Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., spoke to Andrea Mitchell Reports Thursday shortly after wrapping up a four-hour closed-door hearing into the Benghazi attacks.
Lieberman emphasized his focus to go beyond U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s initial comments on the attack and delve into the larger security issues at the diplomatic outpost. “Did the State Department do enough to protect American personnel in Benghazi based on the intelligence of a growing terrorist threat there, before the attack, or should it have closed our mission there because they were unable to protect them?” Lieberman asked.
While the Homeland Security Committee Chairman said he has not reached a definitive conclusion on where the failures lie, Lieberman said he saw a trend emerging after reading all of the classified intelligence. “There was really a growing crescendo of evidence that eastern Libya, Benghazi was becoming a kind of outlawed territory.”
Lieberman kept up his defense of Rice, saying, “I’ve been over the intelligence, the talking points that were given to Ambassador Rice, read over her statements on television that Sunday morning over and over again, met with her and the acting director of the CIA, and it seems to me that everything she said on those many appearances that Sunday morning were within the talking points she had been given by the intelligence community.”
Asked by Andrea Mitchell whether he’s being vetted for a future cabinet position, the retiring senator responded, “I’m completely unvetted at this time. So no, that’s not my plan. I mean look I always say that—and I really feel this—that any time a president calls anybody, and I say that for myself to serve this country, any president that you’ve gotta give it serious consideration. I’ve spent my life in public service, but that’s not my plan and I’m not waiting by the telephone.”