tv CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello CNN October 22, 2015 6:00am-8:01am PDT
introducing the samsung galaxy s6 edge+ and the note5. and good morning. i'm carol costello. thank you so much for joining me. it is a busy morning of breaking news with two major stories right now. capitol hill and hillary clinton just minutes from testimony that promises to be terse and probably combative. she'll face questions for the deadly attacks in libya. what she knew and when? and you look at hillary
clinton's home in washington d.c. and a car waiting to take her to that room on the right on capitol hill. that is the room hillary clinton will offer testimony today about exactly what went down in benghazi on that terrible day four americans were killed. up first, u.s. special operations was involved in a daring hostage rescue attempt in iraq. the operation was an attempt to rescue kurdish hostages. and the officials say there was a u.s. fatality. let's bring in barbara starr good morning. >> good morning. the information still coming in very sketchy. but a short time ago a u.s. official directly familiar with the latest information told cnn there has been one u.s. military fatality in this hostage rescue mission overnight in iraq. apparently u.s. sprag special operations were ordered into this mission to rescue a number of kurdish hostages. we're told the estimate is that some 70 kurdish hostages were rescued. the kurds of course are in northern iraq. this is a group that the u.s.
has been -- the u.s. military especially has been working very closely with. i think it is safe to assume that there were some kurdish elements there on the ground with the u.s. troops. they do work hand in hand. but this would be, to the best of our knowledge the first u.s. combat fatality on the ground in isis. they have gone in a couple of times into syria for hostage missions, for capturing high value targets. but this is something we have not yet seen a u.s. service member potentially killed on the ground in the war against isis. more information will be unfolding here at the pentagon in the coming hours. carol. >> barbara starr live from the pentagon. it is build as the final and definitive hearing into the benghazi attacks and we are minutes from the start and the
stakes are undeniably huge. the deaths of these four american, including ambassador stephens, the future safety of other u.s. staffers working abroad and potentially the presidential hopes of the hillary clinton who faces up to eight hours of questioning today. among the focus, why did the u.s. stay in benghazi despite security and intelligence warnings. was secretary clinton of state clinton completely unaware of the poor security? and what was clinton's involvement when the u.s. came under attack? those answers are still out of reach. after three years, seven investigation, more than $4.5 million and thousands of mails. one committee member says expect new information today. >> specifically though to your question is what may we have learned?
well, i would say to you and everybody watching, stay tuned. please watch the interview tomorrow with secretary clinton. because i believe that you will see that there are documents that we will be able to ask her questions about for the first time. and that is very important to be able to fill in the gaps about the information that we currently do not have. >> we're covering all of the angles. cnn's ma knew raju is outside of the hearing. and brianna keeler will walk us through the politics and passions of the hearing this morning. manu, take it away. >> it's buzzing here where we're anticipating the hearing. it is going to be a very long hearing. 12 members of this committee broken down seven republican, led by chairman trey gowdy of south carolina. five democrats. each of whom are going to have about ten minutes to speak and at least four rounds of questioning. this could go on for at least
maybe up to eight hours. what democrats are going to try to show that this committee is treading the same ground in an effort to undermine hillary clinton. you will hear a lot of efforts to defend hillary over the course of the testimony. hillary clinton herself i'm told is going to try to make the case about why the u.s. was in libya, try to present a pretty sober case for the mission there as well as the efforts to try to protect those four americans. and the republicans are going to try to show that there is a reason why this select committee was created and that new information has turned up. they have been trying to declassify a bunch of documents from the state department. and we believe they probably have new documents they are going to present today. so we'll be watching that closely. mike pompeo of kansas discussed some of that earlier today. here is what he said. >> we have now received, thousands and thousands of pages of documents about mer action, actions of her staff, actions that book place all across the united states government. we've had benefit of
interviewing dozens of people. that none of those committees took the time or had the capacity to interview. so we have a greet deal more information and a lot more fidelity about what happened so i think we'll be able to ask questions that advance the story about how these four americans were murdered on her watch. >> so we don't really know what is in those documents, carol. which is one of the things we're going to have to watch, how hillary responds to this. does she get tripped up? does she contradict her past testimony? republicans have kept that close to the vest. that is going to be one of the big tests for them and also one of the big tests for hillary. so we're anticipating an exciting day here on capitol hill. >> manu raju live from capitol hill. and of course that image on the right is hillary clinton's house in washington d.c. and the car waiting to take her to the hearings. as we said over the last three years, there have been seven previous investigations into the benghazi so what exactly is the committee hoping
to achieve today? and what are the key questions lawmakers want answered? and before i get to that, i want to mention all four names of those who died in benghazi because i think it is important to remember them. sean smith who joined the state department in 2002. glen dougherty part of a tripoli rivers team that reached the annex seven hours after the initial attack. tyrone woods, a former seal workiwork ing as a security contractor at the annex. and of course ambassador stephens who we've heard a lot about. let's bring in brianna keeler. according to a new poll the majority of americans think they are doing this for political gain. >> really interesting poll numbers out today carol. you hear from the republican chairman of this committee trey gowdy and he says he wants this to be the final and definitive accounting for benghazi. you talk to democrats who back hillary clinton and they say this is just a political hatchet
job. while what we see is that americans are split on whether they think the committee has gone too far, most of them, democrats and republicans think that politics are at play. >> they ended up becoming a partisan arm of the republican national committee. >> a new cnn orc poll reveals the public agrees with the democratic front runner. 72% believe the investigation is being used for political gain. >> we put together benghazi special committee, a select committee. what are her numbers today? her numbers are dropping. >> two members of the gop seemingly admitting to as much. >> this may not be politically correct. but i -- i think there is a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people. >> but committee chair, republican trey gowdy, strongly denies he is playing politics. >> i have told my own republican colleagues and friends shut up talking about things you don't
know anything about. >> was it a protest or because of guys out for a walk who decided they would go kill some americans? >> that anger and frustration palpable in hillary clinton's last testimony before congress more than two years ago. >> what difference at this point does it make? >> a moment likely still fresh in the minds of the republican-led committee members. >> madam secretary you let the consulate become a death trap. >> after three years of accusation, seven investigation, thousands of pages of e-mails, and hours of testimony, republicans say they still have unanswered questions. on september 11, 2012 islamic x exextremists overran the annex. killing ambassador chris stephens as well as an information officer and two former seals. but is hillary clinton to blame for deadly security lapse?
that is what some republicans say is still unknown. >> with specific security requests, they didn't come to me. i had no knowledge of them. >> the house select committee on benghazi is responsible for uncovering that clinton used a personal e-mail address solely. that this was the only e-mail address she used while secretary of state and also leading to the fact that she had a personal server that was housing those e-mails. a personal server that was stationed at her house in new york, carol. so we know the plan when you hear it from the chairman that republicans are trying to stick to, you know, the issue of benghazi and not the e-mails. but you never know. there is certainly very unpredictable things that happen in these hearings. and we'll be waiting to see how much focus there is on her e-mails and how much the focus is on the facts of what happened that day. >> keeping an eye on hillary clinton's car there because they started it up. a question for you brianna. how has hillary clinton been
preparing for this day. >> she has been "down" as we call it for a few days now, where she's taken time off the campaign trail. she's been preparing with a legal team. with policy experts. she's been reviewing her testimony she gave back in 2012. she's spent hours getting ready and that is a testament to the fact that her campaign feels and her advisors feel that this is a moment where she can, you know, certainly there is a possibility she could stumble. but this is a moment for her to sort of show her credentials as secretary of state and sort of make the case for why diplomas like we saw in benghazi was important. >> all right brianna keeler reporting live for us this morning. thank you.
