tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 21, 2015 11:13pm-12:01am EDT
in fact there was a lot of speculation that the reason he was chosen for this job was because he was a year and a half ago not to extremely conservative and have not been in the administration site before so some sense the speaker wants to send a message that is going to be a serious committee a serious investigation and not a super hyperpartisan one even though that's what the criticism has turned out to be. >> host: let's go into the backgrounds of the other republican members. there are six other republicans on the committee. tell us about them and how they were selected. >> guest: it's a mix of folks people like congressman mike tom pao lynn westmoreland from georgia sitting members on the house intelligence committee so they have that background. jim jordan from ohio who tends to be a conservative on the side
of the administration. he has been a little bit more aggressive, little bit more outspoken in the past and i think that's more his character to be more pointed and to be more pointed i guess. martha roby has been very stick to the facts and i think i'm hitting everybody but a mix of folks that are hoping to represent the full cross-section of the house and also there was some controversy and there were some criticism from people like there'll issa who is a relatively controversial member of the house says none to be in sparring contest with the administration. there was pushed back from him that he was shut out of we thought would be as committee after he was the former chairman of the oversight committee. so there was an effort clearly
made here from the republican side while certainly aggressive and active not overly partisan and not overly controversial. >> host: let's look at the democrats. four of the five democratic members are also ranking members of other committees and clearly the democrats looking for more leaders and their party on the house side. let's start with elijah cummings who is the ranking member of the benghazi committee. tell us about him and his background. >> guest: the ranking member of the benghazi benghazi committee as you know and currently the ranking member of the house oversight committee and he's been there for a while. he is there right now and he was previously there went there'll issa was the chairman said so he's had a fairly long experience being minority democrats on the committee that is going after them probing the obama administration. he has had to kind of have a set
back stiff upper lip and has been somewhat of a fighter and theirs is bear mountain speculation that he may end up running for the senate in maryland. he says it's not making any firm commitments so after this hearing was secretary clinton but recent polling said that he wanted to do that option would be there for him and he could jump into the fray and would probably do well in the open senate seat in maryland after senator mikulski steps down the end of next year. so he is a high-profile and certainly gained a lot of recognition because of this committee and might take that to the upper chamber. >> host: we have adam schiff, linda sanchez tammy duckworth. and if those names stick out as someone who was especially qualified to serve on this committee? >> guest: mr. schiff for instance the ranking member on the intelligence committee and
ms. duckworth running for the senate so this is another opportunity for her to boost her profile. she's taking on senator mark kirk in illinois to elevate her profile a little bit there. mr. smith is a member of the armed services committee and so there are some serious names and some serious people for the democrats hope would bring a serious -- here and none of them have been critical of the gop select committee especially mr. schiff has suggested that maybe democrats might not stick with it. he floated the opportunity that democrats should pull out of the committee entirely which was some of the early speculation before this committee was named a lot of talk whether democrats should participate at all given me see this as a partisan witchhunt. ultimately they decided to stick with it because they figured it's better to have someone in the room but not in the room but there has been a lot of reluctance and skepticism among
democrats that this would be a ferric investigation affair committee and to a person right now all of those democrats say the committee has been a partisan exercise and that's been there could position for last year and a half. >> host: julian hattem from the hill thanks for joining us and giving us background on the houston gauzy committee. you can read julian at the hill.com anice also on twitter @ jm had him. thanks for joining us. >> guest: thank you.
