it was a terrorist attack, and it did appear in the height of a political campaign that maybe there was some shading that took place in addition to that, and i think this really took it over the top, andrea. we had a briefing on september 20th that was one of the most bizarre briefings i have attended in six years. the intelligence community was so vague and non-forthcoming. senators on both sides of the aisle left there scratching their heads. the way this was all presented created a tremendous amount of distrust regarding everything that happened. i do hope we'll fix it for the future. that's always my focus. i don't want to see this happen again. i do think there were mistakes made. i have a meeting with director clapper on february the 2nd. the head of our national intelligence. to me the intelligence community did a disservice as to how they talked about this event and how
they shared information, so there's a lot of issues here. i think in that exchange that you're talking about, they were really talking past each other about two different things, and i can understand how that might occur. >> do you think that the benghazi controversy, the failures that had been acknowledged certainly by that review board, should that in any way be held against hillary clinton if she ends up being a candidate? should it disqualify her or be something that needs to be part of her legacy? >> you know, the american people can judge that. i've had numbers of conversations with her. i do think, again, a big part of what americans and people here on both sides of the aisle were concerned about were the communications. was the intelligence and candidly, the fact that we really have missed it in north africa. the fact is that, you know,
there was a lot of spiking of the ball, concerning what happened with bin laden. it was almost as if al qaeda had gone away. as we see especially with the arab spring a whole new era is being rushed many to -- we know that we're almost in greater threat today than we were in the past. >> i think people think she acquitted herself well today. there are routine that is you go through at the state department to try to correct these things. it was a traversy. people loved chris stevens. they respected him. i knew him. i didn't know him quite as well as some of the other people that have been around for a long time, and i think people felt it was an unfortunate loss that could have been prevented with better actions by the state department. quickly, i don't know if you have been briefed on this, but i
know the u.k., the brits, as well as germany and the netherlands, are asking all of their nationals to get out of benghazi because of specific threats. do you know anything about new terror threats in libya against westerners today? >> i really don't today, andrea. i will tell you, i think you know i was in libya just a few weeks after what happened in benghazi, and the country is not the country as most people view it. benghazi itself, at the time that chris was there, was controlled by militias. andrea, i have seen security tapes. i've seen the drone tapes. it was amazing how the guards who were there, once they saw the crowd approaching them, really just jumped in a pickup truck and high-tailed it away from the compound. there's no security that's there that's real. the government has no control, and i i do think that certainly people there on our behalf,
especially out in areas like benghazi are there at great risk. you know, i feel relatively good about our folks in tripoli. we have a different regime there. it's an unsafe country, and candidly, has a lot -- we've had that vacuum that the arab spring created there that is really being filled in by extremists and militants. we're seeing that in mali. we're seeing that obviously in algeria, and it's something that we as a nation are going to contend with for some time, and i hope that senator kerry and the new defense secretary, whoever that ends up being, it looks like, you know, it may be chuck hagel, i hope that they will push ahead with policies that recognize that the country -- the world is a very unsafe place right now. i don't think for some period of time now we fully have taken into account these mutation that is have occurred as it relates to the arab spring.
>> thank you so much, senator corker. >> thank you. a number of key senators are leading the way on guns. even before newtown. now there's new urgency, of course. new york senator kooersen has been been working across the aisle for a ban on gun trafficking. also today senator dianne feinstein introduced her ban on assault weapons. >> we have tried to recognize the right of a sit sfwlen to legally possess a weapon. no weapon is taken from anyone. the purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time. >> i am telling you between this battle between now and when we get this passed you are going to hear from the nra, and there are an awful lot of them saying that's not going to do anything. i'm saying to you at the we can save lives. >> will it be hard? for sure. we owe it to our constituents and our country to try.
new york city senator, you have a bill on an anti-gun trafficking measure. tell me about whether or not you think that you can push ahead with it, where the support is, what can you tell us about it today? >> well, i have been working on this anti-trafficking measure for a while because we have such a challenge in new york. 58% of the weapons used in crimes come from out of state, and 90% are illegal. senator mark kirk and i sat down yesterday talked about our bill, and we decided we're going to introduce this bipartisan bill next week, and i think it's something that can really make a difference because we have to stop the flow of illegal guns going straight to the hands of the criminals. that will be awe great compliment to what senator fine sign and senator schumer and others are working on because it's the compliment of these types of changes.