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right now a political showdown brewing on capitol hill. in the next hour lawmakers are expected to grill hillary clinton on the 2012 benghazi attacks that killed four americans. while some republicans have defended the committee's probe, critics argue the committee is intentionally trying to derail clinton's run for the white house. it is important to point out there have already been seven congressional investigations into the benghazi. joining me now from capitol hill, a member of that committee and an outspoken critic. democratic congressman adam schiff. welcome. >> the chairman of this committee, trey gowdy said this will be the final time hillary clinton answers questions about
what happened in benghazi. do you buy that? >> well i certainly hope so. after these seven other investigations. after her multiple appearances before congress. i'm not sure how much there is left to be productively said. i do think that we will see as a result of representative mccarthy and hanna's comments at least by the gop today to go through the motions of focus on benghazi. but the focus on this committee all along has really been on one person and that is secretary clint clinton. they have canceled all the other hearings this year apart from one in january. they canceled on the defense director, the head of the cia. so it is pretty hard to escape the conclusion that today is what this has all been about. >> i spoke with sean smith's mother yesterday. it was a very emotional interview. she says she has so many more questions. so there are questions to be
answered today, right? even if your mind. >> look, i have great compassion for the parents and the husbands and wives. or the wives rather and the siblings of those who were lost. they are going through a terrible trauma still. but frankly after 7 years and $4.5 million we have found . so there isn't that much there to be found. nothing is going to alter our understanding of what took place. and i feel terrible frankly these families were misled at the beginning of this investigation when the majority promised a non partisan investigation that would be centered on the facts. and instead what we've really had is a highly politicized investigation to go after the likely democratic nominee for president. >> i heard what you just said,
but your fellow committee members say there will be new information coming out in this hearing. do you have any clue as to what that might be? >> well no. and this is i think a very interesting fact. you know, as the former prosecutor you always have to be suspicious when somebody attributes the bench marks of success in investigation by how many people they have interviewed and how many documents they have gathered rather than what those witnesses or documents say. they haven't been able to point to anything that is really new. there may be some e-mails that ha haven't had before. but the fact is when we looked a at the new e-mails they are no different in kind or character than the e-mails we had. they will do their very best i think to make it seem new, to put a new dress on an old figure in terms of this investigation. but the fact of the matter is that the body of this investigation has been the same all along. and we haven't discovered anything new really for all of
the time and expense and effort this committee has undertaken. >> all right. congressman schiff, thank you for joining me. on the right-hand side of your green is hillary clinton's house. you see the car there ready to take her to that committee hearing. and let's go inside that committee hearing on capitol hill. you just caught a glimpse there of the chairman trey gowdy talking to the leading democrat, elijah cummings. the two have many, many differences and it willing interesting to see if there are any fire works between those two men. the hearing is set to start around 10:00 a.m. still to come. donald trump may be dominating the head lines but it is another candidate making a move in the policy. ue psoriasis... ...isn't it time to let the... ...real you shine... ...through? introducing otezla, apremilast. otezla is not an injection, or a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently.
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he comes out dressed very casually. carrying a bag. he put something into the car. we believe we saw hillary clinton's right hand woman uma get into the car and then it drove off. it is not clear if bill and hillary clinton got into that car again and are on their way to capitol hill for of course hillary clinton to take a grilling over the benghazi attacks. manu raju is live on capitol hill. he's going to cover the hearing today. you can see hillary clinton coming out the door here. i'm seeing these pictures for the first time along with you. so we'll just enjoy them together. there is huma abedin. she'll also get into the car. and bill clinton standing at the door. perhaps he's going to wave bye-bye. i don't know. ma manu, what's going on? >> we're waiting for hillary clinton to come walking in right
behind me. it is going to be interesting to see bill clinton not getting in the car there. we've been hearing he's also been helping her with the testimony given how high profile this is and in the amount of preparation she has been doing. also interesting in that picture is huma aberde huma abedin in t her. abedin in front of the committee last week in a private setting. we don't know what ms. abedin said but it clearly went on long enough republicans believe they have some new information they can present. the question is going to be how much new information they can show at this committee and whether or not democrats will have more ammunition to contend. this is a political witch hunt, carol. >> manu raju live from capitol hi hill. hillary clinton on her way to
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i'm wolf blitzer life from washington. we'd like to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. just moments from now the race for president of the united states and a very tense political battle collide on capitol hill. hillary clinton getting ready to take a seat in front of the house of committees special committee on benghazi. take a look at these live pictures coming in from the room right now. seven republicans and five democrats will question the former secretary of state on the events of september 11, 2012. an attack carried out on the anniversary of 9/11 when american interests overseas conceivably should have been on high alert. on that day four americans in benghazi libya lost their lives.
among them the u.s. ambassador to libya christopher stephens. he was a veteran of the u.s. foreign service. served in libya. as the top u.s. official there, he had gone to benghazi from tripoli the capital just one day before the attack. glen dougherty was a former navy seal working as the security contractor in benghazi protecting the american mission. he and tyrone woods also a former navy seal were killed when they rushed to help during the attack. the committee itself is looking into the events surrounding the attack. the security before the violence, and the response totalto thes deaths by officials. this is not the first time hillary clinton has testified on the benghazi attack. back in january 2013 we heard
this exchange. >> with all due respect, the fact is we had four dead americans. was it because of a protest or because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they would go kill some americans. what difference at this point does it make? it is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator. >> the then secretary was forced to wear by the way those big glasses at that hearing following a fall where she suffered a concussion. the incident also led to hillary clinton's developing a the blood clot in her brain. by all accounts she's fine today. o as for the republicans on the select committee of benghazi and trey gowdy of south carolina their most recent focus seemingly has been on the e-mails and her private e-mail server. they have also come under fire for turning the process into what the critics are calling a political attack, directly aimed at trying to damage hillary clinton's presidential campaign. as alleged by the republican
congressman, the majority leader kevin mccarthy of california and richard hanna of new york and other members of congress. we have assembled a team today to talk about what's expected and what's at stake during the coming hours. brianna keilar is here with us as is jim acosta actually over at the white house. and the alise lavitt. a let's start with dana up on capitol hill. i understand you have been able to speak with some committee members as they prepared for today's hearing. set the scene for us. >> first of all i can tell you that the public which has been -- there's been a big line here. they are actually able to go in
right now. you can see just how intense it is here. how incredibly crowded it is. this is -- you can see beyond those cameras. that is the line for the public that has been stretching around the corner. as you can imagine this is kind of a hot ticket, if you will, when it comes to capitol hill. but as far as the panel is concerned, if you remember back when it was put together, the speaker decided to do it. democrats, they considered boycotting this panel. but now they are here and they feel like they really have to defend hillary clinton and the process itself. but on the republican side i have been speaking to a couple of the republican members on the committee. and what they insist is that by the end of the day what we are going to see is a lot less political than what you just played from a couple of republicans who are not on this committee. that they have been working intensely and intensively on gathering research, on investigations for the past so
many months and that this is going to be the first time. this is a word one of the members just used with me who is going to be questioning today. this is the first time that you are going to see a holistic view of what happened that night in benghazi, why it happened, how it happened and the whole security question of following the hours -- the hours following the attack that night. so that is the aim at least on the republican side. they insist -- insist, it is going to be a lot less political than the democrats say they expect it to be. >> standby. i want to go to cnn senior political reporter manu raju also on capitol hill. give us a the rundown whether to expect as the hearing gets under way. >> in a few minutes hillary clinton will be walking right behind me and into the committee room dana isstanding next to. each member are going to speak about ten minutes a piece.