ambassador chris stevens. we'll have live coverage starting thursday at 10:00 a.m. eastern time on c-span3, c-span radio and c-span.org and of course you can hear the hearing in its entirety without interruption. coming up is a look at events leading up to thursday's hearing greatly began with secretary clinton's january 2013 appearance before the senate foreign relations committee where she takes questions about the lack of security and benghazi. the administration's response to the attack and how to prevent future attacks. we will then show you two news conferences hillary clinton conducted this year focusing on her private e-mail server is topic that is likely to be discussed during thursday's hearing. our presentation wraps up with clinton aides huma abedin in the committee's ranking member of elijah cummings followed by
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good morning. the committee will come to order. let me begin by welcoming the new members to the committee senators kaine and murphy, senator johnson, mccain flake and paul. since the full senate has not passed the committee resolution officially ceding members i want to ask unanimous consent
returning members to allow our prospective members to participate in today's hearing. and if there is no objection, so ordered. madam secretary let me welcome you and thank you for honoring your commitment to calm before the committee after the administrative review board's findings. you said you would after the findings were completed and of course you had a bit of an intervening challenge and we are thrilled to see you here today doing well and to take time out of your schedule in these final days to discuss the tragic events that occurred in benghazi on september 11 and the lessons we need to learn from that event to ensure that all american personnel are fully protected and our embassies fully secured wherever they are. in your tenure as secretary of state and your appearances before this committee you have always been upfront, forthright
and energetic in defending our foreign service officers and i for one commend you for it. unfortunately the tragic events in benghazi are a sad reminder of the inherent risks that come with diplomatic engagement in parts of the world that are struggling to build new governments from what has often been a chaotic situation and underscore the very real courage of the unsung men and women who put their lives at risk to serve this nation's interest in those areas. let me say i respect what you've you have done during your tenure as secretary of state in representing not only this nation that all of those in our foreign service to run the diplomatic frontline and turbulent and dangerous parts of the globe. the reflection of your leadership as well as your patriotism and your abiding belief in the power of our policies to move it toward -- world towards democracy and preservation of human rights. your candor prefer this committee has been a trademark of your service as secretary of state and i believe every member
has welcomed your openness and your cooperation. your letter of december 182 chairman kerry was appreciated by members of both sides and an example of that open a simple operation. let me say we share your mission here today and we look forward to constructive dialogue today to learn from the events that occurred in benghazi and to devise policies to better protect nearly 70,000 men and women serving in d.c. and more than 275 posts around the world. ambassador chris stevens sean smith taiwan would send glenn dougherty lost their lives on september 11, 2012 during terrorist attacks on the special mission in benghazi. as a committee we honor their service to our nation and we grieve with their families but we also resolved to take specific actions to present future -- prevent future incidents. we may not be able to prevent every single terratec in the future but we can and we must make sure that our embassies and
employees starting with high-risk high threat posts are capable of withstanding such an attack. to that end secretary clinton the department have agreed to implement all 29 of the administrative review board recommendations and today we would hear more about the progress of the department is made towards implementation of many of the recommendations. i would add that congress is not without responsibility here. we also have an application to do our part to comply with the administrator for a few porch recommendations. it is my intention to work with the members of the committee and the department in the coming months on legislation that will improve security and better protect our employees. one of the first and easiest things we can do is to ensure that the department's contracting rules allow for sufficient flexibility to allow them to quickly make decisions and to hire local guards not only on the basis of vague lowest-priced technically acceptable but a best value
basis to ensure we are not just checking when it comes to securing our buildings and securing her people. the state has authority through march for afghanistan-pakistan and iraq as a part in all locations particularly high-risk environment. were also looking at sole-source contracting may be appropriate to respond to certain security related contacts. the ministry the review board supports expanding demering security guard or from hiring and equipping more diplomatic security personnel and the critical importance authorizing full funding for the embassy capital cost-sharing program. capital cost-sharing program for embassy construction was created in the aftermath of the 1990 honoring of the u.s. embassies in nairobi -- that resulted in 224 deaths including 11 american citizens. in its first year and for the construction of 13 new facilities followed by 11 in 2006, nine and 2005.