>> there's no cream to be a straw purchaser and to take weapons from a state like -- a southern state and bring it up to new york and sell it out of your truck to criminals. there's no law that says you can't do that, and so now we're giving law enforcement the tools they need to go after these criminals and these criminal networks to make sure they can't be selling the guns right out of the back of a truck. >> what about background checks? what about registration? >> huge. the backgrounds bill is vitally important. senator schumer has been working on this issue for a very long time. what his bill, did ch i co-sponsored, others will as well, is going to basically say you can't buy guns without getting a background check. today about 40% of guns are purchased without a background check, so that means if you have been kwigtsd of domestic violence or are greyly mentally ill or have a record of violence, you could buy a gun off the internet or at a gun show. it's a vast loophole that needs to be closed, and i know that that's something we're going to work on very hard and try to get
passed as well. i think the two bills, the -- having the anti-trafficking and closing the background check loopholes going to make a huge difference because once everyone has to get a background check, you want to make sure then it doesn't start to have an undergrournd market. you don't want to increase the amount of trafficking. if you do those both together, will you really reduce the. >> now, we know that women have been in combat, women are being injured in iraq and are dying in iraq and afghanistan. they don't have the benefits. they don't have the ability to move forward in their careers because they are barred from combat, which is the one barrier that makes it possible to advance in the military. >> that's exactly right. >> is this going to face opposition? i know you have fort drum in
your state and a lot of military in new york. >> no, don't think so. >>. >> the reality sshgs andrea, women have been fighting in combat in iraq and afghanistan, but they haven't been getting the credit for it. what we want to make sure is that women can be promoted, and combat is often required for certain promotions or certain leadership posts. we only have one woman who is a four star general, and we have a lot of strong women who are serving ably and bravely who would do well in leadership roles. we want to make sure all our best and brooits can serve in all roles that they're appropriate for. this is an important day for the u.s. military, and the fact that the military has made this decision i think speaks volumes about how ready the military is to make this change. >> what do you say though those -- some have been interviewed saying -- the unit cohesion to have women in the barracks along with the men and women in the fox holes along with men? >> listen accident they're already in the fox holes with men. i can tell you there's a lot of
women who have lost their lives in iraq and afghanistan already. over 100 women have been injured. about 800 women have been injured because of combat operations. women are in these wars fully. we want to make sure they get the credit for it and the recognition for it, and they can be promoted along with their colleagues to the positions that they are frankly not only qualified, but should be in because they have the leadership skills to make us stronger. we not cannot have a military ready armed service ifs we don't have all of our best and brooits serving exactly where they're trained to serve. >> and where i let you something g, finally, chuck hagel, will you be able to vote for him for defense secretary? >> i'm sitting down with chuck this afternoon. i have tough questions for him with regard to iran and israel. i also have concerns with how he will treat women in the military. i want to make sure that he will be a leader for making sure we reduce the number of violence against women in the military.
some estimates are 16,000 assaults or rapes a year in the missile. that has to end, and so we need to champion for women. we also need a champion for the full repeal of don't ask don't tell, and there's a lot of privileges that spouses of lgbt couples are not getting today. i need to know from him that he will not not advance the policies of the administration, with iran, with women, with lgbt and be a leader on those issues, and that's what's most important to me. i'm hopeful that this afternoon i will get some very clear, direct, and honest answers on those issues, and feel assured that he can lead our military in the direction it needs to go. >> thank you so much, senator. we hope to follow-up with you on that in the coming days after your meeting. thank you. >> next, in our daily fix, what challenges now await john kerry? the whole world, in fact. still ahead, equality on the frontlines. more on the pentagon's big announcement about women in combat. we'll have this live. this is andrea mitchell reports only on msnbc. your soups are so awesomely delicious my husband and i can't stop eating 'em! what's...that... on your head?