we're expecting a long day. four rounds of questioning at least. republicans are trying to showcase they have new information here. even though there have been two other testimonies that hillary clinton has given on capitol hill in addition to a number of other investigations. they want to show that they have learned something new. they have been trying for weeks to declassify e-mails from the state department. and we believe that they certainly have. in addition they do have a batch of e-mails that they have not discussed publicly yet. and we expect that those to be discussed at the hearing. the question is going to be how hillary responds to those. because she has not seen those yet. and how will she do? will it contradict her past testimony? we don't know any of that yet. we do know from the hillary campaign what she's trying to do is present a sober vision of what american foreign policy is like, the realities, the need to lead around the world and really the tragic circumstances around it in that 2012 attack.
so i don't know how combative hillary clinton will be. she probably will leave a lot of those attacks to those house dmoktds who will be defending her and contending this committee is nothing but a partisan witch hunt. the question is going to be how does she deal with some of these more pointed question, particularly in the laters hours wolf. >> this is just the fourth public hearing by the select benghazi committee since it was seated last year. only public we're told because of demands by hillary clinton. our senior correspondent brianna kehler is with us right now. hillary's clearly been preparing for several days for this going through session after session after session with her lawyers and her top aides. >> this is the culmination of days of preparation. in fact she's going to be testifying today for between 8
and 10,0 hours. the expectation is four two-hour chunks of time. and she's been preparing with a legal team, with her policy advisors. keeping in mind this was some time ago. so she's reviewing her 2013 jus she has everything in order and doesn't contradict herself. the plan for republicans is to try to make this look less political. or at least that is what we hear from trey gowdy. but -- and the issue being that the focus will be more on benghazi and less on the e-mail practices which certainly have been a vulnerability for hillary clinton. the issue though is it is going to be very tempting for republicans to engage in talking about the e-mails. this is a tricky isn't for hillary clinton. they don't want to be accused by their base of going too easy on hillary clinton. and for her testimony what we're expecting is for her to make a case for expeditionary diplomas. what is that?
it is the idea that even in dangerous places like libya, like benghazi, that there is a role for diplomacy to play. and she is going to put the fact that there was this diplomatic mission in benghazi in that frame. her team also sees this as the referendum of her time as secretary of state. her time, her experience there as been an asset. voters will tell you they want to make sure she doesn't have any incoming on that. the best case is that hillary clinton comes off an accomplished. she comes off as in control. she comes off as unruffled. keeping in mind this is a long time. there are a lot of facts and deep down she is frustrated at this process. she sees at a attempt at political takedown and she's going to be trying to keep that under wrap zwls she told our own jake tapper she really doesn't know what to expect during these hours of questioning. >> right. she doesn't exactly know who to expect. and i think part of that is we
all don't know what to expect. if you hear trey gowdy talk about it he'll say he wants this to be a definitive and final accounting of what happened in benghazi. he says he's been frustrated by some of these admissions by republicans lately of the political aspect of what's going on. but are other republicans on the committee going to follow suit? are they not going to really get into the e-mails? i talked to one democrat on the committee. and he said they are just not going to be able to help it. we'll see if he's right or not. >> don't go too far. we're looking at eight or more hours of questioning in the same hearing room by the way where hillary clinton defended her ill-fated healthcare over haul when she was first lady back in 1993. today the benghazi questions are likely to fall into at least five key areas. why did the u.s. maintain a diplomatic mission there to begin with? it was a known caldron of violence in the first place. secondly, why wasn't clint awen of ware of more requests to
security. why did the u.s. keep the benghazi post as a so called temporary mission, not a full on consulate which would have warranted greater security. and its temporary status notwithstanding could security have been improved over there? let's go over to our panel to discuss what's going on. galo gloria, i don't think we could potentially other state how important this could be for hillary. >> very significant for her. very significant also for the republican party and how it conducts itself during these hearings. we're told as brianna just pointed out that hillary clinton is going to approach this in a soeber and a serious way. and i think there is some sense on the democratic side that there is a danger of the republicans kind of devolving into a circus unless trey gowdy can kind of get control of his people. and what i think hillary clinton is coming there to talk about and what i think the american
public wants to hear is why those four people died, how they died, how it can be prevented in the future. the big question is, does this turn into a circus about hillary clinton's e-mail server? because i think that if you look at the polling, it is quite divided along party lines about whether or not people think that matters. people believe -- a majority do not believe hillary clinton did a great job in handling benghazi. but along partisan lines whether it's relevant or not to whether she could become president of the united states. 70% of democrats say it is irrelevant. 80% of republicans think it is relevant. and independent voters, very important in presidential election, are split down the middle. >> legally jeffrey there are major considerations.
she spent the last days and weeks with advisors, going through potentially if she contradicts herself, says something differently today than the first time she testified under oath, that opens her up to potential legal problems. >> it does. and there is an fbi investigation in a general way of the e-mail situation. so that is something very much top of mind for her team. something to keep in mind. two things that i think, you know, from a legal perspective are interesting. david kendall is her lawyer. will he play an aggressive role like connolly who interjected himself. will he be an active presence defending his client? or will hillary clinton look presidential and not needing a the lawyer.
