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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  October 22, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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>> congressman turner of ohio, thank you for coming on the show. you can tweet "the lead," hillary clinton is going to be coming back to testify and we will bring that to you live. i now turn the show every to one mr. wolf blitzer. he's next door in a place i like to call "the situation room." hi. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're continuing to await the return of hillary clinton scheduled to return momentarily. she's already testified for more than five hours. they've been in a break for the past hour or so as members of the committee democrats and republicans have been voting. we're going to have extensive live coverage of hillary clinton's continued testimony of what happened on that day in benghazi. let's go to dana bash. she's up on capitol hill watching what's going on. dana, i assume they're going to be resuming this hearing momentarily? >> that's right. the chairman just went in. hillary clinton just went in that door right there so we do expect them to resume momentarily. wolf, it has been a very sort of
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action-packed day. i mean, it's already been -- it's 5:00 eastern and started at 10:00 eastern. and guess what, the chairman just suggested that they're only halfway through their questioning. and the rounds of questioning for hillary clinton. so they could be here another four hours or so to continue going back and forth. and certainly all day long the idea from the republicans has been, look, this is not political. we're going to try to get to the bottom of what happened in the days before, during and after the deadly attacks in benghazi. and democrat after democrat they've come forward and argued that this is purely political, only political. so those are the kinds of sort of disagreements you're getting from the day. while hillary clinton is trying her best to stay measured at times do something she's accused of not doing enough which is show her emotion, show her human side particularly when talking about how hard it was for her as
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the chief diplomat to lose somebody she sent to a dangerous place like benghazi. and that's the kind of q and a we're going -- excuse me, we expect to see continue. and now we understand many hours left to go, wolf. >> standby, we're going to continue to await the resumption of this hearing. it's been pretty lively over these past several hours. they started at 10:00 a.m. eastern. they went until around 1:30 or so and then took a break and then resumed for an hour and a half. and now here the chairman trey gowdy is resuming the hearing. let's listen in. >> i want to talk to you about august 17th, 2012. on that day you received two memos about libya and its security. the first one described a deteriorating security situation and what it meant for your people on the ground. the second one also described libya's security as in simple terms, a mess. so this memo wanted you to
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approve $20 million to be given to the libyan government to bolster -- >> could you tell me what tab that is on the materials? >> oh, sure. yes, ma'am. the first one is, i believe -- is it 33 and 34? 33 and 34. >> thank you. >> i apologize. so you received those two memos. the second one also described libya's security in simple terms as a mess. and it was -- then you were approached about approving this $20 million we've referred to as the contingency fund, $20 million that would have gone to the libyan government to bolster their own security there in country. and then in fact a few days later you approved that $20 million. and i'm going to get back to that in a minute. but i want to circle back based on those two memos to some questions that my colleague mr.
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pompao asked about the 1998 arb. you had talked about in that line of questioning that you had in fact made the decision to close some embassies based on the premise that the 1998 arb recommended the secretary of state should personally review the security situation. you made a distinction between whether the walls should be 10-foot high versus whether or not it was a highly vulnerable situation. and so i wanted to ask you when i was listening to that knowing that i was going to address these august 17th memos, i wanted to ask you when you were looking at these two memos on august 17th, one said the security was in disarray and the other said they paint a picture of a country in chaos. and i wanted to just ask you in your opinion as secretary of
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state that had closed embassies whether those references to the security situation in libya would amount to one as highly vulnerable per your own words? >> congressman, i want to answer your question, but i think we need the right tabs. >> excuse me. 8 and 32. >> i apologize. thank you very much. we will take a look at those. 8 and 32. on august 17th there was a memo from beth jones, the acting secretary of state describing a spike in violence and characterizing it as perhaps a new normal. it is very clearly something that we were following as i have said throughout the hearing today. it said that the international committee of the red cross had
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withdrawn personnel from benghazi and misrata but continued to work in the rest of libya. it also pointed out that there is lack of effective security and that the transition, the kind of transition we wanted to see for the people of libya and particularly in benghazi, was not as forthcoming from the libyans themselves. i think that the description here is certainly something that we were aware of. and a list of recent violence in libya is something we were aware of. and the ongoing monitoring of the situation in libya is something we took very seriously. i can tell you that these kinds of assessments were not uncommon for other places, high threat, dangerous, unstable places, even
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war zones where we were also operating. >> would you categorize those type of descriptions as highly vulnerable? >> based on any assessments not from our experts, not from the intelligence community that we should abandon either benghazi or tripoli. >> right, and i understand that. secretary clinton, i guess one of the questions that we need answered is you were a huge advocate for our presence there to begin with. what prevented you from making the decision based on the knowledge that you had from these memos about the deteriorating security situation? what prevented you as secretary of state from making that decision on your own? >> well, congresswoman, i took into consideration a wide variety of factors where
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violence would strike and we would have to make a decision. at this point what we were trying to do is work with the libyan authorities. that's what the august 17th memo from deputy secretary nides refers to. we were trying to provide additional security assistance so that the libyans could do more to assist themselves. and, you know, it is the case that in the world we're in today there are a lot of places that are dangerous. violence goes up and goes down. part of what acting assistant secretary beth jones was referencing in this memo is this is -- is this a new normal? and the secretary does personally oversee the decision to order departure or shut down posts. and it is important to take that ultimate responsibility very much to heart, which i did.
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but i think that there was no recommendation to do that. and again, i was following it. i was watching it. i was trying to, you know, make a very well reasoned analysis. but i was also listening to the people who were both on the ground and with a lot of experience who had served in iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, yemen, other places like that. and there was no recommendation. >> secretary clinton, what i'm trying to make a distinction between is the decisions that you made with respect to benghazi and decisions that your staff made with respect to benghazi. but i'm already running out of time. i do want to get back to that $20 million that we talked about. on numerous occasions the finger's been pointed at congress not properly funding the -- or the funding not being available for the security requests. and i find it curious that you were able to find $20 million to
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support increased security forces in libya yet we weren't able to find money to support your own people on the ground. and, you know, particularly in light of the fact that mrs. lam said funding wasn't an issue. so i think that it's been a little bit misleading to say it's congress' fault but then also it's worth pointing out that there's $20 million found for libyan security and no dollars found to support increased security for our own people. >> well, as i know you're aware, congresswoman, congress sets spending levels and categories of spending. and as i said earlier, the requests for diplomatic security to do exactly what you were referencing were underfunded. they were underfunded continuously. i am pleased that following the
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tragedy of benghazi we began to get more support from the congress. but one of the funds that is very important when you're actually talking about an american presence in the country goes back to questions that i was being asked by congresswoman duckworth. if we can help build up the libyan security forces, they are the host country. it is their responsibility to protect diplomatic posts. so i don't see these as unconnected. but it is true that we spent money for diplomatic security out of what the congress appropriated for diplomatic security. >> secretary clinton, charleen lam said it wasn't a budget issue. >> well, i can only tell you that security for our diplomatic post underfunding was very much in line with what i just said. we asked for money in this
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administration in the earlier years. and we were underfunded. i can tell you it would have been very helpful to have more money for diplomatic security. and i want to thank the congress for upping the amount of money that went to diplomatic security, working with the defense department to get more marines deployed to more posts and the other actions that have been taken post-benghazi. >> we appreciate that. although, again, i really think there's a conflict between charleen lam's statement and some you've made about that. but real quickly, mr. chairman, i want to run through one quick timeline and make an observation. on august 17th you received a memo on the deteriorating security in libya. the same day you were asked to give $20 million to the libyan government to beef up its own security. your department issued a warning telling american citizens to get out of libya and not to travel there. and then libya itself issued a,
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quote, maximum alert for benghazi. you several times made the statement and we believe you that ambassador stevens was your friend. and i'm wondering why with all of this in front of you, secretary of state, why did it not occur to you to pick up the phone and call your friend? i know you've mentioned experts, i know you've said ambassador stevens and other diplomats go into these high threat situations with their eyes wide open, but i just want to hear from you why with all of this information in front of you particularly on the date of august 17th did it not occur to you to pick up the phone and call your friend ambassador stevens and ask him what he need s ed? >> we knew what he was asking for. those asks went to the security professionals. and i would only add with
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respect to the travel warning, we issue travel warnings for many, many places in the world. they are really aimed at informing american travelers, business travelers, tourists, about conditions that they might face if they go to countries. they are not a criterion for determining whether we keep or end a diplomatic presence. and i just want to go back to the point you were making and read from the accountability review board. for many years the state department has been engaged in a struggle to obtain the resources necessary to carry out its work with varying degrees of success. this has brought about a deep sense of the importance of husbanding resources to meet the highest priorities laudable in the extreme, but it has also had the effect of conditioning a few state department managers to favor restricting the use of resources as a general orientation. it is imperative for the state department to be mission-driven
