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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  October 22, 2015 11:00am-1:01pm PDT

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morning. i think there's an opportunity to hear more things. secretary clinton has ample opportunity over the course of this entire day. she's had ample opportunity to describe her situation and her story and she has no stranger to big venues. this is not something that needs our help to tell her story, but we do have a responsibility and that is to find these facts. >> let me just say this. we are trying to find the facts. she says she knew the two big attacks on the facility in benghazi. there were 20 attacks. so what we're trying to find out how many attacks would have been necessary that she knew about would have been necessary for her to give additional security in benghazi. especially after she admits that she got briefed every day she was in d.c. by the cia and these
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are the very cia reports that they are talking about. there was 4500 pages of those reports from january 1st to the attack. so we just want to know how many pages it would have taken, how many attacks it would have taken, what it would have taken to beef up, get more security to protect the u.s. personnel on the ground. >> there are additional documents that we will have the opportunity in the next few hours to ask her about that she's not been asked about in previous hearings. so. >> why shouldn't the testimony be released to the public? >> i think these large discussions about what is released and what isn't released need to be made in the totality of the whole investigation. so a as the chairman has said, 50 witnesses have been
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interviewed. there's 20 more that are cued up. we're in the midst of an ongoing investigation. the chairman says let's make these things -- let's disclose them on a timely basis. the only reason we're talking about sydney blumenthal is because secretary clinton was listening to sydney blumenthal. uniquely listening to sydney blumenthal. he had access that the american ambassador didn't. >> we have to go back in. >> there's three republican members of the select committee making the case between part one and part two. the chairman is already in his seat getting ready for part two. he's been alone in that office building up on capitol hill during this lunch break, as it's being. called, getting ready for part two. dana bash is outside the room and is with one of the top democrats on the committee. we're anxious to get his reaction. >> that's right, congressman,
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thank you for coming out here. you really got under trey gowdy's skin. was that your intention? >> no, u by thought it was important to set up the context of the hearing and where this all began was when that stop hillary pac submitted signatures to us calling her to testify and the committee has cancelled on all the other witnesses since january. this is the only hearing they were interested in. they can't tell us if there are going to have hearings after this or who they would be with. >> the arguments that republicans have been making over and over again, we heard it from trey gowdy in there is this is not a prosecution. this is an suppression. >> i think if you look at the examination he tried to do of the secretary and his reference to a courtroom, it looks like a prosecution. the only difference between this and a prosecution is in a prosecution you know where you're going. this committee has no idea where it's going apart from an interest in damaging hillary clinton. >> isn't that what an
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investigation is all about? you let the facts lead you. >> ideally an investigation you know what your object is in the sense you want to know what you want to find out. is this about determining whether there was gun running or a stand down order or whether there were interferences of security. . what are we going to be looking for? what's the scope? they could never say. that's the kwint sensual definition of a fishing expedition. >> i don't think anybody heard the fact that the secretary had e-mailed the egyptian prime minister the day after the attack saying that she was sure it was not based on the video. what does that tell you? >> what it tells you if you look at the context, that day she received intelligence that there hadn't been a protest, that it was an assault on the compound. the fomg day she received intelligence, as did we, that
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there were protests at the consulate of the diplomatic facility and the assessment of the intelligence agencies thereafter until we got the video from the compound itself was there was a protest. if you look at the secretary's comments to the prime minister, at the time she made those, that was the intel she received. if you look at later when she knew more, she was able to say more. but that just tracked the flow of intelligence as we were getting it and the secretary was getting it. >> thank you so much for coming over. i appreciate it. i'm actually going to turn now to our republican and let you eat your lunch. i'm not sure if you heard what he was talking about, but what he and mr. cummings told me rlier is that they are just convinced that this is a partisan move particularly elijah cummings says he's more convinced than ever that this is about trying to torpedo hillary
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clinton's presidential campaign. >> i don't think that's true. trey gowdy went to elijah cummings in the process when it was formed and made this offer in writing. e he said, elijah, you go and establish the timeframe for secretary clinton to come in. it was obvious she was going to be running for president. you choose a date and reach out the clinton campaign and set it up a. the only thing we ask is that we have 30 days after all the documents have been disclosed. you know and u know the state department made a complete disaster and got e-mails 48 hours ago that equates to ambassador stevens. the reason we're in this political season. is because of the administration itself. >> but when you hear trey gowdy at the end before the lunch break really hammer away at the whole question of the e-mails that she got from a controversial political figure from the '90s, it does beg the
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question, who cares? what does it matter? except if it's about her and her political lublt and her plut call future. >> here's why it matters. sydney blumenthal, a political figure of some controversy, had more access to secretary clinton than the ambassador did. in other words, the ambassador was not able to e-mail her personally and yet blumenthal sent her hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of e e-mails on libya. it's significant because she was reading them, acting on them, forwarding them on and so she has made blumenthal relevant to not just some character from the past. but this is somebody who she herself has made relevant. >> thank you so much. wolf, back to you. >> thank you very much. getting ready for part 2. the chairman of the select
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committee is ready for business. they are getting red duh to resume the questioning of hillary clinton on what happened in benghazi, libya. right after this. it's a highly thercontagious it can be especially serious- even fatal to infants. unfortunately, many people who spread it may not know they have it. it's called whooping cough. and the cdc recommends everyone, including those around babies, make sure their whooping cough vaccination is up to date. understand the danger your new grandchild faces. talk to your doctor or pharmacist about you and your family getting a whooping cough vaccination today.
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welcome back to our continues coverage of the benghazi select committee hearings. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. we have been listening to republicans and democrats, they are getting ready to continue the questioning of the former secretary of state hillary clinton on the handling of the deadly events of september 11th, 2012. on that day, four americans including the u.s. ambassador to libya chris stevens were killed. other more thanes killed shawn smith, an information officer, glen dougherty, a navy seal, and tyrone woods, also a former navy seal. they were killed when terrorists
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stormed the u.s. diplomatic compound in benghazi. then a separate cia annex. this time there were no outbursts during the course of the hearing. no banging on the table like we saw in 2013. but the session in the first three and a half hours did end on a very, very acrimonious note. watch this. >> would the gentleman yield? >> you need to make sure -- >> that's exactly what i want to do. >> then go ahead. >> i'm about to tell you. i move we put into. the record the entire transcript of sydney blumenthal. we're going to release the e-mails. let's do the transcript. that way the world can see it. >> the motion has been seconded. >> we're not going to do that at a hearing.
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>> we have a wrote to record a vote on that motion. people want the truth. that's what we want. let the world see it. >> why is it you only want mr. blumenthal's transcript released. >> i'd like to have all of them released. >> so there you get a flavor of how the first session ended. they are getting back in the room now. trey gowdy, the tharm. it was tough at end. the exchange between the two leaders of the select committee. >> they both have points. there should be as much information without compromising security in terms of survivors who are private contractors or with the cia. some other interesting points made during the first part of the hearing had to do with
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blumenthal, the rabbit hole they seem to e get stuck in. i think one of the larger points they are trying to make, republicans on the committee, is one, ambassador stevens did not have direct access to secretary clinton but blumenthal did and the chairman is disdainful of secretary's clinton's friends. . and there seems to be this suggestion that blumenthal had business interests in libya and that was shaping administration policy. i haven't seen any evidenceshs,e policy part of that. although they had business interests there. i don't know what that specifically has to do with how we can improve security for our diplomats abroad in the future and also why the administration seemed to blame even throw there was counterevidence the attacks on a video instead of on
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terrorism. >> the session is about to resume. you see the chairman there in the middle of the screen. hillary clinton is now back in the hearing room. some of her other senior advisers as well. we're told she's been preparing for this session for days now, if not weeks anticipating the questions and so far she's been very calm and collected in the course of some pretty tough questioning. >> and let's remember that the whole point of congressional testimony, whether it's democrats in the majority or republicans, the whole point is, obviously, to have these big moments like in courtroom dramas where somebody admits the truth or somebody loses their cool. that's often when members of congress are trying to get the witnesses to do. and secretary clinton so far has
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been very measured. she's not taken the bait, although we have seen lots of squabbling between democrats and republicans and chairman gowdy strongly at times taking um bridge with acquisitioccusation democrats saying this is a partisan witch hunt and gowdy saying it's not true. we're trying to get to the truth and trying to find out what happened. pointing that there's evidence that has come forward even if there have been seven or eight investigations, there's evidence he's been able to find that previous committees have not been automobile to find, which is true. to the credit of the committee in that respect. yet still as of right now, the republicans still have a lot of work to do to convince the public that these hearings are not based in partisan attempts to damage the woman who will likely have the presidential
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nominee. >> the chairman trey gowdy and elijah cummings. the committee members seem to be seated. i think they are getting ready to begin part two of this hearings. these republicans have a lot more questions. if we anticipate what the democrats are going to do they will be coming to hillary clinton's defense during the course of the next round of questioning. that's what happened during the first three and a half hours. i anticipate much mf of the same during the second part. the chairman, i think, is getting ready to convene. let's listen in. >> i call back to order. we will take one little housekeeping matter. the question is on the motion of the gentleman to include the document in the record that the chair opposes the motion. those in favor of the motion may signify by so by saying, aye. >> those opposed by no. >> mr. chairman, i ask for a
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recorded vote. >> the recorded vote has been requested. >> secretary, call the roll. >> mr. westmoreland? >> no. >> mr. westmoreland votes no. mr. jordan? >> no. >> mr. jordan votes no. mr. pom pay owe? >> no. >> he votes no. mr. roby? >> no. >> mrs. brooks? >> no. >> mr. cummings?
