Rep. Xavier Becerra (D., Calif.) was pressed by MSNBC host Chris Matthews on Tuesday about the response by the American government to the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Also on Tuesday, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued a report on the attack, It in part concluded Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should have understood the risk posed by extremist groups in Libya, as well as laid out government defense orders not being carried out.
"Does it disturb you that the United States president, the president of the United States, and the secretary of defense, a fine guy named Leon Panetta, issued an order to go over and try to save these people and eight hours later, nothing really had been done," Matthews said. "They had a three-hour meeting arguing about God knows whatever, diplomatic niceties or whatever, nothing got done, orders were not carried out. Does that bother you?"
Becerra, viewed as a potential running mate for Clinton, said the event was disturbing.
"I think after some seven, eight, nine investigations, I think it's become very clear we were limited, limited in time, limited in resources, limited in good communication and the result was the tragic death of four Americans which hopefully we'll learn from this, take the lessons and we won't let it happen again," he said.
"If you had somebody or any other American out there in the third world, in a tricky situation … wouldn't you do everything you could because isn't that part of our culture to go back and try to save our people, leave nobody behind, it's an old Marine rule," Matthews said. "What do you think happened in that three-hour meeting in the White House? They were dithering around. I want to know when there's a screw-up, a snafu here, because those other two guys were killed later. Maybe we could have saved them."
"I know you are trying to push, push, push to find out what happened," Becerra said. "My understanding is the president did request that we take action."
"It's called an order. He's commander in chief. When he gives an order it should be followed out," Matthews said.
"He gave the order," Becerra said.
"So, what happened?" Matthews asked.
Becerra then said that a lot happened subsequent to the president's order and before the military's response team arrived. Becerra further emphasized how some things are still unknown and stated that America must support those who serve abroad.