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rather than resource constrained and one overall conclusion in this report is that congress must do its part to meet this challenge and provide necessary resources to the state department to address security risks and meet mission imperatives. >> my time is out. i'm afraid my chairman is going to tell me to be quiet. but last -- >> well, i'm not going to tell you to be quiet. i'm just going to ask you if you might hold it. i'm going to try to be quicker on the gavel than i've been in the interest of time. >> okay. i'll circle back then. i yield back. >> i would recognize gentleman from maryland. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me say that the madame secretary and committee august 17th, 2012 information memo just referenced is not something new. >> that's right. >> it's not something that this committee uncovered. >> that's right. >> in fact, congress has had the
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information memo for years. it was attached to as an exhibit to the benghazi arb report that secretary clinton sent to congress before her testimony to congress in january of 2013. the arb had it and considered it important enough to append it to its report. and congress already questioned the secretary about her awareness of security conditions in libya in the run-up to the attacks. >> will the gentleman yield? >> we just gave you an extra three minutes. i got to use my time. i'm sorry. if i have extra time, i'll give it to you. within months of the attacks the republican investigations of benghazi have begun. and the chief investigator, madame secretary, was chairman of the house oversight committee
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daryl issa made it clear that his efforts were directed at you. as he spoke at a political event in new hampshire, chairman issa has said he came to that political event in new hampshire to, quote, shape the debate for 2016, end of quote. how right he was. in that event chairman issa claimed -- can we roll the tape, please? >> we need to have an answer of when the secretary of defense had assets that he could have begun spinning up, why there was not one word given to turn on one department of defense asset. i have my suspicions, which is secretary clinton told him to stand down and we already heard about the stand down order for two military personnel. that order is undeniable, they were told not to get off the
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airplane -- >> the idea that you would intentionally take steps to prevent assistance to americans under attack in benghazi is simply beyond the pale. claim has also been disproven multiple times over. first it was disproved by the arb, which issued its report at the end of 2012. admiral mullen, former chairman of joint chiefs of staff and had led the arb's military review and concluded that the military had, and i quote, done everything possible that we could, end of quote. then the republican-led -- the republican-led house armed services committee issued its report in february of 2014, madame secretary, which detailed all of the steps taken by the military to mobilize upon
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hearing of the attacks including immediately redirecting a surveillance drone to benghazi, ordering two marine platoons to spain to deploy, one bound for benghazi the other for tripoli, ordering the commanders and force training in croatia to move to a u.s. naval station in italy and dispatching a special operations unit to the region from the united states. about his review, the chairman howard buck mckean, a republican, stated i think i've been pretty well satisfied that given where the troops were, how quickly the thing all happened
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and how quickly it dissipated, we probably couldn't have done more than we did, end of quote. chairman issa's oversight committee, which i am the ranking member of, even spent years actively pursuing evidence for this claim and found nothing. and as it says in the democratic report we put out on monday, none of the 54 individuals interviewed by our select committee has identified any evidence to support this republican claim against you. in fact, not one of the nine congressional and independent investigations has identified any evidence to support this assertion in the last three years. my question, i sincerely hope this puts this offensive claim to rest once and for all, i'm asking you, madame secretary, did you order defense secretary
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leon panetta to stand down on the night of the attacks? >> of course not, congressman. and i appreciate your going through of the highlights of the very comprehensive report that the house armed services committee did on this. i think it's fair to say everybody, everybody, certainly defense secretary panetta, joint chiefs of staff chairman dempsey, everybody in the military scrambled to see what they could do. and i was very grateful for that. and as you rightly point out, logistics and distance made it unlikely that they could be anywhere near benghazi within any kind of reasonable time. >> madame secretary, the benghazi attacks occurred during a period of significant upheaval and intense volatility in the middle east and north africa.
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there was tremendous unrest throughout the region. i like to play a clip that shows what was happening at dozens of posts throughout the world, and then i would like to get your reaction if you can. please play the tape. >> protests have spread over amateur video made in the united states which mocks islam. in the afghan capital kabul a thousand afghans held a violent protest, burning cars and tires and shooting at police. in the indonesian capital jakarta hundreds of protesters from hard line islamic groups through petrol bombs and rocks outside the american embassy. and in pakistan at least one protester was killed. in beirut head of the shia muslim movement hezbollah called
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for a week of demonstrations against the video. tens of thousands have turned out in a tightly organized, peaceful protest. let's go live now to the streets of beirut -- >> senator clinton, what was your sense of how things were unfolding? >> congressman, they were very dangerous and very volatile. starting on monday with the attack on our embassy in cairo, going all the way through that week into the next week there were numerous protests. some of which you have shown us clips of. and they were dangerous. you know, the one that i was particularly concerned about happened in tunis. and it was the friday after the attack in benghazi. we knew from monitoring the media, from reports coming in from our embassies throughout the region that this was a very hot issue. it was not going away. it was being kept alive.
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we were particularly worried about what might happen on friday because friday's the day of prayers for muslims. so we were on very high alert going into friday. i got a call through our operations department from our ambassador in tunis who was in the safe room in the embassy in tunisia. there were thousands of demonstrators on the outside. they were battering down the barriers and the walls around our embassy. they had already set on fire the american school, which is very close to the embassy. and the ambassador and his team were desperate for help. their calls to the government of tunisia, the host government, had gone unanswered. i immediately got on the phone, calling the foreign minister, calling the prime minister, who were the heads of government. i could not find either one of
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them. i called the president, president marzuki, i got him on the phone. i told him he had to rescue our people. he had to disburse the crowds that were there because of the video. he said i don't control the army. i have nothing i can do. i said mr. president you must be able to do something. i've got all of my people inside the embassy. they are being attacked. if the protesters get through into the embassy, i don't know what will happen. he said, well, you know, i do have a presidential guard. i said, mr. president, please deploy your presidential guard. at least show that tunisia will stand with the united states against these protesters over this inflammatory video. to his great credit and to my great relief that is exactly what he did. he sent the presidential guard. those of you have traveled know that sometimes there are men in fancy uniform, sometimes they're in horses, but he sent them.
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he sent whatever he could muster to our rescue. and the crowd was disbursed. the damage was extensive. but we thankfully did not have anything other than property damage to the embassy and to the american school. and the government of tunisia later helped us to repair that. but it was the kind of incredibly tense moment. we had protesters going over the walls of our embassy in khartoum. we had protests, as you rightly point out, all the way to indonesia. thankfully no americans were killed. partly because i had been consistent in speaking out about that video from the very first day when we knew it had sparked the attack on our embassy in cairo. i spoke about it because i wanted it to be clear to every government around the world that we were going to look to them to protect our facilities. and it was a very tense week,
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congressman. one that i think demonstrated how volatile the world is and how important it is for the united states to be on top of what people themselves are reacting to. and that's what i tried to do during that time. >> thank you. thank you very much. >> thank the gentleman from maryland. the chair now recognize the gentleman from georgia. >> madame secretary, i want to thank you for giving us a play by play of what happened in tunisia. could you do the same thing of what happened in benghazi? could you tell us the same kind of play-by-play who came to the rescue there. because i don't know of anybody that did. so i don't know who you called and their lack of ability to get anybody there. it's hard for me to comprehend
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you would give a blow by blow of something that we're not even investigating -- >> well, congressman, if i could, several of you have raised the video and dismissed importance of the video. and i think that is unfortunate because there's no doubt. and as i said earlier even the person we have now arrested as being one of the ring leaders on the attack on our compound in benghazi is reputed to have used the video as a way to gather up the attackers that attacked our compound. so i think it's important. these are complex issues, mr. congressman. and i think it's important that we look at the totality of what was going on. it's like that terrible incident that happened in paris. cartoons sparked two al qaeda-trained attackers who killed, you know, nearly a dozen people. i think it's important that as you are members of congress looking into these issues that
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you look at the totality so we can learn the best lessons to try to -- >> yes, ma'am. let me ask you about a little thing. you said you spent a lot of sleepless nights. and i can't imagine. and you said you often wondered what you could have done different? what did you come up with? >> well, a long list. a long list, congressman. >> give me the top two. >> well tor, to go back to the t congresswoman duckworth was raising about contractors. if we'd had a more reliable security force in large enough numbers, well armed and well focused on protecting our compound. >> well, what could you have done different than what you did do? >> i'm trying to tell you. i think if the militia that had been engaged by both the cia and the state department had been more reliable -- >> but you didn't have anything to do with that, you said.