nearly every year since fewer facilities have been built than the previous year due to funding decreases in the fact that the allocations to be counted never been indexed to inflation. the cost of the construction and and -- industry worldwide has risen dramatically. at the current funding rate for fy2013 the department estimates it will be able to construct three new facilities despite the fact that they are are a couple of dozen posts that have now been designated as high-risk, high threat posed the need for placing right now. the lessons of benghazi are not only that i believe were sourcing security operations. it's also about the flow of information between the department and our foreign facilities within the department itself among all the agencies engage in international work in between the departments and congress. the department should be assessing and regularly designating which posts it considers to be high threat and high-risk using that information to drive decisions about
security and reporting to congress on security conditions at these posts. .. that resulted in an adequate security and that responsibility for these failures was shared by washington, u.s. embassy in tripoli, and by the nonstatus special mission. this left it clear with the requirements were or should be. clearly, that needs to change. there are two other crucial points made by the immense trait of review board that i think deserve attention on a larger scale of this committee. first, the emphasis on the growing challenge faced by the growing challenge of how to remain active in high threat environments and get out to conduct direct, local interaction required for effective diplomacy,
remaining effective in the private sector while securing our embassies and protecting our people in these environments. second, the administrative review board correctly points out that the department has been resource challenged for many years which has constrained our mission and led to the husbanding of resources to such a degree that restricting the use of resources has become a conditioned response. this is to say decisions being made more on cost than need and value. the answer cannot be to cut more from other foreign affairs accounts. that fails to recognize diplomacy and foreign aid about down payments that yield dividends in terms of goodwill, open borders for the export of american products, protection of intellectual property and cooperation on security and counterterrorism. there is a lot to discuss. welcome. we appreciate your time. on a personal note, i speak
fori speak for many when i say you have been an outstanding secretary of state, and exemplary representative of american foreign policy and values an interest to every leader around the world. you change the face of america abroad and extended the hospital for each of our nation to ordinary citizens in addition to world leaders. during your tenure you steer tester economic crisis in europe, changing relations and asia, and momentous transition in libya, and the trend toward global strength based on economics rather than arms. i appreciate the fact that you used your office to aggressively implement sanctions. fact that you use your office to aggressively implement sanctions against iran.
i think are the most traveled secretary in history. you supported and met with those individuals who do not live in the limelight, women, children, women, children, the lgbt community and religious. you made a difference in the personal lives of so many people and for that you have thanks of a grateful natio we thank you for your service. we think you for your service here in the senate and a secretary of state, we welcome you back anytime to talk about the issues of the day, recognizing that you may not care to spend anymore time in in the chair than you already have. we certainly appreciate your incredible service. with that, let me turn to my friend and colleague, the new ranking member of the community. >> think mr. chairman. thank you for your comments and
also first following through as we have all discussed to have this hearing today. want to welcome the new community members and i know there'll be a time to talk about committee going forward. in many ways this is closing up business from before. i think you very much for having this hearing and look forward to working with everybody on the committee. mme. sec., i want to thank you also. we have. we have had a number of conversations over the last several weeks and over the last four years, i want to thank you for coming in today and honoring the commitment you made some time ago. i know you have had some health issues and still undergoing and yet you are here today, i think we all respect the tremendous amount of hard work you put forth over the last four years. you probably traveled more than any other secretary of state in history. you came at your job in a way that we all thought you would with hard work, diligence, i know all of us appreciate the transparency for which you talk to all of us.
i do want to say that benghazi, 12 us represents a lot of different things. in some ways, the aftermath in particular what we saw represents the very worst of washington. the most bizarre briefing i have ever attended was a briefing we had on september 20 where the intelligence community said more than nothing and it was a bizarre briefing at that. i happened in the middle of a political campaign and there is a lot of spin from the white house, a lot of comments made on both sides of the aisle which heightened the focus on benghazi. it also represented a department that in many weight made decisions that were not based on what was best for those in the field. i think it represented, in many ways the denial of the world as it is today.
