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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 23, 2015 12:00am-2:01am EDT

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it shows that the security agents there before that day and the number on that day is no different. >> congressman, the decision, as i recall, the post, namely embassy tripoli on behalf of benghazi, requested five diplomatic security personnel, and they did have that on the day that chris stevens was in benghazi. unfortunately, that proved insufficient in the face of the kind of attack that they were facing. >> yes, ma'am. let's put the next poster up, please. madam secretary, you're not likely to know who these two folks are, do you? >> i do not. >> the one on the left is a al azawi, head of a jihadist group based in benghazi. the men on your left is be ben hamid. are you aware your folks in
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benghazi met with that man within 48 hours before the attack? >> i know nothing about any meeting with him. >> ambassador stevens on the day he was killed sent a cable about his meeting with mr. hamid. are you aware of that cable? >> no, i'm not. >> he said they, referring to mr. hamid, they wanted an introductory meeting, they asked us what we needed to bring security to benghazi. so your officials were meeting with this man on the ground in benghazi, libya, discussing security, two days before that. but in august of that same year, the united states government had said that this very man was, quote, a young rebel leader who allegedly fought in iraq under the flag of al qaeda. were you aware that our folks were either wittingly or unwittingly meeting with al qaeda on the ground in benghazi, libya, just hours before the attack? >> i know nothing about this, congressman. >> i think that's deeply
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disturbing. i think the fact that your team was meeting -- >> i'm sorry. which team is this? >> we don't know exactly who -- >> it would be helpful -- >> it would have been one of your state department employees, madam secretary, i don't know which one. perhaps you can enlighten us or help us get the records we need to do so. >> since we didn't have an ongoing significant presence of state department personnel in benghazi, i don't know to whom you are referring. >> mr. chairman, i'll yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from kansas yields. the chair will now recognize the gentle lady from california, ms. sanchez. >> thank you, madam secretary, for coming to answer our questions. we know over the last 17 months there have been a number of allegations that have been made with respect to you, and when the facts and the testimony and the record don't support that, we seem to move on to the next, you know, new allegation. one of the more recent ones is
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that republicans are claiming that because you received e-mails from sidney blumenthal, that he was your primary source for intelligence. now, chairman gowdy claimed that mr. blumenthal was, and i'm going to quote him here, quote, secretary clinton's primary adviser on libya because nearly half of all the e-mails sent to and from secretary clinton regarding benghazi and libya prior to the benghazi terrorist attacks involved sidney blumenthal, end quote. he also claimed that mr. blumenthal was, and i'm quoting again, one of the folks providing her the largest volume of information about libya. secretary clinton, was sidney blumenthal your primary policy adviser or your primary intelligence officer? >> no, of course not. >> was he the primary source of information that you were receiving on libya? >> no, absolutely not. >> can you tell us then, who were you receiving information from, and in what form? because there's been a
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particular emphasis on e-mail communication and e-mail communication only. >> as i testified earlier, i did not primarily conduct business on e-mail with officials in our government. and i think the e-mails that have been produced thus far demonstrate that as well. as i said, i got intelligence briefings from the intelligence community. i had a very experienced group of senior diplomats who knew quite a bit about libya. deputy secretary bill burns had been our nation's top diplomat, who actually had negotiated with qaddafi. prior to the entering in by the united states to support our european allies and arab partners, i sent a team to meet with representatives of cqaddaf to see if there were some way he would back down and in back off of his increasingly hysterical
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threats against his own people. we had people like the ambassador that i referenced earlier who had served in libya and had the occasion to observe and to meet with qaddafi. so we had a very large group of american diplomats, intelligence officers, and some private citizens who were experts in libya, who were available to our government. and we took advantage of every person we could with expertise to guide our decision making. >> so would it be fair to say that you received information from ambassador stevens? >> yes. >> the assistant secretary for near eastern affairs? >> yes. >> the director of policy planning, jacob sullivan? >> yes. >> the national security council? >> yes. >> the intelligence community? >> yes. >> the defense department? >> yes. >> this weekend one of our colleagues on this panel, mr.
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pompeao, went on "meet the press." he had this exchange. can we please play the video clip. >> mr. blumenthal, it goes directly to the security issue. we see now that former secretary relied on mr. blumenthal for most of her intelligence. >> that is factually not correct. relied on mr. blumenthal for most of her intelligence? >> take a look at the e-mail train. >> i cover the state department. that is just factually not correct. >> that clip for me just defies all logic. andrea mitchell correctly called him out on something that was a falsehood. secretary clinton, what did you think when you heard that clip? >> well, that it was factually untrue. and i think your questioning and what i have stated today is a much clearer and more factual
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description of how we gathered information to make our decisions regarding libya. >> with your answer that you believe it to be factually incorrect, i just want to add that the "washington post" fact checker immediately awarded that claim four pinocchios, which is the worst rating possible. i'll quote the "post" on what they said. looking at her private e-mails is just part of the picture and ignores the vast amount of information, much of it classified, that is available to the secretary of state. secretary clinton, would you agree with that statement from the wa"washington post"? >> yes, i would. >> it seem to me there have been allegations that the work that this committee has done has been political in nature, and that much of the facts have already been decided before all of the evidence is in, including your testimony here today. when i see clips like that, it sort of supports the theory that this panel is not really interested in investigating what
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happened just prior to, the evening of, and immediately in the aftermath of september 11th, 2012, but that in fact there is another motive hibehind that. i want to allow you to debunk the many myths that have been generated over the last 17 months, most of which have no factual basis for those being said. one is that you seemingly were disengaged the evening of september 11th, 2012. mike huckabee aaccusccused you, mr. cummings said, of ignoring the warning calls of those dying in benghazi. senator lindsey graham tweeted, where the hell were you on the night of the benghazi attack. those appear to be based on the testimony of witnesses and the documentation that we have obtained in this committee and other previous committees, they seem to run counter to the
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truth, because the testimony we've received states pretty much that you were deeply engaged the night of the attack. so can you describe for us what the initial hours of that night were like for you and how you learned about the attacks and what your initial thoughts and actions were? >> congresswoman, i learned about the attacks from a state department official rushing into my office shortly after or around 4:00 to tell me that our compound in benghazi had been attacked. we immediately summoned all of the top officials in the state department for them to begin reaching out, the most important, quick call was to try to reach chris himself, that was not possible. then to have the diplomatic security people try to reach their agents. that was not possible. they were obviously defending themselves along with the
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ambassador and sean smith. we reached the second in command in tripoli. he had heard shortly before we reached him from chris stevens, telling him that they were under attack. we began to reach out to everyone we could possibly think who could help with this terrible incident. during the course of the following hours, obviously i spoke to the white house, i spoke to cia director petraeus, i spoke to the libyan officials, because i hoped that there was some way that they could gather up and deploy those who had been part of the insurgency to defend our compound. i had conference calls with our team in tripoli. i was on a videoconference with officials who had operational
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responsibilities in the defense department, in the cia, at the national security council. it was just a swirl and whirl of constant effort to try to figure out what we could do. and it was deeply -- it was deeply distressing when we heard that the efforts by our cia colleagues were not successful, that they had had to evacuate the security officers, our diplomatic security officers, that they had recovered sean smith's body, and they could not find the ambassador. we didn't know whether he had escaped and was still alive or not. >> if i may, because my time is running short, i just want to point out that you spoke with folks on the ground, you spoke with folks in the white house, the cia, the libyan president of the general national congress. now, interestingly enough, former director of the cia david
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petraeus has not been before this committee and has not spoken with this committee. but he did testify before the house intelligence committee in 2012, and he said that you personally called him and asked him for help that night. and i just want to end on this quote. quote, when secretary clinton called me later that afternoon to indicate that ambassador stevens was missing and asked for help, i directed our folks to ensure that we were doing everything possible, and that is of course what they were doing that night. is that correct? >> that is. and also the defense department was doing everything it could possibly do. we had a plane bringing additional security from tripoli to benghazi. there was an enormous amount of activity. it was all hands on deck, everyone jumped in to try to figure out what they could do. the attack on the compound was very fast. >> would it be safe to say you were fully engaged that evening?
