tv Inside Story Al Jazeera October 22, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
constitutional rights were violated and she was quarantined for three days at a new jersey hospital last october after returning from sierra leone, she is seeking a quarter of a million dollars in damages. [switching captioners] >> back on capitol hill, where secretary of state, hilliary clinton, is taking her seat. and most of them are in place. we'll take a break, and we'll be right back after this.
the continuing questioning to hilliary clinton about the benghazi attack. >> i think your interest waned. and i think your attention waned. and i think the emails that mrs. brooks put forth, you had an answer, and it was look, i got a lot of information from a lot of different places, but i think you basically gave a victory lap, sort of a mission accomplished quote on october 30th, 2011, in the washington post. this is what you said. and this is very declarative. we set into motion a policy that was on the right side of history, on the right side of our values, on the right side of our strategic interests in the region. it has all of the feel of a victory lap. but there was a problem, and the problem, madam secretary, was there were storm clouds there were gathering, and the storm clouds gathering was a deteriorating security situation in benghazi. and you had a lot to lose if
benghazi unraveled. if libya unraveled, you had a lot to lose. based on the victory lap, based on the sunday shows, and based on the favorable accolades that were coming, if it went the wrong direction, it would be on you, and if it was stable and it was the right direction, you were the beneficiary of that. so the question is, how is it possible that these urgent requests that came in, how did they break through to the levels of the inner circle, the people here today, the people that served you. how did those two requests from two ambassadors, cuts and stevens, those that came in all of 2012, how is it possible that those didn't break through and you told us that that wasn't your job, basically. you said i'm not responsible,
but here's my theory. here's what i think was going on, to admit that you needed more security was to admit that there was a deteriorating situation, and it didn't fit your narrative of a successful foreign policy. where did i get that wrong? >> congressman, look, we knew that libya's transition from the brutal dictatorship of gadhafi, which destroyed or undermined every institution in the country would be challenging, and we planned accordingly. we worked closely with the libyan people, with our allies in europe and our partners in the region to make sure that we tried to get the position to help the libyan people. and yes, the volatile security
environment in libya complicated our efforts, and i absolutely -- i'll speak for myself -- i absolutely did not forget about libya after gadhafi fell. we worked closely with the interim government and offered a wide range of technical assistance, and we were very much involved in helping them provide their first parliamentary election. that was quite an accomplishment. a lot of other countries that were post-conflict did not have anything like the positive election that's libya did in july of 2012. the transitional government handed over power to a new general national congress in august. and we were doing everything that we could think of to help libya succeed. we tried to bolster the effectiveness of the government. and we worked very hard to get rid of the chemical weapons, coordinating with the transitional authorities with the u.n. and others, and by
2014, we had assisted in destroying the last of gadhafi's chemical weapons, and combating the spread of antiaircraft shoulder fired missiles because of the danger that they posed to commercial aircraft. and we were providing assistance. some of which i discussed earlier with congresswoman rovy. we had humanitarian assistance, and people for health to europe, and to the united states. but much of what we offered, despite our best efforts, we had the prime minister come to washington in the spring of 2012. much of what we offered was difficult for the libyans to understand how to accept. i traveled, as you know, to libya. and met there. i stayed in close touch with libya's leaders throughout the rest of my time as secretary.
