Retired General Criticizes US Response to Benghazi Attack

Brig. Gen. Robert Lovell testified the U.S. did not do enough in response to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.
6:58 | 05/01/14

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Transcript for Retired General Criticizes US Response to Benghazi Attack
This is a special room. Outside of Libya there were discussions the -- down about what we should do these elements also fought the way they were trained. Specifically the predisposition in -- religious influence at the military structure in the spirit of expeditionary government. Support waiting for request for assistance from the State Department. There are counts of time -- capability. Discussions of the question could we've gotten there in time to make a difference. -- the discussion is not. Could or could not. Of time -- -- capability the point is we should have trucked. As another saying goes always move to the sound of the guns -- That was retired air force brigadier general Robert level on Capitol Hill today testifying about what American forces did. And did not do on the night of the deadly 2012. Terror attacks on Americans at a diplomatic outpost -- -- Ghazi Libya. I'm Michelle Franzen in New York general levels spoke today in front of Republican -- -- house committee and oversight and government reform. Complaining that the military has never given orders to try to intervene in the attack. With that we're joined live now by ABC news chief white horse White House correspondent Jonathan Karl Jon. Remarkable testimony from general level today how much does his story about what happened that night. Of the clash of that night clash with official White House and defense departments account well. It's quite different in the respect that the wolf the Pentagon and the White House have been quite adamant that there was nothing. That the military could of dawn to to help out not a -- going there and and come to the aid of those in the consulate that. US military assets were simply too far away. Admiral -- Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff somebody who was. Appointed to that job by George W. Bush. Was on cod commission that looked at this for the State Department. And concluded point blank that really the military. Did not have necessary assets anywhere near Ben Ghazi. To be able to come to to the help and in fact. -- general global very interest in testimony. No question but he doesn't directly. Take issue with that characterization. His point is as you heard it right there we should have tried their should've been an effort. 22 to get there and there was no such effort. But. The -- he doesn't actually directly make the case. -- if there had been an effort would have been successful he simply saying you know sort of. -- you go to the sound of the guns and in addition to that testimony there's also a new neat email released by the White House National Security Council communications advisor Ben Rhodes writes. In the days after the attack that that ambassador to the UN Susan Rice. Should use your time on that week's Sunday shows to quote show that these protests were rooted in an Internet video and not a broader failure of policy. What is new here. Well. What's new here is is we see that what was then said on the that's an issue by Susan Rice you remember she went out -- -- high of interviews any single Sunday morning. And and she repeatedly on those in those interviews said that the attack and Ben Ghazi began as this protest over Internet video. And what we now see is that that line really came directly out of the White House that was almost exactly what was said there. And that in that email by Ben rose the White House has always said. It's Susan Rice was simply. Presenting the views of the intelligence community that have been prepared by the CIA in the other intelligence agencies. But now you see that the CIA never really talked about an Internet video being a cause of anything in Ben Ghazi. That came directly out of that seems to come directly out of this Ben Rhodes -- this was an email. It was to prepare for her. A conference call it was going to be held about what she would say on on these calls the all on the shows the only thing in that quote -- you just read to me. Is it said is to -- to make. That the goal was. To put blame. On that Internet video. And not on a broader policy failure so the suggestion here is. That Susan Rice went out and said what she said on those call on the Sunday shows because she wanted to deflect criticism of the administration's policies. And of course that email now sparking some criticism that that was prepping her for that is that correct yeah yeah it's it's it's clear that that email. Was part of the prep for her to go on that shows the email just put in the time line here was on Saturday. And the the subject line is you know Susan -- call 4 PM Saturday she goes on the -- Sunday morning is was about preparing her. For the -- now what the White House has said. Is that. That email was not directly about the Ghazi that it was about other questions they thought she would face about the general -- people. Throughout the Arab world you know there was of course day the protests had -- our embassy in Cairo the Ross -- protests and -- Tunisia and and elsewhere. In the Middle East. But you know. Justice look at what was said on those five interviews those interviews were almost entirely about the attack -- -- -- not surprisingly -- just happen. And back to today's testimony what is the White House said. About the general's testimony today. All the way I actually directly asked Jay -- just a short while ago the White House briefing about the general's testimony. And he referred right back to what admiral Mullen had concluded -- he was part of the they the review board that investigated the attack. In saying that there was nothing the military could have done to come to the -- of the console that assets were simply too far away. So the the White House is is saying they don't know exactly what what general -- is is talking about what they have more senior folks. Who have made the case pretty convincing case the military probably would not been able to do -- that night in the Gaza. And following today's testimony what's next for congressman -- -- committee what's the end game here. Well I think you're gonna see a lot more investigation now a lot lot -- inquiry into. Did did this this latest email released from the White House knew that this was an email that was written eighteen months ago the White House had put out a lot of you know what -- about. It's Susan Rice a Sunday show appearance -- about -- what happened in the days after -- Ghazi. This had never been turned over now this has come out I'm sure we'll be more more angry questions about that. ABC news chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl thank you. Thank you Michelle. This is been an ABC news digital special report keep up with the story in real time by downloading the ABC news -- And star and this story for exclusive updates on the go for now I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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