tv Hillary Clinton Testimony at House Select Committee on Benghazi CSPAN October 22, 2015 8:00pm-11:01pm EDT
were meeting -- that the state department was meeting with your attorneys? >> not at that time, and as you also recall, the state department was beginning to turn over to this committee my e-mails because they had between 90 and 95% of all my work-related e-mails in the state department system. >> but ma'am, they met with your attorney, and your attorney they met with happened to be cheryl mills, which was your chief of staff. >> that's correct. that's correct. >> now, is that weird that your attorney was your chief of staff so that attorney/client privilege may have kicked in there somewhere? >> she was my counsel before she was my chief of staff. she became my counsel again after she was my chief of staff. >> hmm. well, i know that when the e-mail went out that night, it called everybody under secretary, director, spokesman, and it said miss mills was counselor. it didn't say chief of staff. and that was the night of the attack. but let me just go a little bit
further. you said that you found out in october that your attorneys met with the state department -- i believe it was in august. now, from that time you said you turned over everything and that your lawyers went through this, and i believe it was in november after finding out in october that they had reviewed all these in two years? but your attorneys -- you must he some of the fastest reading attorneys in the world to go through that. i know you've got a group of them setting behind you but how many attorneys does it take to go through 65,000 e-mails in two months? >> well, first of all, the process to provide information to the congress with respect to benghazi started before i left the state department. there was a concerted effort to
gather up any information that might be responsetive -- >> are youtling me you had a approve server at that them? >> i know that -- jive i they were gathering e-mails you had to tell them you had a private server. >> the server is not the point. it's the account. i made it's practice to send e-mailed that were work related to people on their government accounts. secretary kerry is the first secretary of state to rely primarily on a government account. so -- >> i'm not a talking about the account. i'm talking about the server. one last point. i'll close with this and then the chairman can give you time to answer. what i thought and i think your attorneys sat down with the state department and they said, we got a problem. and so we got to come up with something that this is not just the secretary having these e-mails in a private server. i tell you what let's do. let's go back and ask madeline
albright work was secretary of state in 1997, that never even had an e-mail account or let go back and ask colin powell, condoleezza rice, and me, to provide -- >> what's your question? >> i'm just telling you it doesn't smell right, and so i yield back. >> well, if i could respond. i think in the course of trying to answer and archive information, the state department determined that they did have gaps in their recordkeeping, and it was much more than about me. they had gaps with respect to others, both other secretaries and others within the state department, and the technology in the state department, indeed throughout our entire government, is notoriously
difficult and often unreliable, and i think it was the state department's efforts to try to fill some of those gaps. so, i didn't know at the time that there had been such a meeting. i learned of it subsequently. and when i received a copy of the letter that was sent by the state department to me and the other three preceding secretaries of state, immediately said, let help them fill the gaps, even though i believed the vast majority of my e-mails were already in their system, and we did. we conducted the investigation, the survey, that i have described to you, and turned over more than 30,000 work-related e-mails. 55,000 pages, to the state department. 90 95% were already there. we sent so many that some were going to be return because they were clearly not work-related.
we did our best. i did my best to make sure that if there were gaps in record-keeping, at least my materials would be there to help fill any gaps above and beyond then 90 to 95 part of e-mails already in the system. >> i'm not an attorney but i think miss mills is -- >> regular order, mr. chairman. at this list hour four minutes after regular time -- >> the gentleman -- >> cut off with questioning. >> the gentleman is out of time, just like almost every other member has been out of time. >> not four minutes out of time, mr. they're. >> you'd be surprised. >> it's a late our and hour witness has been here more than nine hours. i think in thes' -- >> as soon as the gentle ready finishes i'll recognize the next member. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate that courtesy. >> gentleman from california is recognized. >> madam secretary, i don't know how you're doing but i'm exhausted. if we stay her much longer
you'll have to take the 3:00 a.m. phone call from the committee room. in fact your testimony has not only gone on longer than both your prior testimonies to the house and senate combined, but i'm -- i don't know if pleasedded its the right term but to inform you that your testimony has gone on longer than all the other hearings we have held combined, but in the interest of full disclove sure we haven't done very much. he only had three hearings in the last year and a half, but that impressive because some of the hearings were multiple witnesses and you have now outlasted all of them. i think you can tell when you're getting to the point of diminishing returns when you have members of the panel who are inventing testimony for you or imagining conversations you're having with your lawyer as well. as for your e-mails, i feel like channeling bernie sanders here today. but i'm no layer david and i know i wouldn't do it right.
so instead i'll tell you about the other person i agree with on your e-mails and that's our chairman, who was asked on fox news by chris wallace what your e-mail use has to do with investigating what happened in benghazi, and chairman gowdy's response was well, probably not much, if anything. as we -- i hope wind up tonight, i want to just make one observation about your e-mails, because i think it's true of the investigation generally. for all the talk about your e-mails, what is interesting to me is not a member here, either on the news or in leaked form or whatever, has said anything about the content of your e-mails. that add any insight to what we already know. so, it's fascinating to me that for all of this talk, they have not pointed to a single thing in
those e-mails of substance that alters our understanding of what happened in benghazi. that alters the conclusions of those seven or eight other investigations. and what is true of your e-mails is true of this broader investigation, which is, here we are, 17 months later, $14.5 million later, and we have nothing new to tell the american people. i have struggled to find something to ask you tonight that hasn't already been asked an infinance it in number of times, an infinite number of ways, and i'm not going to go through the exercise of searching for a question to be asked again. it's too late for that. but having, i guess, started by wondering what the core theory was of my colleague -- i appreciate at least one of them taking a stab at it. i feel it's my responsibility now is a wind up to tell me my
theory of what is happening is. speaker boehner did not want to form this committee. he said so, not to me but he said so on national tv help said what is to be gained by having yet another committee after all the other committees we have had investigate? what is to bedpanned by -- be gained by this? this is pad idea. at some point something changed the speaker reside mine. imnot in the room when the speaker makes the decision to reverse course. in reading a profile of our chairman, he wasn't in the room, either. he got a call from the speaker when he was back in his district saying, i decided to form a select committee. how would you like to be the chairman. i bet mr. chairman wishes he never got that call. so, who was in the room? well, kevin mccarthy was in the room. there was nobody better situated to know why this committee was formed or why the peeker changed
his mind an the speaker's number two kevin mccarthy so with all due respect to our chairman who says, shut up, other members, you don't know what you're talking about, i'd have to say, actually, one person who does know what he is talking about is kevin mccarthy. so that why i think we're here. and it would be one thing if it was that comment isolation. it would be another if we didn't have one their own team, g.o.p. investigator who is going to vote for whoever the republican nominee is, he tells us proudly, saying the same thing. that is the way we have conducted ourselves that is the most compelling evidence that the only object here. we have seen. a my tonight in the -- amply tonight in the questions, there's little interest and actually happened. no much interest how to prevent it in the future. but a lot of interest in trying to score points against you tonight. everybody, i think, on this side of the podium is hoping there's
the one that does the gotcha that makes the news. well, terrible abuse of our responsibility and our power, and i think we'll rue the day we did this. i have no questions, madam secretary, and i appreciate your patience, and i yield back. >> i be happy to yield to my colleague, mr. cummings. >> madam secretary, want to so-myself with the voice of my colleague. but i want to go back to the arb. in my 20 years of on the oversight it could committee one thing i tried to do is try to make sure i protect the reputation of the people who come before our committee. you may be republican witnesses, be they democrat or independents, the reason being that i realize that there's life
after the hearing, and so often, madam secretary, what happens is people come before these hearings, their family is watching. colleagues watching. they are torn apart, and then in many instances, we -- things are corrected later on instead of it appearing on the front page of the newspaper, it's on page 33 at the bottom in a little paragraph. and you were talking a little bit earlier about the night of the tragedy. i've done a lot of deposition in my life as lawyer, but i can tell you -- i think you should be very proud of this -- when i listened to cheryl mills,
mr. sullivan, and miss abedin, when they talked about this night, and what you did, that night in their transcribed interviews. all of them were basically brought to tears. and i remember sit thing saying to myself, you know, if you can create a culture in an organization where people, in talking about their boss, and how she reacted, and what she felt, that would bring them to tears, it says a lot. and i realize that you have gone through a lot. but the fact still remains that -- and it bothers me when i hear people even imply that you
didn't care about your people. that not right. and then i sit here and i watch you, and i saw how you kind of struggled when you were talking about that night. and i just for one want to thank you, and i appreciate what you have done. it has nose been easy. you're right, it's easy to set up here under these lights, and monday morning quarterbacking what should have been, what could have been. you have laid it out, i think you have said -- this has not been done perfectly. you wish you could do it another way. the statement you made a few minutes ago when you said, you know, have given more thought to all of this than all of you combined. i don't know what we want from you. do we want to badger you over and over again until you get
tired and we get the gotcha moment he is talking about? we're better than that. we are so much better. we are better country. we are better than using taxpayer dollars to try to destroy a campaign. that not what america is all about. so, you can comment if you like. i just had to get that off my chest. [applause] >> madam secretary. >> thank you, congressman. i came here because i said i would. and i've done everything i know to do, as has the people with whom i worked. try to answer your questions.
i cannot do any more than that. the answers have changed not at all since i appeared two years ago before the house' and the senate. and i recognize that there are many currents at work in this committee, but i can only hope that the statesmanship overcomes the partisanship. at some point we have to do this. it is deeply unfortunate that something as serious as what happened in benghazi could ever be used for partisan political purposes. and i'm hoping that we can move
forward together and start working together. we can start listening to each other. and i appreciate greatly what you said, ranking member cummings. >> thank you very much. >> madam secretary, before we go to mr. pompeo, mr. skiff from california made reference to a phone call i received from speaker boehner, which he is correct. i did. speaker boehner never mentioned your name in the phone call. then my friend from california suggested maybe i wished i had not received that phone call, and i'd like to assure him that he could not be further from the truth. learning about the four people, two of whom you work with, and all four of whom we count as fellow americans, is worth whatever amount of political badgering that may come my way.
if have seen the personification of courage and public service so -- adam to answer your question, no, i don't regret it. i'm a better person for having learned more about the four people we lost in benghazi, and that's why we signed up for it. and with that i'll go to mr. pompeo. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. shiff you suggested you had to be in room with the speier. he the speaker made it clear when he announced the committee, because the state department turned over information in a foia request that was not turned over to the previous committee. he wad concerned about that and realize the state department and other government agency may 0 know have provide evidence the other committees the information they needed. so you adopt need to speculate. one more administrative item. mr. west more lined said there was a meeting between your coup, miss mills and the state department.
he said the meeting was in august. it was actually in july. it was earlier irwanted to make sure the record reflected that eight secretary colony ton i have a few answers. saved them to the end of though day because it may be you can't provide answers in an opening setting. these are questions that i would like to get answered but it may be that an opening hearing is not a place which you'll be permitted to provide those answers because of the nature of the answers you'll provide. these are yes or no questions. were you aware or are you aware of any effort by the u.s. government in libya to provide any weapons, either direct or or indirectly or through a cutout to any libyan rebels or opposition to gadhafi's forces? >> that was very long question and i think the answer is no. >> were you aware or are you aware of any u.s. efforts by the u.s. government in libya to provide any weapons directly or
incorrectly or through a cutout to syrian rebel order militias or opposition to syrian forces? >> no. >> were you aware or are you ware of any efforts by the u.s. government in libya to facility it to or support me provision of weapons to any opposition of gadhafi's forces, libyan rebel tore militias through a third party or country? >> no. >> did you ever consider the idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition? >> private security? >> em yes, ma'am. did you ever at any time consider the idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition in libya? >> not seriously, no. >> what does not earousry mean, mam? >> i think you're referring to a reference in one of sid plumen that residents e-mails. >> no, ma'am. i'm referring to an answer in your e-mail. >> well, the-and-no.