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>> that is certainly safe to say, congresswoman. >> thank you. i yield back. >> the gentlelady from california yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. >> you just gave a long answer, madam secretary, to ms. sanchez about what you heard that night, but nowhere in there did you mention a video, because there was never a video-inspired protest in benghazi. victoria new land, your spokesperson at the state department, hours after the attacks said this: in cairo police have removed demonstrators. benghazi, you have weapons and explosions. cairo, you have spray paint and rocks. one hour before the attack in benghazi, chris stevens walks a diplomat to the front gate. the ambassador didn't report a demonstration, because it never happened. an eyewitness in the command center that night on the ground said no protest, no
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demonstration. two intelligence reports that day. no protest, no demonstration. the attack starts at 3:42 eastern time, ends at approximately 11:40 p.m. that night. at 4:06, an ops alert goes out across the state department, it says this: mission under attack, armed men, shots fired, explosions heard. no mention of video, no mention of a protest, no mention of a demonstration. but the best evidence is greg hicks, the number two guy in libya who worked side by side with ambassador stevens. he was asked, if there had been a protest, would the ambassador have reported it. mr. hicks's response, absolutely. for there to have been a demonstration on chris stevens's front door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable. mr. hicks said, secondly, if it had been reported, he would have been out the backdoor within minutes, and there was a back gate. everything points to a terrorist
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attack. we heard about the long history of violence in the country. yet five days later susan rice goes on five tv shows and she says this: benghazi was a spontaneous reaction as a consequence of a video. a statement we all know is false. don't take my word for it. here's what others have said. rice was off the reservation. off the reservation on five north tex networks. white house worried about the politics. the white house didn't make those statements. they were made by people who worked for you, the actual experts on libya in the state department. so if there's no evidence for a video-inspired protest, then where did the false narrative start? it started with you, madam secretary. at 10:08, on the night of the attack, you released this statement: some have sought to justify the vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory
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material posted on the internet. at 10:08, with no evidence, at 10:08, before the attack is over, at 10:08, when tyrone woods and glenn dougherty are still on the roof of the annex fighting for their lives, the official statement of the state department blames a video. why? >> during the day on september 11th, as you did mention, congressman, there was a very large protest against our embassy in cairo. protestors breached the walls. they tore down the american flag. and it was of grave concern to us because the inflammatory video had been shown on egyptian television, which has a broader reach than just inside egypt. and if you look at what i said,
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i referred to the video that night in a very specific way. i said, "some have sought to justify the attack because of the video." i used those words deliberately, not to ascribe a motive to every attacker, but as a warning to those across the region that there was no justification for further attacks. and in fact during the course of that week, we had many attacks that were all about the video. we had people breaching the walls of our embassy in tunis, in khartoum. we had people, thankfully not americans, dying at protests. that's what was going on, congressman. >> i appreciate that. modified attac most of the attacks were after the attack on the facility benghazi. ms. newland said, if pressed by
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the press, she said, there's no connection between benghazi and cairo. your experts knew the truth. your spokesperson knew the truth. greg hicks knew the truth. what troubles me more is i think you knew the truth. i want to show you a few things here. you're looking at an e-mail you sent to your family. here's what you said. at 11:00 that night. approximately one hour after you told the american people it was a video, you say to your family, two officers were killed today in benghazi by an al qaeda-like group. you tell the american people one thing, you tell your family an entirely different story. also on the night of the attack, you had a call with the president of libya. here's what you said to him. al sharia is claiming responsibility. unfortunate guys arrested in charge actually belonged to that group. and finally, most significantly,
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the next day, within 24 hours, you had a conversation with the egyptian prime minister. you told him this: we know the attack in libya had nothing to do with the film. it was a planned attack, not a protest. let me read that one more time. we know, not we think, not it might be, we know the attack in libya had nothing to do with the film that was a planned attack, not a protest. state department experts knew the truth. you knew the truth. that's not what the american people got. again, the american people want to know why. why didn't you tell the american people exactly what you told the egyptian prime minister? >> i think if you look at the statement that i made, i clearly said that it was an attack. and i also said that there were some who tried to justify -- >> secretary clinton -- >> -- on the basis of the video, congressman. >> real quick, calling it an attack is like saying the sky is
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blue. of course it was an attack. we want to know the truth. the statement you sent out was a statement on benghazi, and you say vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material on the internet. if that's not pointing at the motive as being a video, i don't know what is. that's certainly how the american people saw it. >> congressman, there was a lot of conflicting information that we were trying to make sense of. the situation was very fluid. it was fast-moving. there was also a claim of responsibility by al sharia. when i talked to the egyptian prime minister, i said this was a claim of responsibility by al sharia, a group that was affiliated or at least wanted to be affiliated with al qaeda. sometime after that, the next day, early the next morning after that, on the 12th or 13th, they retracted their claim of responsibility. >> madam secretary -- >> i think if you look at what all of us were trying to do, we
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were in a position, congressman, of trying to make sense of a lot of incoming information. and watch the way the intelligence community tried to make sense of it. so all i can say is nobody -- >> there was no conflicting information the day of the attack because your press secretary said, if pressed, there is no connection between cairo and benghazi. it was clear. you're the ones who muddied it up, not the information. >> there's no connection -- >> here's what i think is going on. here's what i think's going on. let me show you one more slide. again, this is from victoria newland, your press person. she says to jake sullivan, subject line reads this, romney's statement on libya. e-mail says, this is what ben was talking about. this is the now somewhat famous ben rhodes, author of the talking points memo. 27 minutes after you told
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everyone it's a video, while americans are still fighting because the attack is still going on, your top people are talking politics. it seems to me that night you had three options, secretary. you could tell the truth, like you did with your family, like you did with the libyan president, like you did with the egyptian prime minister, tell them it was a terrorist attack. you could say, you know what, we're not quite sure. don't really know for sure. i don't think the evidence -- i think it's all -- but you could have done that. but you picked the third option. you picked the video narrative. you picked the one with no evidence. and you did it because libya was supposed to be, and mr. roscum pointed out, this great success story for the white house and the state department. a key campaign theme that year was bin laden is dead, al qaeda is on the run.
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now you have a terrorist attack in libya, 56 days before an election. you can live with protest about a video. that won't hurt you. but a terrorist attack will. you can't be square with the american people. you tell your family says the terrorist attack, but not the american people. you can tell the libyan president it's a terrorist attack, but not the american people. you can tell the egyptian prime minister it's a terrorist attack, but you can't tell your own people the truth. madam secretary, americans can live with the fact that good people sometimes give their lives for this country. they don't like it. they mourn for those families. they pray for those families. but they can live with it. but what they can't take, what they can't live with, is when their government is not square with them. mr. chairman, yield back. >> madam secretary, you're
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welcome to answer the question, if you would like to. >> well, i wrote a whole chapter about this in my book, "hard choices." i would be glad to send it to you, congressman, because i think the insinuations that you are making do a grave disservice to the hard work that people in the state department, the intelligence community, the defense department, the white house did during the course of some very confusing and difficult days. there is no doubt in my mind that we did the best we could with the information that we had at the time. and if you would actually go back and read what i said that night, i was very careful in saying that some have sought to justify. in fact the man that has been arrested as one of the ring leaders of what happened in benghazi is reported to have said it was the video that motivated him. none of us can speak to the
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individual motivations of those terrorists who overran our compound and who attacked our cia annex. there were probably a number of different motivations. i think the intelligence community which took the lead on trying to sort this out, as they should have, went through a series of interpretations and analysis. and we were all guided by that. we were not making up the intelligence. we were trying to get it, make sense of it, and then to share it. when i was speaking to the egyptian prime minister or in the other two examples you showed, we had been told by al sharia that they took credit for it. it wasn't until about 24 or more hours later that they retracted taking credit for it. >> secretary criminal tlinton -
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>> we also knew, congressman, because my responsibility was what was happening throughout the region, i needed to be talking about the video, because i needed to put other governments on notice that we were not going to let them get away with attacking us, as they did in tunis and khartoum. in tunis there were thousands of protestors breaching the calls of our embassy, burning down the american school. i was calling everybody in the tunisian government i could get, and finally the president sent his presidential guard to break it up. there was example after example. that's what i was trying to do during those desperate and difficult hours. >> if i could, mr. chairman. secretary clinton, you said my insinuation. i'm not insinuating anything. i'm reading what you said. plain language. we know the attack in libya had nothing to do with the film. that's as plain as it can get.
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why didn't you just speak plain to the american people? >> i did. if you look at my statement as opposed to what i was saying to the egyptian prime minister, i did state clearly, and i said it again in more detail the next morning, as did the president. i'm sorry that it doesn't fit your narrative, congressman. i can only tell you what the facts were. and the facts, as the democratic members have pointed out in their most recent collection of them, support this process that was going on, where the intelligence community was pulling together information. and it's very much harder to do it these days than it used to be, because you have to monitor social media, for goodness's sakes. that's where the ansar al sharia claim took place. the intelligence committee did the best job they could and we all did our best job to try to figure out what was going on and then convey that to the american people. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr.
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schiff. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary. we're almost at the end of the first round of questions. i'll have an opportunity, then the chairman will, before we have a break, just to let you know where we are in the scheme of things. i am the to take a moment to -- i want to take a moment to think about where we are in this round, and where this began, with the chairman's statement. the chairman said at the outset of the hearing that the american people were entitled to the truth, the truth about what happened in benghazi, the truth about the security there, the truth about what happened after the attack. the implication of this of course is that the american premium don't know the truth, that this is the first version we have ever had. the reality is we've had eight visa investigations. we've gone through this endlessly. if we look at the documentary
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record, we have the arb report. we have the report of the armed services committee led by republican buck mckean which debunked the standdown order allegation. we have the report of the committee on government reform. we have the report of the senate homeland security committee. we have the report of the house foreign affairs committee. we have the gop conference's own report. we have the report of the intelligence committee on which i serve. now, bear in mind, these aren't with their accompanying exhibits or the classified stuff, because it would be up through the ceiling if i included them. this is the report of our committee. this is what $4.7 million of taxpayer money buys you. this is what 17 months of investigation have shown. now, the chairman said, and he's a very good lawyer and a good
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former prosecutor, we have a lot of former prosecutors here on the panel, he gave you a recitation of the number of witnesses and the number of documents. there are too many good prosecutors on this panel not to know that when a lawyer describes the metrics of the success of an investigation by the sheer number of people they've talked to or the volume of documents, it says nothing about the substance of what they've learned, there's a problem. and the reality there's a probl. and the reality is that after 17 month, we have nothing new to tell the families. we have nothing new to tell the american people. we have discovered nothing that alters the core conclusions of the eight investigations that went on before. my colleagues have been saying quite often this week with amazing regularity that this is a fact-centric investigation.
