"Face the Nation" transcripts, September 16, 2012: Libyan Pres. Magariaf, Amb. Rice and Sen. McCain
Egyptian protesters tear down the US flag at the US embassy in Cairo on September 11, 2012 during a demonstration against a film deemed offensive to Islam. Thousands of angry Egyptian demonstrators protested against the film made by an Israeli-American who describes Islam as a "cancer" as an armed mob attacked the US mission in Benghazi killing an official. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/GettyImages) (-)
(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on September 16, 2012, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Guests include: Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., and a roundtable of Israeli Ambassador Martin Indyk, New York Times Columnist Tom Friedman, and Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on FACE THE NATION on the anniversary of 9/11, an attack in Libya takes the life of our ambassador there and three other Americans. And a new attack in Afghanistan today leaves four U.S. service members dead.
As the anti-American protests over a U.S.-made anti-Muslim film spread across the Arab world from Africa to Afghanistan to Australia. Here at home, big questions remain about the safety of U.S. personnel overseas. And how all this will affect Campaign 2012. We will cover it all from all sides with the President of Libya's General National Congress Mohamed Yousef Magariaf; U.N. ambassador Susan Rice; and Republican Senator John McCain.
For analyses, we'll look to former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk; the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass; and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.
Plus, we'll talk to the chief Washington correspondent of The Times, David Sanger; TIME magazine deputy international editor Bobby Ghosh; and CBS News political director, John Dickerson.
This is FACE THE NATION.
ANNOUNCER: From CBS News in Washington, FACE THE NATION with Bob Schieffer.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning again and here is the latest news from overnight. Four American military people have been killed in an attack in Southern Afghanistan. This happened when at least one Afghan police officer opened fire on them at a checkpoint. The State Department has ordered all nonessential U.S. embassy personnel to leave Tunisia and Sudan, and protests against Americans continue in at least twenty countries.
But we're going to start this morning with Libya and the latest on Tuesday's attack. We spoke a little earlier this morning with the president of Libya's National Congress, Mohamed Magariaf. How many people have now been arrested, Mister President?
MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF (President, Libya's General National Congress): Oh, few scores, I think the number reached about fifty.
BOB SCHIEFFER: About fifty people have been arrested. And who are these people?
MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF (voice overlapping): Yeah.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You have said that they were connected to al Qaeda. Are they all foreigners?
MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: Yes, few of them are.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And who are the others?
MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: The others are affiliates and maybe sympathizers.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Where do you think the foreigners are from, Mister President?
MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: They entered Libya from different directions and some of them definitely from Mali and Algeria.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You have said that this does not-- this attack did not reflect anti-American feelings by the vast majority of people in your country. Tell us about that.
MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: Yes, these ugly deeds, criminal deeds against direct-- were directed against them, Late Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues do not resemble any way, in any sense, the aspirations, the feelings of Libyans towards the United States and its citizens.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Was this a long-planned attack, as far as you know? Or what-- what do you know about that?
MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: The way these perpetrators acted and moved, I think we-- and they're choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, I think we have no-- this leaves us with no doubt that this has preplanned, determined-- predetermined.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And you believe that this was the work of al Qaeda and you believe that it was led by foreigners. Is that-- is that what you are telling us?
MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: It was planned-- definitely, it was planned by foreigners, by people who-- who entered the country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their-- since their arrival.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister President, is it safe for Americans there now?
MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: The security situation is-- is difficult, not only for Americans, even for Libyans themselves. We don't know what-- what are the real intentions of these perpetrators. How they will react? So-- but there is no specific particular concern for danger for Americans or any other foreigners. But situation is not easy--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister President.
MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: --to keep stability. Yes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Will it be safe for the FBI investigators from the United States to come in, are you advising them to stay away for a while?
MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: Maybe it is better for them to say for a-- for a little while? For a little while, but until we-- we-- we-- we do what we-- we have to do ourselves. But, again, we'll be in need for-- for their presence to help in further investigation. And, I mean any hasty action will-- I think is not welcomed.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I want to thank you very much for joining us this morning. Thank you, Sir.
MOHAMED YOUSEF EL-MAGARIAF: Thank you so much.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And joining us now, Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador, our U.N. ambassador. Madam Ambassador, he says this is something that has been in the planning stages for months. I understand you have been saying that you think it was spontaneous? Are we not on the same page here?
SUSAN RICE (Ambassador to the United Nations): Bob, let me tell you what we understand to be the assessment at present. First of all, very importantly, as you discussed with the President, there is an investigation that the United States government will launch led by the FBI, that has begun and--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): But they are not there.
SUSAN RICE: They are not on the ground yet, but they have already begun looking at all sorts of evidence of-- of various sorts already available to them and to us. And they will get on the ground and continue the investigation. So we'll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions. But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy--
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