After four months of playing hide and seek with the American people, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honored the Congress with her presence long enough to duck and deceive the American people regarding the worst incident of terrorism against Americans since 9/11.
Those who are fans of Mrs. Clinton must have been delighted with her tap dancing around questions addressed to her by House and Senate Committee members. Those fans consider all this as just stagecraft created by political hacks that have no right to question “his eminence” --the President -- or his esteemed Secretary of State. Yet there are many questions unanswered and new questions that were created by her testimony.
The moment that received the most coverage was Secretary Clinton’s heated response to a question from Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI). Johnson queried Clinton as to why her office was not immediately able to determine whether the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi were spontaneous or planned by a terrorist group. Clinton responded in an animated and heated manner: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”
It makes a lot of difference. Not because of the great point that Charles Krauthammer made after the hearing where he pointed out that telling the truth to the American people is important. The central question has not been laid to rest as to whether the Administration was covering up the fact that Al Qaeda was resurgent despite Obama’s biggest foreign policy coup – killing Bin Laden. Nor is it because of the point others brought out about the fact that Ambassador Stevens had made repeated requests for additional security, but Clinton claims not to be aware of such requests.
It is much simpler than that. That night had started with major protests in Egypt. They had reportedly spread to Libya. It was 9/11, the anniversary of the largest attack on the American homeland in history. It certainly appeared that neither the American Embassy in Egypt nor our consulate in Libya or our Libyan Ambassador properly prepared for the day at hand. The rest of Northern Africa had been a powder keg for over a year. Understanding the nature of the attack in Libya certainly would give guidance to how our State Department staff in a place like Tunisia should prepare themselves in the coming hours. It is that simple, yet our Secretary of State does not think it of significant importance.