tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 23, 2015 2:00am-4:01am EDT
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. here's what its recommendation said, special mission security
posture that was inadequate for benghazi -- this is from the most recent one. i want to know if you agree with this. inadequate for benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place. do you agree with the statement from the current arb? >> i accepted the recommendations of the current arb. >> my question is if you agree with it. >> i don't think that's a relevant question, congressman. i think the question is, i accepted their recommendations, and obviously their recommendations were based on their very thorough investigation and analysis. so, clearly i endorsed the entire board's work. >> in january 2014 senator feinstein noted conservative said, quote, in her report, the incidents at the tmf and cia were likely preventable end of quote. do you agree with that statement from senator feinstein's report? >> well, i would like to think that anything of that magnitude and the loss of life could have
in some way been preventable. i think that what the arb recommended were steps to try to enhance our ability to prevent future attacks. >> let's go back -- i want to go back now i have the right poster up. in 1998 here's what the arb said. it said, quote, the secretary of state should personally review the security situation of embassy, and other official premises closing those which are highly vulnerable and threatened, end of quote. you've told us all day today that you don't think you should have been involved, quoting again from the arb, personally reviewing security. how do you square that? >> well, there are a couple of important points to make about this, congressman. first, i made a number of decisions to close embassy and other official premises based on security. i closed the embassy in tripoli. i had to evacuate all of the americans out of libya. we had to, you know, lease ferries that came from malta. we closed embassies and other
facilities when we had a strong consensus recommendation that it was necessary to do. so, that is -- that is a statement of secretarial responsibility. now, with respect to looking at every security request, how high should the wall be, whether there should be barricades ba s placed on the east or the west side, that is handled by the security professionals. so, clearly, i closed embassies. i recommended that embassies and other facilities be closed. so i understand what that point is. >> madam secretary, this is a yes-or-no question, do you think you complied with the arb in 1998 said and personally reviewed the security at benghazi? >> well, that's -- that is not what my understanding of the 1998 arb. >> it's just words, madam secretary, they're there.
>> and i just answered. i personally reviewed other official facilities that were recommended because they were highly vulnerable and threatened to be closed and we closed some. some we were able to reopen, which is kind of part of the process. with respect to the 1998 arb recommendations, by the time i became secretary, having succeeded two secretaries who served during very dangerous and threatening times, there was an assessment made that i certainly was briefed into that we had to look at how best to professionalize the security and the expert advice that we were receiving. that was exactly what i did, and i went further than that. i created a new position, a deputy secretary for resources and management. i also had recommended after our
arb the deputy assistant secretary for high threats. so, this was a constant discussion about how to make us secure. but not whether or not the secretary of state should decide on the height of the barricades. i think that's where we may not be fully understanding one another, congressman. >> i think we understand each other perfectly. >> of course, specific questions about closing embassies and other official premises that were vulnerable and threatened, of course, they came to me. i had to make the decision. deciding whether the wall would be 10 feet, 12 feet, whether there would be three security agents or five, that was the province, as it should have been, of the professionals. >> here's another one from the 1998 arb, first and foremost the secretary should take a personal and active role in carrying out the responsibility ensuring the security of the u.s. diplomatic personnel abroad. do you believe you complied with that requirement from the 1998
arb? >> yes, i do. i believe that i had established a process, and i -- you know, i said earlier today state department and our security professionals have to be 100% right, and i think that, you know, what happened in benghazi was a tragedy and something that, you know, we all want to prevent from ever happening again. but there were many, many situations, many security issues that we had to deal with during the four years that i was secretary of state. and i did leave what i hope will be a very important additional position, namely the deputy for high threat posts, that now will focus solely on what are considered the highest threat places in the -- in the world for our personnel. >> madam secretary, i hope you can understand the difference between creating a deputy under
assistant secretary and america's senior diplomat getting involved in personal security. the amount of resources can be moved, the speed at which they will move rested only in your hands. i've led organizations myself. >> well, i respectfully disagree with that, congressman. it's been my experience that you want to find people who are dedicated 100% to security. you don't want a secretary or anyone dipping in and out, maybe making decisions based on factors other than what the professionals decide, at least that is my very strong opinion. >> yes, ma'am, leaders lead. i want to -- i've just got a few seconds. in all the materials that have been produced to us today, i have not yet found the document that was prepared at your request for post-gadhafi planning. did you have such a document prepared prior to the time that mr. gadhafi was removed? >> we had a number of documents. we had a long list of areas that we were working on and the
process for following up on those areas. i don't know if it was one document or a dozen documents, but we had a lot of work that was ongoing. both at the state department and at usaid. >> and did you ask for those documents to be prepared? do you know if you had a team working on that or if it was something that was happening of its own accord? >> we had a number of people that were working on it. as i said, i sent both of my deputies out to libya to meet with the libyans. you know, we can do all the planning we want in washington, but it's very important to did the libyans both what they want and what they expect from us. and so we had an ongoing dialogue that lasted over many months. >> yes, ma'am, i agree with that. we'll get a chance to talk about that in a bit. i yield back. >> the chair will now recognize the gentle lady from illinois, miss duckworth. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary clinton, i apologize. my line of questioning will probably be a little bit boring because i'm going to get into some details that actually have to deal with security and how we
can better safeguard america's diplomats now and onwards. from, you know -- i have to say that the arb conducted by admiral mullen, a man of great military pedigree and long service to this nation, quite honorable, brave service, as well as ambassador pickering i thought was well conducted and well thought out. and, in fact, don't just take my word for it. i'm a pretty low-ranking member of the house, but the republican chairman, longtime republican chairman of the house armed services committee, also, you know, and never once in our committee hearing did i hear him malign the work that was done in that arb as we on our committee also looked at what happened. so, i want to look at some of the findings from the arb. and i want to examine the failures of the blue mountain libya security guards and the february 13 militia on that exact day, september 11, 2012. my understanding is benghazi neither the host country's
militia forces nor the state department's private local guards were capable of defending our personnel. these poorly trained forces either did not show up, they retreated in the face of danger or simply lacked the necessary tools to fight back effectively. i want to learn the lessons in benghazi and hold everyone accountable, not just the state department, but every agency involved as well as congress, ourselves. and this committee itself. for implementing significant comprehensive reforms that will prevent future tragedies. so, you know, looking at the work that i've done on armed services committee and on oversight government reform i've been consistently concerned with the cost and consequences of federal contract mismanagement. costs american taxpayers a lot of dollars, so i want to look at the state department's policy of awarding local guard contracts using a very inflexible contract vehicle known as the lowest price technically acceptable or
lpta vehicle. i think that should have raised red flags here in congress. when life and limb are at risk, such as when buying body armor for our troops overseas or barriers for our embassies, i don't know that lowest price technically acceptable is the right vehicle. so, can you discuss a little bit, why is it that the state department appears to have awarded local guard contracts in libya using this contracting method? >> congresswoman, i think that's another very important question. i think the state department, like much of the rest of the government, often feels under pressure to go to lowest price, whether or not that lowest price is the best contract. and we had a lot of challenges, not just in libya, but in many places around the world, trying to work to find the right contractors to provide static security for a lot of our posts and facilities, to find more
kinetic contractors who could be the front line of defense since we -- as we discussed earlier, we're stationed in so many places where there were not american military that could be called and quickly respond. so i would like very much, and perhaps there could be a working group with armed services and foreign affairs and others to look to see whether we couldn't get a little more flexibility into this decision making. because the february 17th militia was viewed by the cia, which had vetted it as well as by our diplomats, as a reliable source for kinetic support. sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't. and the static support proved to be not very useful at all on that night. so, i think you're really raising an important issue about
how to get more flexibility into the contracting, because we're not going to be able to bring american military forces to every place where we are in a high-threat post either because the military can't afford to do that for us or because the host country won't invite us in. and the other problem, as you pointed out, is that if the host country doesn't have any real resources, it's hard to know how much they can produce. that night i was calling the president of libya and demanding that he find any friendly militia, any friendly anybody, to show up and to support us. when our reinforcements, the security reinforcements from tripoli landed, a militia showed up and, in fact, kept them there until they had a big enough group to accompany them to the cia annex. so, it's a very unpredictable and even erratic process. and it starts with in many instances the lowest price. and i don't think that's always
the best way to get a contract for security. >> i happen to agree with you, and i think actually the lpta that i'm talking about that actually sets very inflexible standards for specifically the department of state is actually a law passed by congress in 1990. so, when you talk about maybe some sort of a working group, congress needs to do our part and maybe amend a 35-year-old law that actually forced the state department to go with the lowest price. secretary clinton, can you address what actions congress can fix problems that have to do with host country instituted stringent policies given the use of private security guards? my understanding is that the country of libya, the host nation in this case, did not allow your security contractors to carry firearms. the blue mountain guards. i think the blue mountain guards were not allowed to carry firearms, is that right? >> yeah, blue mountain was not. certainly our diplomatic security officers were. the militia members who were
supposed to be providing kinetic help for us were. so, it was only the static guards that were not. now, i will say that, you know, some of those guards did stand their ground. they were basically run over. several of them were injured the night of the attack. so, i don't want to cast aspersions on all of them and the service they provided. but it was not adequate for what we needed then or really at any time. >> are we facing that same type of restrictions in other nations as well, in other hot spots? we talked earlier about the 19 missions that are out there. would this type of issues with the lpta and contracting and as well as host nation requirements? >> yes, we do. you know, the host nation gets to call a lot of the shots. under the vienna convention, the host nation is responsible for providing security for diplomatic posts.