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and i agree because i would like to talk about president facts thatcentric to this investigation. because while the american people are entitled to the truth about benghazi they're also entitled to the truth about our committee. fact: what gave rise to your appearance today was many months ago a group called the stop hillary pac which aired an offensive ad during the democratic debate showing the tombstone of mr. stevens among other things delivered 264,000 signatures demanding you appear before us. fact: it was the next day the majority approached us to have you come before this committee. fact: after the "new york times" issued its story in march, this committee canceled all other hearin hearings except for a hearing with a witness named "clinton." fact: we abandoned our plans to bring in the secretary of defense and the head of the cia.
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fact: we haven't had a single hearing from the department of defense in 17 months. fact: of the 70,000 pages of documents obtained by the select committee, the only documents that the chairman has chose on the release publicly are your e-mails with sidney blumenthal. fact: of the 32 press releases that have been issued since march of this year, 27 of them are about you or the state department and five are about everything else. fact: as recently as last week the chairman issued a 13-page letter which is alleges you risk it had lives of people by sending an e-mail that contained the name of a classified cia source. fact: cia told us there was nothing in that e-mail that was classified nor was the name of that person whose who is well known to many.
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the chairman has said that this will be the final, definitive report. one thing i think we can tell already -- there will be nothing final about this report. wherever we finish, if ever we finish, the problem we've had as a committee is we don't know what we're looking for. but there won't be a final conclusion. there won't be anything definitive about the work of this committee because unlike the accountability review board that operated in a non-partisan way, it's unlikely the majority here will even consult with us on what their final report looks like. those who want to believe the worst will believe the worst. those that want to believe that this is a partisan exercise will believe it. as i said, from the beginning of the investigation the only way this committee will add any central to what's gone on before is if we can find a way to work together and reach a common conclusion but it's plain that's
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not their object. the chairman might say "ignore the words of our republican leadership, ignore the words of our republican members, ignore the words of our own gop investigator. judge us by our actions." but it is the actions of the committee that are the most damaging of all because they have been singly focused on you. let me ask you briefly, because i want to expand on just the -- what i think is the core theory here. i want to give you a chance to respond to it. as a prosecutor, we're taught every case should have a core theory and the evidence and the witnesses go back to that core theory. and i've wrestled as i've listened to my colleagues today, as i have over 17 months. what is the core theory of their zmas wh case? what are they trying to convey? i have to say i think it's confusing. i think the core theory is this -- that you deliberately interfered with security in benghazi and that resulted in
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people dying. i think that is the case they want to make and notwithstanding how many investigations we've had that have found no merit to that, that is the impression they wish to give. i have to say, i'm confused today because my colleague pointed to an e-mail suggesting you weren't aware we had a presence in benghazi so if you weren't aware we had a presence i don't know how you could have interfered with the security there. but nonetheless, i do think that's what they're aiming at. i know the ambassador was someone you helped pick. i know the ambassador was a friend of yours and i wonder if you would like to comment on what it's like to be the subject of an allegation that you deliberately interfered with security that cost the life of a friend. >> congressman, it's very personally painful accusation. it has been rejected and disproven by non-partisan, dispassionate investigators but nevertheless having it continued to be bandied around is deeply
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distressing to me. you know, i've -- i would imagine i've thought more about what happened than all of you put together. i've lost more sleep than all of you put together. i have been wracking my brain about what more could have been done or should have been done. and so when i took responsibility, i took it as a challenge and an obligation to make sure before i left the state department that what we could learn -- as i'm sure my predecessors did after beirut and after nairobi and dar es salaam and after all the other attacks on our facilities, i'm sure all of them -- republican and democrat alike -- especially where there was loss of american life said, okay, what must we do
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better? how do we protect the men and women that we send without weapons, without support from the military into some of the most dangerous places in the world? and so i will continue to speak out and do everything ache from whatever position i'm in to honor the memory of those we lost and to work as hard as i know to try to create more understanding and cooperation between the state department, our diplomats, our development professionals from usaid and the congress so that the congress is a partner with us. as was the case in previous times. i would like us to get back to those times, congressman. whereas i think one of you said
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beirut we lost far more americans, not once but twice within a year. there was no partisan effort. people rose above politics. a democratic congress worked with a republican administration to say "what do we need learn?" out of that came the legislation for the accountability review board. similarly, after we lost more americans for the bombings in east africa, again, reps and democrats worked together and said "what do we need to do better?" so i'm -- i'm an optimist, congressman, i'm hoping that will be the outcome of this and every other effort so that we really do honor not only those we lost but all those who right as we speak are serving in dangerous places representing the values and the interests of the american people.
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>> thank you, madam secretary. >> the gentleman from california yields back. i'm going to address a couple things he said and then recognize myself. because he invoked the family members of the four, madam secretary and partially this will be for your benefit also i want to specifically address the family members that are here. there are no theory of the prosecution, mr. schiff, because there is no prosecution. there's a very big difference between a prosecution where you already have reached a conclusion and you're just trying to prove it to people. this is an investigation which is why it's so sad that nowhere in that stack that you just put up there were the e-mails of secretary clinton, the e-mails of the ambassador, 50,000 pages worth of documents, eyewitnesses, that's the real tragedy. to the family and the friends. when you're told there have been seven previous investigations and an arv, you should immediately ask "why did you miss so many witnesses? why did you miss so many
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documents?" this is not a prosecution, mr. schiff. you and i are both familiar with them. i've reached no conclusions and i would advise you to not reach any conclusions, either, until we reach the end. there are 20 more witnesses so i'll agree not to reach any conclusions if you'll do the same. with that, madam secretary, regardless of where he ranked in the order of advisors, it is indisputed that a significant number of your e-mails were to or from a sidney blumenthal. now, he did not work for the state department. he didn't work for the u.s. government at all. he wanted to work for the department but the white house said no to him. do you recall who specifically at the white house rejected sidney blumenthal? >> no, i do not. >> after he was turned down for a job at the state department by the white house, he went to work where? >> i think he had a number of consulting contracts with different entities. >> well, if he had a number of them, do you recall any of them?
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>> i know he did some work for my husband. >> well, he worked for the clinton foundation. >> that's correct. >> he worked for media matters. >> i'm sure he did. >> he worked for correct the record. >> i'm sure he did. >> when you were asked about sidney blumenthal you said he was an old friend who sent you unsolicited e-mails which you passed on in some instances because you wanted to hear from people outside what you called the bubble. we will ignore for second whether or not sidney blumenthal is outside the bubble but i wanted to ask you a couple things. because he was an old fwloend knew nothing about libya, was critical of president obama and others that you work with, loved to send you political and image advice, had business interests in libya which he not only alerted you to but solicited your help for and you often
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forwarded his e-mails but usually on after you redacted out any identifier so nobody knew where the information was coming from. what does the word "unsolicited" mean to you? >> it means that i do not ask him to send me the information that he sent me and as i have previously stated some of it i found interesting, some of it i do not. some of it i forwarded, some of it i do not. i do not know anything about any business interest. i thought that just as i said previously newspaper articles, journalists of which he is one, a former journalist, had some interesting insights and so we took them on board and evaluated them and some were helpful and others were not. >> we're going to get to all the points you just made but i want to start with your public comment that these e-mails were
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unsolicited. you wrote to him "another keeper, thanks and please keep them coming." "greetings from kabul and thanks for keeping this stuff coming." "any other info about it" "what are you hearing now?" "got it. will follow up tomorrow. anything else to convey?" now, that one is interesting because that was the very e-mail where mr. blumenthal was asked you to intervene on behalf of a disease deal he was pursuing in libya. what did you mean by "what are you hearing now?" >> i have no idea, congressman. they started out unsolicited and, as i said, some were of interest, i passed them on and some were not so he continued to provide me information that was made available to him. >> i don't want to parse words and i don't want to be
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hypertechnical because it's not a huge point but it's an important point. you didn't say they started off unsolicited. you said they were unsolicited. >> well they were unsolicited. but obviously i did respond to some of them. >> well -- >> and i'm sure that encouraged him. >> anything else to convey? what are you hearing now? i'm going to paris tomorrow night will meet thenc lead joers th -- leaders so this useful. still don't have blackberry coverage post-iran so i have to resort to my new ipad. let me know if you received this. we'll talk about the new ipad in a little bit. here's another one. "this report is in part a response to your questions." that's an e-mail from him to you. "this vort in part a response to your questions. there will be further information in the next day." if you're the one asking him for information, how does that square with the definition of "unsolicited"? >> i said it began that way, mr.
