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Notes on the November 18, 2012 Broadcast of Meet The Press

November 18, 2012

There was more passion, news, and fireworks in today’s edition of Meet The Press than in any I can recall. This week’s broadcast began with Andrea Mitchell of NBC News and the New York Times‘ Tom Friedman discussing the unfolding war between Israel and Palestine.

Friedman says Hamas’ goals are to end the blockade of Gaza, end the Israel’s targeted killing of Hamas leaders, and to take advantage of new leadership in the region created by the Arab Spring. Israel on the other hand, according to Friedman, has been increasingly worried about the longer and longer range missiles Hamas has been smuggling into Gaza.

Egypt is trapped between its solidarity with regional Muslim leadership and promises made to the United States in return for aid. Meanwhile, Iran and Syria are both happy to have the attention taken away from them and their situations.

Mitchell says to United States wants Egypt’s help in getting Hamas to pull back from the rocket attacks on Israel. That help, however, is not as reliable as it might’ve been under the old regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Later in the broadcast, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued an unsolicited warding to Egypt saying that the Congress is watching what they’re doing, saying, “If you keep inciting violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Egypt will be teetering on the brink of losing their aid from the United States.

All Rights NBC NewsNext up was Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to discuss the investigation into attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya as well as the scandal surrounding the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus.

Sen. Feinstein said Gen. Petraeus has been consistent in all of his testimony to the committee about the attack on Benghazi being a case of terrorism. The senator also said that US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice made statements that were completely consistent with the best intelligence briefing available when she appeared on Meet the Press and other Sunday talk shows on September 16, 2012. Feinstein was passionate in her defense of Amb. Rice and very critical of the politicization of this incident

Congressman Rogers said the first question we have to answer is: Was there an intelligence failure which led to the Benghazi attack? He says that, with everything he has seen, he has a high degree of confidence that there was not an intelligence failure.

In describing how and why the attack took place, Rogers said, “The intelligence community had it right and they had it right early.” Rogers claims that those intelligence reports then got changed in talking points prepared by political appointees before they were given to Amb. Rice. Rogers aims to learns how the changes transpired.

Host David Gregory asked both guests bluntly, do you believe anyone misled American people for political reasons? Feinstein answered emphatically no. Rogers was more circumspect. He said “I know the narrative was wrong and the intelligence was right. And getting between here and there you have to be careful about making those accusations.”

Moving onto the Petraeus scandal, Sen. Feinstein described the situation as “a heartbreak.” She continued, “He is one of our brightest and best.”

Rogers believes the potential national security threat potential in this scandal should have been brought forward earlier. Gregory asked Rogers, “Do you think the president should have been told before election day?” In the most newsworthy moment of the program, Rogers replied, “I’m not sure the president wasn’t told before election day.”

Rogers speculated that perhaps the Attorney General had informally told President Obama about the situation earlier. Gregory pressed him on this, and Rogers had no evidence to support the allegation. Sen. Feinstein concurred that there is no evidence for such allegation. Later in the broadcast, Andrea Mitchell said that by making these allegations, Congressman Rogers had thrown a hand grenade into the middle of the conversation.

Next up was Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who very quickly said that Amb. Rice’s testimony was driven by politics, that she was trying to keep alive the narrative that said the Obama administration had defeated Al Qaeda.

Graham said Amb. Rice was sent out to the Sunday talk shows because she was “the most politically compliant person they could find.” He added, “I don’t know what she knew, but I know the story she told was misleading”

Sen. Graham was passionate in listing what he says were a series of intelligence failures that led to the attack on Benghazi. He said “I blame the President for making this into a death trap.”

Graham said he is not interested in the Petraeus affair unless there is a national security component. Contrary to the Rogers allegation, Graham seemed to think it quite possible that the president did not know about this scandal until election day.

Presidential campaign politics did make one final appearance in the broadcast. Gregory asked Sen. Graham to respond to remarks by former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney that President Obama won reelection by giving gifts to big parts of his base coalition. Graham shook his head multiple times and said the Republican party is in a big hole and will not get out of it by making comments like that.

In the final roundtable, GOP strategist Mike Murphy notes that the Republicans have lost the popular vote in five out of the last six presidential elections. He says the party has a fundamental problem with policy, not necessarily the mechanics of running campaigns.

Today’s Meet The Press transcript will be here.

Also follow the show on the MTP Facebook page, track Twitter feeds from host David Gregory, Meet The Press, and Executive Producer Betsy Fischer, watch the midweek PressPass interview, and don’t forget Gregory’s blog.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Sarah Nell permalink
    May 5, 2013 9:47 am

    I had look at the attack on us from 911 happening over 30-50 years ago and join the Presidential Prayer team because of the Intenational hate on American and went to work for C & S Bank as it became Bank of American took that International Classes to see the Arg… come to American to be taught from Americans to hurt us being one student in class of a American beside the teacher learn the Muslim names it frighten me but as a prayer warrior God Spirt is only to be frighten of God and to see them start in Atlanta I prayed that they don’t bomb Atlanta Governments being in Politic from the 9th grade with Andrew Young and Maynard Jackson I learn how to even Pray behind the screen to make Prayer work in the World and I will not stop praying for our American Soliders as we took on the fight for American. I Love my life following God and my Leaders. So children can have a safe American USA

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