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>> but i made a long list, congressman, about anything that anybody could have done. and that's how i looked at it. i looked at it from the perspective of what are the many pieces. contracting is a part of that. there are many other issues that we need to address. that's really the main reason i'm here to continue to try to do what i can to honor those who were lost and to make sure that, you know, we are well prepared to try to prevent. now, we know we can't prevent everything. that's the way the world is. but to do the very best we can and there are many elements that go into -- >> so contractors would be number one. what would be number two? >> well, i don't think that's an unimportant point. we had a militia. we had an unarmed static force that probably couldn't have done much more. it should, i think, inspire us to look for ways to get host
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countries to permit their to be more dedicated security forces well enough armed and trained to be really a force to protect our compounds and our other facilities. that would have perhaps made a difference. >> okay. >> it certainly, you know, might have made a difference if we had more help from the cia there on the compound. if maybe we had a rotating presence. but i have to say in reviewing a lot of the analyses that have been made by security experts, very well trained, experienced security people, they're not sure that anything would have stopped the attackers. and i know that admiral mullen when he went into his work for the arb was concerned that none of the diplomatic security officers had fired a shot. they had their weapons and hadn't fired a shot. >> ma'am, i'm not trying to cut you off. i've tried to be nice and you're doing well. we both talk slow. so let's give each other a
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little breathing room here. you talked about miss victoria newland, you know her, right? >> yes, i do. >> this was her briefing on september the 13th. some reporter named elise had asked her a question about the security. and her response was i'm going to reject that, elise, let me tell you about the security mission in benghazi. it did include a local libyan guard force around the outer perimeter. that guard force never showed up that night. and it did not normally patrol the outer perimeter. the only people that patrol the outer perimeter was the unarmed blue mountain. but she said this is the way we work in all of our missions all around the world. that the outer perimeter's responsibility of the host government. which there wasn't really a host
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government at the time. there was obviously a physical perimeter barrier, a wall, and then there was a robust american security presence inside the compound. i don't think five ds agents not fully equipped or armed for what they were facing you could call a robust american security presence. >> well, congressman -- >> would you have used the word robust? >> i would certainly have said that the security on that night was reliant on a militia that did not perform as had been -- >> i'm not talking about the militia on the outside. i'm talking about the robust -- >> well -- >> -- american presence on the inside. >> it was considered robust in
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the sense that the request had been for five diplomatic security officers to accompany the ambassador. there were five there. and they did as i have testified to the very best they could. they were armed. and in the course of the thorough investigation conducted by the accountability review board, as i was saying admiral mullen zeroed in on this having a more than 40 years experience in the military. and he wanted to know why the ds agents had not fired their weapons. and they explained as many since have heard who have interviewed them, their assessment was that it would have resulted in the loss of even greater life. and they chose not to. and admiral mullen reached the conclusion that they acted appropriately. so even though we had the five ds agents that had been requested, they were overrun and unable to do more than they did.
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>> they were overrun because they didn't have any defensive positions to fight from because they refused to give them additional sandbags because they did not want it to look like a military compound. i've heard that testimony. i want to ask you about the fest. are you familiar with the fest? >> yes. >> what is the fest, madame secretary? >> it is an emergency support team to help stand up embassies that have or consulates or other facilities that have been impacted by either natural disasters or some kind of attack. >> attacks. >> exactly. >> kidnapping. and where are they located? >> they're located in the united states. >> langley air force base? >> i'm not sure where they're located now. >> they're there. it's an interagency task force, includes the fbi, i guess the d.o.d. and state department. if you look at the state
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department website s comes up under that so i'm assuming you are the lead in those agencies. >> it's an interagency effort. >> okay. but it was deployed in 1998 in kenya, correct? >> uh-huh. >> after the embassy bombing there. >> right. >> of the towers. and to tanzania, correctly? >> that's correct. >> they were there ready to go on short notice. said they could have been ready in four hours to leave. this is the group of people that would go into a situation as you describe when an agency had been overrun, attacked, kidnapping or whatever to basically give guidance to any of the other forces or help that was coming in, correct? and i know that your staff and we've got a number of e-mails from your staff that originally recommended that you send the
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fest team. and i think they may have talked to mr. sullivan or it was somebody that got an e-mail and they said they would pass it up the chain. and somebody made the decision not to send the team, which would have been as secretary of state i would think since it was a state department led mission that that would have been the first thing that you would have wanted to get out. but instead, if i understand correctly from the e-mail chain, your first request was to see how soon the fbi could get over there. is that a true statement? >> well, congressman, the fest went to east africa to help rebuild our embassy capacity. they have expertise. and once our two embassies are bombed how do we regain communications for example. we were not going to rebuild in benghazi. so there was no reason to send a
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fest team. there was a reason to try to get the fbi investigators into benghazi as soon as it was safe for them to go so they could start to try to build a case so we could bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice. that was absolutely the primary goal that we had in working with the fbi. and i think it's, you know, when we make a decision on a deployment of the fest, it is not just a secretary of state. in this case there was the nsc involved, there was the cia involved, there was a -- and the considered conclusion was we're not going to rebuild in benghazi. >> well, that was a quick decision to make that night that you were not going to rebuild in benghazi. >> well, the fest would not -- there was nothing to rebuild. >> i understand. but you just mentioned all the agencies that would have been important to get on the ground as quick as possible and
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summarize what the situation was to give you that direction. but i know i'm out of time, mr. chairman. but i do want to say what miss roby was trying to get you to say is what decisions did you make in regard to benghazi? and what were you responsible to make? i think that's what all of us want to know. what did you do? and what decisions did you make? and you said everybody else is responsible for everything else. what were you responsible for? >> i was responsible for sending chris stevens to benghazi as an envoy. i was responsible for supporting a temporary mission that we were constantly evaluating to determine whether it should become permanent in benghazi. i was responsible for recommending chris stevens to be the ambassador. i was responsible for working on the policy both before and after
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the end of the gadhafi regime. i was responsible for quite a bit, congressman. i was not responsible for specific security requests and decisions. that is not something i was responsible for. >> time has expired. chairman recognize gentleman from california mr. schiff. >> thank you, mr. chairman. may d madame secretary, we're now almost to the end of second round of questions and i admit something i said after the first round is i don't understand the core theory of this case. i thought i did, but after this round i honestly don't understand where my colleagues are coming from. i'm probably not as good a lawyer. undoubtedly not as good as a prosecutor as our chairman. most of what we've gone over in this round frankly were questions that were asked to you when you testified before the house the last time, before you testified before the senate, they were the subject of the arb report.
