tv Hillary Clinton Testimony at House Select Committee on Benghazi CSPAN October 22, 2015 10:00am-6:01pm EDT
good morning. the committee will come to order. the chair notes the presence of a quorum. good morning. welcome, madam secretary. welcome to each of you. this is a public hearing of the benghazi select committee. a couple of matters before we start. there are predetermined breaks. i want to make it absolutely clear, we can take a break for any reason or for no reason. if you or anyone will just simply alert me, then we will take a break. and it can be for any reason or for no reason. to our guest, we are happy to have you here. the witness deserves to hear the questions and the members deserve to hear the answers. so proper decorum must be observed at all times. no reaction to questions or answers. no disruptions. some committees take an incremei incremental approach to decorum. i do not. this is your one and only
notice. the ranking member and i will give opening statements, and then you will be recognized for your opening statement. then after that, the members will alternate from one side to the other. because you have already been sworn, we will go straight to your opening. so i will now recognize myself and then recognize mr. cummings and then you, madam secretary. chris stevens, sawn smith, glen doherty and tyrone wood served this country with courage and with honor. and they were killed under circumstances that most of us could never imagine. terrorists pour through the front gate of an american facility attacking people and property with machine guns, mortars and fire. it is important that we remember how these four men died. it is equally important that we
remember how these four men lived and why. they were more than four images on a television screen. they were husbands and fathers and sons and brothers and family and friends. they were americans who believed in service and sacrifice. many people speak of a better world but do little about it. these four went out and actually tried to make it better. and it cost them their lives. so we know what they gave us. what do we owe them? justice for those that killed them. we owe their families our ever lasting gratitude, respect. we owe them and each other the truth. the truth about why we were in libya. the truth about what we were doing fwh ldo
ing in libya. the truth about the escalate in in libya. the truth about request for additional personnel. the truth about requests for additional equipment. the truth about where and why our military was positioned as it was on the anniversary of 9/11. the truth about what was happening and being discussed in washington while our people were under attack. the truth about what led to the attacks and the truth about what our government told the american people after the attacks. why were there so many requests for more security personnel and equipment and why were those requests denied in washington? why did the state department compound and facility not even come close to meeting proper security specifications? what policies were we pursuing in libya that required a physical presence? who in washington was aware of
the escalating violence? what precautions, if any, were taken on the anniversary of 9/11? what happened in washington after the first attack? and what was our response to that attack? what did the military do or not do? what did our leaders in washington do or not do and when? why was the american public given such diverge enter accounts of what caused these attacks? and why is it so hard to get information from the very government these four men represented, served and sacrificed for? even after an accountability review board and a half dozen congressional investigations, these and other questions still linger. these questions linger because previous investigations were not thorou thorough. these questions lingered because those previous investigations were narrow in scape and either incapable or unwilling to access the facts and evidence necessary
to answer all relevant questions. so the house of representatives, including some democrats i hasten to add, asked this committee to write the final accounting of what happened in benghazi. this committee is the first committee to review more than 50,000 pages of documents, because we insisted that they be produced. this committee is the first committee to demand access to more eyewitnesses because serious investigations talk to as many eyewitnesses as possible. this committee is the first committee to thoroughly and individually interview scores of other witnesses, many of them for the first time. this committee is the first committee to review thousands of pages of documents from top state department personnel. this committee is the first committee to demand access to relevant documents from the cia, the fbi, the department of defense and even the white house. this committee is the first committee to demand access to
the e-mails to and from ambassador chris stevens. how could an investigation possibly be considered serious without reviewing the e-mails of the person most knowledgeable about libya? this committee is the first committee, the only committee, to uncover the fact that secretary clinton exclusively used personnel e-mail on her own personal server for official business and kept the public record, including e-mails about benghazi and libya, in her own custody and control for almost two years after she left office. you will hear a lot today about the accountability review board. secretary clinton has mentioned it more than 70 times in her previous testimony before congress. but when you hear about the arb, you should know the state department leadership hand picked the members of the arb. the arb never interviewed secretary clinton. the arb never reviewed her e-mails. secretary clinton's top adviser
was allowed to review and suggest changes to the arb before the public ever saw it. there's no transcript of the arb interviews. it's impossible to mow whether all relevant questions were asked and answered. because there's no transcript, it is also impossible to cite the arb interviews with any particularity at all. that is not independent. that is not accountability. that is not a serious investigation. you will hear there were previous congressional investigations into benghazi. that is true. it should make you wonder why those investigations failed to interview so many witnesses and access so many documents. if those previous congressional investigations were really serious and thorough, how did they miss ambassador stevens' e-mails. if those previous investigations were serious and thorough, how did they miss secretary clinton's e-mails? if those congressional investigations really were