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>> yes. >> mr. smith? >> aye. >> mr. schiff? >> aye. >> ms. sanchez? >> aye. >> ms. duckworth? >> aye. >> ms. duckworth votes aye. >> the clerk will report. >> mr. gowdy? >> no. ayes, 5, noes, 8. the motion is not agreed to. >> madame secretary -- >> my apologies. >> motion still not agree. ed to. even south carolina math can
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figure that out. >> madame secretary, before we broke, there was a fair question why was i talking about mr. blumenthal's e-mails. that's a fair question. it's a fair question to ask why you were reading mr. blumenthal's e-mails. i think both are fair. i want to go to june of 2012, which is an interesting time period to look at. charlene lam sent an e-mail, which you may be familiar with. it's tab 56. i'm not going to read it. she described benghazi as a soft target, attacks on americans, not staffed adequately. it was a haunting e-mail to read. it was three months to the day
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when our four fellow citizens were killed. that's on june 7th, 2012. also on june 7th of 2012, your deputy chief of staff is e-mailing ambassador stevens asking the ambassador to look at a memo sydney blumenthal sent you. in fact, mr. sullivan writes to the ambassador chris checking in with you on this report. any reactions? that's on exactly the same day that, i believe, our ambassador's papers were accepted in libya. it's a day after an i.e.d. attack on our compound and chris stevens is being asked to read and react to an e-mail by sydney blumenthal from your deputy chief of staff. this is after he's been turned
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down for a request for more security. this is our ambassador. appreciate you giving this proposal consideration even if the conclusion was not favorable for us. we'd be interested in pursuing the other avenue you suggest, high threat trained agents best, chris. so i have this contrast in my mind. the ambassador is newly in place. it's a day after an attack on our facility. your deputy chief of staff is sending him an e-mail from sydney blumenthal asking him to take time to read and react to it. and that's forwarded to you. help us understand how blumenthal had that kind of access to you but the ambassador did not. >> mr. chairman, i think your question does help to clarify
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matters. chris stevens e-mailed regularly with jake sullivan, one of my closest aids in the state department. he could have e e-mail ed to mr sullivan knowing that it would have been immediately responded to on any issue that was of concern to him, and he did not raise issues about security on that day or other days. i think it's important to recognize that when an ambassador is at post overseas, especially one as experienced a diplomat as chris stevens, he knows where to pull the levers, where to go for information, where to register concerns and i think he did exactly as one might have expected. he dealt with security issues through dealing with the security professionals who were the ones making the assessments.
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i think that ambassador stevens understood completely that that's where the experts were and that's where anything he requested or anything he was questioning should be directed. >> speaking of experts, who was victoria newland? >> a very experienced diplomat. she served to nato appointed by george w. bush. she served as one of the advisers as a foreign service officer delegated to the white house for vice president cheney. she served as a spokesperson for the state department during my tenure and she is currently the assistant secretary for europe under secretary kerry. >> she wrote this to the ambassador on june 13th, 2012, a week after the facility was attacked. it is only a handful of days after he was turned down on a specific request for more
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security. chris, i know you have your hands full, bewe would like your advice about public messages on the state of violence in libya over the past ten days. so she's asking him for help with public message iing. jake sullivan, which is the other half of the question we didn't get to. i understand chris stevens was a rule follower. i understand that. i have no qualms. my question was actually not why chris stevens didn't contact you, but why did jake vul van send chris stevens an e-mail to read and react to on the day after the facility was attacked, the same day he was denied for a question for security and instead of e-mail traffic about security, it's read and react to a blumenthal e-mail. >> well, i think any ambassador if one were sitting before the committee would say that they handled a lot of incoming
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information and requests. some of it was about happening in countries, some of it was happening in the united states. and chris felt strongly that the united states needed to remain and committed to libya. so he was concerned that there might be a feeling on the part of some either in the state department or elsewhere in the government that e we shouldn't be in libya and he was adamantly in favor of us staying in libya. so part of the discussion with him and jake sullivan and others was how do we best convey what the stakes the united states has in staying involved in libya would be. i thought that was very much in keeping with both his assessment and his experience. >> i appreciate your perspective, madame secretary. let me share my perspective.
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>> i'm being remind ed that remember chris spent the vast majority of his time in tripoli, not in benghazi. so a lot of what he was looking at is how you deal with not only those in authority positions in libya based in tripoli at that time but also representatives of other governments and the the like. and i think it is fair to say that any time your trying to figure out what's the best argument to make, possess leshl i if you're like chris stevens trying to make the best argument about why the united states should remain committed to libya and others as well he's going to engage in that. >> no matter what city he was in in libya, having to stop and provide public messaging advice to your press shop and having to read and respond to an e-mail sent by zsydney blumenthal, he
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needed help with the violence. you have said several times this morning that you had people in processes and place. and you want to ask you about an e-mail that was sent to you by another one of your aids. that would be exhibit 70 in your folder. the libyan people needed medicine, gasoline, diesel and milk. do you know how long it took you to respond to that e-mail? >> i responded to it very quickly. >> four minutes. my question, i think it's a fair one, the libyan people had their needs responded to directly by you in four minutes and there's no record of our security folks ever even making it to r your
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inbox. so if you had people and processes in place for security, did you not also have people in place for medicine, gasoline, diesel, milk. >> i have said it before and i will say it again. i'll say it as many times as is necessary to respond. chris stevens communicates regularly with the members of my staff. he did not raise security with the members of my staff. i communicated with him about certain issues. he did not raise security with me. he raised security with the security professionals. now i know that's not the answer you want to hear because it's being asked in many different ways by committee members. but those are the facts, mr. chairman. ambassador in the field are engaged in many different tasks. they are basically our chief
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representative of the president of the united states. so they deal with everything from foreign aid to security to dealing with personal requests for visas that come from people in the country that they are assigned to. and chris stevens had regular contact with members of my staff and he did not raise security issues. some of it may have been because despite what was implied earlier, there was a good back and forth about security. and many of the requests that came from embassy tripoli and benghazi were acted on affirmatively. others were not. that is what an ambassador would expect. it would be unlikely to be able to get every one of your requests immediately answered
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positively. so, yes, he had regular contact with my aids. he did not raise security with me and the security questions and requests were handled by the security professionals. >> with all due respect, those are two separate issues. who chris stevens had access to is one issue. who had access to you and for what is another issue. because you have said you had people and processes in place. . you also have people and processes in place for people who want to send you meaningless political advice. you also have people and processes in place for people who want to inquire about milk and diesel fuel and gasoline. you also have people and processes in place for people who want to provide insults towards folks you work with in the administration. all of that made it directly into your inbox. that is my question. my question is how did you decide when to invoke a people and process and who got to come
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straight to you. because it looked like certain things got straight to your inbox and the requests for more security did not. and while you're answering that, i want to instruct why i'm asking that. you mentioned arb on a number of occasions again today. this is not the first arb. we had one after kenya and tanzania. that could not have been more specific. the secretary of state should personally review the security situation of our embassy facilities. that arb put the spoblt squarely on you. so with respect to that previous arb recommendation and in contrast, what did make your inbox versus what did not, did you personally review our security situation as the previous arb required? >> let me see if i can answer the many parts of your question, mr. chairman. personal e-mail came to my
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personal account. work-related e-mail did as well. and i also relied on a number of my aids and staff members as well as experienced foreign service officers and civil servants who were similarly engaged in gathering information and sharing it and as i said and i will repeat chris stevens communicated with a number of people that i have worked with on a daily basis in the state department. as far as i know, he did not raise any issue of security with any of those people. he raised it where he knew it would be properly addressed. if he had raised it with me, i would be here telling you he had. he did not. and so i think it's important to try to separate out the various elements of your question, mr. chairman and i will do my best to continue to try to answer