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but there were a few unique lines of questioning that i want to comment and ask you about. one of my colleagues spent his time asking about some of your interactions with your press people. i guess critiquing your overall libya strategy in something he called the clinton doctrine. we've been assured this committee contrary to what representative mccarthy said is not about attacking you. frankly i don't see the relevance of any of those questions in terms of what actually happened in benghazi except as a means of trying to attack you or make a political statement regarding the presidential campaign. and then there was the continuing preoccupation with sidney blumenthal. the chairman spent both panels asking you about sidney blumenthal. and i have to say i just don't understand the preoccupation with sidney blumenthal. you would think for the time we have spent on him that he was in benghazi on the night manning the barricades. there is not a member on this
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and we're too polite to write back saying this really isn't all that helpful. there's not a member here that hasn't had that experience. so i don't know why that is so remarkable. so i honestly don't understand this fixation. but i do know one thing about sidney blumenthal. it's been abundantly clear here today. my seven colleagues do not want the american people to read what he said in his deposition. and i'll tell you it's not because of anything he said. what they really don't want the american people to see is what they asked. and it was what ranking member cummings intimated is which they've gone on national tv saying we're not interested in the foundation or these other things, we're only interested in whether we've gotten everything. but when you read that deposition you see that is exactly what they were interested in. now, i can't release it myself, but i can tell you sidney blumenthal by the numbers so
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here's sidney blumenthal by the numbers. republicans asked more than 160 questions about mr. blumenthal's relationship and communications with the clintons but less than 20 questions about the benghazi attacks. republicans asked more than 50 questions about the clinton foundation but only four questions about security in benghazi. republicans asked more than 270 questions about mr. blumenthal's alleged business activities in libya, but no questions about the u.s. presence in benghazi. and republicans asked more than 45 questions about david brock media matters, i have no idea what that is even and affiliate entities, but no questions, no questions about ambassador stevens and other u.s. personnel in benghazi. that's sidney blumenthal by the numbers. now, there were a couple lines of questioning that i did
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understand. one of them was about the accountability review board report. not the one actually that's relevant to today about benghazi, but the one that was written 17 years ago about a different attack in tanzania. mr. pompeo put up a very nice chart. they've got great exhibits. selectively quoting from that report and the implication was that the secretary should have security, should be the one deciding the security at every facility around the world. what he didn't read to you was part of the same section of that report which says, quote, in the process the secretary should re-examine the present organizational structure with the objective of assuring that a single high ranking officer is accountable for all protective security matters and has the authority necessary to coordinate on the secretary's behalf. quite a different impression you
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get from reading the whole thing. we had a debate about whether we should participate in this committee given where it's going and where it's been. mr. cummings said we should so we can be in the room to point out when a witness wasn't treated fairly. i have to say i think he was right. much as i held the opposite opinion. but it's important to be able to point out if they're not going to give you the actual report or give you the time to read it where they want to be selective to make a point. now, i don't think that selectively quoting that 17-year-old arb sheds much light on what happened in benghazi, but it is a nice way to attack you. i also want to talk a bit about something i spent a lot of time on as the ranking on intel and as a member of the investigation that the intelligence committee did. that was a republican-led investigation. two of my colleagues here are on the same committee, went through the same investigation. and my colleagues have intimated that that there was an effort to
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spin what happened. and they have neglected to point out as you might imagine and as you well know that the intelligence we got after attacked like this in the fog of war, initially you believe one thing and then you get more information, you understand something better and then you get more and understand still something better. and we were briefed by the director of the cia at the time, wish he were here today, and understand it kept evolving. and in the beginning we got it wrong. and i've looked through that. and in that initial intelligence within a few hours there were some reports indicating it was a direct attack. as you told the egyptian prime minister at the time that was what was understood in the immediate hours. within 24 hours though we had intelligence both open source and signals intelligence that there was a protest. that the protest was hijacked and that it became an attack. and your statements were
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indicative and reflective of what we knew then. it wasn't until about a week or ten days later when we actually got the videos from the compound that we learned definitively there was no protest. well, that simple chronology sheds a lot of light on why you and ambassador rice said what you did at the time. not a member here has shown anything you've said or the ambassador said that was at all inconsistent with what our intelligence agencies told us exactly at the time. it may come of interest to some of my colleagues who were not on intelligence to know that there's still a great many people in the intelligence community that believe the video was part of the motivation of some who attacked us on that night. i wish, frankly, we spent more time giving you an accurate representation of the documents and the reports and the facts
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instead of making an effort to demagogue on this. i find it fascinating frankly that my colleagues put so much reliance in the 17-year-old accountability review board report but they place no weight in the one actually about benghazi. thomas pickering has 40 years of experience. there's probably no one in the diplomatic core more respected. admiral mullen, chairman joint chiefs of staff someone republicans and democrats both respected tremendously are we now to believe they're a bunch of roobs, they had the wool pulled over their eyes or corrupt or incompetent? why is their report of so little value? it's hard for me to escape the conclusion that the one centric fact of them all is that you are running for president and with high poll numbers. and that's why we're here. and i say all this because i
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never want to see this happen again. i don't want four years from now or eight years from now or 12 years from now in another presidential election for us to be in here or for one side or the other, i don't want the republicans to say let's do benghazi again. that really worked. or the democrats to say they did it to us, let's do it to them. and i think frankly about only pointing these things out that's the only way we're going to avoid having this happen again. well, let me just ask you on that 17-year-old arb, and in light of mr. morell who came in and talked to us not about the security at the diplomatic facility but at the cia annex, his testimony was all of the improvements of the security at the benghazi base, the idea to conduct an assessment, the assessment itself, the implementation of recommendations were all done without the knowledge and direction of the director and i.
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it happened exactly where it should have happened, which is in that security office. same view on the cia's part, of course they're not here. but would you like to comment on what the full recommendation of the tanzania arb was and the very similar process process used in our intel jens agencies. >> thank you congressman schiff. you make an excellent point. i'm aware of department director morell's testimony. it's very similar to what i've said here and similar to what general petraeus would have said. issues about security, whether we're talking state department or cia or any other agency are not made at the level of secretary, director, it is made at the appropriate level of the
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security officials, and i think what mike morell told you in the intelligence committee investigation you would hear from anyone in the government at a high level who has to deploy americans around the world. we see that with the defense department. you know, we see breaches of security on our military bases and we know that everybody is struggling to get it right and as i have said, the vast majority of cases our security professionals do and then unfortunately, there are some instances where they do not, and that's why we have after action reports or why we have the accountability review board to look at what happened and try to learn from it and going all the way back to teheran and beirut and east africa and 100 attacks on facilities around the world
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since 2001 we've tried to learn and apply lessons and i hope we'll continue doing so. >> thank you, madam secretary. >> we'll recognize a gentleman from ohio. >> secretary clinton, you said some of you raised the video. raised the video. you raised the video. at 10:08 on september 11th, 2012 you raised the video. at 10:08 with americans still fighting for their lives an hour and a half before the attack ends you raised the video. i want to go back to the 10:08 statement. in the first round you said the statement was not meant to explain the type of attack or cause of the attack, so let's look at your statement. official press statement, statement on the attack in benghazi, hilary rodham clinton, secretary of state washington d.c. september 1 1th, 2012.