>> the e-mail says: fyi -- to mr. sullivan -- the idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered. were you just in the serious. >> it was not considered seriously. >> you thought about it. you thought it might be appropriate and lawful when you sent that note to mr. sullivan. >> i'm open to ideas but that doesn't mean that they're either considered seriously or acted upon. >> were there any further e-mailed or discussions with respect to that issue of potentially arming private -- having private experted arm the libyans? >> not tom i'm aware of. >> another series of yes or noeys. did you ask the department of defense how you were going to get your people out the evening that the incident occurred? >> that is one of the matters that was discussed with the department of defense, yes. >> did you did what what assets were position inside place that might be appear to help? >> of course. that was part of the
conversation from the very beginning. >> did you ask how long it would take them to arrive in tripoli on benghazi? >> yes, we did. >> you earlier said today, a couple hours back that there were no military resources that could have arrived in benghazi in a reasonable time. that your testimony from today. what was a reasonable time? >> according to what we were told by the defense department, within a number of hours. there was not any way to get assets 0 deployed in time to get to benghazi. of course it was too late for our compound, and the idea of evacuating from the cia annex was seriously addressed before the attack, but then obviously implemented after. >> yes, ma'am. when the initial attack occurred, you had no idea how long the incidents would continue, did you? >> it was over within an hour. >> yes, ma'am. there was a subsequent attack and could have been a toward and
a fourth. so when the initial attack occurred did you have any idea what the magnitude and the duration of the events of that night would be? >> congressman, don't understand your question. we knew that the attack was over. we knew that our diplomatic security team had to evacuate from the compound to the cia annex, and we were in a frantic search to find ambassador stevens. >> but several hours ehappenned and there was a subsequent attack you. didn't know that subsequent attack would attends itch'll concede that. my question was why was heaven and earth not moved at the initial sound of the gun, maybe even putting tankers the air from mcconnell air force base in kansas. you simply didn't know how long the series of events would continue, nor did you know how long the risk to people who work for you was going to remain? >> congressman you have to ask the defense department this questions.
we certainly asked that all efforts be made to deploy any assets that could be of use in the benghazi. i know that they put a number of assets in the united states, in europe, on alert, but we were advised that it would take a number of hours to get there, and with respect to the cia annex, you should talk with the intelligence community about that. >> mam, we will do that. and in some case wes have asked those questions. you talked earlier about mr. cat to la, who is sitting in a prison cell not to far from where we are sitting. i share your glue i'm glad we pulled one of the terrorists who was involved in the murder of utah government people on that night. when that attack took place, mr. which khattala and his folks removed adults from the temporary mission facility. were you aware of that?
>> yes, be later became aware that documented had been removed but there was no classified documents at pentagon benning. >> huh do you know that? >> we know it through our own investigation about what documents were at pentagon benning, and there were -- at benghazi and there were no classified material to the best of our information. >> you know if there was sense stiff information? >> i suppose it depends what one thinks of as sensitive information. the was information the, and some of it was burnt, either wholly or partially. some was looted and some was recovered eventually. >> madam secretary do you know where that material that was looted went? do you know into whose hands it fell and do you know the nature and content of that material? you seem very custody wasn't classified. i don't share your confidence. but nonetheless, do you know
where that material within? >> i think it is very difficult to know where it ended up but i want to just reiterate the point that i made, this was not a facility that had the capacity to handle classified material, and there was to the best of our information, congressman no classified material at the benghazi facility. >> ma'am, the fact it wasn't capable of handling classified material doesn't mean there wasn't any classified material there. is that correct? >> well, the procedure is not to have classified material at such a facility, and again to the best of our knowledge there was not any there. >> yes, ma'am. you're not supposed to have classified e-mail on your private server either -- >> ed did congressman. >> we are aware that sometimes classified material end fund places where i ought not be. i want to go back to your statement you said you didn't ever seriously consider arming private security experts.
tell me why you ever considered it at all. >> we considered a whole range of issues. we knew that the insurgents fighting gadhafi needed support, and what they were provided was air support, facilitated by the united states. the united states did not provide any private contractors to assist them. >> it was an e-mail that was from mr. blumenthal, also discussing the same situation. do you know who mark turrey is? >> i don't recall. >> he was a private trafficker in weapons, work with mr. stevens and attempting to develop an authorization with the state department so he could in fact deliver those weapons into libya. does any of that ring a bell to
you. >> no, it does not. >> you never see the e-mail from mr. stevens to -- i think it went to mr. sullivan -- where the says to mr. tu rerey. thank you for this informing -- information about hi attempts to get authority to ship arms into libya -- he says: thank you for the information. i'll keep it in mind and share it with my colleagues in washington, regards, chris. actually, records chris stevens. >> i don't know anything about that specifically. i do know that you're referring to a document, and if you are, could you tell us what tab it's at? >> yes, ma'am. i'm not certain it's in there but i'm happy to provided to you. >> it's a little difficult to answer questions about document if you don't have, but i can answer you -- whatever was
considered, either out of politeness or out of interest, there was not any action taken so far as i know. >> mr. chairman, regular order. >> mr. chairman, may i have 60 seconds. >> yes. >> mr. chairman, the last republican questioner went over by four minutes and given we're allowed ten minutes of questioning each, and the late hour and the fact that we're a minute beyond testimony already, i think that it's appropriate to ask for regular order and that questioning be closed for this particular member of the panel. >> the gentleman is recognized for 60 seconds. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to come back to one issue about accountability you. said you didn't have the lawful authority to terminate any employee. is that correct? >> that is correct. and it -- >> okay. >> it is because of the laws and the regulations of our government, congressman. >> did you have the authority to provide a counseling statement to any employee?
>> i do not know what you're referring to. >> in other words, you couldn't fire them but you could put a meter in their employment file saying, you didn't do your job well. did you -- >> i think it was pretty well known that the arb did not think they did their job and the arb specifically said -- some hat been declassified as you know about personnel matters -- that they could not find breach of duty but they were as firm in saying that there were failures in the performance of the people that they named. >> i just -- >> chairman, regular order. i 60 seconds has elapsed. i believe the chairman grant -- >> i recall wait for the next round. i yield back. >> mr. chairman, just before my time start his just said something i want to make sure we're clear help said he is going to wait for hi next round itch thought we were closing down here. >> parliamentary inquiry. how late are we going tonight?
>> gentleman is recognized to ask two yes or no questions. >> did you ask someone or did you prepare a counseling statement or letter of reprimand for any employees at the statement department connect with the incidents of september 11, 2012? >> which there is a process that is the appropriate process for dealing with issues concerning performance and that was followed. it continued into my successor's term, and the secretary of state, secretary kerry, made whatever the final determinations were. >> mr. chairman issue yield back. >> time is expert. chair now recognize the gentleman from maryland, mr. cummings. >> thank you very much. i know the hour is late. but madam secretary, need to go back to something. the arb.
you know, maybe it's because i'm getting older, and hear about legacy, reputation, that kind of thing, but there's an 83-year-old gentleman named ambassador pickerring. and i've heard a lot of testimony. i was there for his deposition and also transcribe -- i don't remember which it was -- and then his testimony before the oversight committee. and when he talked about his appointment to the arb, talked about what an honor it was. i think the thing that bothered me about a lot of this that has gone on, is that when there have been attacks on the arb, it's as if -- that's like attacking him and at 83 years old i refuse to sit here and let that go by.
and i remember listening to him and i said to myself, this is the kind of guy that we all ought to honor. serving under presidents for 40 years. democrats and republican. high up on the chain with regard to integrity. i don't even see how you can even attack this guy. one of the things he said in his testimony -- you appointed him, and the talked about the appointment, and i quote, from a june 4 testimony: chris stevens worked for me as my special assistant for two years, when i was undersecretary of state. this was not any kind oven debt to, but -- vendetta bus i felled chris gave me two years of his life in supporting me in very
difficult circumstances and i owed him, his family, and the families of the other people who died, the best possible report we could put together. and he went on and said some other things that were so powerful, and then when i hear the implications of people attacking the report, talking about, he wasn't independent, or they weren't independent. it's like an attack against him. and i can say the same thing about admiral mullen. and i just want you to tell us about why you picked the folk that you picked -- by the way, it's done by law. to the law says you're supposed to pick these people. >> that's right. >> why don'tow actual us why you picked them. were you looking for yes -- what were you looking for?
>> congressman, i greatly appreciate your strong words of commendation on behalf of both ambassador pickerring and admiral mullen. you're right. the statute is very clear. the secretary of state picks four of the five members of the accountability review board. as i said earlier today, there have been 19 accountability review board reports, and i think, myself and prior secretaries, have been very fortunate they could call on distinguished americans with long records of service to perform this very important task. when i was thinking about who has the integrity, the independence, the experience, to give us an unvarnished look at what happened, the first person i thought of was ambassador tom
pickerring. he has, as you rightly say, served our nation for more than four decades. he holds the rank of career ambassador. that's the highest position in the foreign service. he served as undersecretary of state for political affairs. he served as our u.s. ambassador to russia, india, israel, el valve door, nigeria and jordan, and also served as the u.s. ambassador and representative to the united nations, where he led the u.s. effort under the first bush administration, to build a coalition in the u.n. security council during and after the first gulf war. the man who has served in high posts and dangerous posts. he understood what was to be expected and i counted on him in giving me the most comprehensive report possible. i also wanted to find somebody
with military experience, because these questions that have been raised about, you know could we have gotten assets there, what actually happened with the diplomatic security agents? and admiral mike mullen work had just recently retired as the chairman of the joint chiefs, was again, i thought, the perfect choice to york with am -- to work with ambassador pickerring. as you know, he was nominated by president george w. bush to be chairman of the joint chiefs. he served as chief of nave operations. he ledñi nato's joint force command, u.s. naval forces in europe. commanded a missile cruiser, missile deterror, a stank, served in vietnam and the persian gulf. excuse me. [coughing] >> you need some water, madam?