but when a host nation is either unwilling to do so, as we do have in some places where we are present, or unable to do so, because i do think with the libyans there was a desire to be helpful, but not a capacity to produce what we needed. we have to really work hard to get the kind of support that is required. and, you know, in some cases we've been able to work out arrangements with the host country. some we have just defied them and tried to be very quiet about what we were doing. and others, you know, we are prohibited, so it's a constant -- again, it goes back to that balancing of risk and reward that we're always doing. >> going back to the arb conducted by admiral mullen and ambassador pickering, how many of those recommendations did you as secretary of state accept? >> i accepted all of them. they made 29 recommendations, congresswoman. i accepted all 29 of them.
and began to implement them before i left the state department. and i note that secretary kerry has continued that work. >> do you recommend for future secretaries and for this committee and other members of congress some sort of a formal review process as we go onwards? i don't want there to be a review process that is triggered by death of americans. >> uh-huh. >> this goes back to my earlier question about institutionalization of this process so that we make sure that our men and women in embassies right now are safe and that they're safe tomorrow and a year from now and ten years from now. what needs to be done so that we can make sure that our four heroic dead did not lay down their lives in vain? >> congresswoman, before the attacks in benghazi, the congress never fully funded the security requests that the administration sent to congress. following benghazi that has improved, but there are still
areas where i think greater -- greater funding and responsiveness would be helpful. it was unfortunate that we didn't get all the resources that might have enabled us to do more in all the high-threat posts before benghazi. but i appreciate what the congress has done since. the one specific recommendation that i would like to see the congress act on expeditiously is the training facility that would be set up in order to train diplomatic security officers specifically for these high-threat situations. and i think this is overdue. i know that on a bipartisan basis representatives from virginia, which is the state where the site that has been identified is found, have urged in a recent op-ed that the congress act on this. i would certainly echo that as well. >> thank you.
i yield back. >> i thank the gentle lady. madam secretary, they've called votes but we'll try in get mr. ro roskum. >> i made a statement previously that we'd received none of under secretary patrick kennedy's e-mails, we've received some through production of other individuals' e-mails. we've not received a full productionve under secretary patrick kennedy's e-mails. i wanted to clarify we could have some, but it is through other e-mail production. yield back. >> yes, ma'am. gentlemen from illinois. >> can i direct your attention to the screen? you're familiar with that clip, we came, we saw, he died. is that the clinton doctrine? >> no. that was an expression of relief that the military mission
undertaken by nato and our other partners had achieved its end. and, therefore, no more american, european or arab lives would be at stake in trying to prevent gadhafi from wreaking havoc on libyans or causing more problems to the region and beyond. >> i want to direct your attention, and maybe direct the group's attention right now to something that hasn't really been discussed. there's been this explils scit criticism of republicans being partisan today, but i want to direct on what is going on with you and your team, many of whom are here with you today. jake sullivan put together the ticktock on libya memo and that was a memo that was all about you. it put together 22 different accomplishments, and you were the central figure in all 22 of those accomplishments. and i've got to tell you, it's
really well put together. he uses language of action and initiative and leadership. let me just give you a couple of these. hrc, that's you obviously, announces, directs, appoints special envoy, travels to g-8, secures russian abstention, secures transition of command and control, travels to berlin, rome, istanbul, he's basically laying the foundation that the libya policy is your policy, essentially he's making the argument that it's your baby. anyou are clearly familiar with this timeline because in e-mail exchanges with your senior staff you were not happy about it. and the part that you weren't happy about, wasn't that you were the focal point. is that it didn't include enough. so, you said, this is your e-mail, what bothers me is that the policy office prepared the timeline but it doesn't include much of what i did. another time you said the timeline is totally inadequate. which bothers me about our
record keeping and i'll come back to that in a minute, secretary. for example, i was in paris in 3/19 when the attack started. it's not on the timeline. what else is missing? go over as soon as possible. now, this timeline was together according to your senior staff explicitly for an article that came out in "the washington post" entitled "clinton's key role in libya conflict." and, in fact, according to your staff, quote, the comprehensive ticktock memo jake had put together was done in large part for the warrick piece written at "the washington post" and, again, according to your staff the great detail jobey came from jake, that's jake sullivan. he didn't do any independent research, that's according to your staff. now, this article is one of these articles that you read a couple of times. if it's about you. here's some excerpts.
"washington post," a foreign policy success for the obama administration and its most famous cabinet minister, secretary of state hillary rodham clinton. or this, she went to paris, there were no instructions from the white house on whether to support strong action in libya said a senior state department official, yet within three days the official said clinton began to see a way forward. i think my -- my personal favorite is this -- clinton ignoring the advice of statement department lawyers convinced obama to grant full diplomatic recognition to the rebels. now, you and your team were pleased with the work that you did and the risks that you took, the leadership that you took, you know, a couple of hours ago, uf to you told me, hey, i'm the diplomat here and i'm driving the policy. and isn't it true that you'd been thinking about getting political credit actually for months on this? >> no.
>> well, if that's your answer, let me draw your attention, madam secretary -- >> but, congressman, let me please if i could. we were trying to make sure that what was written, because it's not always accurate in case you all haven't noticed in your own careers, what was written about a very important foreign policy effort by this administration was accurate. this was all in response, as i understand it, to a reporter trying to ask questions and us providing the best possible information we could. in fact, trying to make sure that we ourselves had a good time line and that our record keeping was accurate. i think that is not an uncommon experience here in washington. somebody calls you up, says i'm writing a story. what can you tell us, and you tell them. >> well, secretary clinton, that's not all that was going on, though, isn't that right? because you knew this was good for you. because this is what you were writing in august.
august of 2011. this is right after tripoli fell. you wrote, what about the idea of my flying to marmartha's vineyard to see the president for 30 minutes and then making a statement with him alone. or you asked your staff how to convince the white house that this would be good for the president and these are your words, madam secretary, it's a great opportunity to describe all that we've been doing before the french try to take all the credit. in fact, your staff told you that they thought it would be a political boost for the president showing that he was huddling with you instead of being on vacation and show you asked your chief of staff, cheryl -- or jake sullivan asked your chief of staff, cheryl mills, to call denis mcdonough now the president's chief of staff, to put together a full-court press -- i'll wait while you read jake's note. >> thank you. because i don't -- >> here's my question. >> i'm waiting for a question. >> well, go ahead. you finish reading and i'll start talking.
>> well, one thing i wanted which -- since i don't have -- since i don't have what you're reading in front of me, congressman -- >> here, it's tab 12. >> well, that has now been handed to me and it's clear i wanted to make sure chris stevens and jeff feltman and dod got credit. i wrote that. you did not quote that. well, let's -- >> this is all about the state of mind at that particular point. you were thinking about credit for you, isn't that right? >> no, that's not. i wanted those who were part of this policy to be given recognition, and i also wanted to be sure that we had the president and the white house coordinating with us. it was a very gutsy decision for the president to make, congressman. it was not by any means an easy call, as i alluded earlier this morning. i was in that situation room many, many times watching the president have to bae ebalance competing opinions and interests and trying to make a decision. when he made the decision that the united states would support
nato and support the arabs, there was no guarantee about how it would turn out. and i personally believe he deserved a lot of credit, as did chris steveges, jeff feltman, the department of defense and others. we had a daily phone call, a daily secure phone call, that often included the president, included, you know, the generals response -- the generals and the admirals responsible for our mission, included our top diplomats. this was a very important and challenging effort that we undertook in large measure to support our nato allies. so, i wanted everybody who had any role in it to be acknowledged. >> well, then and on august 2011 you received an e-mail from sidney blumenthal, that's tab 11, in which he wrote this to you -- this is a historic moment, and you will be credited for realizing it when gadhafi himself is finally removed you should, of course, make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the
driveway of your vacation home. you must go on camera. that was blumenthal's admonishment to you. >> and i don't recall doing that just in case you're going to ask me. >> i mean, look, the timing, you forwarded blumenthal's suggestion to jake sullivan and you were focused on how dramatic it would be. you were working to make this the story of the day, isn't that right? this is your e-mail to jake, this is tab 11, this is your words, madam secretary. sid makes a good case for what i should say, but it's premised on being said after gadhafi goes which will make it more dramatic. that's my hesitancy since i'm not sure how many chances i'll get. so, two months before the end of the gadhafi regime and you're already planning on how to make your statement dramatic to maximize political gains, isn't that right? >> congressman, i think that what we were trying to do was to keep the american people informed about this policy.