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your questions. but i will say it before and i will repeat again. sydney blumenthal was not my adviser. he was not involved in any of the meetings, conversations, other efforts to obtain information to act on it. on occasion, i did forward what he sent me to make sure that it was in the mix. . so if it was useful, it could be put to use. i believe in response to the e-mail you pointed out originally from ambassador stevens, he said it rang true and wort looking into. it's important that we separate out the fact that mr. blumenthal was not my adviser. he was not an official of the united states government. he was not passing on official information. he, like a number of my friends who would hand me a newspaper article, buttonhole me at a reception, we're trying to be
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helpful. some of it was, a lot of it wasn't. >> i recognize ms. sanchez. >> thank you. secretary clinton, i listened very carefully when the chairman was questioning you in the first round of questioning. i was kind of surprised. we wait ed more than a year to finally get you up here to testify. we spent $5 million and interviewed about 54 witnesses. and when the chairman got his chance to question you, he asked you over the definition of the word unsolicited. as if that wasn't bad enough, then he doubled down on this idea that sydney blumenthal was your primary adviser on libya, a claim we heard "the washington post" awarded for pinocchios. he said on sunday on national television that he had zero interest in the clinton foundation and other topic, but then he spent his full questioning time in the first
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round asking you about the clinton foundation, media matters and other topics that don't really have anything to do with the attacks that occurred in. benghazi. in my own sense was really is this why we have asked you to come to talk to you about that? the overwhelming sense i get from the republican side of the aisle is they seem to be arguing that sydney blumenthal had access to you and ambassador stevens did not. do you think that's an accurate statement? >> of course, not, congresswoman. you didn't need my e-mail address to get my attention. in fact, most of the work i did, as i said this morning, had nothing to do with my e-mails. it had to do with the kind of meetings and materials that were provided to me through those who were responsible for making decisions on a whole range of issues. as i just told the chairman, if ambassador stevens had grave
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concerns that he wanted raised with me, he certainly knew how to do that. >> he could speak to your office or staff or you directly on the telephone? >> absolutely. >> did he ever ask you for your personal e-mail address and you turned him down? >> he did not. >> the other thing i'm hearing is they are arguing that there was this security was decomposing in eastern libya and no security improvements were ever made to the benghazi outpost. that's not a true statement, is it? >> no, it is not. >> there were many security enhancements that were asked for that were actually made, although there were other requests that were made that were not fulfilled. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> the other line of questioning that surprises me is over the course of this investigation, republicans have repeatedly asked why the u.s. was still in
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benghazi on the night of the attacks. during the select committee's first hearing, which was more than a year ago shs the chairman posed the following question. we know the risk of being in benghazi. tell us what our policy was in libya that overcame those risks. in other words, why were we there? the accountability review board already answered that question. benghazi was the largest city and historical power center. although the transitional national council declared that tripoli would continue to view the capital of post gadhafi libya, many players remained based in benghazi. it went on to explain that ambassador stevens advocate d fr a presence in benghazi and his status as the leading u.s. government advocate on libya policy and his expertise on benghazi in particular caused washington to give unusual deference to his judgments. secretary clinton, do you agree, was ambassador stevens a leading
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expert on libya policy and did you also give his opinions a lot of weight and respect. >> yes, i did, congresswoman. >> do you recall him advocating for continued u.s. presence in benghazi? >> yes, he did. >> ambassador stevens e-mails, many of which the committee has had for more than a year, confirm what you just stated. mr. chairman u i would ask consent to enter this document into the record. it's being passed out to the members of the committee. >> without objection. >> secretary clinton, i understand this e e-mail is not one you have seen before as it was not address ed or sent to you. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> in the e-mail before you, then special envoy stevens wrote this proposal for continued presence in benghazi at tripoli was reopened following the fall of gadhafi. he suggested two potential models. option a was a slimmed down compound and option b was a virtual presence with zero
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full-time state department staff in benghazi. special envoy stevens sent this e-mail to the ambassador to libya, his deputy chief of mission and the director of the office of affairs. at the time, these career diplomats had a combined 83 years of foreign service experience. with the recommendation of this team be given a fair amount of weight within the department? >> yes, it would. >> is that the way it should work that the experience should count in decision making? >> they certainly did to me and i think that should be the practi practice. >> in the same e e-mail, my personal recommendation would be option a, which was the option for a slimmed down compound. he then notes a few of his key rationals for wanting to stay in an earlier september 6th, 2011, e-mail advocating for continued presence special envoy stevens provided more reasons including the opportunity to, quote,
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monitor political trends and public sentiment regarding the new libya. the revolution began in eastern libya and the view of these 2 million inhabitants. did you agree with the view that it there were important reasons to have a presence in benghazi despite the risks? >> yes, i do. >> other documents show ambassador stevens continue d t advocate for continued u.s. presence once he became ambassador to libya. at the end of august just two weeks before the attacks, he was working on a proposal for a permanent presence. as that proposal explained, quote, a permanent branch office in benghazi to provide a permanent platform to protect u.s. national security interests in the region and to promote a stronger, healthier and more vibrant bilateral relationship with the new, free and democratic libya. while ambassador stevens took
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seriously the significant security incidents in benghazi, he never decided that the risk outweighed the benefit and he never recommended closing the post in benghazi. he worked with his counterparts to try to manage that risk as best they could. in its report the benghazi accountability review board found, quote, the total elimination of risk is a nonstarter for u.s. diplomacy. given the need for the u.s. government to be present in places where stability and security are often most profoundly lacking and host government support is sometimes minimal to nonexistent. secretary clinton, this is such a difficult issue. the balancing of interests. from your perspective as a former senator and secretary of state, how do you best ensure we're strike iing the right bale going forward? >> thank you for that question. i think that's what we should be talking about. and several of you have posed
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similar questions. i think you do start with the best expert and specioused advice that you can get from across our government. and as you rightly point out, chris stooempbs never recommended that we close benghazi. he advocates to keep it open and as you rightly referred to this e e-mail for a particular configuration that would fulfill the needs of our country being represented there. obviously, you have to constantly do this balancing act that i referred to earlier today and most times we get it right. the vast majority of times we get it right. with benghazi the cia did not have any plans to close their facility. on the opinion of those with the
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greatest understanding of our mission, our diplomatic mission in benghazi was exactly the same, that we should not close down and should not leave benghazi. and it's obviously something that you have to be constantly e evaluating and all of these difficult, unstable spots around the world, but i appreciate your bringing to the committee's attention the strong opinion of the man who knew the most and was on the ground and who understood what we were trying to achieve in benghazi, ambassador stevens. >> was it your understanding that e he certainly understand the risk of being there? >> he definitely understood the risks, yes. >> thank you, i yield back. >> the gentle lady yields back. the chair reck news the gentle lady from indiana. >> i'd like to ask about your decision making and the
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discussions you had as it related to how long the benghazi mission itself was going it to last. i'm putting up a map just because most of us really don't know much about libya. don't know much about the geography of libya. as we talked about these various communities, i don't think most people really realized. i want to share with you that wi know from my last round that chris stevens went into benghazi in april of 2011. i want to talk to you about what happened the rest of that year. just because there was a lot going on i thought it would be helpful to have this map. by mid-july our government formally reck newsed the tnc replacing the gadhafi regime. tnc was based in benghazi at that time. and then in august after the gadhafi government fell, gadhafi left tripoli where gadhafi had been head quartered and went into hiding in sirte.