[coughing] >> would you like to us take 60 seconds, two-minute break? >> no. let me grab -- >> i have the jut most confidence in both of them. >> thank you. >> let me say this. this hearing began with chairman reading a list of questions he claimed were unanswered. in fact, those questions have been asked and answered many times. matter of fact. when we go back to the last questioner, it was speaker boehner who -- matter of fact
last tuesday, madam secretary, speaker boehner acknowledged that fox news, the allegation that the u.s. government was involved in an illegal weapons program in libya has been -- and this is according to him -- investigated by the house intelligence committee and it bombed. that's what speaker boehner said about this elicit weapons transfer situation. you want us to hold up? okay. so, going back today -- so these questions again were many asked and answered. the new documents we obtained in the interviews we conducted don't contradict the conclusions from the previous investigation. they simply confirm them. even after this marathon
grilling, the select committee has found no evidence of any nefarious activity on the part of the secretary. she did not order the military to stand down. and there is still no indication that she approved or denied requests for security in benghazi. and as he day has dragged on the select committee's costs raised up to 4-point million. that's taxpayer dollars by the way. to two weeks ago be state department informed the select committee it has spent $14 million responding to requests relating to benghazi over the past three years. this does not include the cost endured over the past three years by other federal agencies, such as the department of defense. in the letter to congress on march 11, 2014, the defense
department estimated that the total cost it has expended during previous congressional reviews ran into, quote the millions of dollars. so that at least $20 million right there. and that a conservative estimate because it does not include the cost of the seven previous investigations by congressional committees. when i think about that amount, $20 million. $20 million. it pains me to emergency what that money could have done. i don't want anyone to mistake what i'm saying. of course we needed to know what happened in benghazi, so we could take action to help prevent it in the future. and i have personally investigated this. we compiled an entire database of information on our web site. bat year ago. we put together 133 page
compendium. re released a new report this week with the results of 54 interviews. and i want all of those transcripts to be made public to he american people after the appropriate redactions. they ought to be released. i want them the american people to see every word, of course, with appropriates redactions. don't want anybody accusing me of saying otherwise. finally, my point is this. instead of spending this entire $20 million on these eight investigations, we could have dedicated at least some part of those funds to actually increasing security or our diplomats overseas. even if were just a fraction of that amount, i can't help but wonder how many consulates could have been improved, how many embassies could have been better protected, and how many more of
our patriotic american diplomats would be safer today. so, with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. madam secretary, i couldn't help but thing when he was using the $20 million figure, that's two more isis fighters could have paid for. i retoss to put a price tag on the lives four americans. your figure is wrong, mr. cummings. that's but i don't care what your fig is. there's no price tag when it comes to justice for four people who gave their lives for this country. madam secretary, with respect to the arb i want to ask you this, if you were investigating benghazi or what happened in benghazi and it there was author of an e-mail three months to the day, from when our four fellow americans were killed, the author of the e-mail says antiamerican demonstrations,
looking for americans to attack, game-changer, soft target no continuity, the cost to continue to do business there may become challenging, would you want to talk to the author of that e-mail if you were investigating benghazi? >> the accountable review board had full run of the state department to talk to anyone they chose to talk to. it's my understanding they conducted more than 100 interviews. and they were well aware as their report reflected of the dangerous situation in libya. >> that was not my question. my question is, would you want to talk to that person? not whether or not the arb did because the arb actually did talk to that person mitchell question is, wouldn't you want to talk to that person if you were investigating benghazi? >> well -- >> i promise is it is not a trick question. the answeres, yes, you would want to talk to the person would
authored the i'm i'm. >> as you just said the ard did. >> yes, and the co-chair called your chief of staff and told the author of that e-mail not to go to congress. that my point. my point is the arb did some good things. that's why our first two hearings were on making sure the recommendations by the arb were actually implemented. but when the author of that e-mail is going to be brought before congress and one of the co-chairs calls your chief of staff and says, don't think that witness is going to be a good witness, madam secretary, with all due respect, she's a fact witness. whether she is good or bad, the author of that e-mail has a right for congress to question them. that not even a close question. so, somebody can be a good person, and i have no doubt that mr. mull and mr. pickerring both are. but this is also what i don't
doubt. i don't doubt that phone call was made to miss mills, saying, don't send sharlene lamb before congress. she won't make good witness, and i don't doubt there's not a transcript from any of the arb interview. you may sigh why does that matter? if you want to write a report with specificity and particularity you have to cite the transcript, and i can't tell you a single question that was asked of a single arb witness because there is no transcript. so, my point is not that the arb did a bad job or a good job. my point is from the standpoint of a serious investigation, it was an inadequate job. and i want to hopefully prove that to you. there used to be a stack up there when mr. smith was with us, about all the previous investigations, that congress and the arb had done. did any of those previous congressional investigations or the arb have access to your e-mails? >> mr. chairman, first of all,
the witness you were referring to did appear before congress -- >> that was not my point. >> but you're implication was that that the witness was stopped from going to congress. that did not happen, mr. chairman. >> no, she definitely came. that is not my implication mitchell implication is this co-chair of what you call an independent accountability review board was calling someone he was supposed to be investigating, to say, please don't send that witness to congress. they're not good to show up well. that's my point. my point is how can you consider that to be -- >> well -- >> every heard of a jump calling the d.a. or the -- >> mr. chairman, mr. chairman -- >> -- don't call that witness. >> i don't care what you saw say about mow. i do care a lot what you imply about admiral mullen and i will not sit her and hear that. the served the country we great discrimination. the served the state department with great distinction, in being the co-chair of the accountability review board, and
i think his work speaks for itself. and i'm -- >> let in -- >> i'm sorry that the important work that was done bit the that board is held in such low regard by some members of this committee, and i deeply regret it. >> are you doubting that he placed a phone call? is that the -- >> i know nothing about the phone call. >> i do because he testified before another congressional committee. he admitted it was a mistake, mad dan secretary. i don't know why you can't. he admitted it was a mistake to call and said, don't send a fact witness, behalf congressional committee. >> i think -- >> doesn't mean he is a bad person. just means that when you hold up the arb, as independent and your chief of staff and the folks on it, patrick kennedy had a role in picking some of the folks on the arb despite the fact patrick kennedy may health been involved in approving or not approving -- if you need to read a note from your lawyer you're welcome, to
madam secretary. no it's just hard to sit here his listening to the comments yo make can about someone i consider to be a great american. if he said he made a mistake, that even more proof of what a fine gentleman he is, and what a great public servant he has been. it doesn't in any way what you're saying impugn his service for 40 years and certainly not his service in the accountability review board. i can't help it, mr. chairman, you don't like the find office the accountability review -- >> ma'am, we had two earrings. >> i can't happen you don't like the fine little and all the other congressal hearings. >> we tide two hearings where we did nothing but discuss the implex addition of the arb. so with all due respect we have had more hearings about arb findings than we have with you. so, don't tell me that we don't care about the arb. we had two hearings. my point is this. the arb, nor the previous
congressional investigations, haiduck so sees you your e-mails, did they? >> i don't know what they had access to. i know that during the time i was at the state department, there was certainly a great effort to respond to your predecessor, congressman isis' inquiries and many thousands of pages of information was conveyed to the congress and i know the state department worked diligently and persistently to try to respond to the many questions it has received, and i think that given the pressure and the stress of business they've been under, they have performed as well as they could. so, you will be getting and in fact the entire world will be getting all of my e-mails because they're all going to be public and you will be able to read them along with everybody else.
>> madam secretary, that actually was not my question. my question was whether or not the previous congressional committees and arb had access to your e-mails. that was my question. >> 90 to 59% of my work related e-mails were in the state's system if they wanted to see them. they would certainly have been able to -- >> you know what, that is maybe the tenth time you have cited that figure today. >> it is. >> and i have not heard anyone other than you ever cite that figure. who told you that 90 to 59 part of your e-mailed were in the state department system? who told you that? >> we learn that from the state department and their analysis of the e-mails that were already on the system. we were trying to help them close some gaps they had. >> can you provide me we -- injury all right -- >> provide me with a name? when i asked the state department ten daysing too what's the source of that fig, that shrugged their shoulders. >> well, you can look for the state.gov addresses and they certainly pop up. >> the inspector general report,
madam secretary, which you can't argue by perfect analogy but you can certainly extrapolate, the insect juror general report found that less than one percent of state department e-mails were captured. so. they give a number of less than one percent and you give a number of 90%. >> well, i don't know what you're referring to. i can only speak about my e-mails. my work-related e-mail. >> well, let talk about your work-relitted e-mailed we asked for them last year, and the state department gave us eight. if they had 90% of yours, why did we only get eight? >> i don't know initially what you asked for, but i know that they tried to be responsive. 90% to 59% of them were on state.gov. i understand that the committee broad 'ed the scope of their request, and i think that in response the state department has been trying to provide what
you have requested in the meantime, they're going through the process of make all of my e-mails public. >> you think our first request, there were only eight e-mails responsive -- >> i can't speak it to. i believe your first request was for pentagon benning, and i believe that the -- for pentagon benning and i believe the state department date diligent search and then you expanded it to weapons and other terms do and. >> well, hasn't grown, our jurisdiction is the same thing it was. let me ask you this. you say that you turned over everything. i don't get a chance to watch you a lot of television when when i sueow interviewed, you make point of saying i turn over everything. >> all my work-related e-mails. >> how do you know that? >> i know that because there was an exhaustive search done under the supervision of my attorneys, and that is exactly the outcome. we turned over if a work-related
e-mail. in fact as somebody referred to earlier, we turned over too many. the state department and the national archives said there were 1246 out of the 30,000 plus they determined did not need to be turned over. >> you have a really good group of torches which makes me wonder how they missed 15 of them. >> if you're talking about mr. blumenthal, which i assume you are, he had some i didn't have and i had some he didn't have, and he -- i was under no obligation to make any of his e-mails available unless i decided they were work-related, and the wound that i decided were work-related i forwarded to the state.gov accounts of then pipe wimp i worked. >> madam secretary, any question that the 15 that jails cole turn over to us were work related in that's no ambiguity. they were work related. >> they were from a personal friend, not any official
government -- not any government official, and they were -- i determined on the basis of looking at them what i thought was work-related and what wasn't. some i didn't even have time to read, mr. chairman. >> are you -- >> mr. chairman, regular order. >> are you tell michigan -- >> mr. chairman. >> i will tell the gentle lady from california i'm going to take a little bit of extra tomorrowening just like everybody else has -- >> welcome either do it this round or next round. >> may have make a simple inquiry how many more manipulates. >> the fewer the interruptions the quicker i can get done. i'll put it to you that way. how is that juggle just nooned app mindful have the time. >> on the 15, did your lawyers fine them and decide they weren't work related or did they not find them? >> well, i don't know why he had e-mails i didn't and i don't know why apparently i had e-mails he didn't. and all i can tell you is that i turned over every work related e-mail in my possession.