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chairman, and i will add that both chris stevens and gene cretz found some of the information interesting. far more than i could because they knew some of the characters who were being mention and they were the ones, the kind of persons with the expertise that i asked to evaluate to see whether there was any useful information. >> we'll get to that in a second. before you give mr. blumenthal too much credit you agree he didn't write a single one of those cables or memos he sent you. >> i'm sorry, what? >> he didn't where write a single one of those cables or memos. >> i don't know who wrote them. he sent them to me. >> would you be surprised to know not a single one was from him. >> i don't know where he got the information that he was sending to me. >> did you ask? you're send megavery specific detailed intelligence, what is your source? that seems like a good question. >> i learned later he was talking to or sharing information from former american intelligence official zbs s.
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>> by the name of -- >> who wrote those cables. >> i don't know, mr. chairman. >> you had this information passed on to others is but at least on one occasion you miss abedin "can you print without any identifiers?" why would you want his name removed? >> because i thought it would be more important to just look at the substance and to make a determination as to whether or not there was anything to it. >> well, don't people have a right to know who the source of the information so they can determine credibility? >> but he wasn't, as you just said, the source of the information. >> but you didn't know that madam secretary. and that's what you just said. >> no, mr. chairman, i said that i knew that he didn't have the sources to provide that information. i knew he was getting it from somewhere else, whether he knew a lot of journalists, he knew others in washington, it could have been a variety of people! if you're going to determine credibility, don't you want to know the source? >> well, it wasn't credibility so much as trying to follow the threads that were mentioned about individuals and as i already stated, some of it was
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useful and some of it was not. >> well, did the president know mr. blumenthal was advising you? >> he wasn't advising me. mr. chairman -- >> did he know he was your most prolific e-mailer that we have found on the subjects of libya and benghazi? >> that's because i didn't do most of my work about libya on e-mail. >> that's fair. i'm not challenging that, madam secretary. i am not challenging that. all i'm telling you is that documents show he was your most prolific e-mailer on libya and benghazi. and did the president, the same white house that said "you can't hire him" did he know he was advising you? >> he was not advising me and i have no reason to have ever mentioned that or know that the president knew that. >> all right. i want to draw your attention to an e-mail about libya from mr. blumenthal to you dated april 20 2011 and it will be exhibit 67.
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"this is informative. shall we pass this on -- then in pa parentheticals, unidentified -- to the white house?" why would wow take that off? >> a lot of information i reviewed over the yours you often don't have the source of if intelligence. you look at the intelligence and you try to determine whether or not it is credible. whether it can be followed up on. >> well, i'm going to accept the fact that you and i come from different backgrounds because i can tell you that an unsourced comment could never be uttered in any courtroom. >> but we're not talking about courtrooms, mr. chairman, we're talking about intelligence. >> no, we're talking about credibility and the ability to assess who a source is and whether or not that source has ever been to libya, knows anything about libya, or has business interests in libya, all of which would be important if you were going to determine the credibility which i think is why
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you probably took his information off of what you sent to the white house . ? one e-mail he wrote this. "tyler knows him well and says he's a mean vicious little -- i'm not going to say the word but he did. this is an e-mail from blumenthal to you about the president and secretary of defense. here's another one about president's national security advisor. frankly, tom donelan's babbling rhetoric about narratives on a phone briefing of reporters on march 10 has inspired derision among foreign policy analysts
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here and abroad. and here's another from what you say is your old friend sidney blumenthal. this is a quote from him. "i would say obama" and by the way he left the president part out. "i would say obama appears to be intent on seizing defeat from the jaws of victory. he and his political cronies in the white house and chicago are to say the least unenthusiastic about regime change in libya. obama's lukewarm and self-contradicting statements have produced what is at least for the moment operational paralysis. i think that may give us a better understanding of why the white house may have told you you cannot hire hiblumenthal bl been to libya, had no expertise in libya, was critical of the president and others that you worked with, shared polling data
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with you on the intervention in libya, gave you political advice on how to take credit for libya all the while working for the clinton foundation and some pseudo news entities. and madam secretary, he had unfittered access to you. and he used that access at least on one occasion to ask you to intervene on behalf of a business venture. do you recall that? >> you know, mr. chairman, if you don't have any friends who say unkind things privately i con gooj late you. but from my perspective -- >> i'd like to think i'd correct them. >> i don't know what this line of questioning does to help us get to the bottom of the deaths of four americans. >> i'll be happy to help you understand that, madam secretary. >> but i want to reiterate what i said to congresswoman sanchez. these were originally unsolicited. you've just said that perhaps
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the main if not the exclusive author was a former intelligence agent for our country who rose to the highest levels of the cia and who was given credit for being one of the very few who pointed out that the intelligence used by the bush administration to go to war in iraq was wrong so i think that, you know, the sharing of information from an old friend that i do not take at face value, that i sent on to those who were experts is something that, you know, makes sense but it was certainly not in any way the primary source of or the predominant understanding that we had of what was going on in libya and what we needed to be doing. >> well, madam secretary, i'm out of time and we'll pick this back up the next round but i'll let you know ahead of time why it's relevant. it's relevant because our
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ambassador was asked to read and respond sidney blumenthal's drivel. it was sent to him to read and react to, in some instances on the very same day he was asking for security. so i think it's imminently fair to asked why sidney blumenthal had unfittered access to you, madam secretary, with whatever he wanted to talk about and there's not a single solitary e-mail to or from you to or from ambassador stevens. i think that that is fair and we'll take that up. >> will the gentleman yield? >> sure. >> thank you. mr. chairman, you've made several inaccurate statements over the past month as you have tried to defend against multiple republican admissions that the select committee has been wasting millions of tax dollars to damage secretary clinton's bid for president. on sunday you made another inaccurate statement during your
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appearance on "face the nation" and it's being taken up here. here's what you said, and i quote "there are other folks who may have equities in her e-mails and there may be other entities who are evaluating her e-mails. but my interest in them is solely making sure that i get everything i'm entitled to so that i can do my job. the rest of it, classification, clinton foundation, you name it, i have zero interest in it. which is why you haven't seen me send a subpoena related to it or interview a single person other than brian fabiano because i need to know that the record is complete." and i'm going back to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. >> i'm waiting -- >> mr. chairman, let me finish. >> i'm coming, just wait. >> i'm waiting on the inaccurate statement. >> i'm getting there. >> well, we have to take a break. >> well it's not going to take a long. you took up four minutes over so
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let me have three. >> i've let everybody go over, including you. >> thank you very much. you issued a subpoena to sidney blumenthal on may 19, 2015, compelling him to appear for a deposition on june 25, 2015. you issued the subpoena unilaterally without giving select committee members the opportunity to debate or vote on it. you sent two armed marshals to serve the subpoena on mr. blumenthal's wife at their home without ever having sent him a request to participate voluntarily which he would have done. then, mr. chairman, you personally attended mr. bumen all that blumenthal's deposition, you person personally asked him about the clinton foundation and directed your staff to ask questions about the clinton foundation which they did more than 50 times. knees these facts directly contradict the statements you made on national television. >> no, sir, with all due respect, they do not.
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we just heard e-mail after e-mail after e-mail about libya and benghazi that sidney blumenthal sent to the secretary of state. i don't care if he sent it by morse code, carrier pigeon, smoke signals, the fact that he happened to send it by e-mail is irrelevant. what is relevant is that he was sending information to the secretary of state. that is what's relevant. now, with respect to the subpoena, if he bothered to answer the telephone calls of our committee he would haven't needed a. >> would the gentleman yield? >> i'll be happy to but you need to make sure the entire record is correct. >> and that's exactly what i want to do. >> go ahead. >> i'm about to tell you. i move we put into the record the entire transcript of sidney blumenthal. we're going to release the e-mails, let's do the transcript. that way the world can see. >> it i second that motion. >> well, we didn't -- >> that motion has been seconded? >> we won't take that up in a hearing. >> mr. chairman, i have consulted with the palme
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parliamentarian and they inform us we have a right. you asked for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. that's what we want to have. let the world see. >> it why is it that you only want mr. blumenthal's transcript released? >> i'd like to have all of them released. >> the survivors? even their name? you want that released? >> let me tell you something -- >> the only one you've asked for is sidney blumenthal. that's the only one you've asked for, miss mills. >> cheryl mills. >> that's not true. >> that's two out of 54. >> the chairman asked for a recorded vote? >> i ask for a recorded vote on the blumenthal -- you said from the beginning we want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. why don't we put the entire transcript out there and let the world see it? what do you have to hide? >> these are the only e-mails that you have to release and in fairness to mr. blumenthal and the american people, in the interest of a complete record, if you're going to release the e-mails, release the transcript where he has a chance to give the context of those e-mails. >> well, you keep referring to blumenthal e-mails. i would hasten to remind both of
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you the only reason we have blumenthal e-mails is because he e-mailed the secretary of state. those are her e-mails. that's why they were released. they're not blumenthal's e-mails and she wanted all of her e-m l e-mails released. she's been saying since march i want the entire world to see my e-mails. when he will sidney blumenthal's e-mails are part of that. so here's what i'll do. i'll be happy to talk to the parliamentarian because the parliamentarian told me your motion would not be in order for a hearing but at the latest we'll take a vote and the first we can we are back after this week we'll have a business meeting, we can take up mr. blumenthal's transcript and other transcripts and while we're there we can take up the 20 some odd outstanding requests. why don't we take it up then? >> mr. chairman, the allegations that have been made against him are refuted by his own testimony, in the interest of not having -- >> that's your opinion, adam. >> if you disagree, release the transcripts.
