'This Week' Transcript: Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jack Reed

RADDATZ: So, it's acceptable for Jay Carney to originally say there was just one, small change in this? And then, we find these 12 different versions, including a very definitive statement, we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda participated in the attack. That did not appear in there. That's acceptable?

REED: That did not appear in the talking points, but I recall when Ambassador Rice was being interviewed on one of the TV shows she essentially said there were extremist settlements. She did not contradict that.

The president's, I think, statement immediately after the events, I think a day after the event, was this was an act of terror. So, there's no attempt as I think my colleagues on the other side are suggesting that there was a story being created that there was no terrorist involvement, that terrorism was not at all an issue.

I think what was being debated and seriously, again, just a month ago Jim Clapper, the head of the intelligence community in the United States said based on his view as a professional all these years, those comments were about as fair as accurate--

RADDATZ: But let me go back to the act of terror that you say President Obama talked about the next day in the Rose Garden and that Senator McCain disputed. If the president said it was an act of terror, then why didn't that appear on the talking points?

Can the White House really have it both ways, that they say, oh wait a minute, he said act of terror, but a few days later, they take out those references. So they felt pretty confident about it if they sent the president out to say that.

REED: Well, I think -- again I think they created, through an intra-agency process, a document that everyone could agree upon. And that's almost by definition in Washington, something that is not as specific or as conclusive.

RADDATZ: So, what they did is acceptable to you?

REED: Well, what they did, I think, was try in a very chaotic situation, to come up with points that they felt confident of. They didn't want to go too far in two concepts. One, our intelligence resources or assets that you might not want to disclose. Second, there's an ongoing investigation was just beginning. Those two factors also framed the response.

But I think again, when you talk about this sort of political dynamic, when the president comes out and says quite quickly, with the authority of his office, this was an act of terror, the notion that we're somehow trying to disguise this and make it something else, I think falls away very quickly.

RADDATZ; OK. I want to move quickly to Syria. You heard Senator McCain, and he's been saying it for weeks, that there should be a no-fly zone. Would that really work? Do we really know who the rebels are?

REED: We don't have a good sense of who is on the ground and the cohesion of elements that we have been trying to support over many months. And a no-fly zone is a -- could be feasible from an operational standpoint. But it would, I think, inevitably--

RADDATZ: What would it accomplish?

REED: Well, it might accomplish very little, I fact, because with artillery, you can still fire on innocent civilians and rebels. With armored personnel carriers, you can still move forward, displace troops and they can go after civilians on the ground.

It might not accomplish a great deal, but it would give us a step further to our engagement in a very complicated civil war.

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