Ambassador Thomas Pickering rides in to defend a Clinton in distress.
The author of the internal State Department review on the Benghazi attack doubled-down Monday in defending his decision not to interview former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Retired U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering said his probe was aimed at finding out who made the decisions on Benghazi, Libya, and that Clinton was not involved.
“She was not involved in it, and therefore, there was no reason to question her on that line, and there were no other questions we had in mind,” Pickering said Monday on MSNBC.
Despite Pickering’s claim that Clinton “was not involved,” she was the Secretary of State. She was briefed by Greg Hicks at about 8 PM Washington time on the night of the Benghazi attack. The ARB interviewed Hicks for two hours, but did not interview Clinton. She later blamed a YouTube movie for the attack, on September 14, with the bodies of the slain in coffins behind her.
During the dozen edits that the State Department made to the CIA’s Benghazi talking points, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland stated that her “superiors” were unhappy with the original version, which named al Qaeda. Who are those superiors? Among them was, of course, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton was deeply involved, as she should have been as the official whose wish to place a permanent facility in Benghazi sent Ambassador Chris Stevens to Benghazi in the first place. A US State Department facility was under sustained assault. If Clinton was not involved, she should have been. It would have been a scandal on its own. But the fact is, she was involved from the night of the attack forward.
Pickering’s comments today confirm that the ARB was nothing more than a whitewash aimed at pushing the investigation past the election, and then nipping it afterward.