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tv   News  Al Jazeera  October 22, 2015 3:00pm-3:31pm EDT

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this benghazi. >> and i think what we have learned here is well nothing frankly. we didn't know already. the security situation in libya was dangerous. >> right. >> without question. would you say that ambassador stevens was unaware of any aspect of that? >> no, i would not. i think he was very aware. >> so he knew the security situation in libya quite well? >> that's right. >> and yet and again i want to be clear on this in his communications with you and you had many even if he didn't have your e-mail address, did he ever say, you know, did he raise the security issue directly with you? >> no, he did not. >> and the same question and obviously he chose to go to benghazi, he as you have described earlier as gosh all across the world today diplomates are weighing the risks and benefits in a lot of dangerous places and he had to do that and he chose to go to
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benghazi. >> he did and congressman ambassadors in the countries they are representing the united states and do not as a practice ask permission from the state department to travel in the country where they are stationed. >> and as well. >> okay, let's sort of recap and reassess and regroup and figure out where we are. we are here in studio but i want to get to libby casey and he is on capitol hill, yes, and have not seen you in a long time and good to have you on the program and you have been watching the haerl hearing unfold and have not heard your thoughts on it so far and take it away and give me your thoughts. >> as we know and this is a moment where everyone is thinking about the politics and optics of this even as they discuss getting to heart of what exactly happened on september 11th in benghazi libya. and as we regroup after this
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break once again everyone is sort of gone to their corners, there is a lot of quoum and we saw republican and democrat with secretary clinton looking on and not the one under fire. this is a political argument and so now they have started again and we are hearing a lot of the same themes, significant to the republicans are these e-mail exchanges with sidney, a long time clinton advisor but hillary clinton trying to make the case as they come back from the break saying he was not add advisor and not in a position of power in the u.s. government, trying to down play the role he had and say he was one of many people who was giving me advice, some of it was good, some of it i listened to and passed along and sometimes it wasn't that significant. what the republicans and the claire man of the committee are tying to make the case she was listening to sidney than she was listening to ambassador chris
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stevens so we hear what we heard earlier and once again hearing questions of whether or not the secretary of state listened to the security concerns that were coming from people who were in libya so a lot more of the same but the real question is who can keep their temper and who can keep the tone in a way that will ultimately make them look like they are sort of the grown ups in the room and they are in control of this hearing. >> grown-ups in the room, that is a good way to put it and libby stand by, i want to get to karen greenburg on this and libby makes great points but it feels like the moment of this afternoon session which has turned into a contest over e-mails was delivered here by congresswoman sanchez with her reading of the e-mail from ambassador stevens who we are sitting here and we are listening to this together and let me have you give your take on that particular e-mail, what
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it says and what it says about christopher stevens and what he thought about libya benghazi in particular and the need for america to be there. >> what sanchez read and hillary said she had not seen was an e-mail. >> which is important. >> right, which was an e-mail and i don't think maybe anybody else had seen from the committee, was an e-mail from ambassador stevens saying basically we should be here and stay here and we might want to build up our presence a little bit but we don't really want a big entourage like we have in tripoli. >> yes. >> and that was surprising to hear and nobody who was watching these hearings today thought that the gotcha moment was going to come from an e-mail introduced by the democrats. so it was an interesting moment. >> from a man who knew the risk. >> yep. >> had been an ambassador for a long time, had been in the foreign service for a long time, knew the risks in benghazi and
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new the risks in libya and was advocating that the country stay, it was important enough to american interest to stay there and then the question was what kind of facility do we create, what do we stand up here, do we stand something up that is essentially virtual, very slim, which would mean limited security presence or something slimmed down, right? maybe a little more security. >> right, i think there is a larger question here and that is is there something we can learn from this hearing? i mean that would be if there is something constructive and thoughtful that can come out of it. >> have you found something? >> well i found there was an interesting under lying question here at least to me about what transparency really means when it copies to this kind of issue. so we start the afternoon with sidney bloomenthal e-mails with a vote on can his testimony about his e-mails be introduced to this committee and be made public? and that is about transparency
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because the idea was could sidney's comments be up here in context and it was voted down on partisan on party ground. now we are hearing gouty brings up the idea of the administrative -- the accountability review board. the accountability review board and refers to the accountability review board from the embassy bombings in 1998 where the u.s. embassy in nairobi and in kenya were bombed. 224 people lost their lives 12 americans lost their lives. that arb. >> yes. >> is something that has so much information in it that could have been transparent at the time, that would have taught the american public oodles and who was indicted bin laden and who was involved in the embassy indictment and people accused of other attacks including 9/11 and we have another incident in
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another place and accountability review board report that nobody can see. what this hearing has made we think we would like to know what is in the report. >> transparency, karen, thank you. let's take a quick break and come back with more right after this. the only way to get better is to challenge yourself, and that's what we're doing at xfinity. we are challenging ourselves to improve every aspect of your experience. and this includes our commitment to being on time. every time. that's why if we're ever late for an appointment, we'll credit your account $20. it's our promise to you. we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around.