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12 sentences in this statement. i'm going to focus on the one. some have sought to just tie this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. there is a cause. there is a motive presented there. there's only one motive, you say this, you say inflammatory material caused vicious behavior. vicious behavior, vicious behavior that led and resulted in the deaths of four americans. there sure seems to be cause there. >> congressman, may i read what i said? i said is that i condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in benghazi today as we work to secure our personnel and securities, we have confirmed that one of our state department officers were killed. we are heart broken by this terrible loss. our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who
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suffered in this attack. this evening i called libyan president to coordinate additional support to protect americans in libya. president magarif expressed condemnation and condahl lances and pledged his government's full cooperation. some have sought so justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material on the internet. any effort to denigrate the religious belief to others and goes back to the beginning of our nation but let me be clear, there is never any justification for violent acts of this kind. in light of the events of today, the united states government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, missions and american citizens worldwide. >> right. and i'm asking, you said the first round there was no motive, no cause. you weren't trying to explain the cause of the attack. it sure seems like you did. >> congressman -- >> you presented, you said you presented inflammatory material
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was the reason for the vicious behavior, was that not a cause and effect? >> that's not what it says. what i said was -- >> i know what you said. you read the whole thing. i'm asking about that one sentence because earlier you said there was no cause, no motive presented. i think there was. and that's what i think most of the american people thought. >> well, i know there was a great deal of news coverage that looked at the events in cairo. looked at what happened in benghazi and drew some connections, i know as we've just heard from congressman schiff, there was fast-moving analysis by the intelligence community to make sense and i can tunnel tell you from the protective -- >> hang on one second. the intelligence may have
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changed but your story didn't. you said to the egyptian prime minister, we know the attack in libya had nothing to do with the film. it was planned attack, no a protest. you said to your family, terrorists killed two of our good people. your story privately is much different than what you're telling the american people. intelligence may have changed but in benghazi it didn't and you tried to put them all together. that's what bothers us. let me show you a slide here. this is from september 14th. the first statements by jay carney. let's be clear these protests were reaction to a video that had spread to the region. we have no information to suggest that benghazi was a preplanned attack. the statement below is from your press person in libya. sends this to greg hicks and to the experts. the same people that said susan
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rice was off the reservation on five networks. here is what they get. here is what she says to them. benghazi more terrorist attack than a protest. we want to distinguish, distinguish, not conflict the events. this was a well-planned attack. the experts on libya know that this was a well-planned attack but publicly jay carney is saying the same thing you're saying publicly, we have no information that this was preplanned. this was caused by a video. >> congressman, the next morning at 9:59, i gave another statement, and i listened carefully to what you said and you kept talking about cause. well, the word cause is not in my statement of the night before -- >> i'm referring to what you said to me in our first exchange a few hours ago. >> no, well, i'm sorry, congressman, if i haven't been
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clear, i will try to be clearer. i was talking about people throughout the region trying to justify attacks on our facilities as we saw later in the week and justifying their behavior and repeating it and using the fact of the video not only to arose crowds as we saw in the video clips that the ranking member played, but also that would deter governments from coming to our rescue because they would be perhaps ambivalent about doing so, so you're right, i mentioned the video because i feared what would happen and in fact did happen and in the next morning, the night before was a brief statement that we put out because we had -- we knew we had lost sean smith and i felt an obligation to tell that to the
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american people -- >> madam secretary -- >> the next morning i gave a longer statement, it was very clear. heavily armed militants set fire to our building -- >> secretary clinton. that's all good but you said you were trying to communicate to folks all over, all the folks you have around the middle east, right? >> yes, i was trying to send a message, yes. >> i got it. that's not what the expert said. tell the truth about benghazi, tell what happened there, other places the video may have had impact, say that. why did you put them together when you didn't do that privately and told your family about benghazi, it was terrorists killed two of our people. when you talked to the libyan president, al qaeda did it, when you talked to the egyptian prime minister, we know it's not a film, we know it's not a video. we know it's attack. >> congressman, i was working
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off the information we had that was he claimed responsibility and at that point i did say that it was a -- an al qaeda related group -- >> madam secretary, look at the difference in the statements. one said wasn't attack and the other says was a well-planned attack. they could not be further apart. they could not be. that's what i'm having a hard time figuring out and you know what is interesting, 9/14/12, 9/14/12. you know what else happened on september 14th? that's the same day ben roads drafted his memo to under score these protest are rooted in an internet video, not a broader failure of policy because we couldn't have libya, your baby, as mr. roscum pointed out, we
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couldn't have that fail and we have jay carney saying this was in no way a preplanned attack and experts are saying it was a well-planned attack, that same day the talking points that get susan rice ready for the sunday shows, make sure you focus on the video. >> congressman -- >> not about a broader policy fail year, we got an election coming in 50 some days. >> to this day i believe the video played a role -- >> your experts haven't -- >> you probably haven't had an opportunity to read but on september 13th, the intelligence issued the first thorough, fully coordinated assessment what happened in benghazi. we assess the attacks on tuesday against the u.s. consulate in benghazi began spontaneously, the attacks began spontaneously following protests at the u.s.
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embassy in cairo. there is no contradiction. the protest, there is no contradiction. >> well-planned attack, no preplanned attack. how about that. one of them is well planned, one isn't. jay carney says there is no preplanned attack and experts in libya -- >> the experts in libya were among the experts looking at this and analyzing it. we went on the basis of the intelligence community and they were scrambling to get all the information that they could and yes, the intelligence community assessment served as the basis for what ambassador rice said when she appeared on the sunday show, and on september 18th, when the video footage arrived from the security cameras, the deputy cia director has
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testified it was not until september 18th when the cia received the libyan government's assessment video footage that showed the front of the facility with no sign of protesters that it became clear we needed to revisit our analysis and then after they looked at the video footage and fbi reporting from interviews of personnel on the ground in benghazi during the attacks, the cia changed its assessment and that was explained thoroughly in the bipartisan report issued by the house permanent select committee on intelligence which did a very thorough job, congressman. >> gentleman yields back. we'll take a quick ten-minute break. i've hard a third colleague ask for ten seconds. if she holds it to ten seconds, i'll give the general from alabama ten seconds. >> the ranking member is incorrect. the august 17th memo i was
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referring to in my last question, we have not had the opportunity to discuss with secretary clinton and how it affected her decisions and it was just c classified last week. >> all right. with that we will take a ten-minute break and come back. a lively exchange there between republican congressman jim jordan of ohio and the former secretary of state hillary clinton. we want to welcome back our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. we're continuing our situation room live coverage of this benghazi committee hearing. it was an exchange that was similar to some of the other lively exchanges we've seen over the past seven or eight hours she's been testifying and as of now, no end in sight. take a quick ten-minute break, resume the questioning, presumably republicans have a lot more questions and democrats that have come to hillary
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clinton's defense will weigh in, as well trying to keep republicans honest. secretary of state will take this break, gloria borger as we watch what is going on in this office building right now, it's been pretty dramatic. i'm not sure, though, we have learned a whole lot more about what happened on that awful night in benghazi. >> no, i think wolf, we're at a stand off is what i would say. jim jordan over and over again talking about you raised the video, 90 minutes before the attack ends, you raise the video. she read him her statement that she eventually released. the political point republicans are making over and over again is that it would have done administration no good to say this was a terror attack because it didn't fit into their national security narrative, that you killed osama bin laden and end the war in iraq and you couldn't have another terror attack and that's why you didn't tell the american people the truth.
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hillary clinton has not given any ground here. she has read him her statement and which was clearly specifically worded and hasn't given ground and in the end she keeps saying i don't understand what this has to do with why we are here today because what she, i think, wants to talk about is how you prevent this from occurring again. she's not -- she's making the case she didn't lie to the american -- to the american public and i think that they are just -- there's not going to be any meeting of minds here at all. they are saying the policy was bad. more access to her than chris stevens did and it looks to me in some instances that with all the in fighting between democrats and republicans that she actually got what she wanted here, which was a partisan show with her democrats doing her work for her in a way.
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>> it sort of under scores that. jeffrey toobin, she's been remarkably cool under a lot of pressure because several of these republicans have been going after her, raising their voices, making it clear they don't believe what she's saying. >> none more dramatically than jim jordan from ohio who just went after her as much as anyone has all day, and she has obviously made the decision she is going to greet all of these attacks with a smile and move on. >> i want to go outside the hearing room. dana bash is standing by with elijah cummings that just walked out of that room. dana. >> reporter: that's right, thanks, wolf. mr. coummings, last time we spoe it was after you and the chairman went at it after the process and whether you should release transcripts. do you think this afternoon's sessions things are going better as far as you're concerned? >> no, things are going
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downhill. basically, they are covering the same ground over and over again. information that we've had in some instances for two or three years, and so i -- you know, i think it's time to wrap this up, wrap up this hearing. it's my understanding we're going to go for probably another 2.5 hours, but it's time to wrap it up. nothing new. i mean, they drifted everywhere, but benghazi and that was my concern from the very beginning and i think that hillary clinton has been very transparent. clearly, she knows the subject matter. and she's been very clear, even if things they felt i guess were smoking guns didn't turn out to be that. >> the republicans are arguing they spent so much time talking about e-mail exchanges with her friend sydney for several
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reasons but one point they are trying to show it didn't make sense he could reach her and have contact with her but the ambassador who lost his life, who she said she was good friends with didn't have direct access to her. do you think that's a fair point? >> i understand making that point but i think she's explain that very clearly and the arb went through that, too. basically what she has said is that the, sydney bloomingthal is a friend, we all have friends that send e-mails all the time. he was -- the ambassador was also a friend but the ambassador went through the root of the diplomatic security and what expressed his concerns through them and apparently he didn't feel -- for some reason he did not come straight to her. he said if he come straight to
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her, she said this over and over again, she relies on diplomatic security. that's what they do. these are people on the ground, responsibility for judging. there was a time -- there is a methodology they have in the statement department and she -- and a apparently he went by that. there is one other thing you're missing, dana it's abundantly cleared chris stevens was considered an expert on libya and he apparently had although he was expressing concerns down to the people below, apparently he felt pretty come forble being there overall, but i think that if he had come to her directly, she would have done things perhaps differently. >> thank you, mr. cummi i irkic thanks for coming out. >> we'll continue average. they are taking a break now and will resume questioning
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momentari momentarily. much more of the special coverage right here "the situation room" when we come back.