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>> secretary clinton's reaction was, and i quote, what difference at this point does it make? you know, trying to get to the truth of the matter in benghazi, i think it matters a great deal that the american people get the truth. my question is do you agree with that point? are you willing to work with me, or do you basically kind of agree with hillary clinton that, ah, that's kind of yesterday's news, and let's move on? >> well, senator, if are you trying to get some daylight between me and secretary clinton, that's not going to happen here today. >> indeed, it won't happen today or tomorrow. the mood was considerably lighter at the senate foreign relations committee today as the committee's outgoing chairman enjoyed support, just about from everybody, and from hillary clinton and john mccain as well
on his glide path towards confirmation to be secretary of state. that's the easy part. the hard part is what comes next. joining me now for our daily fix is chris caliz sxwl a and post politics.com nbc capitol hill correspondent kelly oh donnell and usa today's washington bureau chief, susan page. thanks very much. first to you. >> sure. >> john kerry has a lot -- very heavy lift to climbing budgets, climbing support for the state department. you have pakistan and afghanistan, with the drawal from afghanistan that will only make it harder, and that has impact on pakistan. china, and russia. leadership in russia, as you know, very, very complicated. where does he look first for support, and, you know, who wants this job? >> i would say the middle east -- the hard thing that you hit on is the challenges for a secretary of state and for the united states generally in foreign policy have not waned. they have probably increased.
in libya and benghazi and secretary clinton tried to make this point and senator kerry as well that the funding for all of these things is -- it's a fine it amount of money, and it's shrinking at the moment. the difficulty of a world that remains kredably complex, probably more complex, with our somewhat increasingly limited ability to sort of address every hotspot that we like, it's a very, very difficult challenge for any secretary of state. john kerry or anyone else. we saw it with hillary clinton. yes, she had successes clearly, but she also centeringled at times too. i don't know if it's a job no one wants. john kerry clearly wants it. it's not an easy job, by any measure. >> in fact, john kerry has want that job all his life. susan page, he even got emotional today talking about his father, who is a foreign service officer and how he was raised az foreign service kid traveling around the world.
something that was held against him when he was running for president in 2004. when you look at this transition, it's an interesting moment for john kerry, who has been doing missions privately and publicly, secretly as well for the obama white house to actually have the title, have the building, have the airplane. it's going to be very hard for him to make a difference in this world especially with the -- >> that's true. you could look at this another way, which is the war in iraq the u.s. role has come down. in afghanistan most u.s. combat troops will be out by the end of next year. that is also an opening for a secretary of state with big ambitions because that whole set of problems are eased somewhat for the u.s. it's possible to look at other priorities. it's possible to look at other he openings in that part of the world.
john kerry testified before the senate foreign relations committee before marco rubio was born. >> 1941. >> this is a job for which he is prepared, and as you know, the last four years, he has donnie number of missions. some we know about. some we don't. on behalf of this administration when it comes to foreign relations. >> kelly o'donnell, i want to ask you about guns because greg sergeant in the washington post is blogging that joe manchin has told a west virginia radio station that he is working with others, with democrats and republicans, on the universal background check. also on closing the gun show loophole. joe manchin, who, of course, campaigned for the office holding a rifle. this is a big change. >> well, for joe manchin, this is a critical time. he was just reelected to a full-term. he has a bit of breathing room, and this is an issue that he is willing to really try and find some ground. he will talk about his a-plus rating with the national rifle association, and a state like west virginia has a long history
and kind of cultural tie to guns so, he understands it from that point of view. at the same time he is saying he wants to try to find a way to do more. now, today senator dianne feinstein introduced her assault weapons ban of 2013. she had been responsible for one back in the 1990s, and that is probably a step where joe manchin is not yet ready to go. is there a place where democrats can get together around something that relates to dealing with the gun violence issue, and also these other political considerations? joe manchin is one of the most sought after people on this topic because as a democrat, his point of view is important, and he can carry some weight among those especially in cob stitch wents and perhaps even in other states having an impact if someone as authentic when it comes to guns has some view on background checks or things like that. andrea, if i could just add the sort of john kerry moment, he is one foot in both places. i've been on the elevator with him a few times in the last couple of days. he talks about being so anxious
to get going, and he already has a diplomatic security detail with him. he is a man of the senate or the of the department that he may be confirmed to. middle ground 2340u which you get the sense of how much home world war i he is doing. not only for the hearings, but for all those tough challenges that you outlined in the job should he be confirmed. >> i covered the hearings they were talking about today back in the 1990s when basically john kerry and john mccain worked together to find out about our p.o.w.'s and m.i.a.'s, to dispel the conspiracy theories and to make it possible for bill clinton, an anti-vietnam protester, you know, back in the day, to actually have political cover and normalize relations with vietnam, an important step, and, finally, very quickly, there is a washington post-abc poll today showing a 53% majority for the president's gun control proposals. >> you know, andrea, this -- the president's proposals remain popular. the thing would i note in that poll is the proposals are
rallying republicans against the plan. even though if you ask them -- if you don't ut put president obama's name to it and say it's part of his plan, they support some of the measures in the plan. they just don't support it when it's president obama's plan, which does, i think as we get -- runs through congress, will see, but it's rallying the democratic base. we know that. behind the proposal. it's also rallying the republican base against it. >> thanks to all. next, women in combat. a seismic shift in the u.s. military policy. hi i'm terry, and i have diabetic nerve pain.