and both of my deputies went there. we talked with the libyan leadership frequently by phone from washington and communicated regularly, as i said with our team based in tripoli, and all of this was focused on trying to help stand up a new interim government. and we were making progress on demobilization, and trying to reintegrate fighters, on securing loose weapons. i think it's important to recognize, and of course i was ultimately responsible for security. i took responsibility for what happened in benghazi. >> what does that mean? you said contracting and so forth, so when you say you're responsible for something, madam secretary, what does that mean? if you're responsible, what action would you have done
differently? what do you own as a result of this? so far, i've heard since we have been together today, i've heard one dismissive thing after another. it was this group, i wasn't served by this, and by that. what did you do? what do you own? >> i was just telling you some of the many related issues that i was working on to try to help the libyan people. >> what's your responsibility to benghazi? that's my question. >> well, my responsibility was to be briefed and to be disgusted with the security experts and the policy experts, whether we would have a post in benghazi, and whether we would continue it, and make it permanent. and as i've said repeatedly throughout the day, no one ever recommended closing the post in benghazi. >> no one recommended closing it, but you had two ambassadors that made several requests, and here's basically what happened to their requests. they were torn up. >> well, that's just not true,
congressman. >> madam secretary, they didn't get through. it didn't help them. were they responded to? is that your testimony today? >> many were responded to. >> you said earlier, he knows where to pull the levers, and so aren't you implying that it's his responsibility to figure out how he's supposed to be secure? because chris stevens knows how to pull the levers? is that your testimony? >> ambassadors are the ones who pass on security recommendations and requests. that's true throughout the world. they too rely on security professionals. >> what's his remedy if they're not responded to? what's his remedy if it's no? >> as i testified earlier, he was in regular email contact with some of my closest advisers. he was in regular email contact, and cable contact
with -- >> cables didn't get through. you created an environment, madam secretary where the cables didn't get through. they didn't get through to you, didn't break into your inner circle. that was your testimony earlier. you can't have it both ways. you can't say all of this information came into me and i was able to process it, and it all stops at the security professionals. >> congressman, that's not what i was saying. i think that we tried to clarify that millions of cables come in, and they're processed and sent to the appropriate offices and personnel, with respect to the specifics. >> they didn't get through, and didn't make any difference, and they couldn't break into the inner circle of decision making. let me draw your attention to testimony that you gave before the foreign affairs committee in jan of 2014. and you said wonderful things about ambassador stevens,
similar to what you said in your opening statement today. and they were words that were warm and inspirational and reflecting on his bravery. but i think in light of the facts that have come out since your testimony, and i think in light of the things that the committee has learned, he's even braver than you acknowledged. in january of 2013, this is what you said to congress. nobody knew the dangers or opportunities better than chris. during the first revolution, a weak libyan government marauding terrorist groups, a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel. he never waiverred or asked to come home, he never said let's shut it down or quit. because he understood that it was pivotal for america to be represented in that place at that time. and i think that you should have added this. chris stevens kept faith with the state department that i headed, even when we broke faith with him.
he accepted my invitation to serve in benghazi, though he was denied the security that he implored us to give him. i and his colleague were distracted by other ambitions as and we breached the fundamental duty to secure his safety, and that of glen and shawn and tyrone. >> of course i would not say that, and it's a disservice for you to make that statement, congressman. >> who does it disserve? >> it's a disservice of how hard the people who are given the responsibility of making these tough security decisions -- >> did they keep faith with chris stevens? >> well, chris stevens was someone who had a commitment to our presence in libya. >> there's no question. >> and we want to honor that by continuing to do what we can to support the libyan people's
transition. it's very much in my view, in america's interest to continue to try to do so. >> the chair will now recognize the general lady from illinois, miss duckworth. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, i want to talk about what has been done for personal security since then. my understanding is that in benghazi, there were some security improvements that were made. could you talk about some of those, both prior to the attacks, as well as some of the things that perhaps you eluded to with more ventilation in the safe rooms, and some of those things? >> there were a number of things added to the security of the facility. and again, trying to buttress the outer walls, and trying to create a more effective guard