serious and thorough, why did they fail to interview dozens of key state department witnesses, including agents on the ground who experienced the attacks firsthand? just last month, three years after benghazi, top aides finally returned documents to the state department. a month ago this committee received 1,500 new pages of secretary clinton's e-mails related to libya and benghazi. three years after the attacks. a little over two weeks ago, this committee received nearly 1,400 pages of ambassador stevens' e-mails, three years after the attacks. it is impossible to conduct a serious fact centric investigation without access to the documents from the former secretary of state, the ambassador who knew more about libya than anybody else and testimony from witnesses who survived the attacks. madam secretary, i understand there are people frankly in both
parties who have suggested that this investigation is about you. let me assure you, it is not. and let me assure you why it is not. this investigation is about four people who were killed representing our country on foreign soil. it is about what happened before, during and after the attacks that killed them. it is about what this country owes to those who risk their lives to serve it. and it is about the fundamental obligation of government to tell the truth always to the people that is purports to represent. madam secretary, not a single member of this committee signed up to investigate you or your e-mail. we signed up to investigate and therefore honor the lives of four people that we sent into a
dangerous country to represent us. and to do everything we can to prevent it from happening to others. our committee has interviewed half -- 100 witnesses. not a single one of them has been named clinton until today. you were the secretary of state for this country at all relevant times. so, of course, the committee is going to want to talk to you. you are an important witness. you are one important witness among half a hundred important witnesses. and i do understand you wanted to come sooner than today. so let me be clear why that did not happen. you had an unusual e-mail arrangement which meant the state department could not produce your e-mails to us. you made exclusive use of personal e-mail and a personal server. when you left the state department, you kept the public record to yourself for almost
two years. and it was you and your attorneys who decided what to return and what to delete. those discussions were your decisions, not our decisions. it was only in march of this year we learned of this e-mail arrangement. and since we learned of this e-mail arrangement, we have interviewed dozens of witnesses only one of whom was solely related to your e-mail arrangement. and that was the shortest interview of all, because that witness invoked his fifth ame amendment privilege against incrimination. making sure the public record is complete is what we do. it's important and remains important that this committee have access to all of ambassador stevens' e-mails and other witnesses and it is important to gain access to all of your e-mails. your e-mails are no less or no more important than the e-mails
of anyone else. it just took us a little bit longer to get them and it garnered a little more attention in the process. i want you to take note during this hearing how many times congressional democrats call on this administration to make long awaited documents available to us. they won't. take note of how many witnesses congressional democrats ask us to schedule for interview. they won't. we would be closer to finding out what happened and writing the final report if democrats on this committee had helped us just a little bit pursue the facts. but if the dp democrats on thi committee had their way, dozens of witnesses never would have been interviewed, your public record would still be prprivate thousands of documents would never be accessed and we wouldn't have the e-mails of our own ambassador. that may be smart politics, but
it is a lousy way to run a serious investigation. there are certain characteristics that make our country unique in the anales of history. part that was self-governance comes self-scrutiny, even of the highest officials. our country is strong enough to handle the truth, and our fellow citizens expect us to pursue the truth wherever the facts take us. so this committee is going to do what we pledged to do and what should have been done, frankly, a long time ago, which is interview all relevant witnesses, examine all relevant evidence and access all relevant documents. and we're going to pursue the truth in a manner worthy of the memory of the four people who lost their lives and worthy of the respect of our fellow citizens. we are going to write that final
accounting of what happened in benghazi. we would like to do it with your help and the help of our democrat colleagues. but make no mistake, we are going to do it nonetheless because understanding what happened in benghazi goes to the heart of who we are as a country and the promises we make to those we send into harm's way. they deserve the truth. they deserve the whole truth. they deserve nothing but the truth. the people we work for deserve the truth. the friends and family of the four who lost their lives deserve the truth. we will find the truth. because there is no stut atute limitations on the truth. with that, i would recognize my friend from maryland. >> the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth. the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. madam secretary, i want to thank you very much for being here today to testify before congress on this very important issue. this is your third time. this week our chairman, mr. gowdy, was interviewed in a lengthy media profile. during his interview he complained that he was -- and i quote -- he has an impossible job. that's what the chairman said, impossible job. he said it's impossible to conduct a serious, fact centric investigation in such a, quote, political environment. i have great respect for the
chairman. but on this score, he is absolutely wrong. in fact, it has been done by his own republican colleagues in the house on this very issue benghazi. the republican chairman of the house intelligence committee conducted an extensive bipartisan two-year investigation and issued a detailed report. the senate intelligence committee and the senate homeland security committee also conducted a bipartisan investigation. those bipartisan efforts respected and honored the memories of the four brave americans who gave their lives in benghazi. ambassador chris stevens, sean smith, tyrone woods and glenn doherty.
the problem is that the republican caucus did not like the answers they got from those investigations. so they set up this select committee with no rules, no deadline and an unlimited budget. and they set them loose, madam secretary, because you are running for president. clearly, it is possible to conduct a serious bipartisan investigation. what is impossible is for any reasonable person to continue denying that republicans are squandering millions of taxpayer dollars on this abusive effort to derail secretary clinton's presidential campaign. in the chairman's interview he tried to defend against this criticism by attempting to cast himself as the victim.
