UPDATE: During Clinton's testimony in front of the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday afternoon, Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, Matt Salmon and Mo Brooks mentioned the anti-Islam film originally blamed for the attack. Clinton danced around the subject by saying the investigation into what happened in Benghazi is ongoing. The best exchange was between Clinton and Brooks:
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens sent multiple requests for more security to the State Department throughout 2012 and cited al Qaeda threats as a reason why it was needed. The extra security was never sent. Today Rep. Jeff Duncan accused Clinton of gross negligence and of turning the consulate in Benghazi into a "death trap."
After months of waiting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has wrapped up her first round of questioning about the 9/11 terrorist attack in Benghazi from lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Testifying in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Clinton failed to mention both in her opening statement and her answers, the now notorious YouTube video that was blamed by multiple Obama administration officials for the attack. The focus of today’s hearing was supposed to be two things: the Obama administration cover-up of the attack, including the promotion of the false narrative that the attack occurred as a result of a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam YouTube video and how an attack can be prevented in the future.
“As I have said many times, I take responsibility," Clinton said, adding that she directed the response to the attack on 9/11, briefed President Obama and stood in the Rose Garden with him when he called it “a terrorist attack” on 9/12.
Major questions remaining in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack and regarding the coverup still ongoing include who within the administration chose U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to deliver talking points about the attack to the American people on five different Sunday shows and who within the administration came up with those talking points. Today Clinton washed her hands of the situation, saying she did not choose Rice and did not help with talking points for her media appearances.
“People have accused Ambassador Rice and the administration of misleading Americans...nothing could be further than the truth," Clinton said. “I wasn’t involved in the talking points process.”
Clinton also said that nobody in the administration was or is “stuck on talking points.”
Republican Senators Johnson, Paul and McCain were all tough in their questioning of Clinton, but failed to specifically ask why the administration blamed the YouTube video for weeks, even after intelligence showed within hours the attack was planned and executed by terrorists. Clinton was however questioned about why the administration classified the attack as a result of a spontaneous protest which prompted Clinton to shout, “What difference does it make?”
“We have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people but what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown,” Clinton said.
As a reminder:
"I want to take a moment to take moment to address the video circulating on the internet that has led to these protests."
“To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage,” Clinton said. “But as I said yesterday there is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence.”
The Obama administration also used $70,000 in taxpayer money to purchase an advertisement apologizing for the video on Pakistani television. The ad included an official message from the President of the United States Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The man who made the YouTube video that had nothing to do with the Benghazi attack, but was used as a scapegoat by the Obama administration after the attack, is still sitting in jail. Clinton will testify Wednesday afternoon before the House Armed Services Committee at 2 p.m. EST.
“We’ve been as transparent as we can,” Clinton said.