and they are notoriously bad question askers. most congressman can't even clear their throats in ten minutes so it is going to be interesting to see if they ket real questions out rather than give speeches. >> hillary clinton herself a lawyer. practiced law in little rock arkansas for many years. so she's experienced in these kind of matters. everyone standby. hillary clinton is expected to walk into the house hearing room momentarily. we'll have live coverage of all of this, the opening statements by the chairman, the ranking democrat. we've been seeing elijah cummings up there for the past several minutes. standby. much more after a quick break. 6
welcome back. hillary clinton moments ago you see her right there, walking into the longworth house office building up on capitol hill. she's be testifying about eight hours today in the benghazi terrorist attack that killed four americans including the u.s. ambassador back in 2012. this is a big hearing for hillary clinton. a major, major moment in her race for the white house as well. lots of political ramramificati. lots at stake to put it mildly. amanda carpenter is here. former communications director for senator ted cruz. and paul begala, helps run a
super pac supporting hillary clinton. long time friend and associate of hillary clinton. it is fair to say the stakes for her today are enormous. right paul? >> very high. are the legal stakes. which is most important. she's going to be under oath. she's been under oath in the past. this politically, you know, frankly, the political polling is on her side. our super pac has done a poll on this. overwhelming americans think it's a waste of money, politically motivated. we didn't ask it as well as cnn's poll. is this for political gain? 72% of americans say yes. 75% of independents think this committee is out for partisan gain. it's because they are. i'd like to meet, by the way, the 20% that think they're not. i'll sell them some ocean-front
property in arizona. >> 36% said they were satisfied with the way hillary clinton handled herself, 59% were dissatisfied so she's got work to do. amanda, the problem for the republicans now, they're really on the defensive because of what kevin mccarthy, the republican majority leader of the house of representatives said, look at her number, look at her popularity. her numbers go down as a result of this select committee on benghazi. $4 million, $5 million taxpayer money spent. and the democrats are arguing, as kevin mccarthy said, it was done for political purposes. >> mccarthy rightly lost the speakership that was handed him on a silver platter because people were shocked he would say something so ignorant at the time. the stakes are high for everyone. i think everyone recognizes that. the most substantive conversation that could come out of this hearing is what was hillary clinton's policy in libya.
breanna mentioned she would be willing to talk about this expeditionary diplomacy. benghazi represents a very extreme example of that. we had an ambassador at a compound that was temporary, that did not have the security benefits of an embassy or something like that. and they were in danger. hillary clinton should be pressed why it was important to put him in that environment. >> chris stevens wanted to go there. he spent a lot of time at benghazi. he was based in the capital of tripoli but he went there the day before. everyone stand by. hillary clinton is now there in the house. she's getting ready to walk into the hearing room. she'll be grilled by a whole lot of members. live coverage coming up after this. the more you learn about your insurance,
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welcome back to our special coverage of benghazi hearing. you see hillary clinton arriving at the longworth office building. she'll be testifying for hours today about what happened on september 11, 2012 when four americans were killed at the u.s. diplomatic compound in benghazi, libya. the testimony could go all the way until late this afternoon, maybe even early evening. dana bash is up on capitol hill right now. that room is quickly filling up, the longworth house hearing room. i take it the secretary's now meeting behind closed door with the chairman, trey gowdy? >> reporter: that's right. we are in the hallway. i'm standing next to our camera. you probably only see a lot of police officers and security but there's a whole line of cameras waiting for her to walk out of a
room, a private room, where she -- and there's trey gowdy right there, the chairman, going out. so, he was in a room with hillary clinton. apparently went into greet her privately before he starts grilling her publicly, which is an interesting moment that we got to at least witness, the fact that he went in there. not something that always happens when you have any kind of committee hearing, particularly this kind of public and high-profile one. hillary clinton is behind closed doors in her holding room. we have seen some of her campaign staff go in, her lawyer, whom i know you know well from the clinton days, david kendall, has been prepping her and here to be with her throughout the day of testimony. we're all anticipating her walking across the hall and walking into the room to sit down and begin the very, very long day of testimony. >> you see him talking to ranking democrat, elijah
cummings, sitting to his left. do we know if she will be sworn in publicly or sworn in privately before her testimony? >> we don't know the answer to that. it's entirely possible they do it privately for the sole reason that they are bending over backwards to make it look and feel apolitical, nonpolitical, and the image of her with her hand up is something that can easily be used in -- you know, in campaign commercials against her. it's sort of the quintessential image of somebody who has some questions to answer. so, we're waiting to actually find that out. i'm wondering, i'm trying to get the answer about whether or not that was part of the reason why trey gowdy went in there beforehand. >> i'm sure they worked out all of these details, very sensitive details with a lot of political ramifications as well. stand by, dana, i want to bring
in senior white house correspondent, jim acosta. they're watching this closely at the white house because the stakes are pretty high there as well. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. the white house has been clear. the white house believes benghazi is a political exercise to damage hillary clinton. josh earnest said it was going to be up to this committee to prove it's credible today, putting pressure on the panel, not the secretary of state. and after kevin mccarthy basically said it was set up to affect clinton's standings in the pole, they said he said something everybody in washington already knew was true. the white house has been much more cautious. officials see that as clinton's issue, not theirs. when president obama said on "60 minutes" he didn't think clinton's use of that server posed a national security risk, the white house backtracked from
that, saying that is what we know, based on what's available public publicly. there are still -- >> hold on. i want to let our viewers know, hillary clinton is now in the room. she's going to the republican side, now the democratic side and shaking hands with all of the members of this select committee. there are seven republicans, five democrats. the republicans are in the majority and the republican chairman is trey gowdy. he will gavel the session to order. there will be a few breaks during the course of the day. she's doing a little photo opportunity. she's going to be seated there. her lawyers, her political aides, her advisers will be seated behind her. i think trey gowdy is getting ready to bring this session to a formal start. it's curious to see if she will be sworn in publicly or privately. we'll know in the next few seconds. the camera, the photographers, all the crews there are being told to sit down, get out of the way. here's the chairman. >> good morning.
the committee will come to order. the chair notes the order of a quor quorum. welcome, madame secretary, we will ko welcome to each of you. madame secretary, there are predetermined breaks, but i want to make it absolutely clear, we can take a break for any reason or for no reason. if you or anyone would simply alert me, then we will take a break and it can be for any reason or for no reason. to our guests, we are happy to have you here. the witness deserves to hear the question and the members deserve to hear the answers, so proper decorum must be observed at all time. no reaction to questions or answers, no disruptions. some committees take an incremental approach to decorum. i do not. this is your one and only notice. madame secretary, the ranking member and i will give opening statements and then you will be
recognized for your opening statement. and then after, that the members will alternate from one side to the other. and because you have already been sworn, we will go straight to your opening. so, i will now recognize myself and then recognize mr. cummings and then you, madame secretary. chris stevens, sean smith, glenn dougherty and tyrone woods served this country with courage and with honor. and they were killed under circumstances most of us could never imagine. terrorists tore through the front game of an american facility, attacking people and property with machine guns, mortars and fire. it is important we remember how these four men died. it's equally important we remember how these four men lived and why.
they were more than four images on a television screen. they were husbands and fathers and sons and brothers and family and friends. they were americans who believed in service and sacrifice. many people wistfully speak of a better world. these four went out and tried to make it better and it cost them their lives. so, we know what they gave us. what do we owe them? justice for those that killed them? we owe their families, our ever-lasting gratitude, respect. we owe them and each other the truth. the truth about why we were in libya. the truth about what we were doing in libya. the truth about the escalating violence in libya before we were attacked and these four men were killed. the truth about requests for additional security.
the truth about requests for additional personnel. the truth about requests for additional equipment. the truth about where and why our military was positioned as it was on the anniversary of 9/11. the truth about what was happening and being discussed in washington while our people were under attack. the truth about what led to the attacks and the truth about what our government told the american people after the attacks. why were there so many requests for more security personnel and k equipment and why were those requests denied in washington? why did the state department, compound and facility, not even come close to meeting proper security specifications. what policies were we pursuing in libya required a physical presence in spite of the escalating violence? who in washington was aware of the escalating violence?