it was, as you recall, somewhat controversial. now, there were republicans as well as democrats who advocated for it. and there were republicans as well as democrats who were concerned about it. so, i think as secretary of state, i did have an obligation at some point to be part of the public discussion about what had occurred. and i see nothing at all unusual about trying to figure out when would be the best time to do that. >> isn't it true that your staff heard from the white house after the warrick piece in "the washington post" that they were concerned, that is, the white house, the amount of credit you were getting as opposed to the amount of credit the president was getting, that's true, isn't it, madam secretary? >> look, the president's deserves the lion's share of the credit. >> then why is the white house uptight that you were taking the credit? >> i was often being asked that. the president had a lot of stuff other going on. he was trying to rescue the
economy, a lot of other things happening. from my perspective the president deserves the credit. he's the one that made the decision. i am honored to be part of the team that advised him in and in so far as i was able to explain what we did and the import of it was, i was ready to do so. >> so when jake sullivan tab 11 e-mails you and sels you should publicize this in all your television appearances, to have you lay down something definitive almost like the clinton doctrine. that wasn't the obama doctrine, is that right, madam secretary? this was the clinton doctrine. >> well, look, i think that the effort we made, the way we put together the coalition, the way i put together the coalition that imposed sanctions on iran, i think that there's a lot to talk about. i talked about smart power. you are talking about what i believe. i believe we have to use every tool at our disposal. lead with diplomacy, support with development, and when
nemssanem necessary, as a last resort, not a first choice, defense. is that what i believe? it is what i believe. and i think that, you know, libya was to some extent an example of that. >> and you were the author of the libya policy. you were the one that drove it. it was your baby. it was an attempt to use smart power and that's what you tried to do, isn't that right? >> it certainly was something that i came to believe was in the interests of the united states to join with our nato allies and our arab partners in doing. the decision, as all decisions in any administration, was made by the president. so, the president deserves the historic credit. what role i played, i'm very grateful to have had that chance, and i'm, you know, very convinced that it was the right thing to do. >> well, you just recited the clinton doctrine to us, and let me tell you what i think the clinton doctrine is. i think it's where an opportunity is seized to turn progress in libya into a
political win for hillary rodham clinton and at the precise moment when things look good, take a victory lap, like on all the sunday shows three times that year before gadhafi was killed, and then turn your attention to other things. i yield back. >> well, congressman, that is only a political statement which you well understand, and i don't understand why that has anything to do with what we are supposed to be talking about today. >> madam secretary, votes have been called. so, we will go vote and be in recess. an
>> committee will come to order. thank you, madam secretary, again, we apologize for that. with that we'll go to the gentle lady from alabama. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary clinton, i want to talk to you about august 17th, 2012. on that day you received two memos about libya and its security. the first one described a deteriorating security situation and what it meant for your people on the ground. the second one also described libya's security as in simple terms a mess. so, this memo wanted you to approve $20 million to be given to the libyan government to bolster its own -- >> could you tell me what tab that is on the materials that
you have reference to. >> yes, ma'am. the first one is i believe -- is it 33 and -- 33 and 34. >> thank you. >> i apologize. so, you received those two memos. the second one also described libya's security in simple terms as a mess. and it was -- then you were approached about approving this $20 million that we've referred to as the contingency fund. $20 million that would have gone to the libyan government to bolster their own security there in country. and then, in fact, a few days later you approved that $20 million. and i'm going to get back to that in a minute. but i want to circle back based on those two memos to some questions that my colleague asked about the 1998 arb. you had talked about in that line of questioning that you, in fact, had closed -- made the
decision to close some embassies based on the premise that the 1998 arb recommended secretary of state should personally review the security situation. you made a distinction between whether the wall should be ten foot high versus whether or not it was a highly vulnerable situation. and so i wanted to ask you, when i was listening to that, knowing that i was going to address these memos, i wanted to ask you, when you were looking at these two memos on august 17th, when one said their security was in disarray and the other said they paint a picture of a country in chaos. and i wanted to just ask you in your opinion as secretary of state that had closed embassies whether those references to the security situation in libya would amount to one as highly
vulnerable per your own words? >> congresswoman, i want to answer your question, but i think we need the right tabs. >> excuse me. 8 and 32. i apologize. >> thank you very much. let me take a look at those. 8 and 32. on august 17th, there was a memo from beth jones the acting secretary of state, describing a spike in violence and characterizing it as perhaps a new normal. it is very clearly something that we were following as i have said throughout the hearing today. it said that the international committee of the red cross had withdrawn personnel from benghazi and misrata but continued to work in the rest of libya. it also pointed out that there
is lack of effective security and that the transition, the kind of transition we wanted to see for the people of libya and particularly in benghazi, was not as forthcoming from the libyans themselves. i think that the description here is certainly something that we were aware of. and a list of recent violence in libya is something we were aware of. and the ongoing monitoring of the situation in libya is something we took very seriously. i can tell you that these kinds of assessments were not uncommon for other places, high-threat, dangerous, unstable places, even war zones, where we were also operating. >> would you categorize those type of descriptions as highly vulnerable? >> well, i think that, again,
there was no recommendation based on any of the assessments, not from our state department experts, not from the intelligence community, that we should abandon either benghazi or tripoli. >> right. and i understand that. and, secretary clinton, you know, i guess one of the questions that we need answered is you were a huge advocate for our presence there to begin with. what prevented you from making the decision based on the knowledge that you had from these memos about the deteriorating security vented y of state from making that decision on your own? >> well, congresswoman, i took into consideration a wide variety of factors. there were a number of places where violence would spike, and we would have to make a decision. at this point what we were trying to do was work with the libyan authorities. that's what the august 17th memo
from sec -- deputy secretary nides was referring to. we were trying to provide additional security assistance so that the libyans could do more to assist themselves. and, you know, it is -- it is the case that in the world we're in today, there are a lot of places that are dangerous. violence goes up and goes down. part of what acting assistant secretary beth jones was referencing in this memo is this is a new -- is this a new normal. and the secretary does personally oversee the decision to order departure or shut down posts. and it is important to take that ultimate responsibility very much to heart, which i did. but i think that there was no recommendation to do that. and, again, i was following it. i was watching it. i was trying to, you know, make
a very well-reasoned analysis. but i was also listening to the people who were both on the ground and with a lot of experience, who had served in iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, yemen, other places like that. and there was no recommendation. >> secretary clinton, what i'm trying to make a distinction between is the decisions that you made with respect to benghazi and decisions that your staff made with respect to benghazi, but i'm already running out of time, so i do want to get back to the $20 million that we talked about. on numerous occasions the finger has been pointed at congress for not properly funding the security -- or the funding not being available for the security requests. yet i find it curious that you were able to find $20 million to support increased security forces in libya, yet we weren't able to find money to support your own people on the ground.