i think after reading the arb it also represented, to me a committee that has never done its work, or at least in the six years i have been here has never done the kind of oversight that this committee ought to do. i think it also represents an awakening. i know you have known this and especially many of the members of this committee have known this, the spiking of the b the arab spring has ushered in a time where al qaeda is on the rise. the world is in many ways more dangerous as we lack a central command and instead have these notes that are scattered which creates an opportunity to develop policy that really addresses the world as it really yesterday. and thirdly, mdm.thirdly, madam secretary, i know that
it was a great personal loss to you that chris stevens died in a way that he did and his colleagues died in the way that they did. i was on the ground in libya immediately after this. i know you have experienced this, but to look at the faces of those on the ground in libya in a state of shock, people that we sent there doing expeditionary diplomacy who felt like they were on a tether and candidly did not have the support from washington that they needed to do the things that they needed to do,do, so i think that this is an opportunity for us to examine the systemic failures. i know that you will be, as per our conversation last night, as transparent as you have always been. this is a great opportunity for the incoming secretary to learn, and many times clinical appointees have great difficulties with the bureaucracy that exists
within the department where sometimes people feel they can wait you out until the next person comes along, so this is an opportunity for us to look at those failures , an opportunity for us also as a committee and country to develop foreign-policy that reflects, again, the dynamics of the region as they really are today. lastly, i think that this is an opportunity for this committee to finally do the work that it should have been doing for years. when you read the arb report and realize we have never done an authorization of the state department, never like that how foreign aid has been spent, never done a top to bottom review. something that people like you who come to this position look at us something that is healthy and can be done in partnership. there was some mention of cost command i was
disappointed when the 1st thing that came out of the mouths of two people i respect was money, money, money. this committee wouldthis committee would have no idea where the appropriate amount of money is being spent or if that could have prevented what happened in benghazi because we have never done authorization. i look at this as a tremendous opportunity and want to close, again, by thanking you for your service, your friendship, your transparency, and i look forward to your testimony.testimony. i know it will be presented in a way that will be constructive and helpful to us in the future. >> with that, welcome. your remarks. >> thank you very much. members of the committee, both older and knew, i am grateful for this opportunity command i thanki thank you very much
for your patients to give me the chance to come and address these issues with you. as both the chairman and ranking member have said, the terrorist attacks in benghazi on september 112012 that claimed the lives of four brave americans are part of a broader, strategica broader strategic challenge to the united states and our partners in north africa. today i want briefly to offer context, share what we have learned, how we are protecting our people, and where we can work together to not only honor our fallen colleagues but continue to champion america's interests and values. in the clear eyed examination of this matter must begin with the sobering fact, since 1988 they're have been 19 accountability review boards investigating attacks on american diplomats in the facilities.
benghazi joins a long list of tragedy for our department, other agencies, and america. hostages in tehran, our embassy in marine barracks bombed in beirut, saudi arabia, our embassy in east africa, consular staff murdered, the attack in 2009 , and too many others. many have been killed by terrorists. of course, the list of attacks foiled, crises averted, and lives saved is longer. our security professionals get it right more than 99 percent of the time against difficult odds.
that is why i trust them with my life. and let's remember that administrations of both parties in partnership with congress have made concerted in good faith efforts to learn from these attacks and deaths, to implement recommendations from the review boards, seek the necessary resources, and do better in protecting our people from what has become constantly evolving threats. that is the least that the men and women who serve our country deserve, what, again, we are doing with your help. i have no higher priority or greater responsibility. as i have said many times, i take responsibility, and no one is more committed to getting this right. i am determined to leave the state department safer, stronger, and more secure. taking responsibility meant moving quickly to respond to the immediate crisis, but also to further protect our people and post in high
threat areas across the region in the world, launching an independent investigation to determine exactly what happened and to recommend steps for improvement and intensifying efforts to combat terrorism and figure out effective ways to support the emerging democracies in north africa and beyond. let me sharelet me share some of the lessons we have learned, steps we have taken , and work we continue to do. but start on the night of september 11 itself. i directed our response, stayed in close contact with officials across the government and the libyan government and saw firsthand what ambassador pickering and chairman mullen called timely and exceptional coordination. no delays in decision-making, denials, denials of support command i want to echo the review board praise for the valor and courage of our people on
the ground, especially for security professionals and benghazi and tripoli. the response saved american lives in real time. the next morning i told the american people heavily armed militants assaulted our compound, and i vowed to bring them to justice. i stood with pres. obama and president obama and the rose garden as he spoke of an act of terror. in that same period we were seeing violent attacks on our embassies in cairo, tunis, khartoum, as well as large protests outside many other posts were thousands of diplomats served, so, so i immediately ordered a review of our security posture around the world. i asked thei asked the department of defense to join interagency security assessment teams and to dispatch hundreds of additional marine security guards.