>> i'll make two more observations and then we'll call it a night. the first observation that i would make is that when you speak to the public, you say, i turned over everything. that for the most part a direct quote. when you talked to the public you said i turned over everything. when you talk to the court, you say, while i do not know what information made be responsive for purposes of this lawsuit i have directed all my e-mails on clinton e-mail.com in my custody that were or millionly were federal reported be depended to department of state and on information i believe that was done. why the different explanation depending on who you're talking about? >> one is a shorthand, mr. chairman. >> why not just tell the court, i turned over everything? >> you know holiday lawyers are. they use more words than they need. >> trust me, know that, and they charge you for every one of them. >> i'm well aware of that, mr. chairman, and the clock is
ticking. [laughter] >> well, one morement one more i'll pay mr. kindle residents fee for the last question. >> i don't then you want to do that, mr. chairman. >> probably can't do it. you see my point, though. you're very definitive when you're talking to the american people you turned eve everything. >> that's right. >> but there are those kind of lawyerly fudge words when you talk to thecourt on information and belief and can the reality is even tonight you cannot tell us that you turned over every everything bass you didn't think you missed the 15. >> i didn't have them. i turned over everything i had. everything i had. >> which means -- just -- somehow missed the 15. >> well -- >> last question on your system. -mr. cummings said your e-mail arrangement was inappropriate. i think the president may have said it was a mistake. you have said it was a mistake.
my question to you, madam secretary, is, was it's mistake for the four years that you had that e-mail arrangement -- was it a mistake for the almost two years you kept the public record to yourself, or has it manifested itself as a mistake in just the last six months? >> well, since i believed that all of my work-related e-mails to dot-gov accounts were being captured and preserved, it wasn't until i was asked to help the state department to fill in what they saw sass recordkeeping gaps, not just with me but with others. i did the best i could during those four years, and thought that everything that i was e-mailing that was work-related was being preserved. >> if you can find the source for the 90% to 59% i would be grateful for it, and we would probably have fewer questions.
i if there is a source you can provide that 90% to 59% were on the state department system, then i'll know i need to ask the state department what took them so lock, because i'm just telling you, madam secretary, got eight e-mails the first time i asked and now over 1500. so there's some disconnect there. >> well, mr. chairman, i think that is a fair question. ... e. >> and well, mr. chairman, i think that is a fair question. and i'm not at the state department any longer, but i do want to defend them. they are under the most extraordinary pressure to answer congressional inquiries, i saw a figure recently that foya requests have jumped something like 300%. they don't have the resources. they don't have the personnel. they take their responsibility of reading every single line --
[inaudible conversations] >> 11 hours minus breaks that the house select committee on bengahzi has been meeting. we will bring you any long-ago reaction. until then we are going to take your phone calls, we want to hear what you have to say and what you think. we have a line for everyone. we are going to get right to it with frank being the first caller. in buffalo, new york.
>> hello, my name is frank. i am a democrat. i voted for george w. bush the first president, george w. bush senior. he did the right thing before we took down a dictatorship. the second george w. bush, and dick cheney and donald rumsfeld, telling these people that there is mass destruction over here, they are going to bomb us and kill us and there was nothing. but nobody ever says anything about that. amount is what i am trying to say. and i did serve in the military. how many americans did we lose? we had to go to pakistan and afghanistan.
>> where did you serve? >> i served in the navy. >> thank you for the call. we have an independent from hawaii. >> hello, my name is carrie. i just got to watching the committee investigation and i think, i have to agree with the prior gentleman that both parties have been involved in shenanigans for years and that's why we have such distrust of government right now. i would like to bring up the point that i think that somehow we need to get control of the congress people and they seem to have left us behind. or we will not give you any campaign funds and that is going
against representation of the people that starts at the partnership level. and then we go behind closed doors with these people, democracy walks right out the other door. and then we have the electoral college that we don't even know who these people are that are being nominated to elect the president. so there are three walls between the people and legitimate representation. >> we are going to take everyone here to the stakeout position, let's hear from the chair of the committee. >> some folks that are not
familiar, she came to investigate without talking to the secretary of state, but as i said she is an important witness out of more than 50 important witnesses and there are a couple dozen left to go. in terms of the conclusions, there are more witnesses to talk to. and i did tell you how many times you hear my colleagues still left asked the executive branch to produce documents. i count of zero. and we have a little bit of access to the documents.
>> everybody has their own perspective on that. i have a drip different interpretation of the phrase personal review. i think that it means exactly what it says. we have a lot of q&a about specific security instances and specific requests, her request is that we have people and process for that and that is a rare answer. and you also need to be prepared to answer why you have people in place for security. the people and processes were not in place for diesel fuel, gasoline, fish, or the dribble of sidney blumenthal.
and i don't know that she testified that much differently today than she has the previous times that she has testified. i have to go back and look at the transcript. >> it begs the question why spend nine hours on it if you don't think that she produce anything you haven't heard before? >> i must go back and look the other transcript to see if she would see anything different or not. but you have to talk to the secretary of state and you have to talk to her after you gain access to her documents. [inaudible conversations] these are pretty incredible folks. i don't know, that is pretty
much up to you all. i thought it was a constructive interaction and tried to be slow with the gavel so she would knock it cut off. and i think that rather than folks asking me why i am talking about sidney blumenthal, why was she listening to her? the only reason that the name is coming up is because he was the most prolific e-mailer on the topic of libya and ben -- benga. so you're going to have to ask why this torrent of information which we know was drafted by a guy named tyler miller. he made a specific request for more security and then that
exactly that day he was asked to read and respond to an e-mail from sidney blumenthal. you have to ask her about that. that is a question for her. flip it around. we did it a bunch of e-mails and the most prolific e-mail to her on the subject matter is somebody who doesn't work for the state department, doesn't work for the united states government, was expressly rejected by the president or the white house when he tried to work for her. how do you not talk to both him and her about why they were still communicating, but she is identifying this information when she forwards it. what does that tell you. >> thank you. >> hearing from the chair of the
bengahzi select committee. trey gowdy, we are going to get back to your phone calls, we have kerry waiting on the line. are you still with us? >> yes i am. >> what are your thoughts? >> well, god bless them for trying to get to the bottom of this because he's put a lot of hard work into this and i can see how he's frustrated because of her lack of cooperation. the thing that disgusts me about this situation is to see the democratic congresspeople on the committee who really didn't have one legitimate question about the investigation. and both parties play this game.
when it comes down to you are going to put the country at risk to protect your political party, something has to change down there. and i don't think that they realize how upset the american public is. history dictates this one revolutions happen. but these radical ends on both parties are becoming so radical that there are no middle ground in the country and i am truly afraid for that. >> we do want to take some more phone calls, we will take a few more minutes worth, then we will speak with a reporter who was going to join us on the phone. she joins us on the phone and are you there? let's see if we can grab heidi. we are trying to get her back on
the line and in the meantime take more of your phone calls. we have stephen. hello. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. the last color hit on a few things that i was going to say. one of the most important things to this nation is to be thankful that we have people like trey gowdy who are recipients and they answer to their constituents about honesty and how government should answer to the people. one of the most important things that i have noticed about the entire thing, watching it when i was able to watch it on television. hillary answer the question with a question. she doesn't want to answer anything that she feels is going to make her look bad or that it's going to terminate her. it is cat and mouse and ended
and now you see it and now you don't. the whole circus act with the democrats trying to bash anybody that has kind of a question as to what happened to the four innocent americans that were murdered because no one help them. they were told to stand down. in my opinion she's protecting the president and she is being a loyalist and she is doing everything that she can do it she promised to do. and that is to protect his administration and you just to just never quite be accountable for what she did people go across the line, when they go across party lines and they see something that identifies with
the candidate, it's because they care about the country and the peoples people's interests and they care about the nation. i'm not seeing anything that hillary clinton says or does that shows that she cares about the country or the nation. >> thank you for the call. we really appreciate it. heidi joins us and she is with usa today. it looks like we have her again on the line. we are going to try to get her back. are you there? >> taking your phone calls, next up we have margaret tucson, arizona. >> hello, i have watched this all day long. and i don't understand. i did not hear one person on the panel asked who gave the order
for them to go when and yet we have heard and i never heard anybody ask that. and every candidate campaigns that they are going to cross over to the other side and work with the democrats or the republicans or the independents. that is their campaign speech. but yet when they get to washington if they do that, i have seen a congressman put down in the congressional halls
because he did both for something that he felt strongly about conscience wise. we have to do something about getting rid of that aspect. >> joining us on the line is heidi, who is a reporter with usa today. and can you tell us, what did we learn today? >> let's remember what the goals of this hearing more.
first, they were to uncover any information related to the attacks in benghazi. and the second goal was political. it was to prove that this was not a political fishing expedition. the first point, i think you heard the chairman say that he was not sure based on the testimony that they had learned anything new. and i could say that there was a heavy focus and there were hundreds of security requests that apparently never made it 200 in box.
then really there was no obvious conclusion coming out of this. and i think that on both sides, they were suspicious about benghazi, saying that this is further proof that there was a cover-up of something and then on the democratic side i honestly think that in some ways this is going to be a boon to her. and just in general the democrats, that this could go on for so long, twice as long as the previous testimony that she lost her voice by the end of it
and they had so many questions that they felt had been answered before. it may even play to her political advantage, i spoke with a gop pollster who is also in the audience and that was his assessment as well, was that any of the fireworks and dynamics would be her benefit because the bar was so hard for republicans to come into this that there was kind of a no smoking gun or clear conclusion. >> if you had to choose perhaps a high point for the committee and for the secretary clinton, is there one that stands out on both sides of what we saw today? >> i think on the gop side, representative jordan had some
questions about the videos of the embassy attack and what exactly transpired in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and why there is a discrepancy between what really happened and what the administration was saying and it is more her opportunity to share the personal stories and we have the ability to facilitate ambassador stevens. so it was, from her point of view and perspective, just the
ability to kind of like put a more human face on things with the entire episode. >> those are the high points, where do you think that things fell apart for the committee or for hillary. >> it started about three hours in when the representative got very loud and confrontational with trey gowdy, again on the question of political reasons. i know going into this that this is exactly the kind of television moment that he did not want going into this. he kept himself in check for the rest of the hearing, but he did respond in kind, i think, it got
kind of heated at that moment and i know that that is exactly the kind of thing that he wanted to avoid. when it comes to substance, republicans win much later when the substance clearly veered into things that are off-topic in terms of a private e-mail server that was really unrelated to libya. [inaudible] >> sorry, go ahead, go ahead. >> i have a hard time coming up with a low point other than at
one point it wasn't exactly the wisest move, seven or eight hours of questioning their. >> give us a quick sense, what did it feel like an what was the mood? >> you know, clinton really -- i was struck by the fact that she remained even keeled. she really did respond and raise her voice and response and there was a lot of that going on you know, i think people were starting to show the fact that they were retired, i think it was unusual that she kind of had a whole bench of democratic potentials behind her.
mostly democratic house members. i talk to them and they said no, we came here on our own, we are just curious, we have never seen anything like this before. and he said that this is basically the festival. i have never seen anything like this. and so i think that there was there was a lot of interest in the room. >> just to wrap up, what is next? what happens with the committee as far as you know reign. >> trey gowdy is going to continue to interview witnesses. you heard him say that at the end. but they will continue the
interview and i don't think that we are going to see any final conclusions until the new year. my guess is that republicans outside of congress and in congress from a political perspective will probably give it to focus on other aspects of hillary clinton and other aspects of her service at the state department. i think that we are going to see both numbers on members on the committee and off the committee continue to make the argument that they don't have all of the information and that we were able to actually prove that we got all of her e-mails and so we will never know what we do not know. from hillary clinton's perspective she says i did not conduct was my business in the state department.