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once that happened, the tnc moved their benghazi headquarters over to tripoli. and then in september, we reopened our embassy in tripoli and the ambassador returned. he was evacuated previously. and chris stevens stayed in benghazi. . is that an accurate summary of the summer of 2011? >> it does sound accurate except i'm not sure the duration of ambassador steven's presence in benghazi during those months. >> that leads to my next question. what was your plan for the mission in the fall of 2011 and going forward? what were the discussions you had and who did you have those discussions with about the mission of benghazi going forward in 2011? >> well, as you may have heard, congresswoman, the e-mail that congresswoman sanchez introduced
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into the record was from the fall of 2011. and there was quite a discussion going on between officials in the state department, in the intelligence community, in both washington and lub ya about the path forward. the transitional national council had been based in benghazi. and there was a dispute even within the libyans themselves as to whether they would split the government, whether the government would be locate d predominantly, but not exclusively in tripoli or as some were hoping predom lantly in benghazi. so this was all a very live subject that was being debated. both in libya and with respect to what our response would be in washington. so we at chris stevens' strong
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urging and that of other experienced diplomats wanted to maun tan a presence in benghazi in some form. we reopened our embassy in tripoli. but this was a constant discussion about what we should do, when and where and that's why this e-mail from chris stevens about his recommendations is so informati informative. >> i'll get to that in a moment, but i have to ask you, i assume that your chief of staff was intimately involved in these discussions with you and with your top staff. >> she covered a broad range of issues. i'm sure she was involved in some of the discussions, but she had many other responsibilities so i can't say all of them. >> i would like to refer you to an update on tripoli operations provided to sheryl mills on
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september 14th. at the top of that two-page memo, assumptions were gradual winding down of operations over the next six months, transition to tripoli, only by january 2012, no consulate. no consulate meant no consulate in benghazi. this was in september. would that be fair and accurate? were you in that briefing or did she brief you about the fact that in september the game plan was to shut down benghazi? >> well, i think you have to look at that in context, congresswoman. there was not an active plan for a consulate in benghazi at any point during this period. that's not what the compound in benghazi was. it was a temporary facility placed there to help us make a determination as to what we
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would need going forward in benghazi. there was a strong argument that others made that they hoped eventually there might be a consulate. >> if it had been deemed a consulate, it would have had a different level of security. . is that correct? than a temporary mission compound? consulates have certain levels of security. there are standards, protocols when it is a consulate. it gets a certain level of security. >> that is the hoped for outkosm. that's not what happens in the beginning, especially the hot spots and conflict areas where a consulate is stood up. can you talk with me about the decision then. there is a briefing with respect after the closing of the consulate in benghazi by january of 2012.
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it did not close. you went to tripoli in october of 2011. the ambassador was still there. how about chris stevens? did he come over from benghazi to see you when you went for that big trip in october '11? >> i don't recall if he did or not. this was about ambassador krets and he was the person we were meeting with at that time. >> what was your purpose with meeting if chris stevens was your expart in libya? >> he was an expert as well. ambassador krets was our ambassador. you remember as i mentioned to you before he had been our ambassador and then because he reported very accurately about what he observed regarding gadhafi and gadhafi's henchmen, when wikileaks disclosed internal u.s. government cables and the cables were publicized talking very critically about gadhafi, he was then subjected
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to threats and then we took him out. we did not close the embassy at that time. so he had returned to finish out his time and we were in the process of moving him to another indictment and fom nating chris stevens to replace him. >> you didn't talk to chris stevens? >> while i was in libya, i don't recall. of course, we consulted with him as to who we would meet with, what we would ask for. we were trying hard to get the people in positions of authority at that time in libya to let us work with them on border security to collecting weapons and trying to disarm the militias. we had a lot of business we were doing with them. >> going back to ms. sanchez's e-mail. it talks about option a slimming down the compound.
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he weighed in on whether or not the compound should stay open. but i'd like to direct your attention to and e-mail that's at tab 4 dated december 15th from chris stevens. . i might add for the record we still do this day have all of his e-mails. we don't have the universe of the e-mails. but he e-mailed to a reporting officer who we know was in benghazi still. he wrote, interesting, has security improved in benghazi in recent weeks? also curious what you guys decided to do regarding future of the compound. he was in washington, d.c. or back in the states during that time and in december ambassador stevens, your soon to be ambassador didn't know what was going to happen with the compound in benghazi?
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how is that possible? >> well, congresswoman, one of the great attributes that chris stevens had was a good sense of humor. i see him smiling as he's typing this because it is clearly in response to the e-mail down below talking about pick up a few, quote, fire sale items from the brits. >> those fire side items, by the way, are barricades. >> that's right. >> they are additional request for security for the compound. that's what the fire sale was because we weren't providing enough physical security for the compou compound. . isn't that right? so they are picking up a fire sale because other countries are pulling out. >> i thought it showed an entrepreneurial spirit and i applaud them for doing so. we did respond to a numb of the security requests, the physical security requests. the posters that were up earlier
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this morning were only about the number of diplomatic security personnel. you're talking about physical barriers, physical additions to the compound. there were quite a few of those that were undertaken. >> how is it that mr. stevens did not know in december whether or not the compound was going to remain open? or do you think that was a joke he was making? >> well, i think if it were not an example of his sense of humor, it was also as part of the ongoing discussion about mission benghazi's future, which he went to great lengths to describe what he thought should be done. a lot of it was trying to decide could we afford it? could we maintain it? so there was an ongoing discussion and i think he knew he was going to be in line to go to tripoli, and he wanted to
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know exactly what the decision was going to be about the compound. he had weighed in not only in that e-mail, but in numerous discussions with his colleagues back at the state department. >> finally, secretary clinton, the mission was extended for yet another year because the same month your point person here in washington sent a memo wants to extend and he sent it to patrick kennedy, who approved it. another high level official, who by the way state department has given us none of undersecretary patrick kennedy's e-mails yet. very high level officials within the state department. are you particular with that memo sent on december 27th entit entitled "future of operations in benghazi, libya." are you familiar with that memo? did he discuss that memo with you at the time and discuss extending the mission in december of '11?
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>> i'm familiar there was an ongoing discussion about the future of the mission in benghazi -- >> a discussion between whom? >> between all of the relevant officials in the state department. >> help me with understanding. >> jeff feldman was one of them. chris stevens was one of them, but there were many others who had information and expertise to add to it and there was a recommendation that benghazi be continued through 2012 as part of the continuing evaluation of whether or what we wanted to have on a more permanent basis in benghazi. >> were you in those discussions? were you specifically in those meetings? you have shared that you didn't do a lot by e e-mail, that you had more meetings and broefings. were you in these meetings about extend benghazi through the end of the year? >> there were certainly meetings in which i was advised about the process being undertaken as to
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determine whether benghazi should be extended. so yes, i was awareof the process ongoing and kept up to date about it. >> and were there -- >> the gentle lady's time has expired. >> i want to clarify a couple points. ambassador stevens had access to you. >> yes, he did. >> i don't have the name in. front of me, but an ambassador in russia said he always had had access to you but never had had your e-mail address. i would hope that ambassador would have more direct and immediate lines of communication and ambassador stevens certainly did. >> yes. >> did ambassador stevens ever advocate either leaving libya or abandoning benghazi? >> to the contrary, congressman. he was a strong advocate for
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staying in libya, including in benghazi. >> i think what we have learned here is, well, nothing, frankly. e we didn't know already. the security situation in libya was dangerous without question. would you say that ambassador stevens was unaware of any aspect of that? >> no, i would not. i think he was very aware. >> so he knew the security situation in libya quite well. >> that's right. >> i want to be clear on this. in his communications with you, and he had had many, even if he didn't have your e-mail address, did he ever say -- did he raise the security issue directly with you? >> he did not. >> obviously, he chose to go to benghazi. as you have described earlier as all across the world today diplomats are weighing the risks and the benefits in a lot of dangerous places. he had to do that.