what precautions if any were taken on the anniversary of 9/11. what happened in washington after the first attack and what was our response to that attack? what did the military do or not do? what did our leaders in washington do and not do and when? why was the american public given such divergent accounts of what caused these attacks and why is it so hard to get the information from the very government these four men represented, served and sacrificed for? even after an accountability review board and half dozen investigation, these questions still lingered. these questions lingered because previous investigations were not thorough. these questions lingered because those previous investigations were narrow in scope and either incapable or unwilling to access the facts and evidence necessary to answer all relevant questions. so, the house of
representatives, including some democrats, i hasten to add, asked this committee to write the final, definitive accounting of what happened in benghazi. this committee is the first committee to review more than 50,000 pages of documents because we insisted they be produced. this committee is the first committee to demand access to more eyewitnesss because serious investigations talked to as many eyewitnesss as possible. this committee is the first committee to thoroughly and individually interview scores of other witnesses, many of them for the first time. this committee is the first committee to review thousands of pages of documents from top state department personnel. this committee is the first committee to demand access to relevant documents from the cia, the fbi, the department of defense, even the white house. this committee is the first committee to demand elms to and
from ambassador chris stevens. how could an investigation possibly be considered serious without reviewing the e-mails of the person most knowledgeable about libya? this committee is the first committee, the only committee, to uncover the fact that secretary clinton exclusively used e-mail on her personal server for business in her own custody and control for almost two years after she left office. you will hear a lot today about the accountability review board. secretary clinton has mentioned it more than 70 times in her previous testimony before congress. but when you hear about the arb, you should know the state department leadership hand-picked the members of the arb. the arb never interviewed secretary clinton. the arb never reviewed her e-mails. and secretary clinton's top adviser was allowed to review and suggest changes to the arb
before the public ever saw it. there's no transcript of arb interviews, so it's impossible to know whether all relevant questions were asked and answered. and because there's no transcript, it is also impossible to cite the arb interviews with any particularity at all. that is not independent. that is not accountability. that is not a serious investigation. you will hear there were previous congressional investigations into benghazi, and that is true. and it should make you wonder why those investigations failed to interview so many witnesses and access to many documents. if those previous congressional investigations were really serious and thorough, how did they miss ambassador stevens' e-mails? this those previous investigations were serious and thorough, how did they miss secretary clinton's e-mails? if those congressional investigations really were serious and thorough, why did
they fail to interview dozens of key state department witnesses, including agents on the ground, who experienced the attacks firsthand? just last month, three years after benghazi, top aides finally returned documents to the state department. a month ago this committee received 1,500 new pages of secretary clinton's e-mails related to libya and benghazi, three years after the attacks. and a little over two weeks ago this committee received nearly 1,400 pages of ambassador stevens' e-mails, three years after the attacks. it is impossible to conduct a serious fact-centric investigation without access to the documents from the former secretary of state, the ambassador who knew more about libya than anyone else, and testimony from witnesses who survived the attacks. madame secretary, i understand there are people, frankly, in both parties who have suggested that this investigation is about you.
let me assure you it is not and let me assure you why it is not. this investigation is about four people who were killed representing our country on foreign soil. it is about what happened before, during and after the attacks that killed them. it is about what this country owes those who risk their lives to serve it. and it is about the fundamental obligation of government to tell the truth always to the people that it purports to represent. madame secretary, not a single member of this committee signed up to investigate you or your e-mail. we signed up to investigate and, therefore, honor the lives of four people that we sent into a dangerous country to represent us.
and to do everything we can to prevent it from happening to others. our committee has interviewed half a hundred interviews. not a single one of them has been named clinton until today. you were the secretary of state for this country at all relevant times, so of course the committee is going to want to talk to you. you are an important witness. are you one important witness among half a hundred important witnesses. i do understand you wanted to come sooner than today. let me be clear why that happened. you had an unusual e-mail arrangement, which meant the state department could not produce your e-mails to us. you made exclusive use of personal e-mail and a personal server. when you left the state department, you kept the public record to yourself for almost two years.
and it was you and your attorneys who decided what to return, what to delete. those were your decisions. not our decisions. only in march did we learn of this e-mail arrangement, and since we learned of this e-mail arrangement, we have interviewed dozens of witnesses, only one of whom was solely related to your e-mail arrangement. and dhafs the shortest interview of all, because that witness invoked his fifth amendment privilege against incrimination. making the public record is complete is what serious investigations do, so it was important and remains important that this committee have access to all of obama stevens' eames, the e-mails of other senior leaders and witnesses, and it's important to gain access to all of your e-mails, madame secretary. your e-mails are no less or no more important than the e-mails of anyone else. it just took us a little bit
longer to get them and it garnered a little more attention in the process. i want you to take note during this hearing how many times congressional democrats call on this administration to long awaited documents available to us. they won't. take note of how many witnesses congressional democrats ask us to schedule for interview. they won't. we would be much closer to finding out what happened and writing the final, definitive report if democrats on this committee had helped us just a little bit pursue the facts. but if the democrats on this committee had their way, dozens of witnesses never would have been interviewed, your public record would still be private, thousands of documents never would have been accessed and we wouldn't have the e-mails of our own ambassador. that may be smart politics, but it is a lousy way to run a serious investigation.
there are certain characteristics that make our country unique in the annals of history. we are the greatest experiment in self-governance the world has ever known. part of that self-governance comes self-scrutiny, even of the highest officials. our country is strong enough to handle the truth and our fellow citizens expect us to pursue the truth wherever the facts take us. so this committee is going to do what we pledged to do and what should have been done, frankly, a long time ago, which is interview all relevant witnesses, examine all relevant evidence and access all relevant documents. we're going to pursue the truth in a manner worthy of the memory of the four people who lost their lives and worthy of the respect of our fellow citizens. we're going to write that final definitive accounting of what happened in bernz. we would like to do it with your
help and the help of our democrat colleagues. but make no mistake, we are going to do it, nonetheless, but understanding what happened in benghazi goes to the heart of who we are as a country and the promises we make to those we send into harm's way. they deserve the truth. they deserve the whole truth. they deserve nothing but the truth. the people we work for deserve the truth. we're going to find the truth because there is no statute of limitations on the truth. with that i would recognize my friend from maryland. >> the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. madame secretary, i want to thank you very much for being here to testify before congress on this very important issue. this is your third time. this week our chairman, mr. gowdy, was interviewed in a lengthy media profile. during his interview he complained that he, quote, had an impossible job. that's what the chairman said. impossible job. he said it's impossible to conduct a serious, fact-centric investigation in such a, quote, political environment. i have great respect for the chairman. but on this score, he is absolutely wrong.
in fact, it has been done by his own republican colleagues in the house on this very issue, benghazi. the republican chairman of the house intelligence committee conducted an extensive bipartisan two-year investigation and issued a detailed report. the senate intelligence committee and the senate homeland security committee also conducted a bipartisan investigation. those bipartisan efforts respected and honored the memories of the four brave americans who gave their lives in benghazi. ambassador chris stevens, sean smith, tyrone woods and glen doherty. the problem is the republican
caucus did not like the answers they got from those investigations, so they set up this select committee with no rules, no deadline and an unlimited budget. and they set them loose, madame secretary, because you're running for president. clearly it is possible to conduct a serious bipartisan investigation. what is impossible for any reasonable person to continue denying that republicans are squandering millions of taxpayer dollars on this abusive effort to derail secretary clinton's presidential campaign. in the chairman's interview, he tried to defend against this criticism by attempting to cast himself as the victim.