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♪ welcome back to al jazeera america and let's get you back now to the hearing room. >> attacks on facilities, we now have safe havens, safe rooms in
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facilities particularly residences. the diplomatic security officers were able to get chris and shaun into that safe room. of course the idea behind the safe room and why security experts advocated for them was to protect our civilians, our diplomates from attacks like the one that was occurring. the attackers used diesel fuel to set the compound on fire. and the safe room was anything but safe. i'm sure the committee members know that neither chris stevens nor shaun smith died from injuries directly inflicted by the attackers. they both died of smoke inhalation. and one of the recommendations
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in this arb report is that when we have safe havens we need to have equipment that will enable people that are safe within them to withstand what happened in benghazi. the lead diplomatic security officer who was with both the ambassador and shaun smith endeavored to lead them to safety through a wall of black smoke. he wanted to get them out of the compound interior up to the roof where they could be out of the fire and also out of the attackers assault. he himself nearly died of smoke inhalation. when he looked around to make sure that both shaun and chris were with him, he couldn't find them. rather than proceeding and
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saving himself which would be a natural human instinct, he turned back into that black diesel smoke desperately trying to find chris and shaun. he did find shaun and shaun had succumb to smoke inhalation and the officer managed to take shaun out of the building. he could not find chris stevens. one of the horrors after the attack was our failure to be able to find where the ambassador was. we hoped against hope that he had somehow gotten himself out of the compound and he was alive somewhere maybe in the back. and additional efforts by the
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diplomate security officers and by the cia enforcements that arrived find his body or to find him hopefully were unsuccessful and they had to withdraw because of the continuing attack back to the cia and annex before we knew what happened to the ambassador and we were desperate and we were trying to call everybody we knew in benghazi and libya get additional help. what appears to have happened at some point later is that libyans found ambassador stevens and they carried him to the hospital in benghazi and libyan doctors labored nearly two hours to try to resuscitate him.
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i mentioned all of this because i want not just the committee members but any viewers in the public to understand that this was the fog of war, that the diplomatic security officers and later the cia officers responded with heroism and professionalism as they had been trained to do. we thought things would be safe once they took refuge in the ciaannex and as we know even though that was a highly fortified, much more secure facility than our diplomatic compound and one we had nothing to do with in the state department it turned out also to be a target for the militants which is where the two cia contractors mr. woods and mr. doherty died. but in looking at all of the information, the accountability
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review board and particularly admiral mullen who was focused on what happened, what the security personnel did that night came out agreeing that they were heroic and did all they could do to try to save their colleagues' lives. >> thank you. >> we yield back and i appreciate you going through their reooism and it's moving to hear and frankly it inferoirates of people to the left on spending $50 million to strain i.s.i.l. fighters but we spend one tenth of that to give answers to the family members sitting on the first row so i appreciate you talking about the heroism while my colleagues discuss money and with that mr. pompayo. >> i should add to that i think
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mr. smith gave us silloquay and the behavior and not one finger or a question for a witness and said they want to get at the truth but the truth of the matter is they spend most of their time today and we can rewind the tape they spent most of the day attacking the committee and the process and i regret that, i think that is a violation of their duty to the country and most importantly their duty to the families. i want to go back to a couple things i talked about the day before madam secretary so ambassador stevens didn't have your e-mail is that correct your personal e-mail. >> what did you ask me? >> he did not have your personal e-mail address we accomplished that. >> that is right. >> did he have your cell number? >> no but the 24 hour of the state operations in the state department that can reach me 24/7. >> yes, ma'am. did he have your fax number? >> he had the fax number of the
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state department. >> did he have your home address? >> no, i done think any ambassador has ever asked me for that. >> did he ever stop by your house? >> no, he did not congressman. >> mr. bloomenthal had and did each of these things and this man provided you so much information in libya had access to you in ways that a very senior diplomate had to you and your person. i would ask i had a picture up here a bit a ago and you said you didn't recognize who he was, were you ever briefed he was present at the compound the night that ambassador stevens was killed? >> we are trying to trach track down the basis of your question congressman and we have no information at this time. >> my question is yes-or-no question and it's pretty simple. >> i don't have any information that i can provide to you "yes" or "no" because i know nothing about this. >> so the answer to the question is were you briefed and the answer is?