i named the 1st deputy assistant secretary of state for high threat posts some missions and dangerous places get the attention they need, and we reached out to congress to address physical vulnerabilities. second, even as we took these steps, i hurried to appoint the accountability review board led by ambassador pickering and admiral mullen so that we could more fully understand from objective,objective, independent examination what went wrong and how to fix it. i have accepted every one of their recommendations, ask the deputy secretary for management and resources to lead a task force to ensure they are all implemented quickly and completely as well as pursuing additional steps above and beyond the recommendation. i also pledged that implementation would begin,
and it has. our task task for started by translating the recommendations in the 60s 564 specific-- 64 specific action items assigned to bureaus and offices with clear timelines for completion. a number are already completed, and we will use this opportunity to take a top to bottom look and rethink how we make decisions on where, when, and whether people operate in high threat areas and how to respond. we are initially initiating and ongoing reviews to ensure that pivotal questions about security reached the highest levels. we will regularize protocol for sharing information with congress. these are designed to increase the safety of diplomats and development experts and reduce the chances of another benghazi happening again. we have also been moving forward on a 3rd front,
addressing the broader strategic challenge in north africa and the wider region because benghazi did not happen in a vacuum. the arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region. instability and molly has created an expanding safe haven for terrorists who would to extend influence and plot further attacks of the kind we saw last week in algeria. and let me offer our deepest condolences to the families of the americans and all the people from many nations who were killed and injured in that recent hostage crisis. we stand ready to provide assistance, seeking to gain aa fuller understanding of what took place so that we can work together to prevent such terrorist attacks in the future. concerns about terrorism and instability in north africa are not new.
theythey have been a top priority for the entire administration's national security team. but we have been facing a rapidly changing threat environment, and we have had to keep working at ways to increase pressure on al qaeda and the islamic i grab any other terrorist groups in the region. in the 1st hours and days i conferred with leaders, the president of libya, and then i had a series of meetings at the united nations general assembly where there was a special meeting focused. i flew to algeria to discuss the fight against a qia q i am. in november i sent deputy secretary burns to follow up and in december in my stead he cochaired an organization that we started to respond to some of these threats, the global counterterrorism foreign which was meeting in abu dhabi as well as one in tunis, leaders working to
build new democracies and reform security services. we have focused on targeting al qaeda syndicate of terror , countering extremist ideology, slowing the flow of new recruits and continue to hunt terrorists responsible for the attacks and benghazi and are determined to bring them to justice. we will strengthen security forces and help provide a path away from extremism. but let me underscore the importance of the united states continuing to lead in the middle east, north africa, and around the world we have come a long way, and the cannot afford to retreat now. when america is absent, especially from unstable environments there are consequences, extremism
takes root, interests suffer, security at home is threatened which is why i sent chris stevens to benghazi in the 1st place. no one knew the dangers better.better. first, during the revolution and then the transition, a week libyan government, marauding militias, terrorist groups. a bomb explodeda bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel, but he did not waver because he understood it was critical for america to be represented they're at that time. they understand the acceptable level of risk to protect the country we love and represent the best traditions of the bowl and generous nation. they cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs, so it is our responsibility to make sure that they have the resources they need and to do everything we can to reduce the risk. for me thisfor me this is not just a matter of policy. it is personal.
i stood next to president obama as the marines carried those flag draped caskets off the plane at andrews. i put my arms around the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters and wives left alone to raise the children. it has been one of the great hours of my life to leave the men and women of the state department and usaid. nearly 70,000 serving here in washington, one in 270 poster on the world get up and go to work every day, often in difficult and dangerous circumstances because they believe, as we believe, the united states is the most extraordinary force for piece and progress the world has ever known. when we suffer tragedies overseas, as we have, the number of americans applying to the foreign service actually increases.