and, you know, particularly in light of the fact that mrs. lamb said that funding wasn't an issue. so, i think that it's been a little bit misleading to say it's congress' fault, but then also it's worth pointing out that there was $20 million found for libyan security and no dollars found to support increased security for our own people. >> well, as i know you're aware, congresswoman, the congress sets spending levels in categories of spending. and as i said earlier, the request for diplomatic security, to do exactly what you are referencing, were underfunded. they were underfunded continuously. i am pleased that following the tragedy at benghazi we began to get more support from the congress. but one of the funds that is very important when you're actually talking about an
american presence in the country goes back to questions that i was being asked by congresswoman duckworth, if we can help build up the libyan security forces, they are the host country. it is their responsibility to protect diplomatic posts. so, i don't see these as unconnected. but it is true that we spent money for diplomatic security out of what the congress appropriated for diplomatic security. >> but secretary, charlene lamb her said it wasn't a budget issue. so do you take issue with that statement? >> i can only tell you our analysis of the underfunding of security for our diplomatic posts was very much in line with what i have just said. that we asked for money in this administration in the earlier years, and we were underfunded. and so i can tell you that it would have been -- it would have been very helpful to have more
money for diplomatic security. and i want to thank the congress for upping the amount of money that went to diplomatic security, working with the defense department to get more marines deployed to more posts and the other actions that have been taken post-benghazi. >> we appreciate that. although, again, i really think there's a conflict between charlene lamb's statement and some that you've made about that. but real quickly, mr. chairman, i want to run through one quick timeline and make an observation. on august 17th you received a memo on the deteriorating security in libya. the same day you were asked to give $20 million to the libyan government to beef up its own security. your department issued a warning telling american citizens to get out of libya and not to travel there. and then libya itself issued a, quote, maximum alert for benghazi. you several times made the statement, and we believe you,
that ambassador stevens was your friend. and i'm wondering why with all of this in front of you, the secretary of state, why did it not occur to you to pick up the phone and call your friend? i know you've mentioned experts. i know you've said that ambassador stevens and other diplomats go into these high-threat situations with their eyes wide open. but i just want to hear from you why with all of this information in front of you, particularly on the date of august 17th, did it not occur to you to pick up the phone and call your friend, ambassador stevens, and ask him what he needed? >> we knew what he was asking for. those requests went to the security professionals. and i would only add with respect to the travel warning, we issue travel warnings for many, many places in the world. they are really aimed at informing american travelers, business travelers, tourists
about conditions that they might face if they go to countries. they are not a criterion for determining whether we keep or end a diplomatic presence. and i just want to go back to the point you were making. read from the accountability review board. for many years the state department has been engaged in a struggle to obtain the resources necessary to carry out its work, with varying degrees of success. this has brought about a deep sense of husbanding resources to meet the highest priorities laudable in the extreme, but it has also had the effect of conditioning a few state department managers to favor restricting the use of resources as a general orientation. it is imperative for the state department to be mission driven rather than resource constrained and one overall conclusion in this report is that congress must do its part to meet this challenge and provide necessary
resources to the state department to address security risks and meet mission imperatives. >> my time is out and i'm afraid my chairman is going to tell me to be quiet but the last -- >> well, we -- i'm not going to tell you to be quiet, i'm just going to ask if you might hold it. i'm going to try to be a little quicker on the gavel than i've been just in the interests of time. >> okay. i'll circle back then. thank you. i yield back. >> i would recognize the gentleman from maryland. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me say that, madam secretary, and committee, the august 17th, 2012, information memo just referenced is not something new. >> that's right. >> it's not something that this committee uncovered. >> that's right. >> in fact, congress has had the information memo for years. it was attached to -- as an exhibit to the benghazi arb
report that secretary clinton sent to congress before her testimony to congress in january of 2013. the arb had it and considered it important enough to append it to its report. and congress already questioned the secretary about her awareness of security conditions in libya in the run-up to the attacks. >> will the gentleman yield? >> we just gave you an extra three minutes. i got to use my time, i'm sorry. if i have extra time, i'll give it to you. within months of the attacks, republican investigations of benghazi have begun, and the chief investigator, madam secretary, who is chairman of the house oversight committee, darrell issa, made it clear that his efforts were directed at you. as he spoke at a political event in new hampshire, chairman issa
has said he came to that political event in new hampshire to, quote, shape the debate for 2016, end of quote. how right he was. at that event chairman issa explained -- can we roll the tape, please? >> we need to have an answer of when the secretary of defense had assets that he could have begun putting up, why there was not one order given to turn on one department of defense asset. i have my suspicions, which is secretary clinton told them to stand down. and we all heard about the stand-down order for two military personnel. that order is undeniable. they were told not to get off the airplane and -- >> the idea that you would intentionally take steps to prevent assistance to americans
under attack in benghazi is simply beyond the pale. the claim has also been disproven multiple times over. first it was disproved by the arb which issued its report at the end of 2012. admiral mullen, former chairman of joint chiefs of staff, had led the arb's military review and concluded that the military had, and i quote, done everything possible that we could, end of quote. then the republican-led -- the republican-led -- house armed services committee issued its report in february 2014, madam secretary, which detailed all of the steps taken by the military to mobilize upon hearing of the attacks, including immediately redirecting a surveillance drone to benghazi, ordering two marine
platoons to deploy, one bound for benghazi, the other for tripoli. ordering the commanders training in croatia to move to a u.s. naval air station in italy. and dispatching a special operations unit to the region from the united states. about his review, the chairman howard buck mckeon, a republican, stated -- i think i've been pretty well satisfied that given where the troops were, how quickly the thing all happened and how quickly it dissipated, we probably couldn't have done more than we did, end of quote. chairman issa's oversight
committee, which i am the ranking member of, even spent years actively pursuing evidence for this claim and found nothing. and as it says in the democratic report we put out on monday, none of the 54 individuals interviewed by our select committee has identified any evidence to support this republican claim against you. in fact, not one of the nine congressional and independent investigations has identified any evidence to support this assertion in the last three years. my question -- i sincerely hope this puts this offensive claim to rest once and for all. i'm asking you, madam secretary, did you order defense secretary leon panetta to stand down on the night of the attacks? >> of course, not, congressman. and i appreciate your going
through the highlights of the very comprehensive report that the house armed services committee did on this. i think it's fair t say everybody -- everybody -- certainly defense secretary panetta, joint chiefs of staff chairman dempsey, everybody in the military scrambled to see what they could do. and i was very grateful for that. and as you rightly point out, logistics and distance made it unlikely that they could be anywhere near benghazi within any kind of reasonable time. >> now, madam secretary, the benghazi attacks occurred during a period of significant upheaval and intense volatility in the middle east and north africa. there was tremendous unrest throughout the region. i would like to play a clip that shows what was happening at dozens of posts throughout the
world, and then i would like to get your reaction, if you can. please play the tape. >> protests have spread over an amateur video made in the united states which mocks islam. in the afghan capital kabul a thousand afghans held a violent protests burning cars and tires and shooting at police. in the indonesian capital jakarta hundreds of protesters through petrol bombs and rocks outside the american embassy. and in pakistan, at least one protester was killed. in beirut, nasrallah head of the movement hezbollah called for weekly demonstrations against the video. tens of thousands have turned out in a tightly organized, peaceful protest. let's go live on the half now to the streets of beirut.
>> secretary clinton, what was your sense of how things were unfolding? >> congressman, they were very dangerous and very volatile. starting on monday with the attack on our embassy in cairo, going all the way through that week into the next week, there were numerous protests, some of which you have shown us clips of. and they were dangerous. you know, the one that i was particularly concerned about happened in tunis. and it was the friday after the attack in benghazi. we knew from monitoring the media, from reports coming in from our embassies throughout the region, that this was a very hot issue. it was not going away. it was being kept alive. we were particularly worried about what might happen on friday, because friday is the day of prayers for muslims. so, we were on very high alert going into friday.
i got a call through our operations department from our ambassador in tunis who was in the safe room in the embassy in tunisia. there were thousands of demonstrators on the outside. they were battering down the barriers and the walls around our embassy. they had already set on fire the american school, which is very close to the embassy. and the ambassador and his tea were desperate for help. their calls to the government of tunisia, the host government, had gone unanswered. i immediately got on the phone calling the foreign minister, calling the prime minister, who were the heads of government. i could not find either one of them. i called the president, president marzuki.