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>> we don't know anything about it so how could i have been briefed on something we know nothing about. >> are all arbs created equal? >> well, there have been 19 including the one that we 'em panelled after benghazi and led by distinguished americans and all set up in accordance with the laws and rules that the congress established when they created the legislation to establish arb so i assume in those respects they are created equal. >> yes, ma'am, i asked a pretty simple yes-or-no question i guess and i'm happy to let you expand and happy to bring breakfast in but if i ask you "yes" or "no" it wasn't a trick question at all, are the recommendations of each arb worthy of equal treatment? >> they certainly are worthy of
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follow-up by the department and i believe that they have been. >> there was an arb and put up the poster and there was an arb in 1998 and said it before in your testimony and 200 folks were killed and here is what its recommendation said quote special mission security poster inadequate for benghazi excuse me from the most recent one and i want to know if you agree with it, special mission security poster for benghazi and inadequate to deal with what took place and do you agree with the current arb? >> i accepted the recommendations. >> my question is if you agree with it. >> i don't think that is a relevant question and i think the question is i accepted their recommendations and obviously their recommendations were based on their very thorough investigation and analysis and clearly i endorsed the entire board's work. >> in january 2014 senator
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feinstein said in her report the incidents at the tmf and cia were likely preventable end of quote, do you agree with that statement from senator feinstein's report? >> i would like to think that anything of that magnitude and the loss of life could have in some way have been preventable. i think that what the arb recommended were steps to try to enhance our ability to prevent future attacks. >> let's go back i want to go back and i have the right poster up, apologize for that, 1998 here is what the arb said quote the secretary of state should personally review the security situation of embassy official premises and closing those which are highly vulnerable and threatened end of quote. you've told us all day today that you don't think you should have been involved and i'm quoting from the arb personally reviewing security, how do you square that? >> well there are a couple of
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important points to make about this congressman. first i made a number of decisions to close embassy chancerys and other official premises based on security and closed the embassy in tripoli and evaluate all of them out of libya and lease ferries that camp from malta and closed embassys and other facilities when we had a strong consensus, recommendation that it was necessary to do. so that is a statement of secretarial responsibility. now with respect to looking at every security request, how high should the wall be, whether there should be barricades pl s placed on the east or west side that is handled by the security professionals so clearly i closed embassys, i recommended that embassys and other facilities be closed so i understand what that point is.