that tells us everything we need to know about what kind of patriots i am talking about. they ask what they can do for their country command america is stronger for it. today after four years in this job my faith in our country and future is stronger than ever. every time that blue and white airplane carrying the words united states of america touches down in some far-off capitol, i feel the honor it is to represent the world's indispensable nation and i'm confident that with your help we will keep the united states safe, strong, and exceptional. i want to thank this committee for your partnership and support of diplomats and development experts. you know theyou know the importance of the work that they do day in and out, that
american values and vital national security interests are at stake, and i appreciate with the ranking member said, it is absolutely critical that this committee and the state department with your new secretary and former chairman work together to understand and address the resources, support, and changes needed to face what our increasingly complex threats. i know that you share my sense of responsibility and urgency. while we may not agree on everything, let's stay focused on what really matters copy protecting our people and. i am now happy to take your questions. >> thank you for that statement. we have a full committee present. in order to give each member an opportunity to ask questions i'm going to limit those questions to five
minutes, and i will start with myself. mme. sec., we saw late night reporting on discussions about the physical locations of missions, and i understand this came from the production of documents by the department, which we appreciate your cooperation. my understanding is that the location of mission benghazi was an ongoing one, and the ultimate conclusion of ambassador stevens was that we needed to be and benghazi and that where he was continuously reviewing other location options, that it was his conclusion as well as that of security personnel at the current mission site was the best choice despite a higher price tag because it was more secure than returning to the hotel where there had been a bomb and bomb threats were moving closer to the annex. can you give us your insight
on the decision-making process regarding the location of mission command as part of that can you -- you touched upon it, but what actions were you and your staff taking the night of september 11 and into september the 12th? >> first, you are right that there was an ongoing discussion when chris 1st landed the stayed in a hotel along with representatives of different nations. there were attacks in the vicinity, including the parking lot. the decision was made to move, compound selected as being a much better location , but there was an ongoing discussion between chris and others about how
best to situate our poster. i did see overnight reporting that i would observe we were constantly asking what was the best place. and the professionals in washington they paid close attention based on his experience and firsthand knowledge. we stayed, continued to try to upgrade the facility that was attacked. obviously, there were inadequacies in the response , and those are the specific kinds of recommendations that we are
currently implementing. regarding what i was doing on september 11, i was at the state department all day and late into the night. during most of the day prior to getting notice of the attack on our compound we were focused on our embassy in cairo. that was under assault by a group protesters. we were assessing the security of our embassy, which is certainly well defensed, but there were crowds that are intent upon trying to scale the wall and in close communication with our team in cairo. i was notified of the attack shortly after 4:00 p.m. over the following hours we were in continuous meetings within the department, with our team in tripoli, with the agency and
internationally. i instructed senior department officials and diplomatic security personnel to consider every option, to break down the doors of libyan officials to get as much security support as we possibly could, to coordinate with them. i spoke with the national security advisor several times, briefed him on developments, sod all possible support from the white house which they quickly provided. tom was my 1st call. i spoke with my tertiary in tripoli to get the situation updates. i spoke with the trays to coordinate given the presence of his facility which, of course, was not well known but was something we knew. i talked with the then
libyan national congress president to press him on greater support not only on benghazi but tripoli. i participated in a conference of senior officials from the intelligence community, white house, and department of defense. we went over every option and reviewed any action we could take. we reached out to anyone to try to get an update about ambassador stevens, also our information specialist. so it was a constant ongoing discussion and meetings. i spoke with president obama later in the evening to bring him up today to hear his perspective. obviously we talking with everyone during the night, early in the morning on the
12th i spoke with general dempsey again with tom-tom one. the two hardest calls for to the families of ambassador stevens and john smith. and you know, i have to say that they were extraordinary in their responses and understanding and the pride we have both men and gratitude we had for the service. i would quickly add while this was going on that we were trying to understand it , get on top of it however continuing to face protests, demonstrations, violence across the region and as far as india and indonesia. thousands of people were putting our facilities at risk. there were certainly very