and he complained about attacks on the credibility of the select committee. his argument would be more compelling if republicans weren't leading the charge. as we all know, representative kevin mccarthy, speaker boehner's second in command and the chairman's close friend admitted that they established the select committee to drive down secretary clinton's poll numbers. democrats didn't say that. the second in command in the house said that, a republican. republican congressman richard hannah said the select committee was, quote, designed, designed to go after secretary clinton. and one of the chairman's only hand picked investigators, a self-proclaimed conservative republican, charged that he was fired in part for not going
along with these plans to, quote, hyper-focus on hillary clinton, end of quote. these reflect what we have seen for the past year. let's look at the facts. since january, republicans have canceled every single hearing on our schedule for the entire year except for this one, secretary clinton. they canceled numerous interviews that they planned with the defense department and the cia officials. instead of doing that, they said they were going -- what they were going to do, republicans zeroed in on secretary clinton, her speech writers, her i.t. staffers and her campaign officials. this is what the republicans did, not the democrats. when speaker boehner established this select committee, he
justified it by arguing that it would, quote, cross jurisdictional lines. i assume he meant we would focus on more than just secretary of state. but, madam secretary, you are sitting there by yourself. the secretary of defense is not on your left. the director of the cia is not on your right. that's because republicans abandoned their own plans to question those top officials. instead of being cross jurisdictional, republicans just crossed them off the list. last weekend, the chairman told the republican colleagues to shut up and stop talking about the select committee. what i want to know is this. and this is a key question. why tell the republicans to shut up when they are telling the
truth but not when they are attacking secretary clinton with reckless accusations that are demon strably false? why not tell them to shut up then? carly fiorina has said that secretary clinton has blood on her hands. mike huckabee accused her of ignoring the warning calls from dieing americans in benghazi. senator ryan paul said benghazi was a 3 a.m. phone call that she never picked up. and senator lindsey graham tweeted, where the hell were you on the night of the benghazi attack? everyone on this panel knows these accusations are baseless, from our own investigation and all those before it. yet republican members of this select committee remain silent.
on monday, the democrats issued a report showing that none of the 54 witnesses the committee interviewed substantiated these wild republican claims. secretary clinton did not order the military to stand down, and she neither approved nor denied requests for additional security. i ask our report be included in the official report for the hearing. >> without objection. >> what is so telling is that we issued virtually the same report a year ago. same report. when we first joined the select committee, i asked my staff to put together a complete report and database setting forth the questions that have been asked about the attacks and all of the answers that were provided in
the eight previous investigations. i asked that this report also be included in the record, mr. chairman. >> without objection. >> the problem is that rather than accepting these facts, republicans continue to spin new conspiracy theories that are just as outlandish and inaccurate. for example, the chairman tried to argue that sidney bloomingthal was secretary clinton's representative on benghazi. representative pompei said she relied on sidney for most of her intelligence on libya. earlier this week, "the washington post" fact checker awarded this claim four pin oak yos, its worst rating. here is the bottom line.
the select committee has spent 17 months and $4.7 million of taxpayer money. we have held four hearings and conducted 54 interviews and depositions. yes, we have received some new e-mails from secretary clinton, ambassador stevens and others. and yes, we have wconducted som new interviews. these documents and interviews do not show any nefarious activity. it's the opposite. the new information we obtained confirms the core facts we already knew from eight previous investigations. they provide more detail, but they do not change the basic conclusions. it is time and it is time now for the republicans to end this taxpayer funded fishing expedition.
we need to come together and shift from politics to policy. that's what the american people want, shifting from politics to policy. we need to finally make good on our promises to the families. the families only asked us to do three things. one, do not make this a political football. two, find the facts. three, do everything in your power to make sure that this does not happen again. and so we need to start focusing on what we here in congress can do to improve the safety and security of our diplomatic corps in the future. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thanks the gentleman from maryland. you are recognized for your opening statement. >> thank you mr. chairman, ranking members cummings, members of this committee. the terrorist attacks at our diplomatic compound and later at the cia post in benghazi, libya,
on september 11, 2012, took the lives of four brave americans, ambassador stevens, sawn smith, glen doherty and tyrone woods. i'm here to honor the service of those four men. the courage of the diplomatic security agency and the cia officers who risked their lives that night. and the work their colleagues do every single day all over the world. i knew and admired chris stevens. he was one of our nation's most accomplished diplomats. chris' mother liked to say he had sand in his shoes because he was always moving, always working, especially in the
middle east that he came to know so well. when the revolution broke out in libya, we named chris as our envoy to the opposition. there was no easy way to get him into benghazi to begin gathering information and meeting those libyans who were rising up against the murderous dictator gaddafi. but he found a way to get himself there on a greek cargo ship, just like a 19th century american envoy. but his work was very much 21st century hard-nosed diplomacy. it is a testament to the relationships that he built in libya that on the day following the awareness of his death tens of thousands of libyans poured
into the streets in benghazi. they held signs reading, thugs don't represent benghazi or islam, sorry, people of america, this is not the behavior of our islam or our prophet. chris stevens, a friend, to all libyans. although i didn't have the privilege of meeting sean smith personally, he was a valued member of our state department family. an air force veteran, he was an information management officer who had served in baghdad, montreal and the hague. tyrone woods and glen doherty worked for the cia.