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he chose to go to benghazi. >> he did, and congressman, ambassador in the countries are representing the united states do not. as a practice ask permission from the state department to travel in the country where they are stationed. >> as well they should not. they need to be in charge of their country. also on the point of e-mails and which ones you received and haven't received, unfortunately, the state department, which has been spending an enormous amount of time producing documents for this this committee, cannot produce thousands of e-mails at the drop of a hat. . and the committee chose to prioritize all your e-mails, but also sheryl miller's e-mails, sydney blumenthal's e-mails to you. they chose to prioritize those over the other. so the state department is trying to get. this information, but it is a question of the priorities of
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the committee. which brings me to the last point i will make and i won't take the full ten minutes here. there are a lot of accusations that have been made back and forth about things said that were or were not true. the one thing said that is clearly the farthest from the truth is that this is not a prosecution. if you listen to the other side, this is unquestionably exactly that. a prosecution. i asked viewers to go back and listen to chairman gowdy's questioning of you before the first break and tell me that's not a prosecution. and i think, again, i don't know if shame, embarrassment, whatever word you wish to choose, it shouldn't be a prosecution. we have the former secretary of state here. we should be genuine lie trying to inquire about how to gather more information. the only interesting facts that seem to be brought up are always referenced back to the arb, which just points up the fact that the information that we
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need and, again, i really want to emphasize, this was a serious, serious matter from the united states. a loss of four americans is something e we need to take incredibly seriously and investigate and we did. the information that we found out, as you pointed out, was not always flattering. there was no question that mistakes were made and we hopefully learned from them. but that was investigate d. so what is the purpose of this committee? and when you look at the me a e e-mails they request and look at the questioning, the pup of this committee is to prosecute you. and there will be time enough for that in the next year, and people will do it. we don't need to spend $4.7 million and 17 months to simply prosecute you. all the questions -- the security situation was well known in libya. the security situation in pakistan is well known. i visited the em bassy in yemen
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in 2009 about a month after someone shot a grenade through the front door. the security situation there is incredibly serious as well as it is in a whole lot of other places. and those are difficult decisions, but the effort here today seems to be that somehow you personally decided not to do your job in libya. you were apparently the advocate of the policy in libya. apparently passionate about it, but not passionate enough to care about the security situation. chris stevens was incredibly passionate about libya and wanted to make that country work. it's proven very difficult. do we want to go back to more gadhafi in charge, i don't think so and as long as i have a few minutes, it's interesting to juxtapose libya with syria. because just many republican colleagues are ripping apart the obama administration and those involved for choosing to remove gadhafi. they are ripping apart the obama
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administration, all the current officials for choosing not to get involved in syria. what that points up, frankly, is the difficulty of the job that you had, and i thank you for taking it. i'm not sure i would be so bold. it is a very, very dangerous world. bad things are going to happen. what we are witnessing today is if bad things happen, you will be dragged out over months and months and months in this partisan atmosphere, and that is very unfortunate. this needed to be investigated. 9/11, we didn't investigate 9/11. with the length and depth that we have chose to investigate this. so again, i come back to the central point of the central problem with this committee. it is a prosecution. it is a partisan exercise. it is not trying to investigate and find out the truth.
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and again, we are now five hours into it, count the break, maybe four hours into it. we have learned nothing substantively new about what happened in benghazi. very serious things happened, they were investigated and. reported, mistakes were made, but this committee in all that time and effort has unearthed nothing. instead, they want to prosecute you and you rip apart every word, every e-mail. two staffers who said something bad about you, i mean, my goodness, i hope i don't ever have to undergo that kind of scrutiny. i would not survive it and i don't think many would. i hope in the hours that we have left to do this that we will try to circle back to learning something new, to figuring out how we can best strike that balance that you described of being present in the world but trying to keep our people safe
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throughout the history of the country. my aunt was a foreign service officer. and we have lost many diplomats. . she tells me about it all the time. and it's a difficult balance. we need to get back to that. if we can learn something new about what happened in benghazi, that might be helpful, but right now this committee is not doing a service to the four people who died or their families or to preventing any of these future incidents from happening. so i thank you for your testimony and your leadership and your willingness to do a very, very difficult job. with that i yield the remainder of my time to the ranking member. >> madame secretary, a few hours ago we were talking about the diplomatic security folks on the night of the incident. you looked like you wanted to say a little more about that and what they -- speaking of the
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incident, would you like to elabora elaborate? >> well, thank you, congressman. i don't want anything that is said to me or about me to take away from the heroic efforts that the diplomatic security officers exhibited. the five men who were with chris and shawn smith risked thundershower lives repeatedly. and were themselves under grave threat. you wanted to point out that even when we try to get it right, which we do try, sometimes there are unintended consequenc consequences. there's an example out of this tragedy. coming out of previous assessments of attacks on facilities, we now have safe havens, safe rooms in facilities
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plrly residents. the diplomatic security officers were able to get both chris and shawn into that safe room. of course, the idea behind the safe room, why security experts advocated for them was to protect our civilians, our diplomats from attacks like the one that was occurring. the attackers used diesel fuel to set the compound on fire. and the safe room was anything but safe. i'm sure the committee members know that neither chris stevens more shawn smith died from injuries directly inflicted by the attackers. they both died of smoke
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inhalation. and one of the recommendations in this arb report is that when we have safe havens, we need to have equipment that will enable people that are safe within them to withstand what happened in benghazi. the lead did you wantic security officer who was with both the ambassador and shawn smith endeavored to lead them to safety through a wall of black smoke. he wanted to get them out of the compound up to the roof where they could be out of the fire and also out of the attackers assault. he himself nearly died of smoke inhalation. when he looked around to make sure shawn and chris were with him had, he couldn't find them.
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rather than saving himself, which would be a natural human instinct. he turned back into that black diesel smoke desperately trying to find chris and sean. had he did find sean and sean had succumb to smoke inhalation and the diplomatic security officer managed to take sean out of the building. he could not find chris stevens. one of the horrors of the hours after the attack was our failure to be able to find where the ambassador was. we hoped against hope that he had somehow gotten himself out of the compound and that he was alive somewhere, maybe in the back. and additional efforts by the
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diplomatic security officers and then by the cia reenforcements that arrived to find his body, or find him hopefully were unsuccessful. and they had to withdraw because of the continuing attack back to the cia annex before we knew what had happened to the ambassador. we were desperate and we were trying to call everybody we knew in benghazi and libya and get additional help. what appears to have happened at some point later is that libyans found ambassador stevens. they carried him to the hospital in benghazi. and libyan doctors labored nearly two hours to try to resuscitate him.
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i mention all of this because i want not just the committee members, but any viewers in the public to understand that this was the fog of war that the diplomatic security officers and then later the cia officers responded with heroism, professionalism as they had been trained to do. we thought things would be safe once they took refuge in the cia annex. even though that was a highly fortified much more secure facility than our diplomatic compound and one we had nothing to do with in the state document, it turned out to be a target for the militants, which is where the two cia contractors
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died. but in looking at all the information, and particularly admiral mullen who was focused on what happened, what the security personnel did that night came out agreeing that they were heroic and did all they could do to save their colleagues' lives. >> i appreciate you going through their heroism. it's moving to hear. and frankly, it infuriates me to hear folk it is to my left who don't raise a single whisper about spending $50 million to train five isis fighters, but god forbid we spend one tenth of that to give some answers to the family members sitting on the first row. i appreciate you discussing their heroism while some of my colleagues discuss money. with that, mr. pompeo.
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>> i should add, mr. smith gave soliloquy. it was representative of the behavior of the democrats on this panel since may of 2014. not one finger, not one question for a witness. they want the truth, but the truth of the matter is they spend most of their time today a attacking members of this committee and this process. i regret that i think it's a violation of their duty to the country and most importantly their duty to the families. i want to go back to a couple things i talked to you about. ambassador stevens did not have your personal e e-mail. >> what did you ask? >> ambassador stevens did not have your personal e-mail? >> that's right. >> did he have the cell phone number? >> no, but he had the state operations that can reach me 24/7. >> yes, ma'am. did e he have your fax number?