entrance, and there was an effort to try to ensure that the facility itself was hardened so that it could withstand attacks if that came to pass. it was a series of decisions made by security professionals. in 2011, our people in benghazi said that they needed to hire additional guards, and the money was approved in december of that year. and they asked for funds for jersey barriers, and the funds were sent that week, and in 2012, the region at security officer requested that all personnel deployed in tripoli and benghazi for more than 30 days perform the specialized counter terrorism training course, which was implemented. and also in 2012, they asked for money for sandbags, lights,
drop force barriers, and that was sent. and then bulletproof vests, and response equipment. and in 2012, they requested support for major renovation of the walls surrounding the complex, including making the walls higher, and adding wire and laying barbed wire. that was completed. in march of 2012, they asked two more guard positions and that was completed. and in april, they asked for help for security. and by may, a special team visited to enhance security equipment and lighting. in june, 2012, following the ied incident, immediately a regional team was sent to enhance the perimeter and additional funding was approved for more guards. in july, 2012, they said they needed a minimum of three american security officers in benghazi, on through july, and august and september, and they always had three, four or five american ds agents overseeing
the expanded contingent of guards on-site. and those are just some of the responses, congresswoman, provided specifically for benghazi. >> thank you. we know that short of putting people in bunkers, and never allowing them outside of embassy compounds, we're going to have some sort of a threat to our diplomatic personnel security. and obviously, it wasn't enough. what i would like to know, in light of that, what efforts have been put into providing for contingency operations, especially for moan potentially volatile periods in the calendar year. 2006, september 11th is going to be a volatile time period. and would you talk about anything that you have come
across, in coordinating with the dod, intelligence agencies, and across the government, i know this is not a secure room, so we can't talk about things that are rated secret. but september 11 is coming, and are we moving being aircraft carriers nearby, and putting air wing on a six-our leash with aircraft? what are we doing? do we have fast teams gearing up, ready to go? what is going on in light of the lessons learned from benghazi, and what did you personally directed to take charge to happen? especially at your level of interagency cooperation. >> excellent question, and it's really at the heart of what i hope will come out of this, and the prior investigations. in december of 2014, secretary star testified before the state department and before the select committee, and the 25 of
the 29 recommendations had been completed. and in 2013, inspector general's report noted that the recommendations were made in a way that would quickly taken seriously, and i took charge directly of oversight for the implementation process. here are some examples. more diplomatic security on the ground in the facilities today. and we have increased stills and competency for agencies by increasing the training time in the high-threat course, and we have expanded the foreign affairs counter threat course, so the skills are shared, not just by the diplomatic security agents, but people like chris stevens and sean smith as well. and we have also been working hard to up the interagency cooperation. the inner agency security teams that you asked about earlier,
congresswoman, that's a continuing commitment that we're working on. and i know because of this terrible tragedy, dod is much more focused on what needs to be thought through with respect to planning and reaction. you know, we had problems in the past with the pastor from florida, terry jones, inciting riots, and protests that resulted in the deaths of people, including un and others who were stationed in afghanistan. and so we're trying to stay in very close touch between the state department and dod. in that case, secretary gates actually called him and asked him please to not get involved in what he was doing, because it was dangerous to our troops and our civilians. unfortunately, he has a mind apparently of his own. so we're trying to have a closer coordinated planning and
response effort. with respect to your specific questions that are really within the purview of the department of defense, like the deployment of certain navy vessels, air wings, and the like, i think that dod is trying hard to think when how particularly in north africa and the middle east, they can respond, because one of the claims that was made, that was proven to be untrue was that dod withheld sending air support. and indeed, the closest air support that would have been in any way relevant was too far away. so they tried to think about how they could better deploy and station various assets, so they could have a quicker response time. i have not been involved intimately in this, for more
than two years, so i can't speak directly, but i know this was part of the important work that was underway when i left. >> thank you. you spoke about you making personal phonecalls to ask for help from the heads of local government. and you spoke a lot about the power of the mission, the trust that you put into these professionals that are there. so when an embassy comes under attack, especially after this benghazi attack, from this time forward, do ambassadors need to call you to ask for help from other agencies of u.s. government? or do they have the ability, if there's a dod or cia force nearby, a marine fast team, for example, does the ambassador have to come through security or do they call you for that?