so the waters are going to continue to be muddied and both sides will have fodder to use and to appeal to the bases. >> thank you for the insight and sharing what you heard and saw today. >> thank you. >> we are going to take your calls again. we have the loris on the line. >> are you there? one more chance. and we have bill who is a texas republican. >> it sounds and you have your phone loud in the background. you are on with us. >> hello. >> please go ahead. [inaudible] >> i think that maybe you are
confused, you have your tv turned up too loud. let's come back here and see if we can get an independent online. >> yes, my question is in the courtroom you have a prosecutor who would present a burden of proof and the defense and the gop being the prosecutor here. it's kind of a question for you. how are we going to come to a conclusion how do you come to a conclusion and i think that your reporter had just said that it's going to be a lot of muddy
water. it is going to go on until the elections and campaign and it gets pushed back. maybe you have an idea. how do you come to a conclusion in all of this 2. >> i think that it is a matter of 10 hours of testimony and finding out what people think. after 10 hours, where are you at? >> that is just it. everyone gets lost. it's a lot of opinion. in the courtroom the judge would probably disallow a lot of the testimony. i'm just kind of frustrated with the proceedings. we want a conclusion one way or the other. and i just don't think that there is. i think it's going to go by the
wayside. nobody is going to know the truth. >> we are going to be hearing from hillary clinton this saturday. so whether she takes up this issue were continues with her campaign you can tune in at 9:00 p.m. eastern on saturday and we will have that on the stand and also taking your phone calls with discussion about what we heard today on the "washington journal." let's talk with courtney who is a democrat. >> are you there? >> yes. >> i turned on the tv to watch the house bengahzi committee. instead i saw the house hillary clinton e-mail committee.
and i thought that the republicans were just awful, i have a lot of lawyers in my family. i thought that hillary presented herself and answered so well. i feel so good about it but i'm going to make a monetary contribution tomorrow. >> thank you. all right. >> thank you so much for having me. and one thing that i noticed is that republicans are very aggressive towards hillary.
and also i feel like she is a little bit competitive and i feel like some of the time she wasn't giving a clear answer that was needed. so i am hoping that we can find out more information to balance with questioning to get the answers that we need. >> thank you for the call. >> how are you? >> good. >> i just finished watching hillary video and it appears to be that she should get an emmy award for her dramatic display.
i have never seen anyone take so long to answer a yes or no question. i know that it's to stall for time and it seems like it's a ballerina on steroids. she never missed a chance to pat herself on the back and i think personally we should check her out in space. >> thank you for the call. we have a last call here from rhode island. >> hello, how are you doing. okay, i have watched the hearing all day and the thing that strikes me in all of this is something that the last couple of callers have mentioned.
and he was the one that coined the term permanent campaign just continually reversing the talking points because that is what people in campaigns do. they never answer the questions directly and there's a lot of significance of it. and i was surprised that they never broached the subject. he is a paid employee of until recently of the clinton foundation. all the while he was advising to the tune of $10,000 per month. if there was any consideration
on either side, it would be with respect to conflict of interest. as a person that had a steady stream of information and query, answers and it was obvious when the senator read those particular references to the e-mails asking for more information and opinion. asking and even forwarding his opinions to other people who were in the process and setting up negotiations with a country wherein he was a lobbyist for businesses. and that the same time being on the payroll of the clinton foundation. how that never came up in the conversation i have no idea. but if you ever wanted to talk about a smoking gun, the issue in all of this is that it needs to be exposed. >> we appreciate you bringing up
the point and your phone calls. if you didn't get a chance to weigh and we're going to have tomorrow morning on "washington journal" dedicating the entire program to your reaction and your phone calls in the testimony before the benghazi committee and you can join us starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern tomorrow morning. and we are going to take a look at the testimony from the house select committee on bengahzi talking with hillary clinton for most of the day and we are going to take a look at it from the top here and this is the entirety of today's testimony. ♪
[inaudible conversations] >> good morning.ofyou. welcome, everyone. a couple of quick administrative matters. >> it can be a break that we can take anytime for any reason or no reason. we are happy to have you here.y the witness deserves to hear tho questions and the members deserve to have the answers.
proper decorum must be observed, no reaction to westerns are answers. no disruptions. dis some committees take an incremental approach. i do not. this is your one and onlyapproah notice.rum. madame secretary, the ranking member and i are going to givenn opening statements and then he will be recognized for your th opening statement and then the members are going to alternate from one side to the other andrs because you have already beenot. sworn we will go straight to thn opening and i will now recognize andelf and mr. cummings and then you, madam secretary. chris stephens, sean smith, and. tyrone woods serve this country with kurds and honor. and they were killed under circumstances that most of us could neverle imagine. terrorists pour through the
front gate of an american facility attacking people and property with machine guns and fire. many people speak wistfully of a better world but do little abou it. out it cost them their lives, these for when to make the world better. so what do we owe them? justice for those they killed them? do we owe their families? the everlasting gratitude, er
respect we owe them and each other the truth. the truth about what we were the doing in libya. the truth about the escalating violence in libya before we were attacked and these four men we e killed the truth about requests for additional security. the truth about rests for additional personnel. the truth about requests foruthb additional equipment. the truth about where and why our military was positioned with where it was on the anniversary of 9/11 and what was happening. and being discussed in washington that while our people were under attack.people were the truth about what led to the attacks and the truth about what our government told the americau people after the attacks. why were there so many requests for more security personnel and equipment and why were those requests denied in washington.ei and why did the state departmen?
wh compound a facility and not come close to meeting facilityou prop specifications.pecificaons? what policies were we pursuing that hired a physical presence in spite of the violence.9/11? what was her response to that attack 2 what did the militaryly do or not do? what our leaders in washington do or not do and when. presented, served and and even after a half dozen sacrificed reviewoard al investigations these and other questions lingered andozen these lingered
because previous investigations ese were not there i'll because ther house of representatives as thii committee and that includes mth releasing 50,000 pages ofocumen, documents because we insisted them to be produced produced. this committee is the first committee to demand access to more eyewitnesses because serious investigations talk to as many eyewitnesses as possible. this committee is the first committee to thoroughly and individually interview scores of other witnesses, many of them for the first time. this committee is the first
committee to review thousands of pages of documents from top state department personnel. this committee is the first committee to demand access to relevant documents from the cia, the fbi, the department of defense and even the white house. this committee is the first committee to demand access to the e-mails to and from ambassador chris stevens. how could an investigation possibly be considered serious without reviewing the e-mails of the person most knowledgeable about libya? this committee is the first committee, the only committee, to uncover the fact that secretary clinton exclusively used personnel e-mail on her own personal server for official business and kept the public record, including e-mails about benghazi and libya, in her own custody and control for almost two years after she left office. you will hear a lot today about the accountability review board.
secretary clinton has mentioned it more than 70 times in her previous testimony before congress. but when you hear about the arb, you should know the state department leadership hand picked the members of the arb. the arb never interviewed secretary clinton. the arb never reviewed her e-mails. secretary clinton's top adviser was allowed to review and suggest changes to the arb before the public ever saw it. there's no transcript of the arb interviews. it's impossible to mow whether all relevant questions were asked and answered. because there's no transcript, it is also impossible to cite the arb interviews with any particularity at all. that is not independent. that is not accountability. that is not a serious investigation. you will hear there were previous congressional investigations into benghazi. that is true. it should make you wonder why those investigations failed to interview so many witnesses and access so many documents. if those previous congressional
investigations were really serious and thorough, how did they miss ambassador stevens' e-mails. if those previous investigations were serious and thorough, how did they miss secretary clinton's e-mails? if those congressional investigations really were serious and thorough, why did they fail to interview dozens of key state department witnesses, including agents on the ground who experienced the attacks firsthand? just last month, three years after benghazi, top aides finally returned documents to the state department. a month ago this committee received 1,500 new pages of secretary clinton's e-mails related to libya and benghazi. three years after the attacks. a little over two weeks ago, this committee received nearly 1,400 pages of ambassador stevens' e-mails, three years after the attacks.
it is impossible to conduct a serious fact centric investigation without access to the documents from the former secretary of state, the ambassador who knew more about libya than anybody else and testimony from witnesses who survived the attacks. madam secretary, i understand there are people frankly in both parties who have suggested that this investigation is about you. let me assure you, it is not. and let me assure you why it is not. this investigation is about four people who were killed representing our country on foreign soil. it is about what happened before, during and after the attacks that killed them. it is about what this country owes to those who risk their lives to serve it. and it is about the fundamental obligation of government to tell the truth always to the people that is purports to represent.
madam secretary, not a single member of this committee signed up to investigate you or your e-mail. we signed up to investigate and therefore honor the lives of four people that we sent into a dangerous country to represent us. and to do everything we can to prevent it from happening to others. our committee has interviewed half -- 100 witnesses. not a single one of them has been named clinton until today. you were the secretary of state for this country at all relevant times. so, of course, the committee is going to want to talk to you. you are an important witness. you are one important witness among half a hundred important witnesses. and i do understand you wanted to come sooner than today. so let me be clear why that did
not happen. you had an unusual e-mail arrangement which meant the state department could not produce your e-mails to us. you made exclusive use of personal e-mail and a personal server. when you left the state department, you kept the public record to yourself for almost two years. and it was you and your attorneys who decided what to return and what to delete. those discussions were your decisions, not our decisions. it was only in march of this year we learned of this e-mail arrangement. and since we learned of this e-mail arrangement, we have interviewed dozens of witnesses only one of whom was solely related to your e-mail arrangement. and that was the shortest interview of all, because that witness invoked his fifth ame amendment privilege against incrimination. making sure the public record is
complete is what we do. it's important and remains important that this committee have access to all of ambassador stevens' e-mails and other witnesses and it is important to gain access to all of your e-mails. your e-mails are no less or no more important than the e-mails of anyone else. it just took us a little bit longer to get them and it garnered a little more attention in the process. i want you to take note during this hearing how many times congressional democrats call on this administration to make long awaited documents available to us. they won't. take note of how many witnesses congressional democrats ask us to schedule for interview. they won't. we would be closer to finding out what happened and writing the final report if democrats on this committee had helped us just a little bit pursue the facts. but if the dp democrats on thi
committee had their way, dozens of witnesses never would have been interviewed, your public record would still be prprivate thousands of documents would never be accessed and we wouldn't have the e-mails of our own ambassador. that may be smart politics, but it is a lousy way to run a serious investigation. there are certain characteristics that make our country unique in the anales of history. part that was self-governance comes self-scrutiny, even of the highest officials. our country is strong enough to handle the truth, and our fellow citizens expect us to pursue the truth wherever the facts take us. so this committee is going to do what we pledged to do and what should have been done, frankly, a long time ago, which is interview all relevant witnesses, examine all relevant
evidence and access all relevant documents. and we're going to pursue the truth in a manner worthy of the memory of the four people who lost their lives and worthy of the respect of our fellow citizens. we are going to write that final accounting of what happened in benghazi. we would like to do it with your help and the help of our democrat colleagues. but make no mistake, we are going to do it nonetheless because understanding what happened in benghazi goes to the heart of who we are as a country and the promises we make to those we send into harm's way. they deserve the truth. they deserve the whole truth. they deserve nothing but the truth. the people we work for deserve the truth. the friends and family of the four who lost their lives deserve the truth. we will find the truth. because there is no stut atute limitations on the truth.