they were killed by mortar fire at the cia's outpost in benghazi, a short distance from the diplomatic compound. they were both former navy s.e.a.l.s. and trained paramedics with distinguished service including in iraq and afghanistan. as secretary of state, i had the honor to lead and the responsibility to support nearly 70,000 diplomats and development experts across the globe. losing any one of them, as we did in iraq, afghanistan, mexico, haiti and libya, during my tenure was deeply painful for our entire state department and usa-id family and for me personally. i was the one who asked chris to
go to libya as our envoy. i was the one who recommended him to be our ambassador to the president. after the attacks, i stood next to president obama as marines carried his casket and those of the other three americans off the plane at andrews air force base. i took responsibility. and as part of that, before i left office, i launched reforms to better protect our people in the field and help reduce the chance of another tragedy happening in the future. what happened in benghazi has been scrutinized by a non-partisan hard-hitting accountability review board, seven prior congressional investigations, multiple news organizations and, of course,
our law enforcement and intelligence agencies. so today i would like to share three observations about how we can learn from this tragedy and move forward as a nation. first, america must lead in a dangerous world. and our diplomats must continue representing us in dangerous places. the state department sends people to more than 270 posts in 170 countries around the world. chris stevens understood that diplomats must operate in many places where our soldiers do not. where there are no other boots on the ground and safety is far from guaranteed. in fact, he volunteered for just those assignments.
he also understood we will never prevent every act of terrorism or achieve perfect security and that we inevitably must accept a level of risk to protect our country and advance our interests and values. and make no mistake, the risks are real. terrorists have killed more than 65 american diplomatic personnel since the 1970s and more than 100 contractors and locally employed staff. since 2001, there have been more than 100 attacks on u.s. diplomatic facilities around the world. but if you ask our most experienced ambassadors, they will tell you, they can't do their jobs for us from bunkers. it would compound the tragedy of
benghazi if chris stevens' death and the death of the other three americans ended up undermining the work to which he and they devoted their lives. we have learned the hard way when america is absent, especially from unstable places, there are consequences. extremism takes root, aggressors seek to fill the vacuum and security everywhere is threatened, including here at home. that's why chris was in benghazi. it's why he had served previously in syria, egypt, saudi arabia and jerusalem during the second intifada. nobody knew the dangers of libya better. a weak government, extremist groups, rampant instability. but chris chose to go to benghazi because he understood
america had to be represented there at that pivotal time. he knew that eastern libya was where the revolution had begun and that unrest there could derail the country's fragile transition to democracy. and if extremists gained a foothold, they would have the chance to destabilize the entire region, including egypt and tunisia. he also knew how urgent it was to ensure that the weapons gaddafi left strewn across the country, including shoulder-fired missiles that could knock an airplane out of the sky, did not fall into the wrong hands. the nearest israeli airport is just a day's drive from the libyan border. above all, chris understood that most people in libya or anywhere
reject the extremists' argument that violence can ever be a path to dignity or justice. that's what those thousands of libyans were saying after they learned of his death. and he understood there was no substitute for going beyond the embassy walls and doing the hard work of building relationships. retreat from the world is not an option. america cannot shrink from our responsibility to lead. that doesn't mean we should ever return to the go it alone foreign policy of the past, a foreign policy that puts boots on the ground as a first choice rather than a last resort. quite the opposite. we need creative, confident leadership that harnesses all of america's strengths and values.
leadership that integrates and balances the tools of diplomacy, development and defense. and at the heart of that effort must be dedicated professionals like chris stevens and his colleagues who put their lives on the line for a country, our country, because they believed, as i do, that america is the greatest force for peace and progress the world has ever known. my second observation is this. we have a responsibility to provide our diplomats with the resources and support they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible. after previous deadly attacks, leaders from both parties and both branchs of government came together to determine what went wrong and how to fix it for the future.
that's what happened during the reagan administration. when hezbollah attacked our embassy and killed 63 people, including 17 americans, and then in a later attack attacked our marine barracks and killed so many more, those two attacks in beirut resulted in the deaths of 258 americans. it's what happened during the clinton administration when al qaeda bombed our embassies in kenya and tanzania killing more than 200 people, wounding more than 2,000 people and killing 12 americans. it's what happened during the bush administration after 9/11.
part of america's strength is we learn, we adapt and we get stronger. after the benghazi attacks, i asked ambassador thomas pickering, one of our most distinguish and longer serving diplomats, along with admiral mike mulemullen, the former chan of the joint chiefs of staff appointed by president george w. bush to lead an accountability board. this is an institution that was set up after the attacks in beirut. there have been 18 previous boards. only two have ever made any of their findings public. the one following the attacks on our embassies in east africa and the one following our attack -- the attack on benghazi. the accountability review board did not pull a single punch.