and he complained about attacks on the committee. his argument would be more compelling if republicans weren't leading the charge. as we all know, kevin mccarthy, speaker boehner's close friend, they established the select committee to drive down secretary clinton's poll numbers. democrats didn't say that. second in the house said that, republican. richard hanna said the select committee was, quote, designed, designed to go after secretary clinton. one of the chairman's own hand-picked investigators, a self-proclaimed conservative republican, charged that he was fireded in part for not going along with these plans to, quote, hyperfocus on hillary
clinton, end of quote. these reflect exactly what we've seen inside the select committee for the past year. let's just take a look at the facts. since january, republicans have canceled every single hearing on our schedule for the entire year, except for this one, secretary clinton. they also canceled numerous interviews they planned with the defense department and the cia officials. instead of doing that, they said they were going -- what they were going to do, republicans zeroed in on secretary clinton. her speechwriters, her i.t. staffers and her campaign officials. this is what the republicans did. not the democrats. when speaker boehner established this select committee, he justified it by arguing that it
would, quote, cross jurisdictional lines. i assume he meant we would focus on more than just secretary of state. but, madame secretary, you're sitting there by yourself. the secretary of defense is not on your left. the director of the cia is not on your right. that's because republicans abandoned their own plans to question those top officials. so instead of being cross-jurisdictional, republicans just crossed them off the list. last weekend the chairman told the republican colleagues so shut up and stop talking about the select committee. what i wanted to know is this,d this is a key question, why tell the republicans to shut up when they were are telling the truth,
but not when they're attacking secretary clinton with reckless accusations that are demonstrably false. why not tell them to shut up then? carly fiorina has said secretary clinton has blood on her hands. mike huckabee accused her of ignoring the warning calls. senator ryan paul said benghazi was a 3:00 a.m. phone call that she never picked up. and senator lindsey graham tweeted, where the hell were you on the night of the benghazi attack? everyone on this panel knows these accusations are baseless. from our own investigation and all those before it. yet, republican members of this select committee remain silent.
on monday the democrats issued a report showing none of 54 witnesses the committee interviewed substantiated these wild claims. secretary clinton did not order the military to step down, nor did she approve or deny additional security. i ask our report be entered into the official hearing today, chairman? >> without objection. >> what is so telling is that we issued virtually the same report. a year ago. same report. when we first joined the select committee i asked my staff to put together a complete report and database setting forth the questions that have been asked about the attacks and all of the answers that were provided in the eight previous investigations. i ask that this report also be
included in the report, mr. chairman. >> without objection. >> the problem is that rather than accepting these facts, republicans continue to spin new conspiracy theories that are just as outlandish and inaccurate. for example, the chairman recently tried to argue that sidney blumenthal was secretary clinton's primary adviser in libya. this past sunday representative pompeo said on national twice that secretary clinton relied on blumenthal for most of her. they rated it four pinocchios. here's the bottom line. the select committee has spent
17 months and $4.7 million of taxpayer money. we've held four hearings and conducted 54 interviews and depositions. yes, we have received some new e-mails from secretary clinton, ambassador stevens and others. and, yes, we have conducted some new interviews. but these documents and interviews do not show any nefarious activity. in fact, it's just the opposite. the new information we obtained confirms and corroborates the core facts we already knew from eight previous investigations. they provide more detail, but they do not change the basic conclusions. this time, it is time and it is time now, for the republicans to end this taxpayer-funded fishing expedition. we need to come together and shift from politics to policy.
that's what the american people want. shifting from politics to policy. we need to finally make good on our promises to the families. and the facts only asked us to do three things. one, do not make this a political football. two, find the facts. three, do everything in your power to make sure that this does not happen again. so, we need to start focusing on what we here in congress can do to improve the safety and security of our diplomatic corps in the future. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the chair thanks mr. cummings. madame secretary, you're recognized for your opening statement. >> thank you. the terrorist attacks at our diplomatic compound and later at the cia post in benghazi, libya, on september 11, 2012, took the
lives of four brave americans. ambassador chris stevens, sean smith, glen doherty and tyrone woods. i'm here to honor the service of those four men, the courage of the diplomatic security agency and the cia officers who risked their lives that night. and the work their colleagues do every single day all over the world. i knew and admired chris stevens. he was one of our nation's most accomplished diplomats. chris' mother liked to say that he had sand in his shoes because he was always moving, always working, especially in the middle east, that he came to know so well.
when the revolution broke out in libya, we assigned chris as our envoy to the opposition. there was no easy way to get him into benghazi to begin gathering information and meeting those libyans who were rising up against the murderous dictator gadhafi, but he found a way to get himself there on a greek cargo ship, just like a 19th century american envoy. but his work was very much 21st century, hard-nosed diplomacy. it is a testament to the relationships that he built in libya that on the day following the awareness of his death, tens of thousands of libyans poured into the streets in benghazi.
they held signs reading, thugs don't represent benghazi or islam. sorry, people of america. this is not the behavior of our islam or our prophet. chris stevens, a friend to all libyans. although i didn't have the privilege of meeting sean smith personally, he was a valued member of our state department family. an air force veteran. he was an information management officer who had served in pretoria, baghdad, montreal and the hague. tyrone woods and glen doherty worked for the cia. they were killed by mortar fire
at the cia's outpost in benghazi, a short distance from the diplomatic compound. they were both former navy s.e.a.l.s and trained paramedics with distinguished records of service, including in iraq and afghanistan. as secretary of state, i had the honor to lead and the responsibility to support nearly 70,000 diplomats and development experts across the globe. losing any one of them, as we did in iraq, afghanistan, mexico, haiti and libya during my tenure was deeply painful for our entire state department and usaid family personally. i was the one who asked chris to go to libya as our envoy.