with that, i would recognize my friend from maryland. >> the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. madam secretary, i want to thank you very much for being here today to testify before congress on this very important issue. this is your third time. this week our chairman, mr. gowdy, was interviewed in a lengthy media profile. during his interview he complained that he was -- and i quote -- he has an impossible job. that's what the chairman said,
impossible job. he said it's impossible to conduct a serious, fact centric investigation in such a, quote, political environment. i have great respect for the chairman. but on this score, he is absolutely wrong. in fact, it has been done by his own republican colleagues in the house on this very issue benghazi. the republican chairman of the house intelligence committee conducted an extensive bipartisan two-year investigation and issued a detailed report. the senate intelligence committee and the senate homeland security committee also conducted a bipartisan investigation. those bipartisan efforts
respected and honored the memories of the four brave americans who gave their lives in benghazi. ambassador chris stevens, sean smith, tyrone woods and glenn doherty. the problem is that the republican caucus did not like the answers they got from those investigations. so they set up this select committee with no rules, no deadline and an unlimited budget. and they set them loose, madam secretary, because you are running for president. clearly, it is possible to conduct a serious bipartisan investigation. what is impossible is for any reasonable person to continue denying that republicans are squandering millions of taxpayer
dollars on this abusive effort to derail secretary clinton's presidential campaign. in the chairman's interview he tried to defend against this criticism by attempting to cast himself as the victim. and he complained about attacks on the credibility of the select committee. his argument would be more compelling if republicans weren't leading the charge. as we all know, representative kevin mccarthy, speaker boehner's second in command and the chairman's close friend admitted that they established the select committee to drive down secretary clinton's poll numbers. democrats didn't say that. the second in command in the house said that, a republican. republican congressman richard hannah said the select committee
was, quote, designed, designed to go after secretary clinton. and one of the chairman's only hand picked investigators, a self-proclaimed conservative republican, charged that he was fired in part for not going along with these plans to, quote, hyper-focus on hillary clinton, end of quote. these reflect what we have seen for the past year. let's look at the facts. since january, republicans have canceled every single hearing on our schedule for the entire year except for this one, secretary clinton. they canceled numerous interviews that they planned with the defense department and the cia officials. instead of doing that, they said they were going -- what they
were going to do, republicans zeroed in on secretary clinton, her speech writers, her i.t. staffers and her campaign officials. this is what the republicans did, not the democrats. when speaker boehner established this select committee, he justified it by arguing that it would, quote, cross jurisdictional lines. i assume he meant we would focus on more than just secretary of state. but, madam secretary, you are sitting there by yourself. the secretary of defense is not on your left. the director of the cia is not on your right. that's because republicans abandoned their own plans to question those top officials. instead of being cross jurisdictional, republicans just crossed them off the list.
last weekend, the chairman told the republican colleagues to shut up and stop talking about the select committee. what i want to know is this. and this is a key question. why tell the republicans to shut up when they are telling the truth but not when they are attacking secretary clinton with reckless accusations that are demon strably false? why not tell them to shut up then? carly fiorina has said that secretary clinton has blood on her hands. mike huckabee accused her of ignoring the warning calls from dieing americans in benghazi. senator ryan paul said benghazi was a 3 a.m. phone call that she never picked up. and senator lindsey graham tweeted, where the hell were you on the night of the benghazi
attack? everyone on this panel knows these accusations are baseless, from our own investigation and all those before it. yet republican members of this select committee remain silent. on monday, the democrats issued a report showing that none of the 54 witnesses the committee interviewed substantiated these wild republican claims. secretary clinton did not order the military to stand down, and she neither approved nor denied requests for additional security. i ask our report be included in the official report for the hearing. >> without objection. >> what is so telling is that we issued virtually the same report
a year ago. same report. when we first joined the select committee, i asked my staff to put together a complete report and database setting forth the questions that have been asked about the attacks and all of the answers that were provided in the eight previous investigations. i asked that this report also be included in the record, mr. chairman. >> without objection. >> the problem is that rather than accepting these facts, republicans continue to spin new conspiracy theories that are just as outlandish and inaccurate. for example, the chairman tried to argue that sidney bloomingthal was secretary clinton's representative on benghazi. representative pompei said she
relied on sidney for most of her intelligence on libya. earlier this week, "the washington post" fact checker awarded this claim four pin oak yos, its worst rating. here is the bottom line. the select committee has spent 17 months and $4.7 million of taxpayer money. we have held four hearings and conducted 54 interviews and depositions. yes, we have received some new e-mails from secretary clinton, ambassador stevens and others. and yes, we have wconducted som new interviews. these documents and interviews do not show any nefarious activity. it's the opposite. the new information we obtained confirms the core facts we
already knew from eight previous investigations. they provide more detail, but they do not change the basic conclusions. it is time and it is time now for the republicans to end this taxpayer funded fishing expedition. we need to come together and shift from politics to policy. that's what the american people want, shifting from politics to policy. we need to finally make good on our promises to the families. the families only asked us to do three things. one, do not make this a political football. two, find the facts. three, do everything in your power to make sure that this does not happen again. and so we need to start focusing on what we here in congress can do to improve the safety and security of our diplomatic corps in the future. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back.
>> thanks the gentleman from maryland. you are recognized for your opening statement. >> thank you mr. chairman, ranking members cummings, members of this committee. the terrorist attacks at our diplomatic compound and later at the cia post in benghazi, libya, on september 11, 2012, took the lives of four brave americans, ambassador stevens, sawn smith, glen doherty and tyrone woods. i'm here to honor the service of those four men. the courage of the diplomatic security agency and the cia officers who risked their lives that night. and the work their colleagues do every single day all over the world. i knew and admired chris
stevens. he was one of our nation's most accomplished diplomats. chris' mother liked to say he had sand in his shoes because he was always moving, always working, especially in the middle east that he came to know so well. when the revolution broke out in libya, we named chris as our envoy to the opposition. there was no easy way to get him into benghazi to begin gathering information and meeting those libyans who were rising up against the murderous dictator gaddafi. but he found a way to get himself there on a greek cargo ship, just like a 19th century american envoy. but his work was very much 21st century hard-nosed diplomacy.
it is a testament to the relationships that he built in libya that on the day following the awareness of his death tens of thousands of libyans poured into the streets in benghazi. they held signs reading, thugs don't represent benghazi or islam, sorry, people of america, this is not the behavior of our islam or our prophet. chris stevens, a friend, to all libyans. although i didn't have the privilege of meeting sean smith personally, he was a valued member of our state department family. an air force veteran, he was an
information management officer who had served in baghdad, montreal and the hague. tyrone woods and glen doherty worked for the cia. they were killed by mortar fire at the cia's outpost in benghazi, a short distance from the diplomatic compound. they were both former navy s.e.a.l.s. and trained paramedics with distinguished service including in iraq and afghanistan. as secretary of state, i had the honor to lead and the responsibility to support nearly 70,000 diplomats and development experts across the globe. losing any one of them, as we did in iraq, afghanistan,
mexico, haiti and libya, during my tenure was deeply painful for our entire state department and usa-id family and for me personally. i was the one who asked chris to go to libya as our envoy. i was the one who recommended him to be our ambassador to the president. after the attacks, i stood next to president obama as marines carried his casket and those of the other three americans off the plane at andrews air force base. i took responsibility. and as part of that, before i left office, i launched reforms to better protect our people in the field and help reduce the chance of another tragedy happening in the future.
what happened in benghazi has been scrutinized by a non-partisan hard-hitting accountability review board, seven prior congressional investigations, multiple news organizations and, of course, our law enforcement and intelligence agencies. so today i would like to share three observations about how we can learn from this tragedy and move forward as a nation. first, america must lead in a dangerous world. and our diplomats must continue representing us in dangerous places. the state department sends people to more than 270 posts in 170 countries around the world. chris stevens understood that diplomats must operate in many
places where our soldiers do not. where there are no other boots on the ground and safety is far from guaranteed. in fact, he volunteered for just those assignments. he also understood we will never prevent every act of terrorism or achieve perfect security and that we inevitably must accept a level of risk to protect our country and advance our interests and values. and make no mistake, the risks are real. terrorists have killed more than 65 american diplomatic personnel since the 1970s and more than 100 contractors and locally employed staff. since 2001, there have been more than 100 attacks on u.s.
diplomatic facilities around the world. but if you ask our most experienced ambassadors, they will tell you, they can't do their jobs for us from bunkers. it would compound the tragedy of benghazi if chris stevens' death and the death of the other three americans ended up undermining the work to which he and they devoted their lives. we have learned the hard way when america is absent, especially from unstable places, there are consequences. extremism takes root, aggressors seek to fill the vacuum and security everywhere is threatened, including here at home. that's why chris was in benghazi. it's why he had served previously in syria, egypt, saudi arabia and jerusalem
during the second intifada. nobody knew the dangers of libya better. a weak government, extremist groups, rampant instability. but chris chose to go to benghazi because he understood america had to be represented there at that pivotal time. he knew that eastern libya was where the revolution had begun and that unrest there could derail the country's fragile transition to democracy. and if extremists gained a foothold, they would have the chance to destabilize the entire region, including egypt and tunisia. he also knew how urgent it was to ensure that the weapons gaddafi left strewn across the country, including shoulder-fired missiles that could knock an airplane out of the sky, did not fall into the
wrong hands. the nearest israeli airport is just a day's drive from the libyan border. above all, chris understood that most people in libya or anywhere reject the extremists' argument that violence can ever be a path to dignity or justice. that's what those thousands of libyans were saying after they learned of his death. and he understood there was no substitute for going beyond the embassy walls and doing the hard work of building relationships. retreat from the world is not an option. america cannot shrink from our responsibility to lead. that doesn't mean we should ever
return to the go it alone foreign policy of the past, a foreign policy that puts boots on the ground as a first choice rather than a last resort. quite the opposite. we need creative, confident leadership that harnesses all of america's strengths and values. leadership that integrates and balances the tools of diplomacy, development and defense. and at the heart of that effort must be dedicated professionals like chris stevens and his colleagues who put their lives on the line for a country, our country, because they believed, as i do, that america is the greatest force for peace and progress the world has ever known. my second observation is this. we have a responsibility to provide our diplomats with the resources and support they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible.