they found systemic problems and management deficiencies in two state department bureaus. the review recommended 29 specific improvements. i pledge that by the time i left office, every one would be on the way to implementation. and they were. more marines were slated for deployment to high threat embas embassies, additional diplomatic security agents were being hired and trained. and secretary kerry has continued this work. but there is more to do. and no administration can do it alone. congress has to be our partner as it has been after previous tragedies. for example, the accountability review board and subsequent investigations have recommended improved training for our officers before they deploy to the field.
but efforts to establish a modern joint training center are being held up by congress. the men and women who serve our country deserve better. finally, there's one more observation i would like to share. i traveled to 112 countries as secretary of state. every time i did, i felt great pride and honor representing the country that i love. we need leadership at home to match our leadership abroad. leadership that puts national security ahead of politics and ideology. our nation has a long history of bipartisan cooperation on foreign policy and national security. not that we always agree. far from it. but we do come together when it counts.
as secretary of state, i worked with the republican chairman of the senate foreign relations committee to pass a landmark nuclear arms control treaty with russia. i worked with the republican leader, senator mitch mcconnell, to open up burma to democratic change. i know it's possible to find common ground, because i have done it. we should debate on the basis of fact, not fear. we should resist denigrating the patriotism or loyalty of those we disagree. so i'm here despite all the previous investigations and the talk about partisan agenda agenm here to honor those we lost and to do what i can to aid those who serve us still. my challenge to you, members of this committee, is the same challenge i put to myself. let's be worthy of the trust the
american people have bestowed upon us. they expect us to lead, to learn the right lessons, to rise above partisanship and to reach for statesmanship. that's what i tried to do every day at setting of state. and it's what i hope we will all strive for here today and into the future. thank you. >> thank you, madam secretary. i did not cut off your opening at all, nor would i think about doing so. because the subject matter is critically important. and you deserve to be heard. i would just simply note that -- i don't plan on cutting off any of your answers. our members have questions that we believe are worthy of being answered. so i would just simply note that we do plan to ask all of the questions and whatever recession that you can give to the answers without giving short shift to any of the answers would be much
appreciated. with that i would recognize the gentleman from illinois. >> good more thaning. your chief foreign policy adviser wrote a memo on october 21, 2011. this was the day before the rebels took tripoli. he titles it, secretary clinton's leadership on libya, which he describes you as a critical voice and public face of the u.s. effort in libya, instrumental in tightening the noose around gaddafi and his regime.me easy. >> one thing at a time. >> that didn't copime easy, tha public face i mentioned? >> no. congressman, i know this is an issue that the committee has
raised. it really boils down to why were we in libya, why did the united states join with our nato and european allies, join with our arab partners to protect the people of libya against the murderous planning of gaddafi. why did we take a role alongside our partners in doing so. there were a number of reasons for that. and i think it is important to remind the american people where we were at the time when the people of libya, like people across the region, rose up demanding freedom and democracy, a chance to chart their own futures. gaddafi threatened them with genocide. and we were then approached by -- with great intensity -- our closest allies in europe, people who felt very strongly, the french and british, but
others as well, that they could not stand idly by and permit that to happen so close to their shores with the unintended consequences that they worried about. they asked for the united states to help. we did not immediately say yes. we did an enormous amount of due diligence in meeting with not only our european and arab partners but also with those who were heading up what was called the transitional national council. we had experienced diplomats who were digging deep into what was happening in libya and what the possibilities were before we agreed to provide very specific limited help to the european and arab efforts. we did not put one american soldier on the ground. we did not have one casualty. in fact, i think by many measures, the cooperation between nato and arab forces was quite remarkable and something that we want to learn more lessons from.
>> secretary clinton, you were meeting with opposition within the state department from very senior career diplomats. they were saying it was going to produce a net negative for u.s. military intervention. for example, in a march 9, 2011 e-mail discussing what has become known as the libya options memo, ambassador mall, the executive secretary of the state department, in one of the top career diplomat, said in the case of our diplomatic history, when we have provided material or tactical military support to people seeking to drive their leaders from power, no matter how just their cause, it has tended to produce net negatives for our interests over the long term in those countries. we will come back to that in a minute. you overruled those career diplomats. they report to you. you are the chief diplomat of the united states. read the note if you need to.