i got him on the phone. i told him he had to rescue our people. that he had to disperse the crowds. he said i don't control the army. i have nothing i can do. i said, mr. president, you must be able to do something. i've got all my people inside the embassy. they are being attacked if the protesters get through into the embassy, i don't know what will happen. he said, well, i do have a presidential guard. i said, mr. president, please deploy your presidential guard, at least show that tunisia will stand with the united states against these pro tetesters ove this inflammatory video. to his great credit and to my great relief, that is exactly what he did. he sent the presidential guard. those of you who have traveled know sometimes they are men in fancy uniform, sometimes they are on horses. but he sent them. he sent whatever he could muster to our rescue. and the crowd was dispersed. the damage was extensive. but we thankfully did not have
anything other than property damage to the embassy and to the american school. and the government of tunisia later helped us to repair that. but it was the kind of incredibly tense moment. we had protesters going over the walls of our embassy in khartoum. we had protests, as you rightly point out, all the way to indonesia. thankfully no americans were killed. partly because i had been consistent in speaking out about that video from the very first day when we knew it had sparked the attack on our embassy in cairo. i spoke about it because i wanted it to be clear to every government around the world that we were going to look to them to protect our facilities. and it was a very tense week, congressman. one that i think demonstrated how volatile the world is and how important it is for the united states to be on top of
what people themselves are reacting to. and that's what i tried to do during that time. >> thank you. thank you very much. >> thank the gentleman from maryland. the chair will recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. westmorland. >> i want to thank you for giving us a play-by-play of what happened in tunisia. could you do the same thing of what happened in benghazi? could you tell us the same kind of play by play that -- who came to the rescue there? because i don't know of anybody that did. so, i don't know who you called and their lack of ability to get anybody there. it's just hard for me to comprehend why you would give us that blow by blow of something that we're not even investigating here, but we appreciate it. but i do want to ask you -- >> well, congressman, if i could -- >> sure. >> -- several of you have raised the video and have dismissed the
importance of the video. and i think that is unfortunate. because there's no doubt, and as i said earlier, even the person we have now arrested as being one of the ringleaders of the attack on our compound in benghazi, is reputed to have used the video as a way to gather up the attackers that attacked our compound. so, i think it's important. these are complex issues, mr. congressman. and i think it's important that we look at the totality of what was going on. it's like that terrible incident that happened in paris. >> i got you. >> cartoons sparked two al qaeda-trained attackers who killed, you know, nearly a dozen people. i think it's important -- >> reclaiming my time -- >> -- as you are members of congress looking in to these issues that we look at the totality so we can learn the best lessons -- >> yes, ma'am. reclaiming my time. let me ask you about a little
time. you said that you spent a lot of sleepless nights, and i can't imagine. and you said you often wondered what you could have done different. what did you come up with? >> oh, a long list. a long list, congressman to go back -- >> give me your top two. >> well, to go back to the point that congresswoman duckworth was raising about contractors. if we'd had a more reliable security force in large enough numbers, well armed and well focused on protecting our compound -- >> well, what could you have done different than what you did do? >> well, i'm trying to tell you. i think if the militia that had been engaged by both the cia and the state department had been more reliable -- >> but you didn't have anything to do with that you said. >> but i made a long list, congressman, about anything that anybody could have done. and that's how i looked at it. i looked a a it from the
perspective of what are the many pieces. contracting is a part of that. there are many other issues that we need to address. -- you know, that we are well prepared to try to prevent. now, we know we can't prevent everything. that's the way the world is. but to do the very best we can, and there are many elements that go into that. >> so, the contractors would be number one. what would be number two? >> well, if there had -- i don't think that's a -- that's an unimportant point. we had a militia. we had an unarmed static force that probably couldn't have done much more. it should, i think, inspire us to look for ways to get host countries to permit there to be more dedicated security forces, well enough armed and trained, to be really a force to protect our compounds and our other facilities.
that would have perhaps made a difference. >> okay. >> it certainly, you know, might have made a difference if we had more help from the cia there on the compound. if maybe we had a rotating presence. but i have to -- i have to say, in reviewing a lot of the analyses that have been made by security experts, very well-trained, experienced security people, they're not sure that anything would have stopped the attackers. and i know that admiral mullen, when he went in to his work for the arb, was concerned that none of the diplomatic security officers had fired a shot. they had their weapons and they had not fired a shot. >> you're doing well and we both talk slow, so let's give each other a little breathing room here. you talked about miss victoria newland, you know her, right? >> yes, i do. >> okay. this was the -- this was her
briefing on september the 13th. some reporter asked her a question about the security. and her response was, i'm going to reject that elise. let me tell you what i can about the security of our mission in benghazi. it did include a local libyan guard force around the outer perimeter. that guard force never showed up that night, and it did not normally patrol the outer perimeter. the only people that patrolled the outer perimeter was the unarmed blue mountain. she said, this is the way we work in all of our missions, all around the world, that the outer perimeter's the responsibility of the host government, which there wasn't really a host government at the time. it was obviously a physical perimeter barrier, a wall, and then there was a robust american
security presence inside the compound. i don't -- i don't think five des agents not fully equipped or armed for what they were facing you could call a robust american security presence? >> well, congressman -- >> would you have used the word "robust"? >> i would certainly have said that the security on that night was reliant on a militia that did not perform as expected. >> i'm not talking about the militia on the outside. i'm talking about the robust american presence on the inside. >> i -- it was considered robust in the sense that the request had been for five diplomatic security officers to accompany the ambassador. there were five there.
and they did, as i have testified to, the very best they could. they were armed. and in the course of the thorough investigation conducted by the accountability review board, as i was saying, admiral mullen zeroed in on this, having more than 40 years experience in the military. and he wanted to know why the ds agents had not fired their weapons. and they explained, as many since have heard who have interviewed them, their assessment was that it would have resulted in the loss of even greater life. >> yes, ma'am. >> and they chose not to. and admiral mullen reached the conclusion that they acted appropriately. so, even though we had the five ds agents that had been requested, they were overrun and unable to do more than they did. >> i know. they were overrun because they didn't have any defensive positions to fight from because they refused to give them additional sandbags because they did not want it to look like a
military compound. i've heard that testimony. i want to ask you about the fest. are you familiar with the fest? >> yes. >> what is the fest? >> it is an emergency support team to help stand up embassies that have -- or consulates or other facilities that have been impacted by either natural disasters or some kind of -- >> attacks? >> -- attacks, exactly. >> kidnapping. and where are they located? >> they're located in the united states. >> at langley air force base? >> i'm not sure where they're located now. >> they're there. and it's an inner agency -- >> right. >> -- task force. >> right. >> includes the fbi, i guess the dod, and the state department. >> uh-huh. >> and if you look at the state department website, fest comes up under that, so i'm assuming that you are the lead in those agencies. >> it's an inner agency effort. >> okay. but it was deployed in 1998 in
kenya, correct? >> uh-huh. >> after the embassy bombing there -- >> right. >> -- of the towers. and to ta tanzania, correctly? >> that's correct. >> they were there ready to go on short notice. they said they could have been ready in four hours to leave. this is the group of people that would go into a situation, as you describe, when an embassy had been overrun, attacked, kidnapping or whatever, to basically give guidance to any of the other forces or help that was coming in. correct? and i know that your staff -- and we've got a number of e-mails from your staff that originally recommended that you send the fes team and i think they may have talked to mr. sullivan, or it was somebody that got an e-mail. and they said they would pass it up the chain.
and somebody made the decision not to send the fes team, which would have been, as secretary of state, i would think, since it was a state department-led mission, that that would have been the first thing that you would have wanted to get out. but instead, if i understand correctliam from the e-mail chain, your first request was to see how soon the fbi could get over there. is that a true statement? >> well, congressman, the fest went to east africa to help rebuild our embassy capacity. they have expertise in, you know, once our two embassies were bombed, how do we regain communications, for example. we were not going to rebuild in benghazi, so there was no reason to send a fes team. there was a reason to try to get the fbi investigators into benghazi as soon as it was safe for them to go so they could
start to try to build a case so we could bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice. that was absolutely the primary goal that we had in working with the fbi. and i think it's -- you know, when we make a decision on the -- on a deployment of the fest. it is not just the secretary of state. in this case there was the nfc involved, there was the cia involved, there was a civitz about it and the considered conclusion was we're not going to rebuild in benghazi. >> well, that was a quick decision to make that night, that you were not going to rebuild in benghazi, that was pretty -- >> the fest would not have -- there was nothing to rebuild, there was -- >> i understand. about the you just mentioned all the agencies that would have been important to get on the ground as quickly as possible, and sum rilez the situation to give you that direction. but i know i'm out of time, mr.