after previous deadly attacks, leaders from both parties and both branchs of government came together to determine what went wrong and how to fix it for the future. that's what happened during the reagan administration. when hezbollah attacked our embassy and killed 63 people, including 17 americans, and then in a later attack attacked our marine barracks and killed so many more, those two attacks in beirut resulted in the deaths of 258 americans. it's what happened during the clinton administration when al qaeda bombed our embassies in kenya and tanzania killing more
than 200 people, wounding more than 2,000 people and killing 12 americans. it's what happened during the bush administration after 9/11. part of america's strength is we learn, we adapt and we get stronger. after the benghazi attacks, i asked ambassador thomas pickering, one of our most distinguish and longer serving diplomats, along with admiral mike mulemullen, the former chan of the joint chiefs of staff appointed by president george w. bush to lead an accountability board. this is an institution that was set up after the attacks in beirut. there have been 18 previous
boards. only two have ever made any of their findings public. the one following the attacks on our embassies in east africa and the one following our attack -- the attack on benghazi. the accountability review board did not pull a single punch. they found systemic problems and management deficiencies in two state department bureaus. the review recommended 29 specific improvements. i pledge that by the time i left office, every one would be on the way to implementation. and they were. more marines were slated for deployment to high threat embas embassies, additional diplomatic security agents were being hired and trained. and secretary kerry has continued this work. but there is more to do. and no administration can do it alone. congress has to be our partner
as it has been after previous tragedies. for example, the accountability review board and subsequent investigations have recommended improved training for our officers before they deploy to the field. but efforts to establish a modern joint training center are being held up by congress. the men and women who serve our country deserve better. finally, there's one more observation i would like to share. i traveled to 112 countries as secretary of state. every time i did, i felt great pride and honor representing the country that i love. we need leadership at home to match our leadership abroad. leadership that puts national
security ahead of politics and ideology. our nation has a long history of bipartisan cooperation on foreign policy and national security. not that we always agree. far from it. but we do come together when it counts. as secretary of state, i worked with the republican chairman of the senate foreign relations committee to pass a landmark nuclear arms control treaty with russia. i worked with the republican leader, senator mitch mcconnell, to open up burma to democratic change. i know it's possible to find common ground, because i have done it. we should debate on the basis of fact, not fear. we should resist denigrating the patriotism or loyalty of those we disagree. so i'm here despite all the previous investigations and the talk about partisan agenda agenm
here to honor those we lost and to do what i can to aid those who serve us still. my challenge to you, members of this committee, is the same challenge i put to myself. let's be worthy of the trust the american people have bestowed upon us. they expect us to lead, to learn the right lessons, to rise above partisanship and to reach for statesmanship. that's what i tried to do every day at setting of state. and it's what i hope we will all strive for here today and into the future. thank you. >> thank you, madam secretary. i did not cut off your opening at all, nor would i think about doing so. because the subject matter is critically important. and you deserve to be heard. i would just simply note that -- i don't plan on cutting off any of your answers.
our members have questions that we believe are worthy of being answered. so i would just simply note that we do plan to ask all of the questions and whatever recession that you can give to the answers without giving short shift to any of the answers would be much appreciated. with that i would recognize the gentleman from illinois. >> good more thaning. your chief foreign policy adviser wrote a memo on october 21, 2011. this was the day before the rebels took tripoli. he titles it, secretary clinton's leadership on libya, which he describes you as a critical voice and public face of the u.s. effort in libya, instrumental in tightening the noose around gaddafi and his regime.me easy. >> one thing at a time.
>> that didn't copime easy, tha public face i mentioned? >> no. congressman, i know this is an issue that the committee has raised. it really boils down to why were we in libya, why did the united states join with our nato and european allies, join with our arab partners to protect the people of libya against the murderous planning of gaddafi. why did we take a role alongside our partners in doing so. there were a number of reasons for that. and i think it is important to remind the american people where we were at the time when the people of libya, like people across the region, rose up demanding freedom and democracy,
a chance to chart their own futures. gaddafi threatened them with genocide. and we were then approached by -- with great intensity -- our closest allies in europe, people who felt very strongly, the french and british, but others as well, that they could not stand idly by and permit that to happen so close to their shores with the unintended consequences that they worried about. they asked for the united states to help. we did not immediately say yes. we did an enormous amount of due diligence in meeting with not only our european and arab partners but also with those who were heading up what was called the transitional national council. we had experienced diplomats who were digging deep into what was happening in libya and what the possibilities were before we agreed to provide very specific limited help to the european and arab efforts.
we did not put one american soldier on the ground. we did not have one casualty. in fact, i think by many measures, the cooperation between nato and arab forces was quite remarkable and something that we want to learn more lessons from. >> secretary clinton, you were meeting with opposition within the state department from very senior career diplomats. they were saying it was going to produce a net negative for u.s. military intervention. for example, in a march 9, 2011 e-mail discussing what has become known as the libya options memo, ambassador mall, the executive secretary of the state department, in one of the top career diplomat, said in the case of our diplomatic history, when we have provided material or tactical military support to people seeking to drive their leaders from power, no matter how just their cause, it has
tended to produce net negatives for our interests over the long term in those countries. we will come back to that in a minute. you overruled those career diplomats. they report to you. you are the chief diplomat of the united states. read the note if you need to. >> i have to -- i have -- >> i'm not done with my question. i'm giving you the courtesy of r5eding your notes. >> that's all right. >> they were pushing back. but you overcame those objections. but then you had another big obstacle, didn't you? that was the white house itself. there were senior voices within the white house that were opposed to military action. vice president biden, department of defense, secretary gates, the national security council and so forth. but you persuaded president obama to intervene militarily, isn't that right? >> congressman, i think it's important to point out, there were many in the state department who believed it was
very much in america's interests and in further answer of our values to protect the libyan people, to join with our european allies and our arab partners. the ambassador who had had to did he withdrawn from libya because of direct threats to his physical safety, but who knew libya very well, ambassador kretz was a strong advocate for doing what we could to assist the europeans and arabs. it's fair to say there were concerns and it is fair to say were concerns. there were varying opinions about what to do, how to do it and the like. at the end of the day, this was the president's decision. and all of us fed in our views. i did not favor it until i had, as i said, done the due diligence speaking with not just people within our government and within the governments of all of the other nations who were urging us to assist them but
also meeting in person with the gentleman who had assumed a lead role in the transitional national council. so it is of course fair to say this is a difficult decision. i wouldn't sit here and say otherwise. and there were varying points about it. at the end of the day, in large measure, because of the strong appeals from our european allies, the arab league passing resolution urging that the united states and nato joined with them, those were unprecedented requests. and we did decide and recommending to the president there was a way to do it. the president i think very clearly had a limited instruction about how to proceed. and the first planes that flew were french planes. and i think what the united states proceeded was some of our unique capacity. but the bulk of the work militarily was done by europeans
and arabs. >> i think you are overselling yourself. you convinced the president. you overcame the objections of vice president biden and secretary of defense gates, the national security council. you had another obstacle, the russians. you were able to abstain. had you not been successful in orging that abstention, the security council resolution 1973 wouldn't have passed because the russians had a veto. so you overcame that obstacle as well, right? >> congressman, it is right that doing my due diligence and the consequences of pursuing each of them, i was in favor of the united states joining with our european allies and air rob partners and in favor of obtaining u.n. security council support. i thought that would provide greater legitimacy.
our ambassador to the you know was very influential is and successful and making the case to her colleagues. but this was at the behaste of the president once he was presented with the varying argument. >> you have -- >> congressman, i have been in a number of situation room discussions. i remember very well the intense conversation over whether or not to launch the navy s.e.a.l.s against the compound we thought that might house bin laden. there was a split in the advisers around the president. eventually the president makes the decision. i support what we could to support our european and arab partners in their effort on a humanitarian basis, strategic basis to prevent gadhafi from starting massachusetts kerrs.
>> jake sullivan sent an e-mail saying this, i think you should call. it will be a painful 10 minutes. but you will be be the one who delivered arab support. that is an e-mail of jake eventual san asking you to call the secretary-general of the a arab league. so to put this in totality, you were able to overcome opposition within the state department. you were able to persuade the president. you were able to persuade the united nations and the international community. you made the call to the arabs and brought them home. you saw it. you drove it. you articulated it. and you persuaded people. did i get that wrong? >> congressman, i was secretary of state. my job was to conduct the diplomacy. the diplomacy consisted of a long series of meetings and phone calls both here in our country and abroad to take the measure of what people were saying and whether they meant it. we had heard sometimes before from countries saying, well, the
united states should go do this. when we would say, well, what would you do in support of us, there was not much coming forth. this time, if they wanted us to support them in what they saw as an action vital respective to their national security interests, i wanted to be sure they were going to bear the bulk of the load. is and, in fact, they did. what the united states did, as i said, was use our unique capacities. as i recall, if you want if you want it to monetary terms, less than we spend in one day in iraq is what the united states committed in support of our allies. we asked our allies if you allot for us, congressman, they had asked is for us to help them. >> let me reclaim my time. you summed it up best when you e-mailed your senior staff and you said of this interchange. it's good to remind ourselves and the rest of the world that
this couldn't have happened without us. you were right, secretary clinton. our libya policy be couldn't have happened without you because you were its chief architect. i said we will two back to the warning about using military for regime change. and he said long-term things weren't going to turn out very well. and he was right. after your plan, things in libya today are a disaster. i yield pack. >> well, we'll have more time i'm sure to talk about this because that's not a view that i will ascribe to. >> the gentleman from illinois. i recognize the gentleman from maryland. >> madam secretary, i want to thank you for being here. i want to start with the number one question that republicans claim has not been answered in eight previous investigations. yesterday the chairman wrote in an op ed and he said, this is his top financial question about benghazi. and it is, and i quote, why our
people in libya and benghazi made so many requests for additional security personnel and equipment and why those requests were denied. i'll give you a chance to answer in a minute. secretary clinton, as you know, this question has been asked many times and answered many times. let's start with the accountability review board. a moment ago you talked about admiral mullen. but you also a a appointed another very distinguished gentlemen, ambassador pickering. and of course admiral mullen served under republican administrations. and ambassador pickering, who i have a phenomenal amount of respect for, served 40 years, as you know, as part of our
diplomatic core. he he serve issed under george h.w. bush and served as u.n. ambassador -- he also served under reagan. now, i'm just wondering -- let me go back to that question. while people in libya benghazi made so many requests. there seems to be an implication that the a.r.b., accountability review board, was not independent. and i think of course that's done by law. would you comment on those two things, please? >> yes. i'd be happy to. now, as i said in my opening statement, i take responsibility for what happened in benghazi. i felt a responsibility for all 70,000 people working at the state department in usaid.
i take that very seriously. as i said with respect to security requests in benghazi back when i testified in january 2013, those interests and issues related to security were rightly handled by the security professionals in the department. i did not see them. i did not approve them. i did not deny them. ambassador pickering and admiral mullen make this case very clearly in their testimony before your committee and in their public comments. these issues would not ordinarily come before the secretary of state. and they did not in this case. as secretary, i was committed to taking aggressive measures to ensure our personnel's and facilities were as safe as possible. and certainly when the nonpartisan critical report from
the accountability review board came forward, i took it very seriously. and that's i embraced all their recommendations and created a new position within the diplomatic security bureau specifically to evaluate high risk posts. i think it's important also to mention, congressman, that the diplomatic security professionals who were reviewing these requests, along with those who are serving in war zones and hot spots around the world, have great expertise and experience in keeping people safe. if you go on co dells they are the ones who plan your trip to keep you safe. they certainly did that for me. most importantly, that's what they do every day for everybody who serve ises our country as a diplomat or development professional. and i was not going to second-guess them.