>> i have to -- i have -- >> i'm not done with my question. i'm giving you the courtesy of r5eding your notes. >> that's all right. >> they were pushing back. but you overcame those objections. but then you had another big obstacle, didn't you? that was the white house itself. there were senior voices within the white house that were opposed to military action. vice president biden, department of defense, secretary gates, the national security council and so forth. but you persuaded president obama to intervene militarily, isn't that right? >> congressman, i think it's important to point out, there were many in the state department who believed it was very much in america's interests and in further answer of our values to protect the libyan people, to join with our european allies and our arab partners. the ambassador who had had to did he withdrawn from libya because of direct threats to his physical safety, but who knew
libya very well, ambassador kretz was a strong advocate for doing what we could to assist the europeans and arabs. it's fair to say there were concerns and it is fair to say were concerns. there were varying opinions about what to do, how to do it and the like. at the end of the day, this was the president's decision. and all of us fed in our views. i did not favor it until i had, as i said, done the due diligence speaking with not just people within our government and within the governments of all of the other nations who were urging us to assist them but also meeting in person with the gentleman who had assumed a lead role in the transitional national council. so it is of course fair to say this is a difficult decision. i wouldn't sit here and say otherwise. and there were varying points about it. at the end of the day, in large
measure, because of the strong appeals from our european allies, the arab league passing resolution urging that the united states and nato joined with them, those were unprecedented requests. and we did decide and recommending to the president there was a way to do it. the president i think very clearly had a limited instruction about how to proceed. and the first planes that flew were french planes. and i think what the united states proceeded was some of our unique capacity. but the bulk of the work militarily was done by europeans and arabs. >> i think you are overselling yourself. you convinced the president. you overcame the objections of vice president biden and secretary of defense gates, the national security council. you had another obstacle, the
russians. you were able to abstain. had you not been successful in orging that abstention, the security council resolution 1973 wouldn't have passed because the russians had a veto. so you overcame that obstacle as well, right? >> congressman, it is right that doing my due diligence and the consequences of pursuing each of them, i was in favor of the united states joining with our european allies and air rob partners and in favor of obtaining u.n. security council support. i thought that would provide greater legitimacy. our ambassador to the you know was very influential is and successful and making the case to her colleagues. but this was at the behaste of the president once he was presented with the varying argument. >> you have -- >> congressman, i have been in a
number of situation room discussions. i remember very well the intense conversation over whether or not to launch the navy s.e.a.l.s against the compound we thought that might house bin laden. there was a split in the advisers around the president. eventually the president makes the decision. i support what we could to support our european and arab partners in their effort on a humanitarian basis, strategic basis to prevent gadhafi from starting massachusetts kerrs. >> jake sullivan sent an e-mail saying this, i think you should call. it will be a painful 10 minutes. but you will be be the one who delivered arab support. that is an e-mail of jake eventual san asking you to call the secretary-general of the a arab league.
so to put this in totality, you were able to overcome opposition within the state department. you were able to persuade the president. you were able to persuade the united nations and the international community. you made the call to the arabs and brought them home. you saw it. you drove it. you articulated it. and you persuaded people. did i get that wrong? >> congressman, i was secretary of state. my job was to conduct the diplomacy. the diplomacy consisted of a long series of meetings and phone calls both here in our country and abroad to take the measure of what people were saying and whether they meant it. we had heard sometimes before from countries saying, well, the united states should go do this. when we would say, well, what would you do in support of us, there was not much coming forth. this time, if they wanted us to support them in what they saw as
an action vital respective to their national security interests, i wanted to be sure they were going to bear the bulk of the load. is and, in fact, they did. what the united states did, as i said, was use our unique capacities. as i recall, if you want if you want it to monetary terms, less than we spend in one day in iraq is what the united states committed in support of our allies. we asked our allies if you allot for us, congressman, they had asked is for us to help them. >> let me reclaim my time. you summed it up best when you e-mailed your senior staff and you said of this interchange. it's good to remind ourselves and the rest of the world that this couldn't have happened without us. you were right, secretary clinton. our libya policy be couldn't have happened without you because you were its chief architect. i said we will two back to the warning about using military for regime change. and he said long-term things weren't going to turn out very well. and he was right.
after your plan, things in libya today are a disaster. i yield pack. >> well, we'll have more time i'm sure to talk about this because that's not a view that i will ascribe to. >> the gentleman from illinois. i recognize the gentleman from maryland. >> madam secretary, i want to thank you for being here. i want to start with the number one question that republicans claim has not been answered in eight previous investigations. yesterday the chairman wrote in an op ed and he said, this is his top financial question about benghazi. and it is, and i quote, why our people in libya and benghazi made so many requests for additional security personnel and equipment and why those requests were denied. i'll give you a chance to answer
in a minute. secretary clinton, as you know, this question has been asked many times and answered many times. let's start with the accountability review board. a moment ago you talked about admiral mullen. but you also a a appointed another very distinguished gentlemen, ambassador pickering. and of course admiral mullen served under republican administrations. and ambassador pickering, who i have a phenomenal amount of respect for, served 40 years, as you know, as part of our diplomatic core. he he serve issed under george h.w. bush and served as u.n. ambassador -- he also served under reagan. now, i'm just wondering -- let
me go back to that question. while people in libya benghazi made so many requests. there seems to be an implication that the a.r.b., accountability review board, was not independent. and i think of course that's done by law. would you comment on those two things, please? >> yes. i'd be happy to. now, as i said in my opening statement, i take responsibility for what happened in benghazi. i felt a responsibility for all 70,000 people working at the state department in usaid. i take that very seriously. as i said with respect to security requests in benghazi back when i testified in january 2013, those interests and issues related to security were rightly handled by the security professionals in the department. i did not see them.
