October 11, 2012
Mom of Slain State Dept. Official Tired of Administration Lies Share
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks. Good evening, everyone. We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest," with a mother who is now asking the toughest question any mom ever can. Why is my son dead?
That is all Pat Smith wants to know. Her son,, was one of the four Americans killed on September 11th in that terror attack on American facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Sean Smith, who is one of the computer specialists at the American consulate there. A month later -- a month after she watched her son's casket come off a cargo plane, a month after she says everyone promised her answers, everyone all the way up to the president of the United States. She says she is still waiting to hear. Still waiting for answers. Waiting for a call.
Congress held hearings today. We'll talk about that shortly, but first, my conversation with Sean Smith's mom, Pat.
COOPER: Pat, I appreciate you being with us. And I'm just so sorry for your loss. What do you want people to know about your son, about Sean?
PAT SMITH, SON KILLED IN BENGHAZI ATTACK: Well, god. He was my only child. And he was good, he was goo at what he did, he'd loved it.
COOPER: He loved working with computers?
SMITH: Computers, radios. He was good at what he did.
COOPER: Was that something he had done as a kid? I mean how did -- did he always -- was he always good with computer?
SMITH: Well, when he was a kid, computers weren't out yet. And --
And then they were out and he -- I got a computer and he started playing with them and he started showing me how you could build a flame thrower and -- by just watching a computer and then told you how to do it. So that's how it started.
COOPER: He lived in the Netherlands. Were you able to communicate a lot? I mean he'd served in a lot of very dangerous places. Did you always know where he was?
SMITH: I always knew where he was when he told me. For example, this time he was in the Hague and that is where he was stationed. He was supposed to be there for about two years. And then he would transfer some place else. I did not know he was going to be in Libya.
COOPER: Did he ever talk about the dangers that came along with his job? I mean he -- he serve d in Iraq as well.
SMITH: Yes, in fact, he sent me -- I still have it on my computer where he sent me this thing. He was in working in the palace over there.
COOPER: In Baghdad.
SMITH: And they -- yes, in Baghdad, and he says, got to go, and suddenly he just disappeared and I said, well, what's happening over there. And he said listen. And I was listening, and suddenly I heard boom. Where they were shooting at him.
COOPER: You must have worried a lot.
SMITH: When that was over. I can't spend my life worrying about it. I accepted what he wanted to do.
COOPER: I want to play for our viewers some of what President Obama said about your son when he returned home. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sean Smith, it seems, lived to serve. First in the Air Force, then with you at the State Department. He knew the perils of this calling, from his time in Baghdad. There in Benghazi, far from home, he surely thought of Heather andand Nathan, and he laid down his life in service to us all.
Today, Sean is home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He's mentioning his wife and his children. When you heard the president say that, what did you think?
SMITH: This is the first time I heard the president say that.
COOPER: It is really?
SMITH: Yes, he never told -- didn't tell me that. Sean knew he was in a bunch of scary places. I knew he was in security places. I didn't expect him to get blown up. I didn't expect him to die. COOPER: Do you feel that you know what happened or are you still searching for answers? Have you been in contact with the State Department? Have they reached out to you and given you details of what happened?
SMITH: That's a funny subject. I begged them to tell me what was -- what happened. I said I want to know all the details, all of the details no matter what it is, and I'll make up my own mind on it. And everyone of them, all the big shots over there told me that -- they promised me, they promised me that they would tell me what happened. As soon as they figure it out.
No one, not one person has ever, ever gotten back to me other than media people and the gaming people.
COOPER: Her son was a big video gamer.
We are going to have more of my conversation with Pat Smith after a quick break. She has some very tough words for this administration who she says has forgotten the promises they made to her the day Sean's body was returned.
Also tonight, the latest on today's congressional hearings into the attacks. Jill Dougherty and Fran Townsend join us next.
COOPER: We're talking tonight with Pat Smith whose son Sean Smith was killed in the Libya terror attack. Former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty was also killed. Today his mother Barbara askedto stop invoking her son's name on the campaign stump, quote, "I don't trust Romney," she says. "He shouldn't make my son's death part of his political agenda."
Pat Smith did not speak about anyone's political agenda tonight. She is, however, bitterly, bitterly disappointed with the State Department, the Defense Department and the White House tonight. You're going to hear shortly about how the State Department is going to respond to her charges.
But first, though, more of my conversation with Pat Smith starting with her as yet unfulfilled search for answers.
COOPER: Who told you that they would give you information?
SMITH: You'll love this. Obama told me. Hillary promised me.-- Joe Biden is a pressure. He was a real sweetheart. But he also told -- they all told me that -- they promised me. And I told them please, tell me what happened. Just tell me what happened.
COOPER: So you're still waiting to hear from somebody about what happened to your son? About what they know? Or even what they don't know.
SMITH: Right. Right. Officially yes. I told them, please don't give me any baloney that comes through with this political stuff. I don't want political stuff. You can keep your political, just tell me the truth. What happened. And I still don't know. In fact, today I just heard something more that he died of smoke inhalation.
COOPER: So you don't even know the cause of death?
SMITH: I don't even know if that's true or not. No, I don't. I don't know where. I look at TV and I see bloody hand prints on walls, thinking, my god, is that my son's? I don't know if he was shot. I don't know -- I don't know. They haven't told me anything. They are still studying it. And the things that they are telling me are just outright lies.
That Susan Rise, what -- she talked to me personally and she said, she said, this is the way it was. It was -- it was because of this film that came out.
COOPER: So she told you personally that she thought it was a result of that video of the protest?
SMITH: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. In fact all of them did. All of them did.actually took my face in his hands like this and he said, trust me. I will tell you what happened. And so far, he's told me nothing. Nothing at all. And I want to know.
COOPER: It's important for you to know all the details no matter how horrible.
COOPER: Or no matter how tough they are to hear.
SMITH: Exactly. I told him, if it's such a secret thing, fine, take me in another room, whisper in my ear what happened so that I know, and we'll go from there. But no. No, they -- you know, they treat me like -- at first I was so proud because they were treating me so nice when I went to that reception. They all came up to me and talked to me and everything. I cried on Obama's shoulder. And he -- then he'd kind of looked off into the distance.
So that was worthless to me. I want to know, for god's sakes. Or for Allah's sake or whoever's sake is there.
COOPER: You deserve -- you deserve answers.
SMITH: I think so. I believe I do. I believe it. It's my son. I had him for the first -- I told Obama personally, I said, look, I had him for his first 17 years and then he went into the service, then you got him. And -- I won't say it the way I said it. But I said you screwed up, you didn't do a good job, I lost my son. And they said, we'll get back to you. We -- I promise, I promise you. I will get back to you. COOPER: Some of the administration have said well, you know, we're investigating, we're still trying to find out answers. But you just want --
SMITH: They still are.
COOPER: You would still want them to contact you and at least keep you apprised of the investigation, of where things are. You would think that they would at least do that.
SMITH: That would be so nice. That would at least acknowledge that I have a right to know something, something other than, we're checking up on it, or trust me. I like that one the best of all. Trust me. I will let you know.
Well, I don't trust you anymore. I don't trust you anymore. You -- I'm not going to say lied to me, but you didn't tell me and you knew.
COOPER: Pat Smith, thank you.