i was not going to substitute my judgment, which is not based on experience that they have in keeping people safe for theirs. and the changes that were recommended by the accountability review board are ones that we thought made sense and began quickly to implement. >> now, the a.r.b., after conducting, madam secretary, more than 100 interviews, identifies specific employee at the state department who denied these requests. it was deputy assistant secretary of the bureau of diplomatic security charlene lamb. the a.r.b. report was very critical of her. it was also critical of her two supervisors. principal deputy assistant secretary and assistant secretary for diplomatic security.
the oversight committee found the same answer as the a.r.b. it found that this official denied these interests. it found no evidence that you approved or denied them. the problem is republicans just keep asking the same question over and over again and pretend they don't know the answer. in 2013, the republican chairman of five house committees issued a report falsely accusing you personally of the nine requests over your signature. the next day, the next day, the chairman of the oversight committee darryl isa, went on television and accused you of the same thing. can we play that clip, please. >> secretary of state was just
wrong. she said she did not participate in this. and yet only a few months before the attack she out right denied security in her signature in a contain ril. >> do you remember that, madam secretary? >> i do. >> when a fact checker examined his claim, they gave it four pinocchios. they called it a whopper. it turns out the republicans had a copy of that cable but didn't tell the american people that your so-called signature was just a stamp that appeared on millions of cables from the state department every single year. is that right? >> that's correct. >> now, madam secretary, my goal has always been to gather facts and to defend the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
i asked to compile an asked and answered database. on monday, we put out another report and this issue was addressed yet again. but the republicans want to keep this attack going so they are now trying to argue that we have new e-mails that raise new questions. the truth is that we have reviewed these e-mails and they don't contradict previous conclusions. they confirm them. they corroborate them. we have reviewed e-mails from am abbas door stevens. they conclude that he asked charleston lean lamb for more security. nothing that we obtained, the new interviews or e-mails conclude the fact that we have known for three years. please take as much time as you want to answer this. there is no evidence to support the republican claims that you personally rejected security requests. so some have a argued that since
you knew the danger was increasing in libya, you should have been in there making detailed decisions about whether this would be 5, 7, or 9 security officers at any given post. madam secretary, i know you have answered it over and over again. you might just want to elaborate and just i'll give you -- i have a minute and seven second. >> well, thank you, congressman. i think there has been some confusion, and i welcome the opportunity to try to clarify it to the best of my ability. with respect, as you rightly point out, the claims that were made about the cables, i think you have explained the fact that it is a long-standing tradition of the state department for cables from around the world to be sent is to and sent from the state is department under the signature, over the signature of the secretary of state.
it's a stamp. it's just part of the tradition. there are millions of them, as you point out. they are sorted through and directed to the appropriate personnel. very few of them ever come to my attention. none of them with respect to security regarding benghazi did. and the other point, which i thank you for raising that perhaps i can speak to this one as well. there is of course information that we were obtaining about the increasingly dangerous environment in libya. across the country but in particular in eastern libya. and we were aware of that. and we were certainly taking that into account. there was no actionable intelligence on september 11th or even before that date about any kind of planned attack on
our compound in benghazi. and there were a lot of debates apparently that went on within the security professionals about what to provide. because they did have to prioritize. the accountability review board pointed that out. the state department has historically, and certainly before this terrible accident, had not had the amount of money we thought necessary to do what was required to protect everyone. so of course there had to be priorities. and that was something that the security professionals dealt with. i think that both admiral mullen and ambassador pickering made it very clear they thought the high threat post should move to a higher level of scrutiny. and we had immediately moved to do that. >> thank you. >> thank the gentleman. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from illinois, ms.
brooks. >> good morning. thank you for being here today. and drawing on what you just said, that very few but no requests for benghazi came to your attention, i'd like to show you something. this pile representing the e-mails that you sent or received about libya in 2011, from february through december of 2011. this pile represents the e-mails you sent or received from early 2012 until the day of the attack. there are 795 e-mails in this pile. we've counted them. >> there's 67 e-mails in this pile in 2012. and i'm troubled by what i see here.
and so my questions relate to these piles. this pile in 2011 i see daily updates. sometimes is hourly updates from your staff about benghazi and chris stevens. when i look at this pile in 2012, i only see a handful of e-mails to you from your senior staff about benghazi. we know from talk to go your senior advisers that they knew, many of them are here today seated behind you, that they knew to accepted issues that were of importance to you. i can only conclude by your own records that there was a lack of interest in libya in 2012. so let's first focus, though, on this pile and what was happening in libya in 2011. we have an ambassador to libya, ambassador kretz. you told us that you hand-picked chris stevens to be your special
representative in benghazi and you sent him there. and by your own e-mails, they show in march '11 you had chris stevens join you in paris where you were meeting with the leader of the libyan revolution. after paris that is when, as you talked about chris stevens went into benghazi april 5th of 2011 on that greek cargo ship. how long was he expected to stay? what were chris stevens's orders from you about libya and benghazi specifically? >> chris stevens was asked to go to benghazi to do reconnaissance, to try to figure out who were the leaders of the insurgency based in benghazi, what their goals were, what happened if they were successful. as i had, it was the hard-nosed
21st century diplomacy that is rooted in the old-fashioned necessary work of building relationships and gathering information. >> how long was he anticipated to stay in benghazi, do you recall? >> it was open-ended. we were, in discussing it with him, unsure as to how productive it would be. whether it would be appropriate for him to stay for a long time or a short time. that was very much going to depend upon chris's own assessment. we knew we were sending understood the area, who understood the language, who understood a lot of the personalities because of the historical study that he used to love to do. and we were going to be guided by what he decided. >> i would like to draw your attention to an e-mail. it is an e-mail found at tab 1. it is an op center e-mail that
was forwarded to you from houma abedene sunday, march 27th. it says at the bottom of the e-mail -- the current game plan is to move no later than wednesday from benghazi. but it says it is for him to lay the groundwork for a stay up to 30 days. so just to refresh that recollection, i believe initially the goal was to go in for 30 days. were you personally briefed on his security plan prior to him going into libya? >> at that time if i'm not mistaken, gadhafi's forces were still battling the rebels, correct? >> that's right. >> so what were -- were you personally briefed before you sent mr. stevens into benghazi? >> i was personally told by the officials who were in the state department who were immediately
above chris, who were making the plans for him to go in, that it was going to be expeditionary diplomacy. it was going to require him to make a lot of judgments on the ground. about what he could accomplish and including where it would be safe for him to be and how long for him to stay. and i think the initial decision was, you know, up to 30 days and reassess. but it could have been 10 days. it could have been 60 days depending upon what he found and what he reported back to us. >> is and possibly what was determined about the danger of benghazi. who were those officials? >> there were a number of officials -- >> advising you on the security specifically? >> with respect to the security, this was a particular concern of the assistant secretary for the bureau in which chris worked. >> i'm sorry. what was that person's name? >> assistant secretary jeff feldman. and the security for diplomatic
security, as well as other officials within the state department. and i think it's fair to say, congresswoman, we all knew, it was a risky undertaking. we all know, as i said in my opening statement, more reminiscent the way it was practiced back in the 19th century. because we didn't have is the internet. we didn't have instantaneous communication. you would send envoys into places and not hear from them for maybe months. this was obviously not of that kind. but it was not that different in degree from what we had done before. and it was a risky under taking and one in which chris volunteered for and was a anxious to undertake. >> and it was so risky, i would like to pull up another e-mail forwarded from ms. abedene sunday, april 10th. so he had been there about five days. it can indicated the situation had worsened to the point where
stevens is considering departing from benghazi. this is within five days of him going in. were you aware of that concern in the first five days of him going in? >> yes. >> did anyone share that with you. >> yes, we were aware. we were counting on chris to guide us and give us the information from the ground. we had no other sources. you know, there was no american outpost. there was no, you know, american military presence. eventually other americans representing different agencies were able to get into benghazi and begin to do the same work. but they of course couldn't do that work overtly, which is why we wanted a diplomat who could be publicly meeting with people to try to get the best assessment. but it was always going to be a constant risk. and we knew that. >> and so let me go back to the risk in 2011 because there was a lot of communication. again, once again from your
senior staff, from the state department to you or from you in 2011. in fact, that is when gadhafi fell. he fell in 2011. then when we go to 2012, libya, benghazi, chris stevens, the staff seem to fall off your radar. and the situation is getting much worse in 2012, much worse. in your records that we have reviewed, there is no one e-mail to you or from you in 2012 when an explosive device went off at our compound in april. there's not a single e-mail in your records about that explosive device. so my question is, this was a very important mission in 2011. you sent chris stevens there. but yet when your compound is attacked in 2012, what kind of culture was created in the state department that your folks couldn't tell you in an e-mail
about a bomb in april of 2012? >> well, congresswoman, i did not conduct most of the business that i did on behalf of our country on e-mail. i conducted it in meetings. i read massive amounts of memos, a great deal of classified information. i made a lot of secure phone calls. i was in and out of the white house all the time. there were a lot of things that happened that i was aware of and that i was reacting to. if you were to be in my office in the state department, i didn't have a computer. i did not do the vast is majority of the work on my e-mail. i bet there are a lot of sid blumenthal e-mails in there too. i don't want you to have a mistaken impression about what i did and how i did it. most of my work was not done on e-mails with my closest aides, with officials in the state department, officials in the rest of the government, as well as the white house, and people
around the world. >> and thank you for sharing that. because i'm sure that it's not done on all e-mails, madam secretary. there are meetings and there are discussions. so when your compound took a second attack on june 6th, when a bomb blew a wall through the compound then, no e-mails, no e-mails at all. but i am interested in knowing who were you meeting with, who were you huddling with, how were you informed about those things? because there is nothing in the e-mails that talks about two significant attacks on our compounds in 2012? there was a lot of information in 2011 about issues and security posture and yet nothing in 2012. >> well, i would be happy to explain. every morning when i arrived at the state department, usually between 8:00 and 8:30, i had a personal one-on-one briefing from the representative of the central intelligence agency who shared with me the highest level
of classified information that i was to be aware of on a daily basis. i then had a meeting with the top officials of the state department every day that i was in town. that's where a lot of information, including threats and attacks on our facilities was shared. i also had a weekly meeting every monday with all of the officials, the assistant secretaries and others so that i could be brought up to date on any issue they were concerned about. during the day, i received hundreds of pages of memos, many of them classified. some of them so top secret they were brought into my office in a locked briefcase that i had to read and immediately return to the currier. and i was constantly at the white house in "the situation room" meeting with the national security adviser and others. i would also be meeting with officials in the state department, foreign officials and others. so there was a lot going on during every day. i did not e-mail during the day except on rare occasions when i
was able to. but i didn't conduct the business that i did primarily on e-mail. that is not how i gathered information, assessed information, asked the hard questions of the people that i worked with with. >> it appears leaving benghazi with respect to all of that danger, leaving benghazi was not an option in 2012. and i yield back. >> if i could just quickly respond, never a recommendation from any intelligence official in our government, from any official in the state department, or from any other person with knowledge of our presence in benghazi to shut down benghazi even after the two attacks that the compound suffered. and perhaps you would wonder why. but i can tell you it was thought that the mission in benghazi, in conjunction with the cia mission, was vital to our national interest. >> the