i did not approve them. i did not deny them. ambassador pickering and admiral mullen make this case very clearly in their testimony before your committee and in their public comments. these issues would not ordinarily come before the secretary of state. and they did not in this case. as secretary, i was committed to taking aggressive measures to ensure our personnel's and facilities were as safe as possible. and certainly when the nonpartisan critical report from the accountability review board came forward, i took it very seriously. and that's i embraced all their recommendations and created a new position within the diplomatic security bureau specifically to evaluate high risk posts.
i think it's important also to mention, congressman, that the diplomatic security professionals who were reviewing these requests, along with those who are serving in war zones and hot spots around the world, have great expertise and experience in keeping people safe. if you go on co dells they are the ones who plan your trip to keep you safe. they certainly did that for me. most importantly, that's what they do every day for everybody who serve ises our country as a diplomat or development professional. and i was not going to second-guess them. i was not going to substitute my judgment, which is not based on experience that they have in keeping people safe for theirs. and the changes that were recommended by the accountability review board are ones that we thought made sense and began quickly to implement.
>> now, the a.r.b., after conducting, madam secretary, more than 100 interviews, identifies specific employee at the state department who denied these requests. it was deputy assistant secretary of the bureau of diplomatic security charlene lamb. the a.r.b. report was very critical of her. it was also critical of her two supervisors. principal deputy assistant secretary and assistant secretary for diplomatic security. the oversight committee found the same answer as the a.r.b. it found that this official denied these interests. it found no evidence that you approved or denied them. the problem is republicans just keep asking the same question over and over again and pretend
they don't know the answer. in 2013, the republican chairman of five house committees issued a report falsely accusing you personally of the nine requests over your signature. the next day, the next day, the chairman of the oversight committee darryl isa, went on television and accused you of the same thing. can we play that clip, please. >> secretary of state was just wrong. she said she did not participate in this. and yet only a few months before the attack she out right denied security in her signature in a contain ril. >> do you remember that, madam
secretary? >> i do. >> when a fact checker examined his claim, they gave it four pinocchios. they called it a whopper. it turns out the republicans had a copy of that cable but didn't tell the american people that your so-called signature was just a stamp that appeared on millions of cables from the state department every single year. is that right? >> that's correct. >> now, madam secretary, my goal has always been to gather facts and to defend the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. i asked to compile an asked and answered database. on monday, we put out another report and this issue was addressed yet again. but the republicans want to keep this attack going so they are now trying to argue that we have new e-mails that raise new questions.
the truth is that we have reviewed these e-mails and they don't contradict previous conclusions. they confirm them. they corroborate them. we have reviewed e-mails from am abbas door stevens. they conclude that he asked charleston lean lamb for more security. nothing that we obtained, the new interviews or e-mails conclude the fact that we have known for three years. please take as much time as you want to answer this. there is no evidence to support the republican claims that you personally rejected security requests. so some have a argued that since you knew the danger was increasing in libya, you should have been in there making detailed decisions about whether this would be 5, 7, or 9 security officers at any given post.
madam secretary, i know you have answered it over and over again. you might just want to elaborate and just i'll give you -- i have a minute and seven second. >> well, thank you, congressman. i think there has been some confusion, and i welcome the opportunity to try to clarify it to the best of my ability. with respect, as you rightly point out, the claims that were made about the cables, i think you have explained the fact that it is a long-standing tradition of the state department for cables from around the world to be sent is to and sent from the state is department under the signature, over the signature of the secretary of state. it's a stamp. it's just part of the tradition. there are millions of them, as you point out. they are sorted through and directed to the appropriate personnel. very few of them ever come to my attention. none of them with respect to security regarding benghazi did.
and the other point, which i thank you for raising that perhaps i can speak to this one as well. there is of course information that we were obtaining about the increasingly dangerous environment in libya. across the country but in particular in eastern libya. and we were aware of that. and we were certainly taking that into account. there was no actionable intelligence on september 11th or even before that date about any kind of planned attack on our compound in benghazi. and there were a lot of debates apparently that went on within the security professionals about what to provide. because they did have to prioritize. the accountability review board
pointed that out. the state department has historically, and certainly before this terrible accident, had not had the amount of money we thought necessary to do what was required to protect everyone. so of course there had to be priorities. and that was something that the security professionals dealt with. i think that both admiral mullen and ambassador pickering made it very clear they thought the high threat post should move to a higher level of scrutiny. and we had immediately moved to do that. >> thank you. >> thank the gentleman. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from illinois, ms. brooks. >> good morning. thank you for being here today. and drawing on what you just said, that very few but no requests for benghazi came to your attention, i'd like to show you something.