i was the one who recommended him to be our ambassador to the president. after the attacks, i stood next to president obama, as marines carried his casket and those of the other three americans, off the plane at andrews air force base. i took responsibility. and as part of that, before i left office, i launched reforms to better protect our people in the field and help reduce the chance of another tragedy happening in the future. what happened in benghazi has been scrutinized by a nonpartisan, hard-hitting accountability review board, seven prior congressional investigations, multiple news organizations and, of course, our law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
so today i would like to share three observations about how we can learn from this tragedy and move forward as a nation. first, america must lead in a dangerous world and our diplomats must continue representing us in dangerous places. the state department sends people to more than 270 posts in 170 countries around the world. chris stevens understood that diplomats must operate in many places where our soldiers do not, where there are no other boots on the ground and safety is far from guaranteed. in fact, he volunteered for just those assignments. he also understood we will never
prevent every act of terrorism or achieve perfect security, and we must inevitably accept a level of risk to protect our country and advance our interests and values. and make no mistake, the risks are real. terrorists have killed more than 65 american diplomatic personnel since the 1970s, and more than 100 contractors and locally employed staff. since 2001, there have been more than 100 attacks on u.s. diplomatic facilities around the world. but if you ask our most experienced ambassadors, they'll tell you, they can't do their jobs for us from bunkers. it would compound the tragedy of benghazi if chris stevens' death and the death of the other three
americans ended up undermining the work to which he and they devoted their lives. we have learned the hard way, when america is absent, especially from unstable places, there are consequences. extremism takes root, aggressors seek to fill the vacuum and security everywhere is threatened, including here at home. that's why chris was in benghazi. it's why he served previously in syria, egypt, saudi arabia and jerusalem during the second. nobody knew the dangs of libya better. a weak government, extremist groups, rampant instability. but chris chose to go to benghazi because he understood america had to be represented
there at that pivotal time. he knew that eastern libya was where the revolution had begun and that unrest there could derail the country's fragile transition to democracy. and if extremists gained a foothold, they would have the chance to destabilize the entire region, including egypt and tunisia. he also knew how urgent it was to ensure that the weapons gadhafi had left strewn across the country, including shoulder-fired missiles that could knock an airplane out of the sky, did not fall into the wrong hands. the nearest israeli airport is just a day's drive from the libyan border. above all, chris understood that most people in libya or anywhere
reject the extremists' argument that violence can ever be a path to dignity or justice. that's what those thousands of libyans were saying after he learned of his death. and he understood there was no substitute for going beyond the embassy walls and doing the hard work of building relationships. retreat from the world is not an option. america cannot shrink from our responsibility to lead. that doesn't mean we should ever return to the go it alone foreign policy of the past, a foreign policy that puts boots on the ground as a first choice rather than a last resort. quite the opposite. we need creative, confident leadership that harnesses all of america's strengths and values, leadership that integrates and
balances the tools of diplomacy, development and defense. and at the heart of that effort must be dedicated professionals like chris stevens and his colleagues, who put their lives on the line for a country, our country, because they believed, as i do, that america is the greatest force for peace and progress the world has ever known. my second observation is this, we have a responsibility to provide our diplomats with the resources and support they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible. after previous deadly attacks, leaders from both parties and both branches of government came together to determine what went wrong and how to fix it for the future. that's what happened during the reagan administration.
when hezbollah attacked our embassy and killed 63 people, including 17 americans, and then in a later attack, attacked our marine barracks and killed so many more. those two attacks in beirut resulted in the deaths of 258 americans. it's what happened in the clinton administration when al qaeda bombed our embassies in kenya and tanzania, killing more than 200 people, wounding more than 2,000 people, and killing 12 americans. and it's what happened during the bush administration after 9/11. part of america's strength is we
learn, we adapt and we get stronger. after the benghazi attacks, i asked ambassador thomas pickering, one of our most distinguished and longest serving diplomats, along with admiral mike mullen, the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, appointed by president george w. bush, to lead an accountability review board. this is an institution that the congress set up after the terrible attacks in beirut. there have been 18 previous accountability review boards. only two have ever made any of their findings public. the one following the attacks on our embassies in east after and the one following our attack -- the attack on benghazi. the accountability review board did not pull a single punch. they found systematic problems
and management deficiencies in two state department bureaus. and the review board recommended 29 specific improvements. i pledge by the time i left office, every one would be on the way to implementation. and they were. more marines were slated for deployment to high-threat embassies, additional diplomatic security agents were being hired and trained. and secretary kerry has continued this work. but there is more to do. and no administration can do it alone. congress has to be our partner, as it has been after previous tragedies. for example, the accountability review board and subsequent investigations have recommended improved training for our officers before they deploy to the field. but efforts to establish a modern joint training center are being held up by congress.
the men and women who serve our country deserve better. there's one more observation i would like to share. i traveled to 112 countries as secretary of state. every time i did, i felt great pride and honor, representing the country that i love. we need leadership at home to match our leadership abroad. leadership that puts national security ahead of politics and ideology. our nation has a long history of bipartisan cooperation on foreign policy and national security. not that we always agree. far from it. but we do come together when it counts. as secretary of state, i worked with the republican chairman of the senate foreign relations
committee to pass a landmark nuclear arms control treaty with russia. i worked with the republican leader, senator mitch mcconnell, to open up burma, now myanmar, to democratic change. i know it's possible to find common ground, because i have done it. we should debate on the basis of fact, not fear. we should resist denigrating the patriotism or loyalty with those we disagree. so i'm here. despite all the previous investigations and all the talk about partisan agendas, i'm here to honor those we lost and to do what i can to aid those who serve us still. my challenge to you, members of this committee, is the same challenge i put to myself. let's be worthy of the trust the american people have bestowed upon us. they expect us to lead, to learn
the right lessons, to rise above partisanship and to reach for statesmanship. that's what i try to do every day as secretary of state. and it's what i hope we will all strive for here today and into the future. thank you. >> thank you, madame secretary. i did not cut off your opening at all, nor would i think about doing so because the subject matter is critically important and you deserve to be heard. i would just simply note that, and i don't plan on cutting off any of your answers. our members have questions that we believe are worthy of being answered, so i would simply note that we do plan to ask all of the questions and whatever precision and concision you can give to the answers would be much appreciated.