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>> what allegation? >> why conceal the transcripts? even if the motion were not in order, you have to power to release them. >> i'll tell you why, because i'm not going to release one transcript of someone who knows nothing of libya by his own admission while people who risk their lives -- you have no interest in their story getting out. you don't want the 18 ds agents, you don't want the cia agents. the only transcripts you want released from ms. mills and sidney blumenthal's. so we'll take all of this in november. >> the only person you are interested in asking about during her entire questioning were sidney blumenthal. if you're so interested in him, release the transcript. you released his e-mails, they're the only witness. so you're asking why are we only ask asking for his. >> i'm going to ask the gentleman from california to do a better job of characterizing. these are not sidney blumenthal's e-mails. these are secretary clinton'
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the hear williing will come to order. the question on the motion to include the document in the record the chair opposes the motion. those in favor of the motion may signify by saying aye. those opposed by no. >> roll call. >> mr. chairman, i ask for a recorded vote. >> recorded vote has been requested. chairman's vote -- yeah, i'm sorry. secretary call the roll. >> mr. westmoreland.
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>> no. >> mr. westmoreland votes no. mr. jordan. >> mr. who? >> sorry, mr. jordan. >> no. >> mr. jordan votes no. mr. ross consume. >> no. >> mr. ross consume vote nos. mr. pompao. >> no. >> mrs. roby. >> no. >> mrs. brooks. >> no. >> mr. cummings. >> yes. >> mr. smith. >> aye. >> mr. schiff. >> aye. >> ms. sanchez. >> aye. >> miss duckworth.
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>> aye. >> the clerk will report. >> and mr. gowdy. >> no. >> mr. gowdy votes no. yea 5, nos 8. >> and the motion is not agreed to. madame secretary -- >> my apology, sir. it was 7. >> motion still not agreed to. even south carolina math can figure that out. madame secretary, before we broke, there was a question asked that i thought was a fair question, which is why was i talking about mr. blumenthal's e-mails. i do think that's a fair question. i think it's an equally it fair question to ask why you were
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reading mr. blumenthal's e-mails. i think both are fair. so i want to go to june of 2012 which is an interesting time period to look at. charlene lamb was an employee of the state department ande-mail, read it, but where she describes benghazi as a soft target, attacks on americans not staffed adequate thely, a very haunting e-mail to read. it was actually three months to the day when our four fellow citizens were killed. and that is on june 7, 2012. also on june 7 of 2012, your deputy chief of staff mr. jake sullivan is e-mailing ambassador stevens asking ambassador to look at a memo sydney blumenthal sent you. and in fact mr. sullivan writes for ambassador, chris, checking
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in with with you on this report. any reactions? that is on exactly the same day that i believe our ambassador's papers were accepted in libya. it's the day after an ied attack on our compound and chris stevens is being asked to read and react to an e-mail by sydney blumenthal from your deputy chief of staff. this is what he's writing on the 7th after he's been turned down on a request for more security. is this o this is our ambassador. appreciate you giving this proposal a, even if the conclusion was not the favorable for us. we'd be interested in pursuing the other avenue you suggest, high threat trained agents best.
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so i have this contrast in my hipd. ambassador newly in place. it's a day after an attack on our facility. your deputy chief of staff is sending him an e-mail from sydney blumenthal asking him to take time to read and react to it. and then to the best of my recollection, that's forwarded to you. so help us understand how sydney blumenthal had that kind of access to you, madame secretary, but ambassador did not. >> thank you, mr. chairman. because i think that your question does help to clarify matters. chris stevens e-mailed regularly with jake sullivan one of my closest aides in the state department. he could have e-mailed to mr. sullivan knowing that it would have been immediately responded to on any issue that was of concern to him and he did not raise issues about security on
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that day or other days. and i think it's important to recognize that when apambassador is at post overseoverseas, espe as experienced as chris stevens, he knows where to pull the levers, where to go for information, where to register concerns. and i think he did exactly as one might have expected. he dealt with security issues through dealing with the security professionals who were the ones making the assessments. and i think that ambassador stevens understood completely that that is where the experts were and that is where anything he requested or anything he was questioning should be directed. >> speaking of experts, who is victoria newland? >> a very experienced diplomat.
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she served as our ambassador to nato appointed by george w. w h bush. she served as a foreign service officer delegated to the white house for vice president cheney. she served as the spokesperson for the state department during my tenure and she is currently the assistant secretary for europe under secretary kerry. >> she wrote this to the ambassador on june 13, 2012, that is a week after the facility was attacked, it is only a handful of days after he was turned down on a specific request for more security. chris, i know you have your hands full, but we'd like your advice about public messaging on the state of violence in libya over the past ten days. so she's asking him for help with public messaging. jake sullivan which is the ear and a ha other half of the question that i don't think we got, to i
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understand that chris stevens was a rule follower. i haund. understand that. my question is not why krigs stevens didn't contact you, but why this jake sullivan send chris stevens a blumenthal e-mail to read and react to on a day after the facility was attacked, the same day he was denied a request for more security and instead of e-mail traffic back and forth about security, it's read and react to a blumenthal e-mail. >> well, i think any ambassador if one were sitting before the committee would say that they handled a lot of incoming information and requests, some of it was about what was happening in-country, some of about t. was about what was happening back in the united states. and chris felt strongly that the united states needed to remain in and committed to libya. so he was concerned that there
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might be a feeling on the part of some either in the state department or elsewhere in the government that we shouldn't be in libya. and he was adamantly in favor of us staying in libya. so part of what the discussion with him and jake sullivan and others was, you know, how do we best convey what the stakes the united states has in staying involved in libya would be. and i thought that was very much in keeping with both his assessment and his experience. >> well, i appreciate your perspective, madame secretary. let me share with you my perspective. and if you need to take time to read a note, i'm happy to pause. >> no, i'm just being remimded which i think is important that remember chris spent the vast majority of his time in tripoli, not benghazi. so a lot of what he was looking at is how you deal with not only those in authority positions in libya who were based in tripoli at that time, but also representatives of other governments and the like.
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and i think it is fair to say that anytime you're trying to figure out what is the best argument to make especially if you're someone like chris stevens trying to put together and make the best argument about why the united states should remain committed to libya and others, as well, he's going to engage in conversations about that. >> well, with respect, madame secretary, no matter what city he was in in libya, having to stop and provide public messaging advice to your press shop and having to read and respond to an e-mail sent by sydney blumenthal, it didn't matter what town you're in, he needed security help. he didn't need help messaging the violence. he needed help actually with the violence. you have said several times this morning that you had people and processes in place. and i want to ask you about an e e-mail sent to you by another one of your aids, miss ooma an
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dean, she e-mailed you that the libyan people needed medicine, gasoline, diesel and milk. do you know how long it took you to respond to that e-mail? >> well, i responded to it very quickly. >> 4 minutes. my question, and i think it's a fair one, is the libyan people had their needs responded to directly by you in 4 minutes. and there is no record of our security folks ever even making to your inbox. so if you had people and processes in place for security, did you not the also have people this processes and place for medicine, gasoline, diesel, milk? >> you know, mr. chairman, i've said it before and i will say it again, i'll say it as many times as is necessary to respond.
