Tags: Middle East | 2012 President Race | | hayden | libya | attack | debate

Hayden on Libya: Key Question Is What Happened Before Attack

By Jim Meyers and John Bachman   |   Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012 04:32 PM

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden says Mitt Romney’s avoidance of an in-depth discussion of the attack on American diplomatic personnel in Benghazi, Libya, during Monday’s debate was part of a carefully thought out plan.

Asked if he was surprised that Libya did not play a bigger role in the debate, Hayden tells Newsmax TV: “Yes, frankly I was. But also upon reflection I understand perhaps why it did not.

“I think Gov. Romney’s goal was to portray himself, and he did, as responsible, knowledgeable, and calm, and the president spent a great deal of time trying to provoke the governor, trying to make him appear to be dangerous or scary, and he failed. I understand why the governor did not want to get down into the tactical weeds, to keep himself and his thoughts at a strategic level and looking forward.

Watch the exclusive interview here.


“There are many questions about Benghazi. Those questions will continue to be in the news, as other people ask what happened, for example, right of bang — by that I mean what happened after the event. That is interesting. It probably has a high political quotient.

“Left of bang is beyond interesting. Left of bang is what happened before the attack. It is actually critical. What did we know? Why did we make the decisions we did? What lessons do we extract from this experience?”

Fred Fleitz, managing editor of LIGNET.com, an intelligence analysis and forecasting service affiliated with Newsmax, has a similar take.

“Romney chose not to go after Obama on the Benghazi consulate attack, probably because he knew Obama was ready to recite talking points on this issue accusing Romney of trying to politicize a tragedy,” Fleitz says. “Romney didn’t take the bait.”

Editor's Note: See these other exclusive Newsmax stories:


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