chairman, but i do want to say that what miss robey was trying to get you to say, what decisions did you make in regard to benghazi and what were you responsible to make? i think that's what all of us want to know. what did you do? and what decisions did you make, and you said everybody else is responsible for everything else. what were you responsible for? >> i was responsible for sending chris stevens to benghazi as an envoy. i was responsible for supporting a temporary mission that we were constantly evaluating to determine whether it should be become permanent in benghazi. i was responsible for recommending chris stevens to be the ambassador. i was responsible for working on the policy both before and after the end of the gadhafi regime. i was responsible for quite a bit, congressman. i was not responsible for
specific security requests and decisions. that is not something i was responsible for. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair will now recognize the gentleman from california, mr. schiff. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, we're now almost to the end of the second round of questions and i find it necessary to amend something i said after the first round, and that is i don't understand the core theory of this case. i thought i did, but after this round i honestly don't understand where my colleagues are coming from. i'm probably not as good a lawyer, undoubtedly not as good a prosecutor as our chairman. most of what we've gone over in this round, frankly, were questions that asked to you when you testified before the house the last time, when you testified before the senate. they were the subject of the arb report. but there were a few unique lines of questioning that i want to comment and ask you about. one of my colleagues spent his time asking about some of your
interactions with your press people. i guess kri tecritiquing your o libya strategy and something he called the clinton doctrine. we've been assured this committee, contrary to what representative mccarthy said, is not about attacking you. but frankly i don't see the relevance of any of those questions in terms of what actually happened in benghazi except as a means of trying to attack you or make a political statement regarding the presidential campaign. and then there was the continuing preoccupation with sidney blumenthal. the chairman spent -- both panels asking you about sidney blumenthal. and i have to say i just don't understand the preoccupation with sidney blumenthal. you would think for the time we have spent on him, that he was in benghazi on the night manning the barricades. there is not a member on this dais that doesn't have friends they've known for a long time that send them unsolicited e-mails and we're too polite to write back saying, you know, this really isn't all that
helpful. there's not a member here that hasn't had that experience, so i don't know why that is so remarkable. so, i honestly don't understand this fixation, but i do know one thing about sidney blumenthal. it's been abundantly clear here today. my seven colleagues do not want the american people to read what he said in his deposition. and i'll tell you, it's not because of anything he said. what they really don't want the american people to see is what they asked. and it was what ranking member cummins intimated which they've gone on national tv to say we're not interested in the foundation, we're not interested in all these other things. we're only interested in whether we've gotten everything. but when you read that deposition, you see that is exactly what they were interested in. now, i can't release it myself. but i can tell you sidney blumenthal by the numbers. so, here's sidney blumenthal by the numbers. republicans asked more than 160 questions about his relationship and communications with the
clintons, but less than 20 questions about the benghazi attacks. republicans asked more than 50 questions about the clinton foundation. but only four questions about security in benghazi. republicans asked more than 270 questions about mr. blumenthal's alleged business activities in libya, but no questions about the u.s. presence in benghazi. and republicans asked more than 45 questions about david brock, media matters, i have no idea what that is even, and affiliated entities, but no questions -- no questions -- about ambassador stevens and other u.s. personnel in benghazi. that's sidney blumenthal by the numbers. now, there were a couple lines of questioning that i did understand. one of them was about the accountability review board report. now, not the one that's actually relevant to today about benghazi, but the one that was
written 17 years ago about a different attack in tanzania. there was a very nice chart. they've got great exhibits. selectively quoting from that report. and the implication was the secretary should have security, should be the one deciding the security at every facility around the world. what he didn't read to you was part of the same section of that report, which says, quote, in the process the secretary should re-examine the present organizational structure with the objective of assuring that a single high-ranking officer is accountable for all protective security matters and has the authority necessary to coordinate on the secretary's behalf. quite a different impression you get from reading the whole thing. we had a debate about whether we should participate in this committee given where it was going and where it's been. mr. cummins said we should so we could be in the room to point out when a witness wasn't
treated fairly. i have to say i think he was right. much as i held the opposite opinion. but it's important to be able to point out if they're not going to give you the actual report or give you the time to read it where they want to be selective to make a point. now, i don't think that selectively quoting that 17-year-old arb sheds much light on what happened in benghazi, but it is a nice way to attack you. i also want to talk a bit about something that i spent a lot of time on, as the ranking on intel and as a member of the investigation that the intelligence committee did. that was a republican-led investigation. two of my colleagues here are on the same committee, went through the same investigation. and my colleagues have intimated that -- that there was an effort to spin what happened. and they have neglected to point out, as you might imagine and as you well know, that the
intelligence we got after an attack like this in the fog of war initially you believe one thing and then you get more information, you understand something better, and then you get more and you understand still something better. and we were briefed by the director of the cia at the time. i wish he were here today. and our understanding kept evolving. and in the beginning we got it wrong. and i've looked through that. and in that initial intelligence within a few hours, there were some reports indicating it was a direct attack, as you told the egyptian prime minister at the time. that was what was understood in the immediate hours. within 24 hours, though, we had intelligence, both open source and signals intelligence, that there was a protest. the protest was hijacked and that it became an attack, and your statements were in indicative and reflect of what we knew then. it wasn't until about a week or ten days later when we actually got the videos from the compound that we learned definitively there was no protest.
well, that simple chronology sheds a lot of light on why you and ambassador rice said what you did at the time. not a member here has shown anything you've said or the ambassador said that was at all inconsistent with what our intelligence agencies told us exactly at the time. it may come of interest to some of my colleagues who are not on intelligence to know that there are still a great many people in the intelligence community that believe the video was part of the motivation of some who attacked us on that night. i wish, frankly, we spent more time giving you an accurate representation of the documents and the reports and the facts instead of making an effort to demagogue on this. i find it fascinating frankly that my colleagues put so much reliance in a 17-year-old accountability review board
report, but they place no weight in the one actually about benghazi. thomas pickering has 40 years of experience. there's probably no one in the diplomatic corps more respected. admiral mullen, the other co-chair, chair of the joint chiefs of staff, someone the republicans and democrats both respected tremendously, are we now to believe they're a bunch of rubes, they had the wool pulled over their eyes or they were corrupt or incompetent. why is their report of so little value? it's hard for me to escape the conclusion that the one centric fact of them all is that you were running for president and with high poll numbers. and that's why we're here. and i say all this because i never want to see this happen again. i don't want four years from now or eight years from now or 12 years from now and another presidential election for us to
be in here or for one side or the other -- i don't want the republicans to say let's do benghazi again, that really worked. or the democrats to say they did it to us, let's do it to them. and i think frankly by only pointing these things out that's the only way we're going to avoid having this happen again. well, let me just ask you on that 17-year-old arb, and in light of mr. morell who came in and talked to us, not about the security at the diplomatic facility but at the cia annex. his testimony was all of the improvements to security at the benghazi base, the idea to conduct the assessment, the assessment itself, the implementation of its recommendations were all done without the knowledge and direction of the director and i. it happened exactly where it should have happened, which is in that security office. so, same view on the cia's part. of course, they're not here. but would you like to comment o.
but would you like to comment on what the full recommendation of the tanzania arb was, and a very similar process used in our intelligence office. >> thank you very much, congressman. i think you make an excellent point. i'm aware of deputy director morrell's testimony, it's very similar to what i have said here and very similar to what i believe general petraeus would have said if he had come before you. the issues at the state department, whether we're talking state department or cia or any other agency are not made at the level of the secretary director. it is made at the appropriate level of the security professionals. and i think what mike morrell told you in the intelligence committee investigation you would hear from anyone in the government at a -- at a high
level who has to deploy americans around the world. we see that with the defense department. you know, we see breaches of security on our military bases. and we know that everybody is struggling to get it right. and as i have said, in the vast majority of cases our security professionals do. and then unfortunately, there are instances where they do not. and that is why we have after action reports or why we have the accountability review board, to look at what happened and try to learn from it. and going all the way back to tehran and beirut and east africa and the 100 attacks on facilities around tell world since 2001 we have tried to learn and apply those lessons and well, i hope continue doing so. >> i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back,
the chairman will recognize the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordan. >> thank you, i heard you say that somebody raised the video. raise the video? you raised the video. on september 11, you raised the video. at 10:08, with the attack on the americans going on for an hour and a half, you raised the video. i'm going to go back to that statement. in our first round you said the statement was not meant to explain the type of the attack or the cause of the attack. so let's look at your statement. the official press statement from the department of state, statement on the attack in benghazi, press statement, hillary clinton, secretary of state, washington, d.c., september 11th, 2012. 12 sentences in this statement i'm going to focus on the one. some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted
on the internet. there is the cause, there is a motive presented there. and there is only one motive. you say this, you say -- inflammatory material caused vicious behavior. vicious behavior -- vicious behavior that led and resulted in the death of four americans. there sure seems to be cause there. >> congressman, may i read what i said? what i said is that i condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in benghazi today as we work to secure our personnel and facilities we have confirmed that one of our state department officers was killed. we are heartbroken by this terrible loss. our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who suffered in this attack. this evening, i called the libyan to procure additional support to protect americans in libya, the president expressed
his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government's full cooperation. some have sought to post this inflammatory material on the internet. the united states employs every effort, that to denigrate other religions, let me be clear there is never any justification of the acts of this kind. in light of the events today, the united states is working with countries around the world to protect our mission, and our citizens and americans worldwide. >> right, and i'm asking, you said the first round there was no motive, no cause, you were not trying to explain the cause of the attack. it sure seems like you did, you said you presented inflammatory behavior was the reason for the vicious behavior. was that not cause and effect? >> i know what you said, you
read the whole thing, i'm asking about that one sentence, because earlier you said there was no cause, no motive presented. i think there was. and that is what i think most of the american people thought. >> well, i know there was a great deal of news coverage that looked at the events in cairo. looked at what happened in benghazi and drew some comparisons and maybe even connections. i know as we just heard from congressman schiff there was a lot of fast-moving analysis by the intelligence community to try to make sense of all of this. and i can only tell you from the perspective of having been in -- >> hang on a second, the intelligence may have changed some, but your story didn't. that is the point, privately -- and privately your story was much different than it was publicly. again, you said to the egyptian prime minister, we know the attack in libya had nothing to
do with the film it was a planned attack. not a protest. you said to your family, terrorists killed two of our people. so your story privately was different than what you told the american people. the story may have changed, the impact may have changed, in benghazi it didn't. you tried to put it altogether, that is what bothers us. let me show you a slide here from september 14th. in the first statements by jay carney, let's be clear these protests were reaction to a video that had spread to the region. we have no information to suggest that benghazi was a pre-planned attack. the statement below is from your press person in libya. send this to greg hicks and to the experts in the eastern affairs bureau, the same people who said susan rice was off the reservation on five networks. here is what she says to them. benghazi, more terrorist attacks and a protest.