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[ male announcer ] how about v8 v-fusion. a full serving of vegetables, a full serving of fruit. but what you taste is the fruit. so even you... could've had a v8. but what you taste is the fruit. did you just turn your ringer off so no one would interrupt and.us?one. oh no, i... just used my geico app to get a tow truck. it's gonna be 30 minutes. oh, so that means that we won't be stuck up here, for hours, with nothing to do. oh i get it, you wanna pass the time, huh. (holds up phone) fruit ninja!!! emergency roadside assistance. just a click away with the geico mobile app. >> we're waiting the announcement by secretary panetta about women in combat. nbc chief foreign correspondent richard engel joins us now. you've seen it up close. you've seen men and women, women embedded with the troops. what difference do you think this will make? it makes a big difference in
terms of career advancement? what about unit cohesion and all the other obstacles that critics are suggest sng. >> >> in some cases this is already happening. i remember a time in kandahar i was with a small unit of military police. there was a female lieutenant leading the group, and she was in the city of kandahar, which is a dangerous place. if are you walking around in kevlar carrying a rifle, walking through the streets of a dangerous city, are you in dom bat, especially in the kind of combat you have today when there aren't frontlines, and there are urban environments. she lived with other american soldiers. she lived in this same very dirty room that smelled of feet almost all the time. they got along very well. i can imagine if you multiply that throughout what they call theater of battle and you have
women in these tiny frontline outposts across the country that it would be a major adjustment. they will be logistical things that they'll have to adjust to. not just latrines, but they'll have to have more sensitivity training because these outposts are very macho, very aggress he have kinds of places. it will be a big adjustments. >> but it's an adjustment that the women all welcome. there is a lot of support for this on capitol hill from both republicans and democrats because they all have constituents, and they all see that these women are blocked. they're barred from promotions, and they're suffering all of the trevail of combat or being in a war zone without having the benefits. >> and without having certain, as you say, career advancement. there is some pay implications as well. what i just wanted to see is how this plays out. how -- so technically, yes, they can be in combat. will the commander have discretion as to where to send
women? will he not send them or she not send them to certain very dangerous outposts that are just thinking some of these places deep in the mountains of afghanistan where maybe you only have 15 or 20 soldiers manning a political place, and they're living there months at a time and there's very little supervision. there's very little food. it's very cold. will a commander now feel obligated or be obligated to make that a co-ed post, or will that be his decision? so is this a lifting of the bureaucratic principle that allows for more pay, equal opportunities, or will the commanders still have some discretion as to which posts he thinks should be just men traditional combat troops or will they all have to be co-ed. i'm cure where yous to see how this is implemented. >> thus just the beginning. the first step. it will be -- if he is
confirmed -- chuck hagel will have to carry out this policy that leon panetta is announcing shortly along side the chairman of the joint chiefs martin dempsey. also, as we've been sitting here today, and i think panetta is coming into the room, richard, so let's listen to what the secretary of defense has to say. >> good afternoon. one of my priorities as secretary of defense has been to remove as many barriers as possible pour talented and qualified people to be able to serve this country in uniform. our nation was built on the premise of this citizen soldier.