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chris stevens communicated regularly with the members of my staff. he did not raise security with the members of my staff. i communicated with him about certain issues. he did not raise security with me. he raised security with the security professionals. i know that's not the answer you want to hear because it's being asked in many different ways by xl committee members. but those are the facts. ambassadors in the field are engaged in many different tasks. they're basically our chief representative of the president of the united states. so they deal with everything from, you know, foreign aid to -- and chris stevens had regular contact with members of
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my staff and he does not raise security issues. now, some of it may have been because despite what was implied earlier, there was a good back and forth about security and many of the requests that came from embassy tripoli, both for tripoli and for benghazi were acted on affirmatively. others were not. that is what an ambassador especially a diplomat as experienced as chris stevens would expect, that it would be unlikely to be able to get every one of your requests immediately answered positively. so, yes, he had regular contact with my aides. he did not raise security with with me. and the security questions and requests were handled by the security professionals. >> with all due respect, those are two separate issues. who chris stevens had access to
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is one issue. who had sack saaccess to you isr issue. you had processes in place for people who wanted to send you meaningless political advice. and also for people who want to fuel and also processes in place for people who want to provide insults toward folks you want to work with in theed administration. all of that made it directly into your inbox. my question is how did you decide when to invoke a people and process and who just got to come straight to you? because it looked like certain things got the straight to your inbox and the request for more security did not. and while you're answering that, i want to inform and instruct why i'm asking it. you have mentioned the arb on a number of occasions again today. this was not the first arb. we had one after kenya and tan
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tan is zena a. the secretary of state should certa personally review the security situation of our embassy facilities. that arb put the responsibility squarely on you. so with respect to will that previous arb recommendation, and in contrast what did make your inbox versus what did not, did you personally review our security situation as the previous ar bb required? >> let me see if i can answer the many parts of your question. yes, personal e-mail came to my personal account. work-related e-mail did, as well. and i also relied on a number of my aides and staff members as well as experienced foreign service officers and civil servants who were similarly engaged in gathering information and sharing it. and as i said and i will repeat,
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chris stevens communicated with with a number of people that i worked with on a daily basis in the state department. so far as i know, he did not raise any issue of security with any of those people. he raised it where he knew it would be properly addressed. if he had raised it with me, i would be here telling you he had. he did not. and so i think it's important to try to separate out the various elements of your question, mr. chairman, and i will do my best to continue to try to answer your questions. but i have said before and i will repeat again, sid plume sma blumenthal was not my adviser official or unofficial about libya. he was not involved in any of the meetings, conversations, other efforts to obtain information in order to act on
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it. on occasion i did forward what he sent me to make sure it was in the mix so that if it was useful, it could be put to use. and i believe in response to the e-mail you pointed out originally from ambassador stevens, he actually said it rang true and it was worth looking in to. so i think it's important that we separate out the fact that mr. blu mr. blumenthal was not my adviser. he was not passing on official information. he like a number of my friends who would happened me a newspaper article, would button hole me a reception and say what about this or what about that. we're trying to be helpful. some of it was, a lot of it wasn't. >> the chair will now recognize the gentle lady from california, ms. sanchez. >> i listened very carefully when mr. gowdy was questioning you. we waited more than a year to
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finally get you up here to testify. we spent almost $5 million and we interviewed about 54 witnesses. and when the chairman finally got his chance to question you, he asked you -- he quibbled actually over the definition of the word unsolicited. as if that wasn't bad enough, then he doubled down on this idea that sydney blumenthal was your primary adviser on libya, a claim that we heard the "washington post" awarded for pinocchios. he said on sunday on national television that he had zero interest in the clinton foundation and other topic, but then he just spent his full questioning time in the first round asking you about the clinton foundation, media matters and other topics that didn't really have anything to do with the attacks that occurred in benghazi. and my own sense of incredulity was really, really is this why we're asked you to come to testify about that? the overwhelming sense that i get from the republican side of the aisle is they seem to be
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arguing that sydney blumenthal had access to you while ambassador stevens did not. do you think that's an accurate statement? >> of course not, congresswoman. you know, you didn't need my e-mail address to get my attention. in fact most of the work i did as i said this morning had nothing to do with my e-mails. it had to do with the kind of meetings and materials that were provided to me through those who were responsible for making decisions on a whole range of issues. and as i just told the chairman, if ambassador stevens had grave concerns that he wanted raised with me, he certainly knew how do that. >> he could speak to your office or your staff? >> absolutely. >> or you directly on the telephone? >> absolutely. >> did he ever ask you for your personal e-mail address and you turned him down? >> no, he did not 37. >> the other thing that i'm
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hearing from the other side of the aisle is they're arguing that there was this7. >> the other thing that i'm hearing from the other side of the aisle is they're arguing that there was this. >> the other thing that i'm hearing from the other side of the aisle is they're arguing that there was this. >> the other thing that i'm hearing from the other side of the aisle is they're arguing that there was this -- security was, you know -- it was sort of decomposing in eastern libya. and that no security improvements were ever made to the benghazi outpost. that's not a true statement, is it? >> no, it is not. >> in fact there were many security enhancements that were asked for that were actually made, although there were others that were -- other requests that were not fulfilled? >> that's correct. >> the other line of questioning that sort of surprises me is that over the course of this investigation, republicans have repeatedly asked why the u.s. was still this benghazi on the night of the attacks. during the select committee's first hearing more than a year ago, the chairman posed the following question. we know the risk of being in benghazi. can you tell us what our policy was this libya that overcame those risks. in other words, why were we there? and the accountability review board had already answered that
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question. it explained that benghazi was the largest city and historical power center in eastern libya. further went on to say although the rebel-led transitional council declared tripoli would continue to view the capital of post gadhafi libya, many of the influential players remained based in benghazi. and the arb went on to explain ambassador stevens advocated for a u.s. presence in benghazi and his status as the leading u.s. government advocate on libya policy and his expertise on benghazi in particular caused washington to give unusual deference to his judgments. secretary clinton, do you agree, was ambassador stevens a leading expert on libyan policy and did you also give his opinions a lot of weight and respect? >> yes, i did. >> and do you recall ambassador stevens advocating from the ground up for continued u.s. presence specifically in benghazi? >> yes, he did. >> in fact ambassador stevens' e-mails confirm what you've just
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stated. mr. chairman, i would ask you now as consent to enter this document into the record. it's being passed out to the members of the committee. >> without objection. >> secretary clinton, i understand this e-mail is not one that you have seen before as it was not addressed or sent to you, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> in the e-mail before you, then special envoy stevens wrote this proposal for continued presence in benghazi at embassy tripoli -- as embassy tripoli was reopened following the fall of gadhafi. option a was a slimmed down compound and option b was a virtual presence with zero full-time state department staff in benghazi. special envoy stevens sent this e-mail to ambassador to libya, chief of mission and director of the office of affairs. they had a combined 83 years of foreign service experience. would the recommendation of this
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team be given a fair amount of weight within the department? >> yes, it would. >> and is that the way that it should work that the views of experienced diplomats should count in decision making? >> they certainly did to me and i think that should be the practice. >> in the same e-mail, stevens states my personal recommendation would be option a, which was the option for a slimmed down compound. he then notes a few of his key reaction na reaction als for wanting to say. in an earlier e-mail, stevens provided more reasons including the opportunity to, quote, monitor political trends and public sentiment regarding the new libya. the revolution began in eastern libya and the view of these 2 million inhabitants will certainly influence events going forward. secretary clinton, do you agree with ambassador stevens' view that there were important reasons to have a presence in benghazi despite the risks? >> yes, i do.
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>> other documents show that am ba ambassador stevens continued to advocate for u.s. presence. at the end of august just two week before the attacks, he was working on a proposal for permanent presence and, quote, a permanent branch office in benghazi to provide a permanent platform to protect u.s. national security interests in the region and to promote a stronger healthier and more vibrant bilateral relationship with the new, free and democratic libya. while ambassador stevens took seriously the significant security incidents that occurred in june, he never decided that the risks youth weighkrou outwe benefit. he worked with his counterparts to try to manage that risk as best they could. in its report, the benghazi accountability review board found, quote, the total elimination of risk is a
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nonstarter for u.s. diplomacy given the need for the u.s. government to be present in places where stability and security are often most profoundly lacking and host government support is sometimes minimal to nonexistent. secretary clinton, this is such a difficult issue. the balancing of interests. from your perspective as a former senator and secretary of state, how do you best ensure that we are striking the right balance going forward? >> well, congresswoman, thank you for that question because i do think that's what we should be talking about and several of you have posed similar questions. i think you do start with the best expert and experienced advice that you can get from across our government. and as you rightly point out, chris stevens never recommended that we close benghazi. heed ed advocated for keeping
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benghazi open and as you rightly referred in this e-mail for a particular configuration that would fulfill the needs of our country being represented there. obviously you have to constantly do this balancing act that i referred to earlier today and most times we get it right. in fact the vast majority of times, we get it right. with benghazi, the cia did not have any plans to close their facility. the opinion of those with the greatest understanding of our mission, our diplomatic mission in benghazi was exactly the same, that we should not close down, we should not leave benghazi. and it's obviously something that you have to be constantly evaluating. and all of these difficult
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unstable spots around the world. but i appreciate your bringing to the committee's attention the strong opinion of the man who knew the most and was on the ground and who understood what we were trying to achieve this benghazi, ambassador stevens. >> was it your understanding that he certainly understood the risk of being there? >> he definitely understood the risks, yes. >> the claihair will now recogn miss brooks. >> sect chretary clinton, i'd l to ask you a witness about your decision making and the discussions you had as it related to how long the benghazi mission itself was going to last. i'm putting up a map because most of us don't know much when the geography of libya and as we've talked about these various communities, i don't think most people realized.
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we know from my last round that chris stevens went into ben dwaz benghazi in april of 2011. i want to talk to but what happened the rest of that year. and just because there was a lot going on, i thought it would be helpful to have this map. so by mid-july, our government formally recognized the tmc as the official government of libya and t this. c was based in benghazi at that time. and in august after the gadhafi government fell, gadhafi left tripoli and he went into hiding in sert. in in september, we radio he open our embassy and chris stevens stayed in benghazi. does that sound like an accurate summary of the summer of 2011?