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welcome back. we're awaiting the return for hillary clinton to testify for yet, another round here at the longworth house office building. she's already testified for about seven or six hours, maybe two or three more hours to go. republicans have more questions. the democratic numbers clearly coming to her defense. so far she's remained remarkably cool under some really sharp, tough questioning but she's explained her position casually in detail. ryan lizza is with us, washington correspondent for the new yorker magazine. this follows a pretty good debate performance last week at the cnn debate in las vegas. good news for her yesterday when the vice president joe biden decided he was not going to run for the democratic presidential nomination and based on what happened so far, it doesn't look like anything that has happened
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at least during this hearing today would hurt her with potential democratic voters out there in caucuses or primaries. >> no, that's for sure. nothing bernie sanders is going to get out of this hearing. she sat there and proved she's a master of state department bureaucracy, foreign policy and so she's -- she hasn't lost her cool which would be difficult for anyone to do in these circumstances. in that sense it's been very good. this has been a long advertisement for why hillary clinton is calm and cool and understands the things. she's at war with a republican committee and i think in the long term, it makes it difficult for hillary clinton who is likely to be the nominee to say i'm going to go to washington and get along with the republican congress or shake things up, right? i mean, they have drawn her into this very messy partisan fight and often, that's not a good place to be in a general
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election. i think that would be the one caution, i agree with you totally on politically this is a great two weeks but in the long term, i wonder if that's a problem. >> the statement she made at the end of the debate where she lumped in republicans as her enemies in addition to iranians and drug companies or health insurance companies was probably not a helpful move. >> other people might argue, it doesn't matter, any democratic president is not going to get a honeymoon anymore, it's the world we live in now. it will be pure trench war far but to the extent she wants an argument that obama made in 2008 that changed the tone in washington getting drawn into a messy political fight and spending hours on the hill does not help her reputation. >> our global affairs correspondent, you're based at the state department and spend an enormous amount of time following this, the seven previous congressional investigations of the review by the outside state department experts that came in and what's going on today with the select
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committee and people keep asking why was the ambassador chris stevens there in september 2012. we know 9/11 was a very, very important day. what was he doing there to begin with? >> opening a cultural center there and also taking a look at secretary clinton eluded to a little bit, there was a lot of concern about loose weapons in libya, getting into the wrong hands and he was there meeting with his cia team on the ground to talk to them about that and also, look, benghazi was a very important area for administration. i mean, she e leludes to it a b but it was the seat of the revolution. chris stevens was the envoy, special envoy to the opposition and talks about him coming in on a barge and being really this grand savior of the libyans in
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benghazi and so the u.s. really did want to extend their footprint there and that was one of the concerns, why didn't chris stevens want to close the facility in benghazi? because it was very important for the u.s. to continue to show to the eastern, the libyans in the east and to the tribes that the u.s. was not going to abandon them. >> but i will point out, this followed decision by britain a few months earlier to shut down the diplomatic compound in benghazi. >> that's right, there were five attacks on western interest. the u.n. red cross building, un building and convey and british pulled out. there was attack of talk whether they should close. chris stevens did not want to close but the question still remains, if they were going to remain open, why didn't they have additional security? i might add it was a small presence and important the ambassador was there and five guards is considered a full
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security detail. >> for one individual. >> for one individual but why was the compound so fragile it was able to be over run -- >> there was two compounds -- >> which was very heavily fortified. >> that's the dog that has not barked throughout these hearings which was, what was the cia's role in preserving security and where was general p? it's not the state department primarily a military operation -- >> also -- >> hillary clinton herself is what the committee is trying to say, you know, i've been following this all day with old colleagues at the state department and diplomatic security and i'm getting a lot of e-mails asking why are they pointing this at secretary clinton? could she have been more on top of security? yes. the real problem in this board
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said quote systemic leadership failures and when you talk to people in diplomatic security, they say the leadership and diplomatic security is really the problem because they were always trying to reduce the amount of budget. >> it's their responsibility, you know, the buck stops with her. >> the buck ultimately stops with her and she'll say that but at the same time she's also pinning it on leadership that should have been on top of these things and the committee says nobody was really fired. a few people resigned. >> there's another point nobody wants to, did he make a mistake in going into this extremely dangerous situation?
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obviously, no one wants to blame this man. he was obviously a very accomplished diplomat. he wanted to be out among the people, but did he engage in unduly risky behavior. >> according to other reports we've read, his decision to leave tripoli the capital and go to benghazi. stand by, we'll take another quick break and when we come back, i expect this committee hearing to resume and former secretary will be testifying again. stay with us. they say that in life, we shouldn't sweat the small stuff. but when you're building a mercedes-benz, there really is no small stuff. every decision... every component... is an integral part of what makes the 2016 c-class one of our most sophisticated cars ever. because when you're setting a new benchmark for refinement, it is the small stuff... that makes the biggest impression. the 2016 c-class. see your authorized dealer for exceptional offers through mercedes-benz financial services.
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welcome back. we're awaiting the return of the former secretary of state hillary clinton. she's going to resume testimony before the house select committee on benghazi. the committee chaired by trey gowdy of south carolina. they are looking into what happened on september 1 1th, 2012 when the u.s. diplomatic compound in benghazi, libya was attacked by terrorist, four americans including chris stevens were killed.
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there you see trey gowdy -- you saw him a second ago. his back was to the camera. he is sitting next to the ranking democrat elijah cummings of maryland. they had their exchanges today clearly both of these men have very strong views. they totally disagree on what is going on. elijah cummings telling dana bash and you heard it live moments ago this entire procedure, which has cost $4.7 million is a waste of u.s. taxpayer money. the chairman getting ready to gavel this session. once again, the secretary of state is there in the longworth house office. i think she's there. maybe she hasn't walked back in. she should be walking back in momentarily and we'll continue to watch what is going on. ryan lizza as we await the former secretary of state. give us a little context how this fits into the race, the election for the white house.