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>> he had the fax number of the state department. >> did e he have your home address? >> no, i don't think any ambassador has ever asked me for that. >> did he ever stop by your house? >> no, he did not. >>. mr. blumenthal had had those. this man who provided you so much information on libya had access in ways that senior diplomat had to you and your person. i had a picture up here. you didn't recognize who he was. were you briefed that he was present at the compound the night that ambassador stevens was killed? >> we're trying to track down the basis of your question, congressman. we have no information at this time. >> my question is a yes or no question. it's pretty simple. >> i don't have any information that i can provide to you yes or no. i know nothing about this it. >> the question is were you
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briefed? and the answer is? >> we don't know anything about it so how could i have been briefed about something i know nothing about. >> are all arbs created equal? >> well, there have been 19, including the one that we empanelled after benghazi. they have all been led by distinguished americans. they have all been set up in accordance with the laws and ru rules that the congress established when they created the legislation to establish arb. so i assume in those respects they are created equal. >> yes, ma'am. i'm asking a yes or no question. i'm happy to let you expand and bring breakfast in. but it sure would be helpful if we could get to the answer. it wasn't a trick question at all. are the recommendations of each
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arb worthy of equal treatment? >> there certainly are worthy of follow up by the department and i believe that they have been. >> there was an arb, please if you'll put up the poster, there was an ar be in 1998. 200 folks were killed. here's what the recommendation said. posture inadequate and this is from the most recent one. . do you agree with this? special security and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place. do you agree with that statement from the current arb? >> i accepted the recommendations. i don't think that's a relevant question. i think the question is i accepted their recommendations. obviously, their recommendations were based on their very thorough investigation and analysis. so clearly i endorsed the entire
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board's work. >> in january 2014 senator feinstein said, quote, the incidents at the tmf and cia were likely preventible. do you agree with that statement from senator feinstein's report? >> i would like to think that anything of that magnitude and the loss of life could have, in some way, been preventable. i think what the arb recommended were steps to try to enhance our ability to prevent future attacks. >> let's go back. i have the right poster up. in 1998 here's what the arb said. the secretary of state should personally review the security situation of embassy premises, closing those which are vulnerable and threatened, end of quote. you told us that you don't think you should have been involved personally reviewing security. how do you square that?
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>> well, there are a couple of important point it is to make about this, congressman. first, i made a number of decisions to close embassies and other official premises based on security. i closed the embassy in tripoli. i had to evacuate all of the americans out of libya. we had to lease ferries that came from malta. we closed embassies and other facilities when we had a strong consensus recommendation that it was necessary to do. so that is a statement of secretarial responsibility. now with respect to looking at every security request, how high should the wall be. whether there should be barricades placed on the east or west side, that is handled by the security professionals. so clearly, i closed embassies. i recommended that embassies and other facilities be closed.
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so i understand what that point is. >> this is a yes or no question. do you think you complied with the arb in 1998 said? >> well, that is not what my understanding of the 1998 arb to be. i just answered. i personally reviewed security situations of chanceries and other official facilities that were recommended because they were highly vulnerable and threatened to be closed. we closed some. some we were able to reopen, which is kind of part of the process. with respect to the 1998 arb recommendations, by the time i became secretary having succeeded two secretaries who served during very dangerous and threatening times, there was an assessment made that i certainly was briefed into that we had to look at how best to
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professionalize the security and the expert advice that we were receiving. that is exactly what i did and i went further than that. i created a new position. a deputy secretary for resources and management. i also had recommended after our arb the deputy assistant secretary for high threats. so this was a constant discussion about how to make us secure. but not whether or not the secretary of state should decide on the height of the barricades. i think that's where we may not be fully understanding one another. specific questions about closing embassy chanceries and other official premises that were vulnerable and threatened, of course, they came to e me. i had had to make the decision. deciding whether the wall would
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be 10 feet, 12 feet, 3 security agents or 5, that was the province, as it should have been, of the professionals. >> here's another one from the 1998 arb quote. the secretary should take a personal and active role in carrying out the responsibility and ensuring the diplomatic personnel abroad. do you believe you complied with that requirement from the 1998 arb? >> yes, i do. i believe that i had established a process and i said earlier today state department and security professionals have to be 100% right and i think that what happened in benghazi was a tragedy and something that we all want to prevent from ever happening again. but there were many, many situations, many security issues that we had had to deal with during the four years that i was
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secretary of state. and i did leave what i hope will be a very important additional position, namely the deputy for high threat posts, that now will focus solely on what are considered the highest threat places in the world for our personnel. >> i hope you can understand the difference between creating a deputy under assistant secretary and america's senior diplomat getting involved in security. the amount of resources to be moved, the speed at which will be moved rest ed only in your hands. >> i respectfully disagree with that, congressman. it's been my experience that you want to find people who are dedicated 100% to security. you don't want a secretary or anyone dipping in and out. maybe making decisions based on factors other than what the professionals decide. at least that is my very strong opinion. >> yes, ma'am, leaders lead. i just got a few seconds.
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in all of the materials that have been produced to us today, i have not yet found the document that was prepared at your request for post gadhafi. planning. did you have such a document e prepared prior to the time that gadhafi was removed? >> we had a number of documents. we had a long list of areas we were working on and the process for following up on those areas. i don't know if it was one document or a dozen documents, but we had had a lot of work ongoing. both at the state document and usa usaid. >> did you ask for those documents? did you have a team working on that? or if it was just something that was happening of its own acord? >> we had a number of people working on that. i sent both of my deputies out to libya to meet with the libyans. we can do all the planning we want in washington, but it's very important to ask the lib u yans both what they want and what they expect from us. and so we had an ongoing
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dialogue that lasted over many months. >> i agree with that. we'll get a chance to talk about in a bit. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. ms. duckworth? >> secretary clinton, my line of questioning will be a little boring because i'm going to get into some details that have to deal with security and how we can better safeguard america's diplomats now and onwards. from i have to say that the arb conducted by admiral mullen, a man of great military pedigree and long service to this nation, quite honorable service as well as ambassador pickering was well conducted and well thought out. in fact, don't just take my word. i'm a low ranking member of the house, but the republican chairman of the house armed services committee also -- in
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our committee that i hear him malign the work that was done we also looked into what happened. so i want to look at some of the findings from arb. i want specifically to examine the failures of the blue mountain libya security guards and the militia on that september 11th, 2012. in benghazi neither the host country's militia forces nor the state department's private guards were capable of defending our personnel. these poorly trained forces either did not show up, retreated in the face of danger or simply lacked the necessary tools to fight back. i want to learn the lessons of benghazi and hold everyone accountable. not just the state department, but every agency involved as well as congress, ourselves and this committee itself for implementing reforms that will prevent future tragedies. so looking at the work i have done on the armed services committee and government reform, i have been consistently
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concerned with the cost and consequences of federal contract mismanagement. costing our taxpayers a lot of dollars. i want to look at the state department's policy of awarding local guard contracts using a very inflexible vehicle known as the lowest price technically acceptable vehicle. that should have raised red flags here in congress. when life and limb are at risk, such as body armor for troops overseas or barriers for our embassies, i don't know that e lowest price technically acceptable is the right vehicle. can you discuss why is that the state department appears to have awarded local guard contracts in libya using this contracting method? >> congresswoman, i think that's another very important question. i think the state department like much of the rest of the government. often feels under pressure to go
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to the lowest price. whether or not that's the best contract. and we had a lot of challenges, not just in libya, but in many places around the world trying to work to find the right contractors to provide static security for a lot of our posts and facilities, to find more kinetic contracts who could be the front line of defense since we were stationed in so many places where there are not american military that could be called and quickly respond. so i would like very much, and perhaps there could be a working group with armed services and foreign affairs and others to look to see whether we couldn't get a little more flexibility into this decision making because the february 17th militia was viewed by the cia, which had vetted it as well as
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by our diplomats as a reliable source for kinetic support. sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. and the static support proved to be not very useful at all. so think you're really raising an important issue about how to get more flexibility into the contracting because we're not going to be able to bring american military forces to every place where we are had a high threat post because the military can't afford to do that for us or the host country won't invite us in. and the other problem is that if the host country doesn't have any real resources, it's hard to know how much they can produce. that night i was calling the president of libya and demanding that he find any friendly militia, friendly anybody to show up and to support us when
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our reenforcements, the security reenforcements from tripoli landed a militia showed up and kept them there until they had a big enough group to accompany them to the cia annex. so it's a very unpredictable and even erratic process. it starts with, in many instances, the lowest price. i don't think that's always the best way to get a contract for security. >> i happen to agree with you. it sets standards for specifically the department of state is a law passed by congress in 190. when you talk about maybe a working group, congress needs to do our part and maybe amend a 35-year-old law that forced the state department to go with the lowest price. can you address what actions congress can fix problems that have to do with host country instituted policies given the use of private security guards?