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>> it does sound accurate except i'm not sure exactly the duration of ambassador stevens' presence in benghazi during those months. >> well, that leads to my next question. what was your plan for the mission in the fall of 2011 and going forward? what were the discussions you had and who did you have those discussions with about the mission of benghazi going forward in 2011? >> well, as you may have heard, congresswoman, the e-mail that congresswoman sanchez introduced into the record was from the fall of 2011. and there was quite a discussion going on between officials in the state department, in the intelligence community, in both washington and libya about the path forward. the transitional national
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council had been based in benghazi. and there was a dispute even within the libyans themselves as to whether they would split the government, whether the government would be located predominantly but not exclusively in tripoli or as some were hoping predominantly but not exclusively in benghazi. so this was all a very live subject that was being debated both this libya and with respect to what our response would be in washington. so we at chris stevens' strong urging and that of our of our experienced diplomats wanted to maintain a presence in benghazi in some form. we reopened our embassy in contribu tripoli which had been the historical capital certainly under gadhafi. but this was a constant discussion about what we should do when and where. and i think that is why this
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e-mail from chris stevens about his recommendations is so informative. >> well, thank you and i'll get to that in just a moment. but i have to ask you, i assume that your chief of staff cheryl mills was continintimate lir in with piece discussions with you and with your top staff in she's one of your staff as you were referring to them, is that right? >> she covered a broad range of issues. i'm sure she was involved in some of the discussions, but she had many other responsibilities, so i can't say all of them. >> i'd like to refer to you an update on tripoli operations provided to cheryl mills on september 14th. and at the top of that two-page memo, assumptions for benghazi in september down of operations over the next six months, transition to tripoli only -- transition to tripoli by january of 2012. in consulate.
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no consulate meant no consulate in benghazi. this was in september. would that be fair and accurate? and were you in that briefing with ms. mills or did she brief you about the fact that in september the game plan was to shut down benghazi? >> well, i think you have to look at that in context, congresswoman. there was not an active plan for a consulate in benghazi at any point during this period. that is not what the compound in benghazi was. it was a temporary facility placed there to help us make a determination as to what we would need going forward in benghazi -- >> excuse me, madam secretary. >> there was a strong argument that chris stevens and others made that they hoped eventually there might be a consulate, but there was never an agreement to have a consulate. >> if, in fact, it had been deemed a consulate, it would have had a different level of security than a temporary mission compound, is that accurate? consulates have certain levels
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of security. there are standards, there are protocols. when it is a consulatconsulate, a certain level of security. >> that is the hoped-for outcome, that is not what happens in the beginning especially the hot spots and the areas where a consulate is stood up. >> can you talk with me about the decision, then -- there is a briefing with respect to -- after the closing, rather, of the consulate in benghazi by january of 2012. we know it didn't close. it did not close. you went to tripoli in october of 2011. the ambassador was still there. how about chris stevens? did chris stevens come over from benghazi to see you when you went for the big trip in october of '11? >> i don't recall. i don't recall if he did or not. this was -- this -- this was about ambassador cretz and he was the person that we were meeting with at that time.
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>> what was your purpose for meeting with ambassador cretz if chris stevens was your expert in libya? >> the ambassador was an expert as well. ambassador cretz was our ambassador. you remember as i mentioned to you before, he had been our ambassad ambassador, and then because he reported very accurately about what he observed regarding gadhafi and gadhafi's hen ofmen when wikileaks disclosed internal u.s. government cables and gene cretz's cables were publicized talking very critically about gadhafi he was then subjected to threats and we took him out. we did not close the embassy at that time. so, he had returned to finish out his time and we were in the process of moving him to another assignment and nominating chris stevens to replace him. >> but you didn't, during that one trip to libya, you didn't
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talk to chris stevens, best of your recollection -- >> while i was in libya, i don't recall that. of course we consulted with him in respect to planning the trip. who we would meet with and what we would ask for. we were trying very hard to get people in positions of authority at that time in libya to let us work with them on everything from border security to collecting weapons and trying to disarm the militias. we had a lot of business we were doing with them. >> so, going back to miss sanchez's e-mail with respect from john stevens to miss polich it talks about option "a" and slimming down the compound and so he weighed in on -- in october he was weighing in on whether or not the compound should stay open. but i'd like to direct your attention to an e-mail that's at tab four, dated december 15th from chris stevens. and i might add for the record, we do not still to this day have all of chris stevens e-mails.
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we received 1,300 more this week. we received most of them last week. we don't have the universe yet of ambassador stevens e-mails. but he e-mailed to a reporting officer who we know was in benghazi still. he wrote, "interesting. has security improved in benghazi in recent weeks? also curious what you guys decided to do regarding future of the compound." he was in washington, d.c., or back in the states during that time, and in december ambassador stevens, your soon-to-be ambassador, didn't know what was going to happen with the compound in benghazi, how is that possible? >> well, congresswoman, one of the great attributes that chris stevens had was a really good sense of humor. and i just see him smiling as he's typing this. because it is clearly in response to the e-mail down below talking about picking up a
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few, quote, fire sale items from the brits. >> sure. those fire sale items are barricades. >> that's right. >> they are additional -- >> that's right. >> -- requests for security -- >> that's right. >> -- for the compound. that's what the fire sale was, because we weren't providing enough physical security for the compound, isn't that right? so they're picking up a fire sale because other consulates are putting out, other countries are pulling out. >> i thought it showed their entrepreneurial spirit, congresswoman, and i applaud them for doing so. we did respond to a number of the security requests, the physical security requests. the posters that were up earlier this morning were only about the number of diplomatic security personnel. you're talking about physical -- physical barriers, physical additions to the compound. there were quite a few of those that were undertaken. >> but how is it that mr. stevens did not know in december whether or not the compound was going to remain open?
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>> well -- >> or do you think that was a joke he was making? >> well, i think that if it -- if it were not an example of his sense of humor, it was also as part of the ongoing discussion about mission benghazi's future which he went to great lengths to describe what he thought should be done. you know, a lot of it was trying to decide, could we afford it. could we maintain it. what did we need to have there. so, yes, there was an ongoing discussion. and i think he knew he was going to be in line to go to tripoli and he wanted to know exactly what the decision was going to be about the compound. he had weighed in, not only in that e-mail but in numerous discussions with his colleagues back at the state department. >> and finally, secretary clinton, we know that the compound, the benghazi mission, was extended for yet another year. because that same month your benghazi point person here in washington jeff feldman, sent a
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memo wanting to extend benghazi through 2012. and he sent it to undersecretary patrick kennedy who approved it. another high-level official who, by the way, for the record state department has given us none of undersecretary patrick kennedy's e-mails yet. same with jeffrey feltman, very high-level officials within the state department. are you familiar with that memo sent on december 27th entitled "future of operations in benghazi, libya"? are you familiar with that memo and if so did secretary feltman discuss that with you at the time and discuss extending the mission in benghazi in democrats of '11? >> i'm familiar that there was an ongoing discussion about the future of the mission in benghazi -- >> a discussion between whom, ma'am? >> between all of the relevant officials in the state department. >> help me with understanding -- >> jeff feltman was one of them. >> who else? >> chris stevens was one of them. but there were many others who had information and expertise to
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add to it. and there was a recommendation that benghazi be continued through 2012 as part of the continuing evaluation of whether or what we wanted to have on a more permanent basis in benghazi. >> and do you recall, were you in those discussions? were you specifically in those meetings? you've shared that you didn't do a lot by e-mail, that you had more meetings than briefings. were you in those meetings about extending benghazi through the end of the year? >> there were certainly meetings in which i was advised about the process being undertaken as to determine whether benghazi should be extended. so, yes, i was aware of the process that was ongoing, and i was kept up to date about it. >> and were there any minutes or any briefings -- >> the gentle lady's time has expired. >> way over. >> the chair would recognize.
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>> ambassador stevens had access to you. >> yes, he did. >> i don't have the name in front of me, but ambassador in russia said that, you know, he always had access to you, always had constant communication with you, never had your e-mail address. >> that's right. >> i would hope that ambassadors would have more direct and immediate lines of communication, and ambassador stevens certainly did -- >> correyes. >> -- correct? and did ambassador stevens ever advocate either leaving libya or abandoning benghazi? >> could the contrary, congressman, he was a very strong advocate for staying in libya, including benghazi. >> i think what we've learned here is, well, nothing frankly. that we didn't know already. the security situation in libya was dangerous. >> right. >> without question. would you say that ambassador stevens was unaware of any aspect of that? >> no, i would not. i think he was very aware.
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>> so, he knew the security situation in libya quite well. >> that's right. >> and yet -- again, i want to be clear on this. in his communications with you, when he had many, even if he didn't have your e-mail address, did he ever say, you know, did he raise the security issue directly with you? >> no, he did not. >> and, you know, obviously he chose to go to benghazi. he, as you have described earlier, as, gosh, all across the world today, diplomats are weighing the risks and the benefits in a lot of dangerous places. and he had to do that -- >> yes. >> -- and he chose to go to benghazi. >> he did. and congressman, ambassadors in the countries they are representing the united states in do not as a practice ask permission from the state department to travel in the country where they are stationed. >> right. as well they should not.
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they need to be in charge of their country. also point out, you know, on the question of e-mails and which ones you received and haven't received, unfortunately the state department, which has been spending an enormous amount of time producing documents for this commitf ffcommittee, canno thousands of e-mails at the drop of the hat the committee chose to prioritize your e-mails and cheryl mills' e-mails and cindy blumenthal's e-mails to you and they chose to prioritize those e-mails over the others. the state department is trying to get those e-mails but it is a the priority of the committee. the other point i want to make, and i won't take the full ten minutes here. a lot of accusations have been made back and forth about things that were said that were or were not true. i think the one thing that was said in this hearing that is clearly the farthest from the truth is that this is not a prosecution. if you listen to the other side,
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this is unquestionably exactly that, a prosecution. i mean, i ask viewers to just go back and listen to chairman gowdy's questioning of you before the first break and tell me that that's not a prosecution. and i think, again, i don't know if shame, embarrassment, whatever word you wish to choose, it shouldn't be a prosecution, you know, we have the, you know, former secretary of state here. we should be genuinely trying to inquire about how we can gather more information. now, the only interesting facts that seem to be brought up are always referenced back to the arb, which just points up the fact that the information that we need and, again, i really want to emphasize this was a serious, serious matter for the united states. a loss of four americans is something we need to take incredibly seriously and investigate and we did. and the information that we found out, as you pointed out, was not always flattering. there was no question that mistakes were made.