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>> well, i think you have to assume that most democrats are going to view this through a pretty partisan lens, right, and they are going to have her back on this, right? this is not something if you've noticed in the democratic primaries, there is no percentage in bernie sanders or her other ocpponents in attackig her. i don't think it will play out except to strengthen her. in a general election, republicans will come back to this again and again. this will be what they argue if she's the nominee as one of the big mistakes as her tenure as secretary of state. >> you got to admit, gloria, the timing of this looking towards the february 1st, iowa caucuses and new hampshire, south carolina, nevada, this is a critical moment right now. >> i think in watching this hearing, i don't think it changes anybody's minds in
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particular. i think if you're supposed to believe she lied, you're still going to believe it and if you're inclined to think this is a partisan witch hunt you'll believe that. going into the iowa caucuses, hillary clinton has over 75% popularity and a real bernie sanders problem. it comes from the left. it doesn't come from the right. if the left is watching this -- >> here she comes. david kendall, her lawyer and other lawyers and she'll be walking into the committee room from that adjacent room. security personnel on the scene there in capitol hill. >> wolf -- >> jeffrey toobin is our legal analyst. hillary clinton will be walking out. david kendall is a significant player in all of this. >> he is, indeed. he's her long-time lawyer. people may remember he was one of the lawyers for bill clinton during the impeachment
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proceedings back in 1998. trey gowdy said something in passing, which i think is worthy of note. he said we have 20 more witnesses to examine. here we are in mid october of 2015, this hearing, this investigation will certainly continue well into 2016, which is not something that i imagine the clinton campaign wants. >> and it's going to be interesting if the democratic minority, seven republicans, if they continue to cooperate, you call it that or boycott it and says this committee lost all credibility. i'm sure hillary clinton is grateful to these five democrats at least today they are participating because they are certainly going after republi n republicans and let's listen. >> i recognize the gentleman from illinois. >> the other side of the isle
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admonished republicans for not having a theory and let me tell you a little bit of a theory that i've developed from my reading and research and its this. that you initiated a policy to put the united states into libya as the secretary of state and you overcame a number of obstacles with the administration to advocate for military and you were the prime mover. you were the one driving. you were contemplating the clinton doctrine and concerned about image. you were concerned about credit, which is not something that is unfamiliar to people in public life, but then i think something happened. in my theory is that after
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gaddafi's death and essentially a victory lap, then your attention waned and you had an answer and that was look, i got a lot of information from a lot of different places but i think you basically gave a victory lap, sort of a mission accomplished quote in october 30th, 2011 in the washington post. this is what you said and this is very declarative. we set into motion a policy that was on the right side of history, on the right side of our values, on the right side of our strategic interest in the region. it has all of the feel of a victory lap but there was a problem and the problem madam secretary is there were storm clouding gathering and it was a deteriorating security situation in benghazi and you had a lot to
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lose if benghazi unravelled. if libya unravelled you had a lot to lose and and accolades, if it went the wrong direction, it would be on you and if it was stable and the right direction, you were the beneficiary of that. so the question is, how is it possible that these urgent requests that came in, how did they not breakthrough to the very upper levels of your inner circle, people who were here today and served you. how did those requests from two ambassadors, ambassador cretz and stevens that came in on these days, june 7th, july 19th, august 2nd and march 28th, all of 2012, how is it possible that those didn't breakthrough? you told us that wasn't your job
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basically. you said i'm not responsible. here is my theory. i think that this is what was going on. that to admit a need for more security was to admit that there was a deteriorating situation and to admit a deteriorating situation. where did i get that wrong? >> congressman, look, we knew that libya's transition from the brutal dictatorship of gaddafi, which basically destroyed or undermined every institution in the country would be challenging and we planned accordingly. we worked closely with the libyan people with our allies in europe, with partners in the region to make sure that we tried to get position to help the libyan people and yes, the volatile security environment in
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libya complicated our efforts but we absolutely, and i will speak for myself, i absolutely did not forget about libya after gaddafi fell. we worked closely with the interim government and we offered a wide range of technical assistance. we were very much involved in helping them provide their first pa parliamentary elections. a lot of other countries post conflict did not have anything like positive elections of libya did in july of 2012, the transitional government handed over power to a new general national congress in august. we were doing everything we could think of to help libya succeed. we tried to bolster the effectiveness of the interim government. we worked very hard to get rid of the chemical weapons, coordinating with the transition libyan authorities with the u.n. and others and by february of
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2014, we had assisted in destroying the last of gaddafi's chemical weapons and combatting the spread of shoulder -- anti-aircraft shoulder fired missiles because of the danger that they posed to commercial aircraft, and we were providing assistance. some of which i discussed earlier with congresswoman robi. we had humanitarian assistance. we brought people for health to europe and for -- and to the united states. but much of what we offered despite our best efforts, we had the prime minister come to washington in the spring of 2012. much of what we offered was difficult for the libyans to understand how to accept. i traveled as you know, to libya and met there. i stayed in close touch with libya's leaders throughout the rest of my time as secretary.
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both of my deputies went there. we talked with the libyan leadership frequently by phone from washington and communicated regularly, as i have said, with our team based in tripoli and o all of this was focused on trying to stand up a new interim government and we were making progress on demilitarization and reintegrate security and loose weapons. i think it's important to recognize and of course, i was ultimately responsible for security. i took responsibility for what happened in benghazi. >> what does that mean when you say i took responsibility? when mr. westmoreland asked you, you said contracting or something? if you're responsible, what action would you have done
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differently? do you own as a result of this? so far i've heard since we've been together today, i've heard one dismissive thing after another. it was this group. it was that group. i wasn't served by this. i wasn't served by that. what did you do? do you own? >> i was just telling you some of the many related issues i was working on to try to help the libyan people make -- >> what's your responsibility to benghazi? that's my question. >> well, my responsibility was to be briefed and to discuss with the security experts and the policy experts whether we would have a post in benghazi. whether we would continue it. whether we would make it permanent. as i said repeatedly throughout the day, no one ever recommended closing the post in benghazi. >> no one recommended closing but you had two ambassadors that made several, several requests and here is basically what happened to their requests. they were torn up. >> well, that's just not true
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congressman. >> madam secretary, they didn't get through -- it didn't help them. were those responded to? is that your testimony today? >> many were responded to. there were affirmative responses to a number of re -- >> and you laid this on chris stevens, didn't you, because you said earlier he knows where to pull the levers. aren't you implying it's his responsibility to figure out how he's supposed to be secure because chris stevens knows how to pull the levers? is that your testimony. >> ambassadors are the ones that pass on security reck mommendats and requests -- >> and responded -- >> professionals -- >> what's his remedy if they are not responded to? what's his remedy if it's no? >> as i testified earlier, he was in regular e-mail contact with some of my closest advisors -- >> so hit resend, is that it? >> it was in regular e-mail
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contact and cable contact with -- >> cables didn't get through. you created an environment, madam secretary, where the cables couldn't get through. >> well, that is inaccurate. cables as we have testified -- >> they didn't get through to you. they didn't break into your inner circle. that was your testimony earlier. you can't have it both ways. you can't say all this information came to me and i was able to parenthesis it and it all stops at the security professional. >> congressman, that's not what i was saying. i think we've tried to clarify that, you know, millions of cables come in. they are processed and sent to the appropriate offices and personnel with respect to -- >> they didn't get through. they didn't make any difference. they couldn't break into the inner circle of decision making. now let me draw your attention in closing to testimony that you gave before the house foreign affairs committee in january 2013. and you said some wonderful things about ambassador stevens,
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similar to what you said in your opening statement today and they were words that were warm and inspirational and reflecting on his bravery, but i think in light of the facts that have come out since your testimony and i think in light of things that the committee has learned, he's even braver than you acknowledged. in january 2013 this is what you said to congress. nobody knew the dangers or the opportunities better than chris. during the first revolution then during the transition a weak libyan government militias, even terrorist groups a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel. he never waivered, he never asked to come home. he never said let's shut it down, quit or go somewhere else because he understood it was pivotal for america to be represented in that place at that time. secretary clinton, i think you should have added this, chris stevens kept faith with the state department that i headed
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even when we broke faith with him. he accepted my invitation to serve in benghazi even though he was denied the security. i and my colleagues were districted and we breached our fundamental duty to mitigate his danger and secure his safety and that of glen doherty, sean smith and tyrone woods. that would be more accurate, wouldn't you say, secretary clinton? >> of course, i would not say that and i think it's a disservice for you to make that statement, congressman. and it's -- >> who does it disserve? >> well, it is a disservice of how hard the people who are given the responsibility of making these tough security decisions -- >> the people that were disciplined? did they keep faith with chris stevens? no. >> well, chris stevens was someone who had a commitment to our presence in libya -- >> there is no question. >> and we want to honor that by continuing to -- >> there is no question --
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>> continuing to do what we can to support the transition. it is very much in my view in america's interest to continue to try to do so. >> i yield back. >> the chair will recognize the general lady from illinois ms. duckworth. >> i understand there were securiity improvements made. can you talk about those prior to the attacks and perhaps some of the things you sort of eluded to with more ventilation in the safe rooms and some of those things? >> yeah, there were a number of security improvements that were made to the facility. again, there was an emphasis on the outer walls, to try to create a more effective guard
