Fox News "On The Record with Greta Van Susteren" - Transcript


Date: Dec. 5, 2012
Issues: Defense Guns


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Could Mexico be the next Benghazi? Congressman Michael McCaul is warning us because U.S. agents are helping Mexican police go after the most violent drug cartels, and yet our agents are not allowed to carry weapons in Mexico. Congressman McCaul joins us. Why not?

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, R-TEXAS: Well, you know, officially, they can't under a treaty that was signed by the United States and Mexico. Unofficially, they do what they have to do to protect themselves. But there's no clarity in the policy, and I think it needs to be clear so our agents can protect themselves.

We had three consular officers killed in Juarez. We had ICE agents Zapata and Avila killed -- or one killed and one wounded in an ambush by the Zetas in a U.S. embassy vehicle. And just this year, CIA agents ambushed...

VAN SUSTEREN: By police!

MCCAUL: ... by 14 Mexican federal police officers, 150 rounds fired at them, and the two agents were wounded in the process. Now they are indicted and charged with murder, and everything now links to the cartels being behind that, telling (ph) that they showed up with AK-47s, which they used, in plain clothes and private cars, even though they were on duty that day.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, when I was down in -- we took "On the Record" down to Mexico, and we traveled around with some ATF agents. And we were -- we had to travel in armored cars, and supposedly they were not armed. But because it's so painfully dangerous for our people down there, the -- the -- we were told that the police are so corrupt in Mexico that the Calderon -- then President Calderon had to bring in the military to get rid of the police to try to -- try to do -- some -- bring some sort of law and order to there. But the -- the country was replete with the most incredible violence and corruption. And now our people are helping them but are unarmed.

MCCAUL: Yes. And when I was in Juarez, same protections we had in Afghanistan, to show you how violent it really is. And you know, the host country needs to protect our diplomats and our agents, just like in Benghazi, the failure there. And we can't really afford to have a Benghazi situation happen right next door, just south of us in Mexico.

And I'm very concerned with these trends, with these ambushes on our agents and diplomats, that that's the next thing to happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have they -- have they asked to carry weapons? Or have they asked for more security for themselves?

MCCAUL: If you talk to the agents, you know, without the lines of authority, of course. And many of them do to protect themselves. But they're really outgunned by AK-47s. Every time they get an ambush, it's 10 guys, 14 guys with AK-47s shooting at the vehicles. And it's -- they're really outgunned and it's very difficult to respond to that.

So look, we've got to work with Mexico to eradicate these cartels, but they've got to be protected down there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are we winning this war, though, with -- this war on the cartels? I mean, and this is, like -- this is right next door. This is not way over in Syria or way over in Afghanistan.

MCCAUL: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: This is -- you know, I was just in El Paso last weekend, and we could have walked across the border. I mean, this is right next door to our country. Are we winning this war against these cartels?

MCCAUL: It's debatable. And I think -- you know, went down to the president's inauguration in Mexico, talked to some of their cabinet officers. They want to secure their southern border for the first time. They want to go after money-laundering cases and against the banks, which is very significant. But you know, the jury is still out on the new administration.

I think there's a new opportunity for us to work with them, as well. There's a new chairman incoming on Homeland Security that I can tell you, one of my big priorities is going to be to secure that border.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, all you have to do is Google Mexico and cartel, every night and you read how many people are murdered. And it's, like, innocent people beheaded, their hearts cut out of them, they're hanging from bridges, I mean, just the worst tortures you can imagine. And it's every single day, if you just Google.

But I'm going to take the last word on that. Congressman, thank you, sir.