Hillary Clinton’s performance at the Select Committee on Benghazi hearing yesterday has been proclaimed by some in the media as a “triumph” because she was able to keep her composure without committing any major gaffes during the day-long marathon.
Clinton did appear to be composed and well prepared for everything the Republicans on the panel threw at her, but there were a couple of extremely weird moments in which she laughed inappropriately during serious questioning. Those moments could come back to haunt her.
And there was serious damage done to her credibility on a number of fronts.
One of the more astonishing revelations to come out of the hearing is the fact that approximately 600 pleas for more security by State Department personnel in Benghazi went unheeded as the security situation there deteriorated. Not five, not ten, but 600 pleas for help ignored! That is unexcusable and a disgrace.
Clinton argued that “a number of requests” were fulfilled, but she did not explain how they were fulfilled.
Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) pointed out that the number of security agents in Benghazi at the beginning of 2012 was the same as on the day of the attacks.
And at least a couple congressmen asked Clinton why Sidney Blumenthal’s emails managed to make it to her inbox, but none of those security requests did. Hillary could only respond that security requests were the purview of the “security professionals” below her. She had no answer as to why the security professionals did not want to beef up security when other countries were bailing out of Benghazi.
Clinton showed a stunning degree of insensitivity when she laughed and joked about Ambassador Stevens’ desperate attempt to buy security equipment for the compound from the British less than a year before his murder at the hands of terrorists.
It was established beyond a shadow of a doubt that Hillary Clinton knew on the night of September 11, 2012, that the attack in Benghazi was a preplanned terrorist attack that had nothing to do with a protest over a YouTube video. She told a different story to people in her inner circle than to the American people, whom she now expects to entrust her with the presidency.
The State Department under Clinton was found to have broken the law in failing to sign a waiver for security at Benghazi.
Under patient but persistent questioning from Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Clinton admitted that she had not signed a waiver for security arrangements on the site, as required by the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999 (SECCA), 22 USC § 4865 2(B)(ii).
And despite her claims to the contrary, Clinton did not do everything possible to send help to Benghazi on the night of the attacks. Thanks to Rep. Lynn Westmoreland’s questioning, we know that she decided not to send the FES (Foreign Emergency Support) team to rescue Americans.
While the Benghazi hearing was not a debacle for Hillary, it was certainly no “triumph.”