On Wednesday, Jan. 23, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified on the Benghazi attack. Appearing in front of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the events surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya were dissected and discussed.
This afternoon Clinton claimed responsibility for the consulate being under protected that resulted in the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. By doing so, she is attempting to deflect any responsibility away from Barack Obama.
At one point earlier in the day, Clinton got into an argument with Sen. Ron Johnson regarding the information that had been released after the attack. Johnson wanted to know why the Obama administration first blamed the attack on an anti-Islamic video.
Hillary Clinton responded to that question by saying, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Clinton went on to say that they should be focused on what happened so they can prevent future attacks.
Clinton is denying that the Obama administration intentionally mislead the American people about what actually caused the attack. When speaking to Sen. Johnson, Clinton said, “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Acknowledging that the senators had “legitimate questions” about what the administration claims they did or didn’t do or know, Clinton told Sen. Jeff Flake, “we did not have a clear picture” of the situation in Benghazi.
John McCain said to Clinton, “There are many questions that are unanswered and the answers you’ve given this morning are frankly not satisfactory to me.” McCain went further by saying, “the American people and the families of these four brave Americans still haven’t gotten the answered they deserve.”
McCain went on to question Clinton as to if she knew of a multitude of warnings Ambassador Stevens and other Americans that the consulate in Benghazi would not be able to resist a “sustained assault.” McCain also demanded to know why there weren’t any Defense Department forces in the area capable of defending the Benghazi facility.
Clinton’s response too many of the questions posed was that the report by the Accountability Review Board (ARB) held additional information on the cause and circumstances regarding the attacks were in the classified section. Clinton went on to state that the senators were able to read those sections however, the American people were not.
In the ARB report issued last month, placed the blame for “systemic failures and leadership and management decisions” on State Department officials. The report went on to state that the facility in Benghazi was grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.”
Sen. Rand Paul said to Hillary Clinton during his questioning, “I’m glad that you’re accepting responsibility. I think that ultimately with your leaving, you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11, and I really mean that.”
“Had I been president at the time and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. It’s a failure of leadership.”
“I think it’s good that you’re accepting responsibility because no one else is.” Rand went on to say that our U.S. personnel should not have been sent into Benghazi without military guard.
Rand said, “You shouldn’t send them in with the same kind of embassy staff that you have in Paris.
After blaming Congress for holding “additional aid to Libya”, Clinton said that if they hadn’t it might have made the country more secure and less chaotic. Hillary then explained that the four State Department officials who were criticized in the ARB report had been “removed from their jobs and placed on administrative leave.”
“The ARB report made very clear that the level of responsibility for the failures that they outlined was set at the assistant secretary level and below.” It appears that while Clinton is “taking responsibility”, she’s also attempting to deflect any blame from the Obama administration and herself onto the backs of the normal every day people.
Clinton told the committee in her opening statement, “As I have said many times since Sept. 11, I take responsibility. Nobody is more committed to getting this right.”
“I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure.” As long as the “blame” is shifted to the underlings at the State Department, that isn’t going to happen.
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