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and we hopefully learned from them. but that was investigated. so, what is the purpose of this committee? and, you know, when you look at the e. mails they request and you look at the questioning, the purpose of this committee is to prosecute you. there will be time enough for that in the next year and, you know, people will do it. we don't need to spend $4.7 million and 17 months to simply prosecute you. and all the questions about, look, the security situation was well known in libya. the security situation in pakistan is well known. i visited the embassy in yemen in 2009 about a month after someone had shot a rocket-propelled grenade through the front door. the security situation there is incredibly serious as well as it is in a whole lot of other places, and those are difficult decisions. but the effort here today seems to be that somehow you personally decided not to do your job in libya. okay? you were apparently the advocate
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of the policy in libya, apparently passionate about it, but not passionate enough to care about the security situation in libya and, you know, chris stevens incredibly passionate about libya. wanted to make that country work. now, it has proven very, very difficult. we want to go back to moammar gadhafi in charge, i don't think so, to make a policy point as long as i have a few minutes. it's interesting to juxtapose libya with syria. because just as many of my republican colleagues are ripping apart the obama administration and all those involved for choosing to remove gadhafi, they are ripping apart the obama administration, all the current officials, for choosing not to get involved in syria. what that points up, frankly, is the difficulty of the job that you had. and i thank you for taking it. i'm not sure i would be so bold. it is a very, very dangerous world. bad things are going to happen. and what we are witnessing today
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is if bad things happen, you know, you will be dragged out over months and months and months in this partisan atmosphere and that is very, very unfortunate. it needed to be investigated, you know, 9/11, we didn't investigate 9/11, you know, 9/11/2001 just to specify, with the length and depth that we have chose to investigate this. so, again, i come back to the central point of the central problem with this committee. it is a prosecution. it is a partisan exercise. it is not trying to investigate and find out the truth. and, again, we are now the math here, five hours into it, count the break, maybe four hours into it. we have learned nothing substantively new about what happened in benghazi. very serious things happened. they were investigated. they were reported. mistakes were made. they were reported. but this committee and all that
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time and effort has unearthed nothing. instead they want to prosecute you. and you rip apart your every word, your every e-mail. two staffers five levels down from you that said something bad about you? i mean, my goodness, i hope i don't ever have to undergo that kind of scrutiny. i would not survive it. and i don't think many would. so, you know, i hope in the hours that we have left to do this that we will try to circle back to learning something new, to figuring out how we can best strike that balance that you described of being present in the world but also trying to keep our people safe throughout the history of the country, my aunt was actually a foreign service officer way back when, and, you know, you know, we have lost many diplomats and she tells me about it all the time. and, you know, it's a difficult balance. if we can get back to that, if we can learn something new about what happened in benghazi, i think that might be helpful.
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but right now this committee is not doing a service to the four people who died or their families or to preventing any of these future incidents from happening. so, i thank you for your testimony. i thank you for your leadership and your willingness to do a very, very difficult job and with that i yield the remaining of my time. >> madam secretary, maybe an hour or so ago we were talking about the diplomatic security folks on the night of the incident, and it appeared that you wanted to say a little bit more about that and what they -- speaking of that -- the incident, would you like to elaborate? >> well, thank you, congressman. you know, i don't want anything that is said to me or about me to take away from the heroic efforts that the diplomatic security officers exhibited. the five men who were with chris
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and shawn smith risked their lives repeatedly. and were themselves under grave threat. i wanted to point out that even when we try to get it right, which we do try, sometimes there are unintended consequences. and there is an example out of this tragedy. coming out of previous assessments of attacks on facilities, we now have safe havens, safe rooms in facilities particularly residences. the diplomatic security officers were able to get both chris and shawn into that safe room. of course, the idea behind the safe room, why security experts advocated for them, was to
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protect our civilians, our d diplomats from attacks like the one that was occurring. the attackers used diesel fuel to set the compound on fire. and the safe room was anything but safe. i'm sure the committee members know that neither chris stevens nor shawn smith died from injuries directly inflicted by the attackers. they both died of smoke inhalation. and one of the recommendations in this arb report is that when we have safe havens, we need to have equipment that will enable people that are safe within them to withstand what happened in benghazi. the lead diplomatic security officer who was with both the
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ambassador and shawn smith endeavored to lead them to safety through a wall of black smoke. he wanted to get them out of the compound, interior up to the roof, where they could be out of the fire and also out of the attackers' assault. he himself nearly died of smoke inhalation. when he looked around to make sure that both shawn and chris were with him, he couldn't find them. rather than proceeding and saving himself, which would be a natural human instinct, he turned back into that black diesel smoke desperately trying to find chris and shawn. he did find shawn, and shawn had
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succumbed to smoke inhalation, and the diplomatic security officer managed to take shawn out of the building. he could not find chris stevens. one of the horrors of the hours after the attack was our failure to be able to find where the ambassador was. we hoped against hope that he had somehow gotten himself out of the compound and he was alive somewhere maybe in the back. and additional efforts by the diplomatic security officers and then eventually by the cia reinforcements that arrived to find his body or to find him hopefully were unsuccessful. and they had to withdraw because of the continuing attack back to the cia annex before we knew what had happened to the
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ambassador. we were desperate. and we were trying to call everybody we knew in benghazi, in libya, get additional help. what appears to have happened at some point later is that libyans found ambassador stevens, and they carried him to the hospital in benghazi. and libyan doctors labored nearly two hours to try to resuscitate him. and i mention all of this because i want not just the committee members but any viewers in the public to understand that this was the fog of war. that the diplomatic security officers and later the cia officers responded with heroism,
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professionalism as they had been trained to do. we thought things would be safe once they took refuge in the cia annex. and as we know even though that was a highly fortified, much more secure facility than our diplomatic compound and one that we had nothing to do with in the state department, it turned out also to be a target for the militants, which is where the two cia contractors, mr. woods and mr. doherty, died. but in looking at all of the information, the accountability review board and particularly admiral mullen who was focused on what happened, what the security personnel did that night, came out agreeing that they were heroic and they did all they could do to try to save their colleagues' lives.
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>> the gentleman yields back. madam secretary, i apprec yate you go iing through their heroi. it infuriates me to hear folks to my left who don't raise a single whistle per about spending $50 million to train 5 isis fighters but god forbid we spend one-tenth of that to give some answers to the family members sitting on the first row. so, i appreciate you discussing their heroism while some of my colleagues discuss money. with that, mr. pompeo. >> i think mr. smith gave a soliloquy. i think it was eloquent, but it was representative of the democrats on this panel since may of 2014. not one question for a witness. they say they want to get to the matter of the truth but the
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truth of the matter is they spend most of the time today attacking members of this committee and this process and i regret that i think that's a violation of their duty to the country and most importantly their duty to the families. i want to go back to a couple things i talked to you about a bit before, madam secretary. ambassador stevens didn't have your e-mail, correct? your personal e-mail? >> i'm sorry, what did you ask me? >> ambassador stevens didn't have your personal e-mail, we've established that. >> that's right. >> did he have your cell phone number? >> no, but he had the 24-hour number in the state department that can reach me 24/7. >> yes, ma'am. did he have the fax number? >> he had the fax number of the state department in. >> did he have usual home address? >> no, i don't think any ambassador has ever asked me for that. >> did he ever stop by your house? >> no, he did not, congressman. >> mr. blumenthal had each of those and did each of those things. this man who provided you so
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much information on libya had access to you in ways that were very different than the access that a very senior diplomat had to your -- to you and your person. i'd ask -- i had a picture up here a bit ago of a man that you said you didn't recognize who he was. were you ever briefed that he was present at the compound the night that ambassador stevens was killed? >> we are trying to track down the basis of your question, congressman. we have no information at this time. >> my question is a yes-or-no question, it's pretty simple. >> i don't have any information i can provide to you yes or no because i know nothing about this question. >> the answer to the question is were you briefed and the answer is? >> we don't know anything about it so how could i have been briefed about something we know nothing about? >> great, thank you. are all arbs created equal? >> well, there have been 19, including the one that we
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impaneled after benghazi. they've all been led by distinguished americans. they've all been set up in accordance with the laws and rules that the congress established when they created the legislation to establish arbs. so, i assume in those respects they are created equal. >> yes, ma'am. i'm asking a pretty simple yes-or-no question i guess. i'm happy to let you expand and i'm happy to bring breakfast in. but when i ask a yes-or-no question it sure would be helpful if we could get to the answer. are the recommendations of each arb worthy of equal treatment? >> well, they are certainly worthy of follow-up by the department and i believe that they have been. >> there was an arb -- please, if you would put up the poster, please. there was an arb in 1998, you said this before in your testimony, 200 folks were killed.


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