Immediately following Thursday’s closed hearing before the Senate intelligence committee on September’s terrorist attack in Benghazi, the committee’s vice chairman, Saxby Chambliss, told Fox News that there never should’ve been any doubt in the White House that the incident was pre-planned and deliberate.
“We got see it real life and up close, because the community has taken a number of films that were taken from cameras on site, overhead and in different locales,” Chambliess said. “And [they] have come up with a 30-minute film, to be able to show us in real time what happened. And what it did is confirm the fact that there were a bunch of bad guys who stormed this consulate in Benghazi, some carrying automatic weapons, others not carrying automatic weapons or any weapons, but firing RPGs, firing mortars [into] the facility to the annex down the road, which means that it was very clear … from day one, this was a terrorist attack. I mean, it’s just so obvious … to any inexperienced individual, that this was purely [a] terrorist attack.”
Chambliss went on to add “it’s not very likely” the intelligence community will put out unclassified talking points “anytime in the near future.” And he said public hearings on the matter are a likely possibility.
“This is too critical an issue,” Chambliss said. “We have four dead Americans, including a very prominent and a very outstanding ambassador. And the American people deserve to hear it in a public hearing. We’re probably going to have two other closed hearings, but at the end of the day we’ll have an open hearing where the American people will be able to determine for themselves and to hear from these folks to make a decision about what they think happened.”
Chambliss also said U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, whom President Barack Obama staunchly defended at Wednesday’s White House press conference, had access to similar intelligence.
“I think it’s very clear, I don’t want to say that what the CIA was saying to her or not saying to her, although it’s very clear that in her position, she is going to get briefed by the intelligence community. As to who that was, we are still looking in to that, and to try to come to some conclusion. But, the fact is, she went out and was making a political statement. I don’t think there is any question about that.”
Concerning the possible motive behind the attack, Chambliss refuted Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell’s claim that the CIA was holding prisoners in Benghazi.
“CIA has no authority, had no authority in September, or in months before that, to hold any prisoners,” he said. “No, that is not right.”