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my understanding is that the country of libya, the host nation in this this case did not allow to carry furms. i think the blue mountain guards weren't allowed to carry arms. >> blue mountain was not. our diplomatic security officers were. the militia members who were supposed to be providing kinetic help for us were. so it was only the static guards that were not. some of those guards did stand their ground. they were basically run over. several of them were injured the night of the attack. so i don't want to cast aspersions on all of them and the service they provided. but it was not adequate for what we needed or really any time. >> are we facing that same type of restrictions in other regions as well? we talked about the 19 missions
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out there. with issues with contracting and host nation requirements. >> yes, we do. the host nation gets to call a lot of the shots. under the con vnventioconventio nation is responsible for providing security for diplomatic posts. but when a host nation is unwilling to do so, as we do have in some places where we are present, or unable to do so, because i do think with the libyans, there was a desire to be helpful, but not a capacity to produce what we needed. we have to really work hard to get the kind of support that is required. in some cases, we have been able to work out arrangements with the host countries. some we have just defied them and tried to be quiet about what
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we were doing and others we are prohibited. it goes back to that balancing of risk and reward that we're always doing. >> going back to the arb conducted by ambassador pickering, how many of their recommendations did you as secretary of state accept? >> i accepted all of them. they made 29 recommendations, congresswoman. i accepted all 29 of them. and began to implement them before i left the state department and i know that secretary kerry has continued that work. >>. >> do you recommend for this committee and other members of congress some sort of a formal review process as we go onwards? i don't want there to be a review process that is triggered by death of americans. institutionalization of this process so we make sure that our men and women in embassies right now are safe and they are safe tomorrow and a year from now and
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ten years from now. what needs to be done so we can make sure that our four heroic dead did not lay down their lives in vain? >> the attacks in benghazi, the congress never fully funded the security requests that the administration sent to congress. following benghazi, that has improved, but there are still areas where i think e greater fund i funding and responsiveness would be helpful. it was unfortunate that e we didn't get all the resources that might have enabled us to do more before benghazi. the one specific recommendation that i would like to see the congress act on expeditiously is the training facility that would be set up in order to train security officers specifically for these high threat situations
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and i think this is overdue. i know that representatives from virginia, which is the state where the site that has been identified is found have urged in a recent op-ed that the congress act on this. i would certainly echo that as well. >> thank you. >> i thank the gentle lady. they have called votes, but we're going to try to get in ms. brooks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just to clarify for the record, i made a statement we received none of undersecretary's e-mails. . we have received some through production of other individuals e e-mails. we have not received a full production of undersecretary patrick kennedy's e-mails. we do have some, but it's through other e-mail production. thank you. >> the gentleman from illinois. >> thanks. secretary clinton, can i direct your attention to the screen.
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you're familiar with that clip? we came, we saw, he died. is that the clinton doctrine? >> no, that was an expression of relief that the military mission undertaken by nato and other partners had achieved its end. and therefore, no more american, european or arab lives would be at stake in trying to prevent gadhafi from wreaking havoc on libyans. >> i want to direct your attention and maybe direct the group's attention to something that hasn't really been discussed. there's been this explicit criticism of republicans being partisans today. i want to direct your attention to what's going on with you and
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your team. many of whom are here today with you. so jake sullivan, one of your closer advisers, put together the tick tok on libya memo and that was a memo that was all about you. it put together 22 different accomplishments and you were the central figure in all 22 of those accomplishments. i've got to tell you, it's really well put together. he uses language of action and initiative and leadership. let me give you a couple of these. hrc, that's you, obviously, announces, directs, appoints special envoy, secures russian ob stengs, secures command and control, travels to berlin, rome, istanbul. he's laying the foundation that the libya policy is your policy. essentially he's making the argument that it's your baby and you are clearly familiar with this time line because in e-mail exchanges with your senior
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staff, you were not happy about it. the part that you weren't happy about wasn't that you were the focal point. it's that it didn't include enough. you said this is your e-mail. what bothers me is that the policy office prepared the time line but it doesn't include much of what i did. another time you said the time line is totally inadequate, which bothers me about our recordkeeping. u i was in paris when the attack started. it's not on the time line. what else is missing? go over as soon as possible. this time line was put together according to your senior staff explicitly for an article that came out in the "washington post" entitled "clinton's key role in libya conflict." in fact, according to your staff, quote, the comprehensive tick tok memo jake put together was done in large part for the piece written at "the washington
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post." and again. according to your staff, the great e detail he had came entirely from jake. they didn't do any independent research. this article is one of these articles that you read a couple of times. if it's about you. here are some exerts. a foreign policy success for the obama administration and its most famous cabinet minister secretary of state hillary clinton. or this, she went to paris, there were no instructions from the white house on whether to support strong action in libya, said a senior state department official. the official said clinton began to see a way forward. i think my personal favorite is this. clinton i guesser in ining the advice of state department lawyers convinced obama to grant full diplomatic recognition to the rebels. now you and your team were
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pleased with the work that you did and the risks that you took, the leadership that you took, a couple of hours ago you told me i'm the diplomat here. i'm driving the policy. and isn't it true that you were thinking about getting political credit for months on this? >> no, congressman, if i could. we were trying to make sure that what was written because it's not always accurate, in case you all haven't noticed in your own careers. what was written about a very important foreign policy effort by this administration was accurate. this was all in response so a reporter trying to ask questions and us providing the best possible information we could. in fact, trying to make sure that we ourselves had a good
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time line and that our recordkeeping was accurate. i think that is not an uncommon experience here in washington. somebody calls you up and says i'm writing a story. what can you tell us and you tell them. >> that's not all that was going on. you knew that this was good for you. this was what you were writing in august of 2011. this is right after tripoli fell. you wrote what about flying to see the president for 30 minutes and making a statement with him alone. or you asked your staff how to convince the white house that this would be good for the president and these are your words, madame secretary. it's a great opportunity to describe all that we have been doing before the french try to take a all the credit. in fact, your staff told you they thought it would be a political boost for the president showing he was huddling with you instead of being on vacation. so you asked your chief of staff
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to call dennis mcdonough, now the president's chief of staff, to put together a full-court press -- i'll wait while you read jake's note. >> thank you. >> here's my question. >> i'm waiting for a question. >> one thing i wanted -- since i don't have what you're reading in front of me. >> it's tab 12. >> that has now been handed to me and it's clear i wanted to make sure that dod got credit. i wrote that. you did not quote that. >> this is all about state of mind. you were thinking about credit for you. isn't that right? >> that's not. i wanted those who were part of this policy to be given recognition and i also wanted to be. sure that we had the president
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and the white house coordinating with us. it was a very gutsy decision for the president to make, congressman. it was not by any means an easy call. i was in that situation room many, many times watching the president have to balance competing interests, opinions, trying to make a decision. when he made the decision that the united states was support nato and support the arabs, there was no guarantee about how it would turn out. and i personally believe he deserved a lot of credit, as did chris stevens, the department of defense and others. we had a daily secure phone call that often included the president, included the generals and admirals responsible for our mission, including our top diplomats. this was a very important and challenging effort that we undertook to support our nee e toe allies. i wanted everybody who had any
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role to be acknowledged. >> on august 2011, you received an e-mail from sydney blumenthal, that's tab 11, he wrote this to you. this is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it. when gadhafi himself is finally removed, you should, of course, make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation home. you must go on camera. that was blumenthal's admonishment to you. >> i don't recall doing that, just in case you're going to ask me. >> you forwarded blumenthal's suggestion to jake sullivan and focused on how dramatic it would be. you were working to make this the story of the day. this is your e-mail to jake. this is tab 11. this is your words. he makes a good case for what i should say, but it's premised on being said after gadhafi goes, which will make it more
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dramatic. that's my hesitanchesitancy. two months before the end of the regime and you're already planning on how to make your statement dramatic to maximize political gains. isn't that right? >> congressman, i think that what we were trying to do is to keep the american people informed about this policy. it was, as you recall, somewhat controversial. now, there were republicans as well as democrats who advocates for it and republicans and democrats concerned about it. so i think as secretary of state, i did have an obligation at some point to be part of the public discussion about what had occurred. and i see nothing at all unusual about trying to figure out when would be the best time to do that. >> isn't it true that your staff heard from the white house after the piece in the "washington post" that they were concerned
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that is the white house that the amount of credit you were getting opposed to the amount of credit the president is getting? that's true, isn't it? >> the president deserves the credit. >> why is the white house uptake that you're taking the credit. >> i was often being asked that. the president had had a lot going on. the president was trying to rescue the economy. a lot of other things happening. so from my perspective, the president deserves the credit. he's the one who made the decision. i was honored to be part of the team that advised him. and in so fares a i was able, i was ready to do so. >> so tab 11, when jake e-mails you and said that you should publicize this if all of your television appearances, they wanted to have you lay down something definitive, almost like the clinton doctrine. that wasn't the obama doctrine. is that right? this was the clinton doctrine. >> well, look, i think that the
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effort we made, the way we put together the coalition, the way i put together the coalition that imposed sanctions on iran, i think that there's a lot to talk about. i talked about smart power. you're talking about what i believe, i believe we have to use every tool at our disposal. lead with diplomacy, support with development and when necessary as a last e resort, not a first choice, defense. so yes, is that what i believe, it is what i believe and i think that libya was, to some extent, as example of that. >> you were the author of the libya policy. it was your baby? it was an attempt to use smart power. >> it certainly was something that i came to believe was in the interest of the united states to join with our nato allies and our arab partners in doing. the decision, as always decisions in any administration, was made by the president.
