The PJ Tatler

Hillary Clinton's Benghazi Chapter Doesn't Really Explain Anything

Nine days after terrorists killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya — and nine days after Clinton herself blamed the attack on a YouTube video — Hillary Clinton wants you to know that she appointed a board to investigate the attack. That, she writes, ought to count for something. Politico’s Maggie Haberman seems to agree. Haberman got the exclusive first look at Hillary’s Benghazi chapter, access that raises questions of its own.

The chapter is a mostly chronological retrospective of the attack interspersed with Clinton’s views. She points out that she ordered an investigation into what happened nine days after the attacks, and that she agreed with and implemented all 29 of the recommendations made by a review board.

Clinton hand-picked that board, which never even interviewed Clinton about Benghazi. Some review. And nine days is quite a long time for the scene of a crime/terrorist attack to get picked over and see evidence carried away or destroyed. With the 2012 presidential election just weeks after the attack, nine days was quite a long time, clearly enough time to keep the disaster from swamping the Obama campaign. Clinton had to appoint the Accountability Review Board, she had no choice. She appointed it only after she and the president and Ambassador Susan Rice had spent a fortnight blaming the attack on a video.

In addition to patting herself on the back for constructing a review that was designed not to touch her, Clinton speculates on the motives of the attackers, none of whom have been arrested yet.

“There were scores of attackers that night, almost certainly with differing motives,” she writes. “It is inaccurate to state that every single one of them was influenced by this hateful video. It is equally inaccurate to state that none of them were. Both assertions defy not only the evidence but logic as well.”

Not really.

Clinton also does what a Clinton does — lies, as you’ll see on the next page.

“Susan [Rice] stated what the intelligence community believed, rightly or wrongly, at the time,” Clinton writes. “That was the best she or anyone could do. Every step of the way, whenever something new was learned, it was quickly shared with Congress and the American people. There is a difference between getting something wrong, and committing wrong. A big difference that some have blurred to the point of casting those who made a mistake as intentionally deceitful.”

This simply is not true and Hillary Clinton knows that it is not true. The intelligence community and the military believed that Benghazi was a terrorist attack from the beginning. That belief was reinforced by intelligence from Libya. Additionally, the September 10, 2012 threat from Cairo gave away the fact that even Cairo’s unrest was not about a movie. It’s clear now that Clinton and Obama had a phone call on the night of the attack, and that following that phone call, both blamed the movie. Other actions they took that night, if any, remain shrouded in secrecy. Following that night, the White House intervened and had the talking points changed to play up the video and play down the fact that Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Clinton herself stood before the bodies of the dead and blamed a movie — not terrorism, or her own policies that left those four Americans exposed in a country that was deteriorating rapidly.

Jim Geraghty sums up what Clinton’s Benghazi chapter really comes down to:

… is to remind people that Hillary Clinton is willing to lie, quite dramatically, boldly, and shamelessly, even in ways that can be easily checked and refuted, when her political aspirations are at stake.

Worth mentioning, is that none of Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi chapter is told under oath, or with the possibility of direct cross-examination. Clinton is telling her side of Benghazi in the most favorable and comfortable manner she can. That’s going to change, when two Fox heavyweights get the chance to interview Hillary ahead of the House Select Committee’s work. But even in that case, Fox will have had to agree to some ground rules that may end allowing Clinton to filibuster or bully (“What difference, at this point, does it make!?!”) her way past the most difficult parts. Clinton may have been a terrible secretary of state, but there are few cover-up artists out there more accomplished than she is.