we want to distinguish, distinguish, not conflate the events. this was a well-planned attack. so again, privately the experts on the affairs in libya know this was a well-planned attack. but publicly jay carney is saying the same thing you're saying publicly, we have no information this was pre-planned. this was caused by a video. >> congressman, the next morning at 9:59, i gave another statement. and i listened carefully to what you said and you keep talking about cause. well, the word cause -- >> i'm referring to what you said to me in our first exchange hours ago. >> i'm sorry, if i have not been clear, congressman, i'll try to be clearer. i was talking about people throughout the region trying to justify attacks on our facilities as we saw later in
the week. and justifying their behavior. and repeating it. and using the fact of the video not only to arouse crowds as we saw in the video clips that the ranking member played but also that would deter governments from coming to our rescue because they would be perhaps m ambivalent. so you're right, i mentioned the video because i feared what would happen and in fact, it did happen. and the next morning -- the night before was a brief statement that we put out because we knew we had lost shawn smith and i felt an obligation to tell that to the american people. the next morning i gave a much longer statement and it was very clear. heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set
fire to our building. >> secretary clinton, that is all good. you said you were trying to communicate to folks all over, all the folks you have around the middle east, right? >> yes, i was trying to send a message, yes. >> okay, i got it. but that is not what the experts said. they said don't conflate the events. tell the truth about benghazi, what happened there, other places where the video may have had an impact, why did you put them altogether when you didn't do it privately. when you told your family about benghazi it was terrorists killed our people. when you talked to the libyan president, the egyptian prime minister, we know it's not a film or a protest or a video or a terrorist attack. >> well, congressman i was working off the information that we had which was that all sharia claimed responsibility. and at that point i did say that it was an al qaeda-related
group. >> okay. >> we were -- >> let's look at the difference in these two statements. one says it was not a pre-planned attack, that is jay carney talking publicly, the other says it was a well-planned attack. now, they cannot be further apart. that is what i'm having a hard time figuring out. and you know what is interesting, the date of this, 9-14-12, you know what else happened on september 14th? there is another document that is important. that is the same day that ben rhodes drafted his talking point memo, to underscore that these events are rooted in a video, not a broader failure of positive, because we couldn't have your baby fail. same day you have jay carney saying this was no way a pre-planned attack and the experts in libya talking saying
it was a well-planned attack, that same day the talking point that gets susan rice getting ready for the sunday shows. make sure you focus on the video not about a broader policy failure. after all we have an election coming in 50-some days. >> well, congressman, i believe to this day the video played a role -- >> but your experts didn't. >> there were many experts, if you looked -- you probably haven't had an opportunity to read the excellent report issued by the democrats. but on september 13th, the intelligence committee issued its first thorough assessment on what happened in benghazi. it says we assess the attacks on the u.s. consulate and the attacks in benghazi began spontaneously. there was no contradiction. the protests, because there was a video -- >> is there a contradiction
right here -- >> there is no contradiction. >> how about this contradiction? well-planned attack, no pre-planned attack, one of them is well planned, one is not. jay carney says there was no pre-planned attack, and the experts in libya say there was. >> well, the experts in libya looked and analyzed it. we went on the basis of the intelligence community and they were scrambling to get all the information they could. and yes, the intelligence community assessment served as the basis for what ambassador rice said when she appeared on the sunday show. and on september 18th, when the video footage arrived from the security cameras the deputy cia director has testified it was not until september 18th, when the cia received the libyan government's assessment of video footage that showed the front of
the facility with no sign of protesters that it became clear we needed to revisit our analysis. and then, after they looked at the video footage and fbi reporting from interviews of personnel on the ground in benghazi during the attacks the cia changed its assessment. and that was explained thoroughly in the bipartisan report issued by the house permanent select committee on intelligence which did a very thorough job, congressman. >> gentleman yields back, we'll take a quick break for ten minutes, ten seconds -- >> i just wanted to point out that the ranking member is actually incorrect. the august 17th memo that i referred to in my last question we have not had the opportunity to discuss with secretary clinton and how it affected her
my mother's and grandmother's generation, i think a lot of women are not going to vote for hillary at this time. >> all right, grainger, indiana. >> caller: hi, thank you for taking my call. i was watching, and watching jordan go back and forth about the night of the attack you said this about the video. and then the next morning you said this. i'm a mother, my daughter -- she hurt her ankle in a volleyball game. they took her -- >> sorry, we do have to go, susan, looks like hillary clinton coming back in the hearing room. we'll take your calls and anymore breaks when this wraps up. but we'll return here to the select committee on benghazi.
>> welcome back, madam secretary, the chair will recognize the gentleman from illinois, mr. roscoe. >> thank you, the other side has admonished the republicans for not having a theory. let me tell you a little bit of a theory that i have developed from my reading and research and listening today. and it's this. that you initiated a policy to put the united states into libya as the secretary of state. and you overcame a number of obstacles within the administration to advocate for military action.
and you were successful in doing that. ultimately the decision was the president's as you acknowledge. but you were the prime mover. you were the one driving, even in something called the clinton doctrine. and you were concerned about image and credit which is not something unfamiliar to people in public life. but then i think something happened. and my theory is that after moammar gadhafi's death, then i think your interest and attention waned. and i think the e-mails that mrs. brooks put forth, you had an answer and that was look i got a lot of information from a lot of different places. but i think you basically gave a victory lap, sort of a mission accomplished quote in october 30th, 2011 in "the washington post." this is what you said, very
declarative. we set into motion a policy on the right side of history, on the right side of our values and strategic interests in the region. it has all of the feel of a victory lap. but there was a problem. and the problem, madam secretary was that there were storm clouds gathering. and the storm clouds that were gathering was a deteriorating security situation in benghazi. and you had a lot to lose if benghazi unravelled. if libya unravelled, you had had a lot to lose, based on the victories, the sunday shows, based on the favorable accolades that were coming. if it went the wrong direction it would be on you. and if it was stable and it was the right direction you were the beneficiary of that. so the question is, how is it possible that these urgent requests that came in, how did they not break through to the
very upper levels of your inner circle? people who are here today, people who served you? how did those requests from two ambassadors, ambassador kretz and ambassador stevens that came in on these dates, june, july, of 2012, how did those break through? you told us they were not your job, basically, you said you were not responsible. but here is in theory. to admit the need for more security was to admit that there was a deteriorating situation. and to admit a deteriorating situation didn't fit your narrative of a successful foreign policy. where did i get that wrong? >> congressman, look, we knew that libya's transition from the
brutal dictatorship of moammar gadhafi, which basically destroyed or undermined every institution in the country would be challenging and we planned accordingly. we worked closely with the libyan people, with our allies in europe. with our neighbors in the region to make sure we tried to get position to help the libyan people. and yes, the volatile security in libya complicated the efforts. and i'll speak for myself, i absolutely did not forget about libya after moammar gadhafi fell. we worked together and offered a wide range of technical assistance. we were very much involved in helping them provide their first parliamentary election. that was quite an accomplishment. a lot of other countries that were post-conflict did not have anything like the positive elections that libya did.