with that i would recognize jake roskum. >> your foreign adviser wrote a letter on before they took tripoli. he titles it, quote, secretary clinton's leadership in libya in which he describes you as a critical voice and, quote, the public face of the u.s. effort in libya and instrumental in tightening the noose around gadhafi and his regime. that didn't come easy, did it? you faced considerable option. i can pause while you read your notes from your staff. >> one thing at a time, congressman. thanks. >> that didn't come easy, did it? that leadership role and that public face that i just mentioned? >> i know this is an issue that the committee has raised. and it really boils down to why
were we in libya. why did the united states join with our nato and european allies, join with our arab partners, to protect the people of libya against the murderous planning of gadhafi. why did we take a role alongside our partners in doing so? there were a number of reasons for that. and i think it is important to remind the american people where we were at the time when the people of libya, like people across the region, rose up, demanding freedom and democracy, a chance to chart their own futures and gadhafi -- >> i take your -- >> and gadhafi threatened them with genocide, hunting them down like cockroaches. we were approached with great intensity our closestallies in europe. people who felt very strongly, the french and the british, but others as well, that they could
not stand idly by, so close to their shores, with the unintended consequences they worried about. and they asked for the united states to help. we did not immediately say yes. we did an enormous amount of due diligence in meeting with not only our european and arab partners, but also with those who were heading up what was called the transitional national council. we had experienced diplomats who were digging deep into what was happening in libya and what the possibilities were before we agreed to provide very specific, limited help to the european and arab efforts. we did not put one american soldier on the ground. we did not have one casualty. in fact, i think by many measures, the cooperation between arab forces was quite remarkable and something we want to learn more lessons from. >> secretary clinton, you were meeting with opposition within
the state department from very senior career diplomats, in fact. they were saying it was going to produce a net negative for u.s. military intervention. for example, in a march 9, 2011 e-mail, which has become known as the libya options memo, executive secretary of the state department, and one of the top career diplomats said this, in the case of our diplomatic history, when we provided material or tactical military support to people seeking to drive their leaders from power, no matter how just their cause, it's tended to produce net negatives for our interests over the long term in those countries. now, we'll come back to that in a minute. but you overruled those career diplomats. you are the chief diplomat of the united states. go ahead and read the note, if you need to. >> have i to --
>> i'm not done with my question. i'm just giving you the courtesy of reading your notes. >> that's all right. >> they were pushing back. but you overcame those objections, but then you had another big obstacle, didn't you? that was the white house itself. there were senior voices within the white house that were opposed to military action. vice president biden, department of defense, secretary gates, the national security counsel and so forth, but you persuaded president obama to intervene militarily, isn't that right? >> congressman, i think it's important to point out, there were many in the state department who believed it was very much in america's interests and furtherance of our values to protect the libyan people to join with our european allies and arab partners. the ambassador, who had to be withdrawn from libya because of direct threats to his physical safety, but who knew libya very well. ambassador krets was a strong
advocate tore doing what we could to assist the europeans and arabs. i think it's fair to say there were concerns and there were varying opinions about what to do, how to do it and the like. at the end of the day, this was the president's decision. all of us fed in our views. i did not favor it until i had done, as i said, the due diligence, speaking with not just people in our government and within the governments of all the other nations who were urging us to assist them, but also meeting in person with the gentleman who had assumed a lead role in the transitional national counsel. so, it is fair to say, this was a difficult decision. wouldn't sit here and say otherwise. and there ere varying points of view about it. at the end of the day, because of the strong appeals from
european allies, arab league passing resolution urging the united states and nato join with them, those were unprecedented requests. and we did decide in recommending to the president that there was a way to do it. the president, i think, very clearly had a limited instructions about how to proceed. and the first planes that flew were french planes. and i think what the united states provided was some of our unique capacity. but the bulk of the work militarily was done by europeans and arabs. >> i think you're underselling yourself. you got the state department on board. you convinced the president. you overcame the objections of vice president biden and secretary of defense gates, the national security council, and you had another obstacle then, and that was the united nations. and you were able to persuade the russians, of all things, to abstain. had you not be successful in
arguing that , the security council wouldn't have passed because the russians had a veto. so, you overcame that obstacle, isn't that right? >> it is right, after doing my due diligence and reviewing the various options and the potential consequences of pursuing each of them, i was in favor of the united states joining with our european allies and our arab partners, and i also was in favor of obtaining u.n. security council support because i thought that would provide greater legitimacy. in that, of course, our ambassador to the u.n. was very influential and successful in making the case to her colleagues. but this was at the behest of and at the direction of the president once he was presented with the varying arguments. i have been in situation room discussions, i remember the
intense discussion about whether to launch the navy s.e.a.l.s against the compound in which we thought might house osama bin laden. eventually the president makes the decision. i did what i could to support our european and arab partners in their effort on a humanitarian basis, a strategic basis to prevent gadhafi from launching and carrying out massachusetts kmass massacres. there was another obstacle, the arabs. jake sullivan sent you an e-mail and he said this, i think you should call. it will be a painful ten minutes but you will be the one who delivered arab support. that's a jake mullen e-mail to you, asking you to call the secretary-general of the arab -- of the arab league. so, to put this in totality, you were able to put -- overcome opposition within the state
department. you were able to persuade the president, you were able to persuade the united nations and the international community. you made the call to the arabs and brought them home. you saw it, you drove it, you arctticulated it and you persuad people. dy get that wrong? >> well, congressman, i was the secretary of state. my job was to conduct the diplomacy. and the diplomacy consisted of a long series of meetings and phone calls, both here in our country and abroad, to take the measure of what people were saying and whether they meant it. we had heard sometimes before from countries saying, well, united states should go do this. when we'd say, well, what would you do in support of us? there was not much coming forth. this time, if they wanted us to support them in what they saw as an action vital to their respective national security interests, i wanted to be sure they were going to bear the bulk
of the load. in fact, they did. what the united states did, as i've said, was use our unique capacities. as i recall, if you want it in monetary terms, slightly over $1 billion or less than what we spend in iraq in one day, is what the united states committed in support of our allies. you know, we ask our allies to do a lot, congressman. >> let me reclaim -- >> they asked us to help them. >> let me reclaim my time because it's expiring. you summed it up best when you e-mailed your senior staff, and you said, it's good to remind ourselves and the rest of the world that this couldn't have happened without us. you were right, secretary clinton. our libya policy couldn't have happened without you because you were its chief architect. i said we were going back to ambassador mulls' warning saying long-term things aren't going to turn out well. he was right.
things in libya are a disaster. i yield back. >> that's not a view i will ascribe to. >> thank you the gentleman from illinois and recognize the gentleman from maryland. >> thank you very much. madame secretary, again, i want to thank you for being here. i want to start with the number one question that republicans claim has not been answered in eight previous investigations. yesterday the chairman wrote an op-ed and he said, this is his top unanswered question about benghazi, and it is, and i quote, why are people in libya and benghazi made so many requests for additional security personnel and equipment, and why those requests were denied. i'll give you a chance to answer in a minute. secretary clinton, as you know, this exact question has been asked many times and answered
many times. let's start with the accountability review board. now, you -- a moment ago you talked about admiral mullen, but you also appointed another very distinguished gentleman, ambassador pickering. and, of course, admiral mullen served under republican administrations and ambassador pishging, who i have a phenomenal amount of respect for, served 40 years, as you know, as part of our diplomatic corps. he served under george h.w. bush, and he also served as u.n. ambassador under -- he also served under reagan. now, i'm just wondering, let me go back to that question, why are people in libya and benghazi made so many requests.
and then i want you to comment. there seems to be an implication that the arb, the accountability vee vi review board was not independent. i think he said they were hand-picked by you. of course, that's done by law. but i'm just -- would you comment on those two things, please? >> yes. i'd be happy to. as i said in my opening statement, i take responsibility for what happened in benghazi. i felt a responsibility for all 70,000 people working at the state department and usaid. i take that very seriously. as i said with respect to security requests in benghazi back when i testified in january of 2013, those requests and issues related to security were rightly handled by the security professionals in the department. i did not see them. i did not approve them. i did not deny them.
ambassador pickering and admiral mullen make this case very clearly in their testimony before your committee and in their public comments. these issues would not ordinarily come before the secretary of state and they did not in this case. as secretary, i was committed to taking aggressive measures to ensure our personnel and facilities were as safe as possible. certainly, when the nonpartisan critical report from the accountability review board came forward, i took it very seriously. and that's why i embraced all of our recommendations and created a new position within the diplomatic security burroeau, specifically to evaluate high-risk posts. i think it's important also to mention, congressman, that the
diplomatic security professionals, who were reviewing these requests, along with those who are serving in war zones and hot spots around the world, have great expertise and experience in keeping people safe. if you go on codels, they are the ones who plan your trip to keep you safe. they certainly did that for me. but most importantly, that's what they do every day for everybody who serves our country as a diplomat or development professional. and i was not going to secondguess them. i was not going to substitute my judgment, which is not based on experience that they have in keeping people safe for theirs. and the changes that were recommended by the accountability review board are ones that we thought made sense and began quickly to implement. >> now, the arb a