how does that work? >> no, and there's an example out of benghazi attack. there was a preexisting understanding between the diplomatic compound and the cia an ex. and there was no need for anybody at the compound to call washington to alert the cia an n ex. they strang into action to spring to the system for our compound. so we're trying to have more preexisting arrangements like that, and that goes to your question. if there are assets in the region, how do we plan for king contingencies so they can be immediately trying to respond. i spoke to the white house, and i spoke to lots of other people
to try to get whatever help we could get. we did get a surveillance plane above the location, but it took some time to get there, it had to be diverted. >> it was an unarmed drone, correct? >> yes, it was an unarmed uav, right. we asked for everything we could get, and everybody immediately tried to provide it. but i think now there's more awareness that maybe we should be doing these scenarios ahead of time to try to figure out what could be done without having to reinvent it every time. >> thank you, i'm out of time, mr. chairman. >> thank you, the chair would now recognize the gentlewomen from indiana. >> thank you, madam secretary, i'm going to follow up on what the congresswoman from illinois is discussing, which is the facility. and i appreciate the laundry list that you just listed with respect to the security
improvements or whatever happened with respect to benghazi. but i have to ask you if you're familiar with the fact that in the wake of the 1998 bombing attacks on nairobi, congress passed something referred to as seca. the secure embassy construction and terrorism act. which requires the secretary of state to issue a waiver, under two conditions, if the u.s. government personnel work in separate facilities, or if u.s. overseas facilities do not meet the security setback distances specified by diplomatic security. the law specifies that only the secretary of state may sign these waivers, and that requirement is not to be delegated. was a waiver issued for the temporary mission in benghazi and the cia annex after the
temporary mission compound was authorized through december of 2012, and did you sign that waiver, madam secretary? >> i think that the cia annex, i had no responsibility for, so i continue spake to what the decisions were with respect to the cia annex, i know its something for the other committees -- >> but you acknowledge that you were responsible for the temporary mission compound. >> yes, but you put them together. and i had no responsibility for the cia annex. the compound was neither an embassy or a conslut. those are the only two facilities for which we would obtain a formal diplomatic notification, and those were the only kinds of facilities that we would have sought waivers for at the time,
because we were trying, as has been testified to earlier, understand if we have a permanent mission or not. and that means that you have to survey facilities, and the standards that are set by the overseas security policy board are the goals that we try to drive for. but it's impossible to do that immediately after a situation. they were trying to set up what was going on in the area, and make a decision as to whether there would be a permanent facility. so we could not have met the goals under the overseas security policy board, nor
could we have issued a waiver, because we had to set up operations in order to make the assessments, and whether the mission would remain open, and we made constant improvements to the security. >> madam secretary, thank you, and it's obvious that a waiver was not signed. and you've given a defense as to why a waiver was not signed. and it was temporary because it was made up. it was something different. the compound had never become official. and so therefore, you did not sign a waiver, which, when most of our people are stationed in such dangerous places, let me get into that, with respect to the dangerous places, we know that libya, you testified
before, was incapable of providing post-nation support. and that involved protecting our diplomats and other u.s. government officials who traveled there. so if the libyan people did not have a government capable of providing security. and we did not have u.s. military in libya, we have two options. we either leave when it gets too dangerous, or the state department makes sure that they provide that protection. and i want to just chat with you a little bit about the facts of when ambassador stevens returned there in 2012, after being named the ambassador, four months later he was killed, but the number of violent attacks that occurred that summer are off the charts against westerners. i would like you to refer to tab 6. it's a 51-page document prepared by your head security guy in libya. for serious security incidents
between june 2011 and july 2012, 51 pains long, 235 significant security incidents, 235 in one year. and in benghazi, there were 77 serious attacks in one year. 64 in 2012. let me just tell you, as i flip through this, and benghazi, as i showed earlier, it's a large city, about the size of dc or boston. i'm not talking about violent attacks like every day robberies or burglaries or holdups. i'm talking about assassination attempts, and assassinations, bombings, kidnaps, attacks on the red cross, the red cross gave up and pulled out. the people who always go in when disaster strikes, they pulled out. that doesn't include 20 other major incidents, bombings on police departments, and the courts. think about this. if you're in the city of washington d.c. or boston, and we're now over in benghazi, and all of these types of bombings
are happening, and the security incidents are happening, there are hundreds more actually i could talk with you about, but frankly, i don't have time. i hope i painted the picture because i'm baffled. you sent chris stevens to libya and to benghazi, and granted, he never raised the flag and said i want out. and granted, he never said, shut down benghazi, and i understand and appreciate that you deferred to him. but you also, madam secretary, we have no record of you ever talking to him, that you never talked to him personally after may of 2012 when you swore him in as our ambassador. am i wrong? did you ever talk to ambassador stevens when all of this was going on in the hotbed of libya? that is a yes or no question, madam secretary, i'm sorry, did you ever