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so the president deserves the historic credit. what role i played, i'm very grateful to have had that chance, and i'm very convinced that it was the right thing to do. >> you just resited the clinton doctrine to us. let me tell you what i think it is. i think it's where an opportunity is seized to turn progress in libya into a political win for hillary clinton. and at the precise moment when things look good, take a victory lap like on all the sunday e shows before gadhafi was killed and turn your attention to other things. i yield well, congressman, that only a political statement which you well understand. and i don't understand why that has anything to do with what we are supposed to be talking about today. >> madame secretary, votes have been called, so we will go vote and be in recess. and we will be back as quickly as we can. >> okay.
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>> round two now over. there you see the secretary of state still collecting her thoughts of this second round peter roskam from illinois looked like a debate unfolding whether or not the u.s. strategy which hillary clinton was one of the architects of getting rid of moammar gadhafi when all is said and done when he was removed should she take a victory lap of sorts doing sunday talk shows. let's bring in gloria borger as we look what's going on. gloria, round two. i don't know if we learned a whole lot right now, but it was more of the same what we saw in round one. republicans going after her, the democratic members of the committee defending her. >> right. and hillary having to defend herself. i mean, you just mentioned that exchange with the congressman. in which he tried to portray her staff as promoting her as the sort of savior of libya for her
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own political future. and she said, you know, that's political. i don't understand why this has anything to do with what happened that night in benghazi. and i think we've heard this, you know, over and over again, wolf, the thing that the most effective during this part of the session was hillary clinton actually talking about what it was like that evening here in washington as they tried to figure out what was happening with chris stevens. and she described it as the fog of war. and she talked about how the professionals responded with amazing amount of heroism. but that was just one little moment because the rest of it was more of this kind of political by play with people saying why did sydney blumenthal have your personal e-mail whereas chris stevens didn't have your personal e-mail? why were you listening to him as opposed to other people?
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and try to sort of portray this caricature, i think, of somebody that listens to sydney blumenthal as opposed to her senior national security advisers, et cetera, et cetera. i think there is a debate to be had as we were talking about libya policy and what happened in libya and whether the administration's policy was right or wrong. but to sort of say that everything she did including giving sydney blumenthal her e-mail address shows a lack of her overall judgment. it seems to be kind of a bridge too far. >> we've had about five hours of testimony so far, jeffrey toobin, five hours of q and a with hillary clinton. what have you learned as far as what happened that tragic day in benghazi? what have you learned today that you didn't know? >> not a lot. i do think gloria was right. there was that very dramatic moment in the last hour or so
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when hillary clinton talked about what it was like in washington as they tried to figure out what actually had gone on and whether their colleagues had survived. i thought the last exchange with the congressman from illinois, roksam, was -- i thought of kevin mccarthy out there somewhere thinking, well, you know, i was right all along. because this was a purely political attack on hillary clinton. which may be an appropriate attack. they were -- he was saying, you know, you were just using the self-promotion. you were just trying to get publicity for yourself. that may be an interesting point for the campaign, but the idea that that has anything to do with benghazi or the death of these four americans really seems like a big stretch. so that seemed to me a distilled moment of what these hearings may ultimately really be about. >> i want to bring in our political commentators.
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s.e., you've been listening five hours of q and a so far with the secretary of state. have we got a lot more information about benghazi and what happened? >> i think a couple things. we learned that she made that phone call to the prime minister of -- the person of egypt. >> prime minister. >> prime minister of egypt, that night -- or the next morning and told them that they believed it was a terrorist attack. but i think, you know, people will hear what they want in these hearings. i actually thought that last line of questioning from congressman roskam was fairly effective. the idea that, you know, clinton or the obama administration or the state department at large was more concerned with politics both during the events as they were unfolding in the immediate aftermath and then subsequently year later i think is actually a legitimate line of inquiry.
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and, you know, certainly her detractors will think that he did a good job of making that distinction very clear. to another extent though i think the benghazi cake is baked. if you were following this, you have made your mind up about what benghazi means. you either decided it is a political witch hunt, or you've decided there are valid questions she has yet to answer and we still need some more accountability. if you're not following this, i mean, i'm not sure that this is the thing that is going to change your mind about the election. >> but is this hearing asking those valid questions? >> well, i think republicans are trying to get at some of those questions. it seems like democrats are more interested in absolving her of any responsibility and completely dismissing this as an unnecessary investigation, which i actually think does them a huge disservice. >> she has been answering questions for five hours today. she asked questions before. what question -- you say there are questions that need to be answered. >> yeah. >> what question has neglected
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to be asked so far? >> it's not that it's neglected to be asked. jake alluded to this earlier. the question of why weren't these multiple security requests received, as she claims why weren't there, and why were they later in fact denied? those are i think the most legitimate questions that we still don't have many answers to. she repeatedly points to the a.r.m. of recommendations of how to prevent that from happening next time, but i don't think we have answers to why those requests were denied. >> let's bring paul begala into this conversation. you have a super pac you're actively involved in helping her. one of the most important points though that did come through in the course of the q and a with hillary clinton was that the story that was put out after the september 11th, 2012, attack within a few days susan rice was on the sunday talk shows saying it was that anti-mohamed video that inspired a crowd to go out and kill these four americans, but hillary clinton that night
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told her family and her friends in that private e-mail it was a terror attack by some sort of al qaeda related group. and the argument that these republicans were making is they put that story out there because it was a month or so before the election, president obama was about to get re-elected. they didn't know he would get re-elected, they didn't want to say al qaeda was back in play. >> which is nonsense. i can tell you as a political person when you have the incumbent president who just killed osama bin laden, frankly he could have prospered by greater terrorist threat and the fact different messages coming out means there wasn't a conspiracy. if it was a conspiracy everybody would have said the same lie. having worked in government the fog of war is almost always the most plausible explanation than they had some conspiracy to lie. there was no conspiracy. there were some big mistakes and that's been well documented. but this partisan stuff is not working for the republicans. >> standby. we have a lot more. there's much more of this hearing coming up. they're in a break right now the members of the house they're voting on the house floor.
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that's why you see the room pretty empty. we're going to pick up our coverage. after a very quick break jake tapper and "the lead" will pick up our coverage. i'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in "the situation room."
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welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. our politics lead today, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. that's why hillary clinton is supposed to be on capitol hill today to offer that truth to face the benghazi select committee panel of house lawmakers charged with finding the facts and reconstructing why ambassador chris stevens, tyrone woods, glen da ter. it took more than an hour for any lawmaker to put the first question about the actual events of september 11th, 2012 to then-secretary clinton. much of the morning session instead