Face the Nation transcripts May 5, 2013: Benghazi and gay athletes - Issa, Rogers, Ruppersberger

CBS News

(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on May 5, 2013, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Guests include: Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md. Plus, the changing face of sports with Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Esera Tuaolo, Ted Leonsis, Domonique Foxworth, Chris Stone and William Rhoden.

Bob Schieffer: Today only on Face the Nation, startling new details about the Benghazi attack from the number two American official in Libya and the impact of gay athletes on American sports and American life. It's been almost eight months since the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed us ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. We'll get new details today and more insight into the stunning contradictions between the president of Libya and Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice when they appeared after the attack on Face the Nation.

Libyan President Mohammed Magariaf: This was preplanned, predetermined.

Susan Rice: We did not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.

Schieffer: We'll tell you some of what career diplomat Greg Hicks, who was in Libya during the attack told investigators for House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa. We'll hear from Issa and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers and the committee's ranking Democrat, Dutch Ruppersberger. On page two, we'll talk about the emergence of gay athletes in professional sports with an all-star panel including tennis legends Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. Two NFL stars pushing for gay rights, former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and former NFL defensive lineman Esera Tuaolo, plus Ted Leonsis, owner of three Washington sports teams, the Wizards, Capitals, and Mystics. The president of the NFL players association, Domonique Foxworth, Chris Stone, managing editor of Sports Illustrated and William Rhoden of the New York Times. A lot of news, but this is Face the Nation.

Announcer: From CBS News in Washington, Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer.

Bob Schieffer: Good morning again. Well we start with the story that won't go away. On September 11th of last year, the American compound in Benghazi was attacked. The US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans were killed. Exactly what happened that night has been investigated by various agencies and congressional committees but remains a source of controversy. And today there is new information raising questions about whether there was a cover-up by the State Department to deflect criticism that it had ignored requests for more security for its people in Libya. Republican Congressman Darrell Issa heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, one of the committees that's been investigating. This week they'll hear testimony from Greg Hicks, a 22-year Foreign Service diplomat who was the number two U.S. official in Libya who was talking to Washington during and after the attack. Chairman Issa is here today to reveal some of the startling excerpts from Greg Hicks' interview with his investigators. Surprisingly, this will be the first time anyone has heard publicly from Hicks, and as you will see, his story is totally at variance with what some American officials were saying in public on this broadcast five days after the attack. The administration claimed the attack grew out of a spontaneous demonstration provoked by protests in Egypt. Greg Hicks told investigators that was simply not true. Part of what he said:

Greg Hicks: I thought it was a terrorist attack from the get-go. I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning.

Question: ...Did you ever have any indication that there was a protest, a popular protest, outside the mission in Benghazi?

Greg Hicks: No question.

Question: And if there was such a protest, would that have been reported?:

Greg Hicks: Absolutely... for there to have been a demonstration on Chris Stevens' front door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable.

Bob Schieffer: So Mr. Issa, why would the administration put out a storyline that was so different from what US officials in Libya knew immediately?

Darrell Issa: Bob, that's the great question . We can't find a classified reason for it, we can't find a diplomatic reason for it. Understand that Gregory Hicks, who became the charge, became the acting Ambassador, witnessed our relationship with Libya on this show go the wrong way. Because on this show, Susan Rice says, it was a protest. Well the President, the elected President saying, no it's a terrorist attack. You can't insult a foreign leader in a greater way than happened literally here, just those few days later.

Bob Schieffer: But do you think they were trying to cover up the fact that the State Department had turned down requests for more security, that had been coming in from the diplomats on the ground there. Is that what this is about?

Darrell Issa: Well perhaps in part. But it does seem like it's bigger than that. There was this normalization, sort of a mentality, where you had to pretend like things were safe. The war on terror was over and that may have gone in a great way to getting people to say well, we can't call this a terrorist attack because then, the war on terror is back alive. Well, Bob, the war on terror is very much alive. Whether it's Chechen nationals that come here or it's what's going on in Syria, it's Al Qaeda around the world and that's the reality that hopefully state department people will feel at least they are being properly protected after this attack.

Bob Schieffer: The Weekly Standard reported that the first reports that went out from the CIA, including the assertion from the U.S. government that they knew there were Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda participating in this attack but after seeing the first version of the talking points, the Weekly Standard says, a ranking official at the state department who they have identified as Victoria Nuland who is a spokesman for the department sent a message, they were worried that members of congress would use the talking points to criticize the State Department for not paying attention to agency warnings about needing more security. And it was after that, that these different versions of the talking points came out. Can you confirm that?