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>> this is a yes-or-no question do you think you complied? with the arb in 1998 in personal review the security at benghazi? >> well, that is not what my understanding of the 1998 arb. >> it's right there. >> well, and i just answered. i personally reviewed security situations of chancerys and other official facilities that were recommended because they were highly vulnerable and threatened to be closed and we closed some. some we were able to reopen which is kind of part of the process with respect to the 1998 arb recommendations, by the time i became secretary having succeeded two secretaries who served during very dangerous and threatening times, there was an assessment made that i certainly was briefed into that we had to look at how best to
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professionalize the security and the expert advice we were receiving, that was exactly what i did and i went further than that. i created a new position, a deputy secretary for resources and management. i also had recommended after our arb the deputy assistant secretary for high threats. so this was a constant discussion about how to make us secure but not whether or not the secretary of state should decide on the height of the barricades. i think that is where we may not be fully understanding one another congressman. >> i think we understand each other perfectly. >> questions about closing embassy chancerys and other official premises that were vulnerable and threatened, of course they came to me. i had to make the decision. deciding whether the wall would be ten feet, 12 feet or three or
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five security agents that was the province as it should have been of the professionals. >> here is another one from the 1998 first and foremost the secretary should take a personal and active role in carrying out the responsibility ensuring the security of u.s. diplomatic personnel abroad, do you believe you complied with that requirement from the 1998 arb? >> yes, i do. i believe i had established a process and i you know i said earlier today state department and our security professionals have to be 100% right and i think that you know what happened in benghazi was a tragedy and something that we all want to prevent from ever happening again. but there were many, many situations, many security issues that we had to deal with during the four years that i was secretary of state and i did
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leave what i hope will be a very important additional position, namely the deputy for high threat posts that now will focus solely on what are considered the highest threat places in the world for our personnel. >> i hope you can understand the difference between creating a deputy under assistant secretary and a diplomate getting involved in security and the speed of which they will move rested only in your hands. >> well. >> i let organizations. >> i respectfully disagree with that congressman and it's been my experience you want to find people who are dedicated 100% to security. you don't want a secretary or anyone dipping in and out maybe making decisions based on factors other than what the professionals decide at least that is my very strong opinion. >> yes, ma'am, leaders lead. i want to -- i have a few seconds. in all of the materials that
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have been produced to us today i have not yet found the document that was prepared at your request for post gadhafi planning, did you have such a document prepared prior to the time that mr. gadhafi was removed? >> we had a number of documents. we had a long list of areas that we were working on and the process for following up on those areas. i don't know if it was one document or a dozen documents but we had a lot of work that was ongoing both at the state department and at usaid. >> and did you ask for those documents to be prepared and do you know if you had a team working on that or was it something happening on its own accord? >> we had a number of people working on that. i said i sent both of my deputies out to libya to meet with the libyans. you know we can do all the planning we want in washington but it's very important to ask if libyans what they want and expect from us and so we had an ongoing dialog that lasted over many months.
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>> yes, ma'am i agree with that. we will get a chance to talk about that in a bit. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. >> let's do this and take a quick break and come back and we will talk about it. this is al jazeera america.
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congresswoman tammy is questioning former secretary clinton now and let's bring it back to the studio and talk to david shoe sterand karen greenburg. david, what are we learning, how many hours now, what are we learning? >> 4 1/2, five hours and a couple of things to clinton's point and stevens and despite the dangers that the committee
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under scores and requests for security ambassador stevens hells himself advocateed the united states keep the mission open. >> he wanted be there. >> he felt they should stay and under mines the idea that clinton was "going rogue" by suggesting keeping him there and keep the people there indefinitely. the other thing is we are learning more about the sequence of events before the benghazi attack on september 11, 2012 and this morning there was some evidence for the first time in public that two members of this state department state and work for ambassador stephens and two people who they thought were involved with libya gangs who might be able to assist with security. >> yes. >> unwillingly they were meeting with these two were members of al-qaeda and seems to be the case and have not probed it is that stevens and staff were unaware while they were essentially talking with locals
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about helping security the locals might have been collecting more information to carry out this attack. >> karen, what are you learning? >> i'm learning that the tall reynolds of the committee for the complexities of this kind of situation, what hillary referred to as the fog of war is an important part of this hearing, that may come out over time which is that, yes, maybe they were meeting with al-qaeda and we still don't know exactly who those pictures are but maybe they were meeting with al-qaeda and what we have learned here is that these are perpetual problems, who are we dealing with in the countries and what ties and who can we trust and that was involved in this somewhere so i think that is another piece of it. >> david. >> i was going to say do you want to take the time to talk about sidney? >> here is the thing. you know, there has been a ton of mention of sidney and i asked you earlier let's say it properly who is sidney? >> right and one of our
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colleagues mentioned we should explain what do we mean when we say he has a checkered past. >> what do you mean? >> what i mean is that and we mentioned the background before he was a journalist and worked for the new republic and worked as a speech writer for the clinton white us and known in some circles as sid vicious because in the wars between the clintons and republicans in congress. [switching captioners]