in our democracy i believe it is the responsibility of every citizen to protect the nation and every citizen who can meet the qualifications of service should have that opportunity. to that end i've been working closely with general dempsey and the joint chiefs of staff who have been working for well over a year to examine how can we expand the opportunities for women in the armed services? it's clear to all of us that women are contributing in unprecedented ways to the military's mission of defending the nation. women represent 15% of the force, over 200,000. they're serving in a growing
number of critical roles on and off the battlefield. the fact is that they have become an integral part of our ability to perform our mission. over more than a decade of war they have demonstrated courage and skill and patriotism. 152 women in uniform have died serving this nation. in iraq and afghanistan. female service members have faced the reality of combat, proven their willingness to fight, and, yes, to die to defend their fellow americans. however, many military positions, particularly in ground combat units still remain lossed to women because of the
1994 direct ground combat definition and assignment rule. military and civilian leaders of this department have been taking a hard look at that rule based on the experiences of the last decade. in early 2012 we announced a series of modifications to that rule which opened up more than 14,000 new positions to women, including positions that were co-located with ground combat units and certain positions in ground combat units below the battalion level. these changes have been implemented and the experience has been very positive. every time i visited the war zone, every time i've met with troops reviewed military
operations and talked to wounded warriors i have been impressed with the fact that everyone, everyone, men and women alike everyone is committed to doing the job. they're fighting and they're dying together. and the time has come for our policies to recognize that reality. the chairman and the joint chiefs of staff and i believe that we must open up service opportunities for women as fully as possible, and, therefore, today general dempsey and i are pleased to announce that we are eliminating the direct ground combat exclusive rule for women, and we are moving forward with a plan to eliminate all unmess
gender-based barriers to service. in a few moments after we speak we will both sign a memo that will rescind the 1994 barrier. our purpose is to insure that the mission is carried out by the best qualified and the most capable service members regardless of gender and regardless of creed and beliefs. if members of our military can meet the kwaul ficks for a job, and let me be clear. i'm not talking about reducing the qualifications for the job. if they can meet the kwaul ficks for the job, then they should have the right to serve regardless of creed or color or gender or sexual orientation. having conducted an extensive review, the joint chiefs of staff have developed a very
thoughtful approach to integrating women into occupations across the force. i strongly agree with their guiding principles and the specific milestones that they propose. we are all committed to implementing this change without compromising readiness or morale or our war-fighting capabilities. positions will be open to women following service reviews. using the joint chiefs' guiding principles and following congressional notification procedures established by law. for this change in policy to succeed, it must be done in a responsible, measured, and a coherent way. i'll let general dempsey describe our plan of action in greater detail, but the bottom line is that -- >> just heard secretary panetta say that they are going to in a
responsible and measured way open combat opportunities to women. republican senator kelly ayotte serve says on the armed services committee. what is your reaction to this? >> i want to commend secretary panetta. i think this is a very positive step, and it reflects the reality of what's happening, obviously, in defending our nation and the reality of our country. you know, already 20,000 women have served in afghanistan and iraq. you heard the secretary say that 152 of them have given their lives in the line of duty. two of those women have earned the silver star, so this reflects the reality of what's already happening, what needs to happen, and make sure that our nation is defended. >> at this stage do you think that it's going to move very quickly? what are you going to want to monitor in terms of your oversight of how rapidly this can be done? >> well, i think that secretary panetta and general dempsey laid
out a very important plan. they are in general going to give opportunities for women that they deserve, and they'll evaluate the qualifications of each position and make sure that it's appropriate. given the readiness of our forces and like so many of them do now very bravely serving. >> i know that you were one of the big critics of benghazi and how the administration handled it? you must have been watching the hearing with secretary clinton yesterday. >> i was. >> are you satisfied now that you have the answers that you want, or do you think that more needs to be done? >> well, andrea, i still think there are some outstanding questions. we all respect secretary clinton's service as a secretary of state. i did have some questions following it. she said yesterday that she was clear-eyed about the dangers and threats in benghazi, but it lael didn't make sense to me that the
requests, for example, that august 16th cable where ambassador steechbs had said that the consulate could not with stand a coordinated attack. it seems like there's there should be a trip wire particularly where we come out of a war zone in libya did go up the chain of command. that did not happen here. i think that's a very important to be clear-eyed i would think that you would want to be more focused on the actual security request, and she also was aware that the british had closed their consulate and the tashg on the british ambassador, so if made me wonder why weren't we asking tougher questions about the security and whether our consulate should remain open in those circumstances. at the confirmation hearing for john kerry, one of your colleague, senator ran paul, was very sharply critical of the administration's decision to go into libya in the first place without coming to congress for a war resolution. let me play this for you.
