'This Week' Transcript: Sen. John McCain and Sen. Robert Menendez

RADDATZ: Some of the questions have come out of the Pentagon and have been answered about why it took so long.

MCCAIN: Actually -- actually, not satisfactorily.

RADDATZ: How do you think -- how do you...

MCCAIN: Why in the world, on September 11th of all days, with all these warnings, didn't we have assets there for seven hours to -- there are so many questions that -- that are unanswered.

RADDATZ: So this is not over in your mind at all? Not over?

MCCAIN: What did the president do during this period of time? There's two movies been made about getting bin Laden with every tick-tock of every minute. We still don't know what the president was doing.

But more importantly, Martha...

RADDATZ: Did Secretary...

MCCAIN: More importantly than that -- very quickly -- is what's happening all over North Africa? What's happening in the Middle East? Things are deteriorating in a rapid fashion, and it's because of a lack of American leadership.

RADDATZ: Deteriorating certainly in North Africa, a lot of presence of Al Qaida...

MCCAIN: Iraq, Syria.

RADDATZ: Let's go -- let's also talk about -- let's go to Syria. Let's talk about Syria. I actually spoke to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta last week about Syria, and he had some pretty alarming things to say. He basically said those shells that the U.S. knew they were loading, artillery shells, are still sitting there loaded with chemical weapons. Take a listen to this.


PANETTA: Well, they'd have to obviously decide whether they're going to put them on planes or try to load them into artillery, you know, weapons of one kind or another. There are different ways to deploy this stuff.

RADDATZ: Are we talking about minutes, hours?

PANETTA: I think it -- you know, it's the kind of thing that would still take a matter of hours to be able to do it.


RADDATZ: That's the red line for the Obama administration.


RADDATZ: But you have really backed arming the rebels -- arming the rebels and a no-fly zone?

MCCAIN: Yes, the rebels are -- I mean, Bashar Assad is being supplied by the Russians and the Iranians, with Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the ground with weapons. Everything that the opponents of intervening in Syria said would happen if we did have now happened because we haven't. The president said it's a red line, the use of chemical weapons. Bashar views that as a green light for everything less than that. Sixty thousand people...

RADDATZ: How do you know who the rebels are? How do you know who those rebels are?

MCCAIN: ... have been killed -- I met them. I met them.

RADDATZ: You've met them all?

MCCAIN: No, but I've certainly met enough to -- to know who they are. But the sad news is that, as every day goes by, more and more jihadists gain more and more influence, and there's more and more of their presence, which is going to make the post-Bashar Assad situation even more and more complicated. The jihadists are pouring in there. So of course I know who they are.

RADDATZ: Just quickly -- tell me quickly, Chuck Hagel, does he have your backing now? You met with him this week.

MCCAIN: No, but I want to see what happens in the hearing. And I think it'd be important to make a judgment after that. I'm very concerned...

RADDATZ: Are you closer than you were before? You had specific concerns. Did he answer those concerns?

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