Former Secretary of Defense Speaks Out on Benghazi: ‘There were forces that could’ve done something.’
May 20, 2013 - 12:49 pm
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ripped President Obama today for “ducking, bobbing and weaving” rather than accurately describing the Islamist terrorist threat. Rumsfeld appeared on the Andrea Tantaros Show.
When the subject turned to Benghazi, Tantaros asked Rumsfeld who could possibly have given the “stand down” order that prevented US Special Forces from going to Benghazi to relieve the Americans under seige at the hands of terrorists in the 10-hour attack.
“When you have people that are being attacked, and everyone knew that there were al Qaeda-related organizations threatening Western facilities in Benghazi, the standard procedure is to try to protect your people,” Rumsfeld said, adding that “If you can’t protect them, you pull them out.”
“When they were under attack, at that point the tradition in our country and in the military is to step forward and do what you can to try to save the lives,” Rumsfeld continued. “There were forces that could’ve done something, from everything I can tell. In Tripoli there was a unit, in Sigonella, Italy I believe there was a unit. And someone in that chain of command said ‘Don’t do it,’ and I can’t imagine it. It is the most unprofessional, unmilitary thing. Unless there’s a good reason that I don’t know.”
Rumsfeld served as President George W. Bush’s defense chief from 2001 to 2006. During that time, Democrats smeared him with the Abu Ghraib scandal, charging that both he and Bush were directly responsible for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners because it occurred on their watch. They have not applied similar logic to Benghazi or any other scandal currently swirling around the Obama White House.
Tantaros asked Rumsfeld who he believes should be held most responsible for Benghazi.
“Certainly Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has the principal responsibility for ensuring the security of the people who work for the Department of State,” he answered. “The idea that she could go before a congressional committee and say, ‘What at this point does it matter?’ and chastise the members of the committee for asking questions, I think was inexcusable and I must say I was not very impressed by the response by the members of Congress.”
Later in the interview, Rumsfeld said that the flight time from several US bases near Libya is “relatively short.”
Tantaros also asked Rumsfeld if comparing the current Obama scandals to Watergate is apt.
“I think the comparison is useful one in this sense,” Rumsfeld said. “Leaders lead by persuasion. And to persuasive in our country, you’ve gotta be trustworthy. To the extent that what you say turns out to be inaccurate, incrementally you lose the trust of the American people. The idea that the government would turn against the American people with with Internal Revenue Service, with all of the power that they have, and all of the legal authorities, and all of the people and all of the money…is something that’s so fundamentally against how we function as a democracy.”
Rumsfeld added that lost trust weakened Nixon’s presidency, and he sees the same thing happening in the IRS, media and Benghazi scandals.
Rumsfeld also took issue with the Obama administration’s decision not to establish a status of forces agreement with Iraq, calling that decision “inexcusable.”
Listen to the entire interview here.
The Andrea Tantaros Show is produced for Talk Radio Network by the Fox and Rice Experience.