>> you can be absolutist and apply it to every circumstance. the problem is it just doesn't work in some instances. when 10,000 people are about to be wiped out by a brutal dictator, and you need to make a quick judgment about engaejment, you certainly can't rely on a congress that has proven itself unwilling to move after weeks and months sometimes. >> apparently they went at each other. we'll show more of that later. senator, what do you think of the whole issue of congress's responsibility to declare war or under the war powers act, notification -- is that notification enough to be relevant committees? >> andrea, first of all, you know, i think that congress has an important responsibility when we declare war. also when we're involved in a military conflict, and as a member of the armed services committee, i want to make sure that we're involved in those decisions and we support our commander in chief. i supported the president's
decision to intervene in libya. what i think also is important is to understand when we do become involved in some way, one of the biggest concerns i have about libya is the fact that we didn't secure those weapons. the weapons cache that the gadhafi regime had, and now we're seeing those weapons go across the sinai. we've heard that some of them may have showed up in algeria where the three american hostages were murdered. when we're involved, i think the congress has to be involved, but we need to be working together on this to make sure that the outcome in these situations we're securing weapons that are in place and things like that, and i'm very worried about that in syria as well. >> thank you very much, senator. >> thank you. appreciate it. >> and coming up next, the new chairman of the house homeland security committee, texas congressman michael mccall, another critic of benghazi. arch] [ male announcer ] the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy.
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was grilled in the house and the senate. both panels asking her, of course, about benghazi. one of the tough questioners was texas congressman michael mccall, the new chairman of the house panel on homeland security. he joins me now. congressman, you were very tough on hillary clinton. do you think that clinton has answered the questions, and some people are suggesting that the questioning was too much of a grilling for her, that the benghazi situation was something that was happening many different capitals. they were dealing with demonstrations and potential takeovers at embassies around the world, and they were really struggling with a developing situation. >> look, we have tremendous respect for secretary clinton, but the fact is the american people are entitled to the truth in this case. people need to be held accountable. i asked her specifically about this august 16th cable that went
to her office warning about the security situation. she said she never had seen that cable, and that nobody in her office had seen that cable so who did so cable? youcable? he basically had a cry for help from the ambassador that went unnoticed by the state department and i think that's a real tragedy is you have an ambassador killed for the first too time in 20 years. three others dead. when security precautions could have been taken and remember this embassy was attacked in april, may and june by rocket-propelled grenades, ieds, prior to that time so it's a real tragedy i think could have been avoided and i think looking forward what can we do to make sure we never have a benghazi situation again. >> do you think the reforms put in place with a threat assessment and review of outposts, will that deal with this problem or do you think that more needs to be done? >> i think so, but again, when
you have an ambassador crying for help and that goes disregarded by the administration, that's a serious problem. i hope that never happens again. i know there are new protocols the secretary said she is putting in place to deal with this but there's also called a roger cable an i'll submit a question to the record to find out whether the ambassador had a direct line to the secretary to get this type of security put in place. again, this could have been prevented and it's really unfortunate that it was not. >> short of putting marines in outposts such as this, it wasn't even a consulate, it was a mission, really, to support an annex, an intelligence listening post, short of having marines where they aren't or never were, what do you think the u.s. should do? we rely on host countries and libya was unable to deal with threat level. >> north africa is the new front in the war on terror.
evidence has come out now that those who are -- the compound, that consulate office in benghazi also part of what happened in algeria. we have a serious al qaeda threat going on and i think we need a strategy in place, we need to refocus our efforts, we need to look at special forces, counterterrorism footprint close by to respond to these types of situations. and remember, you had americans killed in the algerian conflict. one in my district, i'll be at his funeral on saturday. this is becoming more and more of a disturbing factor as it also relates to the release of the blind shaikh. we heard the president of egypt talk about and those in benghazi. there's a common thread throughout them and i think the administration needs a comprehensive strategy how to deal with this threat. we're -- we've dealt with
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that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." join us tomorrow with david gregory with me and pj crowley. tamron hall has a look at when's next. >> hi, andrea. new reaction to secretary panetta's announcement that women serving in combat roles will be lifted. i'll talk with two female combat serving in congress right now. tulsi gab bard and tammy duckworth. and what happened during this moment in senator john kerry's confirmation hearing, we'll play the audio and tell you what he or play his response. plus, secretary clinton took republican senator ron johnson to task in the hearings yesterday.
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