As I write, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s long-awaited testimony on the attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans is ongoing. In her opening statement, Clinton again said that she took “responsibility” without defining what that means. “Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure,” she said. “Taking responsibility meant moving quickly in those first uncertain hours and days to respond to the immediate crisis and further protect our people and posts in highthreat areas across the region and the world. It meant launching an independent investigation to determine exactly what happened in Benghazi and to recommend steps for improvement. And it meant intensifying our efforts to combat terrorism and support emerging democracies in North Africa and beyond.”
She went on to describe her actions that night. There were, she said, “No delays in decision-making. No denials of support from Washington or from the military. And I want to echo the Review Board’s praise for the valor and courage of our people on the ground – especially the security professionals in Benghazi and Tripoli. The Board said our response saved American lives in real time – and it did.” Fox and others have reported that there were denials of support from Washington that night.
Clinton’s voice broke when she spoke of the four Americans killed, and their surviving families. “For me, this is not just a matter of policy… it’s personal,” she said. “I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters.”
According to one of those family members, Clinton promised to have a filmmaker arrested that day. And on that day, as she stood in front of those flag-draped caskets, she blamed a movie for the attack. The exact words she spoke on that day, September 14, 2012, are: “This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable.”
She never once mentioned that movie during her opening statement today.
Secretary Clinton’s opening statement today was therefore stunningly incomplete, if not blatantly dishonest.