in july of 2012, the transitional government handed over power to a new general national congress in august. we were doing everything we could think of to help libya succeed. we tried to bolster the effectiveness of the interim government and worked very hard to get rid of the chemical weapons, worked very hard with the transitioning government in libya. and february 2014, we had assistance in destroying the last of moammar gadhafi's weapons. we were combatting the spread of anti-aircraft shoulder-fired missiles because of the danger that they posed to commercial aircraft. and we were providing assistance, some of which i discussed earlier with congresswoman roby. we had humanitarian assistance. we brought people for help to
europe. and to the united states. but much of awwhat we offered, despite our best efforts, we had the prime minister come to washington in 2012. much of what we offered was difficult for the libyans to understand how we accepted. i stayed in close contact, both of my deputies went there. we talked with the libyan leadership frequently by phone from washington and communicated regularly. i have said with our team based in tripoli and all of this focused on trying to help stand up a new interim government. and we were making progress on de-militarization, demobilization, trying to
integrate the militia fighters on libya-based weapons. it was important to recognize. i was ultimately responsibility for security, the responsibility for what happened in benghazi -- >> what does that mean when you say you took responsibility? when mr. westmoreland asked you that question you said contracting and so forth. what does that mean? if you are responsible, what action would you have done differently. what do you own as a result so far i've heard one dismissive thing after another. it was this group, it was that group. i was not served by this. what did you do? what do you own? >> well, i was just telling you some of the many related issues i was working on to try to help the libyan people. >> what is your responsibility to benghazi? that is my question? >> well, my responsibility was to be briefed and to discuss with the security experts and
the policy experts whether we would have a post in benghazi. whether we would continue it. whether we would make it permanent. and as i have said repeatedly throughout the day no one ever recommended closing the post in benghazi. >> no one recommended closing but you had two ambassadors that made several, several requests and here is basically what happened to their requests. they were torn up. >> well, that is just not true, congressman. i know -- >> madam secretary, they didn't get through. it didn't help them. were those responded to? is that your testimony today? >> many were responded to, there were affirmative responses -- >> you laid this on chris stevens, didn't you? you said earlier, he knows where to pull the levers, so aren't you implying that it is his responsibility to figure out how he is supposed to be secure, because chris stevens knows how to pull the levers? is that your testimony? >> ambassadors are the ones who
pass on security recommendations and requests. that is true throughout the world. >> and when he does, and they're not responded to what is his remedy if they're not responded to? what is his remedy if it's no? >> as i testified earlier, he was in regular e-mail contact with some of my closest advisers. >> is that it -- >> he was in regular e-mail contact and cable contact -- >> cables didn't get through. you created an environment, madam secretary, where the cables couldn't get through, now -- >> that is inaccurate, cables as we testified -- >> they didn't get through to you, and break into your inner circle, you can't say all of this information came in to me. and i was able to process it and yet it all stops at the security professionals. >> well, that is not what i was saying. congressman, that is not what i was saying. congressman, we tried to clarify millions of cables come in.
they're processed and sent to the appropriate offices and personnel -- >> they didn't get through. they didn't make any difference. they couldn't break into the inner circle of decision-making. now, let me draw your attention in closing to testimony although gave before the house foreign affairs committee in january 2013. and you said some wonderful things about ambassador stevens, similar to what you said in your opening statement today. and they were words that were warm and inspirational. and reflecting on his bravery. but i think in light of the facts that have come out since your testimony. and i think in light of things that the committee has learned, he is even braver than you acknowledged. in january 2013, this is what you said to congress, nobody knew the dangers or the opportunities better than chris. during the first revolution and then the transition, a weak libyan government, marauding
militias, even terrorist groups, a bomb exploded in his parking lot hotel. he never waivered or asked to come home or said shut it down, let's go somewhere else. because he understood it was pivotal for america to be represented at the time. secretary clinton, you should have added this. chris stevens kept faith in the state department that i headed even when we broke faith with him. he accepted my invitation to work in benghazi even though he was denied the security we implored to give him. we breached our fundamental duty to mitigate his danger and secure his safety. and that of glenn dougherty, shawn smith, and woods, would that be accurate? >> i would not say that. i think it is a disservice for you to make that statement, congressman. and -- >> who does it disserve?
>> well, it is a disservice of how hard the people who are given the responsibility of making these tough security decisions -- >> the people that were disciplined, did they keep faith with chris stevens? no. >> well, chris stevens was someone who had a commitment to our presence in libya -- >> there was no question. >> and we want to honor that -- >> there is no question. >> by continuing to do what we can to support the libyan people's transition. it is very much in my view in america's interest to continue to try to do so. >> i yield back. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair will recognize the gentle lady from illinois, ms. duckworth. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i want to talk a little bit more about what has been done for embassy security, personnel diplomatic security since then. my understanding in benghazi, there were some security improvements that were made. could you talk about some of
those? both prior to the attacks as well as some other things -- you said alluded to with more ventilation in the safe rooms, some of those things? >> yeah, there were a number of security improvements that were made to the facility, again, there was emphasis on trying to work on the outer walls, to try to create a more effective guard. there was an effort to try to make sure that the facility itself was hardened so that it could withstand attacks, if that came to pass. it was in a series of decisions made by the security professionals in november of 2011, our people in benghazi said they needed to hire additional local guards, money was approved that day. in december of that year they
asked for money to buy jersey barriers. the funds were sent that week. in january of 2012, the rso, meaning a regional security officer requested that all personnel deploying to tripoli and benghazi for 30 days repeat the foreign affairs training course which was soon implemented. also in january 2012 they asked for money for sandbag, security lights, steel door upgrades, re re reinforced car barriers, later that month they were sent response equipment. in february of 2012 they requested support for a major renovation of the walls surrounding the complex, including making the walls higher, adding wire, laying barbed wire. that project was completed. in march 2012 they asked to construct two guard positions. that was completed. in april 2012 they needed help from experts and security, by may, a special team visited to
handle special security and lighting. in june, 2012, following the ied incident, immediately a regional team was sent to enhance the position, and additional funding was approved for more guards. in july 2012 they said that they needed a minimum of three american security officers in benghazi. from then on through july, august and september they always had three, four or five american ds agents overseeing the expansion of contingent guards on site. those are just some of the responses, congresswoman, that were provided specifically for benghazi. >> thank you. we know that short of putting people in bunkers and never allowing them outside of embassy compounds we're going to have some sort of threat to our diplomatic security personnel. i mean, obviously, it was not enough. what i would like to know is in light of that what efforts have
been put into provide for contingency operations, especially for known potentially volatile periods in the year. we know that september or other times will be volatile. would you talk a little bit about what you would have done and put in place and any difficulties you may have come across in coordinating with the dod, intelligence agencies across the government. i know this is not a secure room so we can't talk about things that are rated secret. but september 11th is coming. part of the moving the aircraft carriers nearby, are we putting aircraft on a leash, with one aircraft on a two-hour leash? what are we doing? gearing up ready to go. what is going on in light of the lessons learned at benghazi, and what did you personally direct
to happen, especially at your level of inter-agency cooperation? >> an excellent question and really at the heart of what i hope will come out of this and the prior investigations. in december of 2014, assistant secretary star from the state department testified before the select committee that 25 of the 29 recommendations made had been completed. and a september 2013 inspector general's report noted that the arb recommendations were made in a way that was quickly taken seriously. and that i took charge directly of oversight for the implementation process. here are some examples, more diplomatic security and dod personnel are on the ground at our facilities today. we have increased the skills and competentsy for agencies by
increasing the training time in the high threat course. we've expanded the foreign affairs counter threat course so that the skills are shared by not just the diplomatic security agents but people like chris stevens and shawn smith, as well. we've also been working hard to up the inter-agency cooperation. the inter-agency security teams that you asked about earlier, congresswoman, that is a continuing commitment that we are working on. and i know because of this terrible tragedy, dod is much more focused on what needs to be thought through with respect to planning and reaction. you know, we had problems in the past with the pastor from florida, terry jones, inciting riots and protests that resulted in the deaths of people, including u.n. and others who
were stationed in afghanistan. so we're trying to stay in very close touch between the state department and dod. in that case, secretary gates called him and asked him please not to get involved in what he was doing because it was dangerous to our troops and our civilians. unfortunately, he has a mind apparently of his own. we are trying to have a closer coordinated planning and response effort. with respect to your specific questions that are really within the purview of the department of defense like the deployment of certain navy vessels, air wings and the like, i think dod is trying hard to think about how particularly in north africa and the middle east they can respond because one of the claims that was made that was proven to be
untrue was that dod withheld sending air support, and indeed the closest air support that would have been in any way relevant was too far away so they're trying to think about how they better deploy and station various assets so that they can have a quicker response time. i've not been involved intimately in this now for two years -- i guess more than two years, so i can't speak directly but i know that this was part of the important work that was under way when i left. >> you spoke about you -- thank you. you spoke about you making personal phone calls to ask for help from the heads of local government. and you spoke a lot about the power of the chief of the mission, the trust that you put in to these professionals that are there. so when an embassy comes under attack, especially after this
benghazi attack, from this time forward do ambassadors -- do they need to call you to ask for help from other agencies of u.s. government? or do they have the ability -- if there's a dod -- if there is a cia or dod force nearby, a marine fast team, for example, does the ambassador have to come through security or do they need to call you to have you call for that? how does that work? >> no. and there's an example out of the benghazi attack. there was a pre-existing understanding between the diplomatic compound and the cia annex. there was no need for anybody at the compound to call washington to alert the cia annex. they immediately contacted the cia annex and they sprang into action to try to come to the assistance of our team at