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entrance. there was an effort to try to make sure that the facility itself was hardened so it could with stand attacks if that came to pass. it was in a series of decisions made by the security professionals in november of 2011, our people in ben goz sgh said they needed to hire additional guards. money was approved that day. they asked money to buy jersey barrier, the funds were sent by the end of the week. in january of 2012 a security officer requested all personnel deploying for more than 30 days complete the specialized counter threat training course which was soon implemented and january of 2012 they asked for money for sandbags, security lights, steel doors, car barriers that was
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promptly sent. later that month they were sent extra helmets, bulletproof vest. in february of 2012 they requested support for major renovation of the walls surrounding the complex including making walls higher, adding wire, laying barbed wire, that project was completed. in march 2012 they asked to contract two extra guard positions. that was completed. in april of 2012 they needed help from experts in technical security and by may, a special team visited to enhance security equipment and security lighting. in june 2012 following the ied incident, immediately a regional team was sent to enhance the perimeter and additional funding was approved for more guards. in july 2012 they said they need administration mum of three american security officers in benghazi from then on through july, august and september they always had three, four or five american ds agents overseeing
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the expanded libyan guards on site. there are some of the requests and affirmative responses congresswoman, provided specifically for benghazi. >> thank you. we know that short of putting people in bunkers and never allowing them outside of embassy compounds, we're going to have some sort of a threat to diplomatic security. obviously, it was not enough. what i would like to know is in light of that, what efforts have been put in to provide for contingency operations, especially for known potentially volatile periods in the calendar year? september 11th comes through every year. 2016, september 11th is probably going to be an especially volatile time period. can you talk what you have done or put into place and any difficulties you may have come across in coordinating with dod,
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intelligence agencies, other across the government, is there a move -- i know this is not a secure room so we can't talk about things rated secret but september 11th is coming. prior to that week are we moving aircraft carriers nearby? are we putting a leash on a two-hour leash? are we doing? do we have teams gearing up ready to go? is going on in light of the lessons learned at benghazi and what did you personally direct to take charge to happen, especially at your level of inner agency cooperation? >> an excellent question and really at the heart of what i hope will come out of this and the prior investigations. in december of 2014, assistant secretary star from the state department testified before the select committee that 25 of the 29 recommendations made by the
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arb had been completed. and a september 2013 inspector general's report noted that the arb recommendations were made in a way that was quickly taken seriously and that i took charge directly of oversight for the implantation process. here are some examples. more diplomatic security and d.o.d. personnel on the ground at our facilities today. we increased skills and competency by increasing training time in the high-threat course. we've expanded the foreign affairs counter threat course so that the skills are shared by not just the diplomatic security agents but people like chris stevens and sean smith, as well. we've also been working hard to up the inner agency cooperation. the inner agency security teams
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that you asked about earlier, congresswoman, that's a. continuing commitment we are working on and because of this terrible tragedy, d.o.d. is much more focused on what needs to be thought through with respect to planning and reaction. you know, we had problems in the past with the pastor from florida, terry jones, insighting riots and protests that result the in the deaths of people including u.n. and others who were stationed in afghanistan, and so we're trying to stay in very close touch between the state department and d.o.d. in that case, secretary gates actually called him and asked him please not to get involved in what he was doing because it was dangerous to our troops and our civilians. unfortunately, you know, he has a mind apparently of his own. so we are trying to have a closer coordinated planning and
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response effort. with respect to your specific questions that are really within the per view of the department of defense like the deployment of certain navy vessels, air wings and the like, i think that d.o.d. is trying hard to think about how particularly in north africa and the middle east they can. one of the claims that was made that was proven to be untrue was that dod withheld sending air support and indeed the closest air support that would have been in any way relevant was too far away. so they're trying to think about how they better deploy and station various assets so they can have a quicker response time. i've not been involved intimately in this now for a few
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years, i guess more than two years, so i can't speak directly. but i know this was part of the important work that was under way when i left. >> you spoke about you -- thank you. you spoke about you making personal phone calls to ask for help from the heads of local government rk and you spoke a lot about the power of the chief of the mission, the trust you put into the professionals that are there. when an embassy comes under attack e specially after this benghazi attack, from this time forward, do ambassadors, do they need to call you to ask for help from other agencies of u.s. government, or do you have the ability, if there's a dod -- if there's a cia or dod force nearby, a marine fast team, for example, does the master have to come through security or do they need to call you to have you call for that? how does that work?
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>> no. there's an example out of the benghazi attack. there was a pre-existing understanding between the diplomatic compound and the cia annex, and there was no need for anybody at the compound to call washington to alert the cia annex. they immediately contacted the cia annex, and they sprang into action to try to come to the assistance of our team at the compound. so there's -- we're trying to have more pre-existing arrangements like that, and that goes to your question. if there are assets in the region, how do we plan for contingencies so they can be immediately triggered and try to respond. i, obviously, spoke to the white house. i spoke to general petraeus, spoke to lots of other people that evening to try to get
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whatever help we could get. we did get a surveillance plane above the location, but it took some time to get there. it had to be converted -- >> an unarmed drone, correct? >> yes, it was unarmed, on our ua -- >> uab? >> uab, yes. we asked for everything we could get and everybody immediately tried to provide it. think now there's more awareness that maybe we should be doing these scenarios ahead of time to try to figure out what could be done without having to reinvent it every time. >> thank you. i'm out of time. >> thank the gentle lady from illinois. the chair will recognize the gentle woman from indiana. >> thank you, madam secretary. i'm going to follow up on what the congresswoman from illinois is discussing which is facility. i appreciate the laundry list that you just listed with
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respect to the security improvements or whatever happened with respect to benghazi. but i have to ask you if you're familiar with the fact that in the wake of the 1998 bombing attacks in nairobi, congress passed something referred to as seca, secuwhich requires the secretary of state to issue a waiver if under two conditions, if u.s. government personnel work in separate facilities, or if u.s. overseas facilities don't meet the setback distances specified by the bureau of diplomatic security. the law specifies that only the secretary of state may sign these waivers, and that requirement is not to be delegated. was a waiver issued for the temporary mission in benghazi and the cia annex after the
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temporary mission compound was authorized through december of 2012, and did you sign that waiver, madam secretary? >> i think that the cia annex had no responsibility for. i cannot speak to what the decisions were with respect to the cia annex. that's something i know other committees -- >> you weacknowledge you were responsible for the temporary mission compound? >> of course. you put them together. i just wanted to clarify that i had no responsibility for the cia annex obviously. the kpoupd in benghazi was neither an embassy nor a consulate. those are the only two facilities for which we would obtain a formal diplomatic notification, and those were the only kinds of facilities that we
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would have sought waivers for at the time because we were trying to, as has been testified to earlier, understand whether we were going to have a permanent mission or not. that means you have to survey available securities, try to find a secure facility and the standards that are set by the interagency overseas security policy board are the goals we try to strive for. but it is very difficult, if not impossible, to do that? the immediate aftermath of a conflict situation: the temporary mission in benghazi was set up to try to find out where it is gone in the area, to work with the cia more appropriate and to make a decision as to whether there would be a permanent facility. so we could not have met the goals under the overseas
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security policy board, nor could we have issued a waiver because we had to set up operations in order to make the assessment as to whether or not we would have a permanent mission, whether that mission would remain open, and we made extensive and constant improvements to the physical security, some of which i mentioned. >> madam secretary, thank you. so it is obvious that a waiver was not sign ed, and you've givn a defense as te why a waiver was not signed, and it was temporary because it was made up, it was something different, the compound had never become officia official: therefore, you did not sign a waiver which, when most of our people are stationed in such dangerous places -- let me get into that. with respect to the dangerous places, we know that libya,
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you've testified before was incapable of providing host nation support, and that involves protecting diplomats and other u.s. government officials who travel there. if the libyan people didn't have a government capable of providing security and we didn't have u.s. military in libya, then we have two options. we either leave when it gets too dangerous or the state department makes sure that they provide that protection. i want to chat with you about the fact that when ambassador stevens returned in late 2012, after being named ambassador -- less than four months later he was killed, but number of violent attacks that occurred during that summer are off the charts. i'd like you to refer to page 6, a 51-page document prepared by your security guy in libya,
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serious security incident, 51 pages long, 235 significant security incidents, 235 texts in one year. in benl there were 77 serious attacks in one year, 64 in 2012. now, let me just tell you, as i flip through this -- i'm not talking -- benghazi as i showed earlier, it is a large city, about the size of d.c. or boston. i'm not talking about violent attacks like everyday robberies, burglaries, holdups. i'm talking about assassination attempts and assassinations, bombings, kidnappings, attacks on the red cross. the red cross gave up and pulled out. the people who always go in when disaster strikes, they pulled out. bombings on police departments, the courts. think about this. if you're in the city of washington, d.c. or boston, and
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we're in benghazi and all these types of bombings are happening and these security incidents are happening, there are hundreds more actually i could talk with you about. frankly i don't have time. i hope i've painted the picture. i'm baffled. you sent chris stevens to lifb ye libya and benghazi. granted he never raised the flag and said i want out, and granted, he never said shut down benghazi. i understand and appreciate that you deferred to him. you also, madam secretary, we have no record of you ever talking to him, that you never talked to him personally after may of 2012 when you swore him in as our ambassador. am i wrong? did you ever talk to ambassador stevens when all of this was going on in the hot bed of libya? that is a yes or no question, madam secretary. i'm sorry. did you ever p


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