this pile representing the e-mails that you sent or received about libya in 2011, from february through december of 2011. this pile represents the e-mails you sent or received from early 2012 until the day of the attack. there are 795 e-mails in this pile. we've counted them. >> there's 67 e-mails in this pile in 2012. and i'm troubled by what i see here. and so my questions relate to these piles. this pile in 2011 i see daily updates. sometimes is hourly updates from your staff about benghazi and chris stevens. when i look at this pile in 2012, i only see a handful of
e-mails to you from your senior staff about benghazi. we know from talk to go your senior advisers that they knew, many of them are here today seated behind you, that they knew to accepted issues that were of importance to you. i can only conclude by your own records that there was a lack of interest in libya in 2012. so let's first focus, though, on this pile and what was happening in libya in 2011. we have an ambassador to libya, ambassador kretz. you told us that you hand-picked chris stevens to be your special representative in benghazi and you sent him there. and by your own e-mails, they show in march '11 you had chris stevens join you in paris where you were meeting with the leader
of the libyan revolution. after paris that is when, as you talked about chris stevens went into benghazi april 5th of 2011 on that greek cargo ship. how long was he expected to stay? what were chris stevens's orders from you about libya and benghazi specifically? >> chris stevens was asked to go to benghazi to do reconnaissance, to try to figure out who were the leaders of the insurgency based in benghazi, what their goals were, what happened if they were successful. as i had, it was the hard-nosed 21st century diplomacy that is rooted in the old-fashioned necessary work of building relationships and gathering information. >> how long was he anticipated to stay in benghazi, do you recall? >> it was open-ended. we were, in discussing it with
him, unsure as to how productive it would be. whether it would be appropriate for him to stay for a long time or a short time. that was very much going to depend upon chris's own assessment. we knew we were sending understood the area, who understood the language, who understood a lot of the personalities because of the historical study that he used to love to do. and we were going to be guided by what he decided. >> i would like to draw your attention to an e-mail. it is an e-mail found at tab 1. it is an op center e-mail that was forwarded to you from houma abedene sunday, march 27th. it says at the bottom of the e-mail -- the current game plan is to move no later than wednesday from benghazi. but it says it is for him to lay
the groundwork for a stay up to 30 days. so just to refresh that recollection, i believe initially the goal was to go in for 30 days. were you personally briefed on his security plan prior to him going into libya? >> at that time if i'm not mistaken, gadhafi's forces were still battling the rebels, correct? >> that's right. >> so what were -- were you personally briefed before you sent mr. stevens into benghazi? >> i was personally told by the officials who were in the state department who were immediately above chris, who were making the plans for him to go in, that it was going to be expeditionary diplomacy. it was going to require him to make a lot of judgments on the ground. about what he could accomplish and including where it would be safe for him to be and how long
for him to stay. and i think the initial decision was, you know, up to 30 days and reassess. but it could have been 10 days. it could have been 60 days depending upon what he found and what he reported back to us. >> is and possibly what was determined about the danger of benghazi. who were those officials? >> there were a number of officials -- >> advising you on the security specifically? >> with respect to the security, this was a particular concern of the assistant secretary for the bureau in which chris worked. >> i'm sorry. what was that person's name? >> assistant secretary jeff feldman. and the security for diplomatic security, as well as other officials within the state department. and i think it's fair to say, congresswoman, we all knew, it was a risky undertaking. we all know, as i said in my opening statement, more
reminiscent the way it was practiced back in the 19th century. because we didn't have is the internet. we didn't have instantaneous communication. you would send envoys into places and not hear from them for maybe months. this was obviously not of that kind. but it was not that different in degree from what we had done before. and it was a risky under taking and one in which chris volunteered for and was a anxious to undertake. >> and it was so risky, i would like to pull up another e-mail forwarded from ms. abedene sunday, april 10th. so he had been there about five days. it can indicated the situation had worsened to the point where stevens is considering departing from benghazi. this is within five days of him going in. were you aware of that concern in the first five days of him going in? >> yes. >> did anyone share that with you. >> yes, we were aware. we were counting on chris to
guide us and give us the information from the ground. we had no other sources. you know, there was no american outpost. there was no, you know, american military presence. eventually other americans representing different agencies were able to get into benghazi and begin to do the same work. but they of course couldn't do that work overtly, which is why we wanted a diplomat who could be publicly meeting with people to try to get the best assessment. but it was always going to be a constant risk. and we knew that. >> and so let me go back to the risk in 2011 because there was a lot of communication. again, once again from your senior staff, from the state department to you or from you in 2011. in fact, that is when gadhafi fell. he fell in 2011. then when we go to 2012, libya, benghazi, chris stevens, the
staff seem to fall off your radar. and the situation is getting much worse in 2012, much worse. in your records that we have reviewed, there is no one e-mail to you or from you in 2012 when an explosive device went off at our compound in april. there's not a single e-mail in your records about that explosive device. so my question is, this was a very important mission in 2011. you sent chris stevens there. but yet when your compound is attacked in 2012, what kind of culture was created in the state department that your folks couldn't tell you in an e-mail about a bomb in april of 2012? >> well, congresswoman, i did not conduct most of the business that i did on behalf of our country on e-mail. i conducted it in meetings. i read massive amounts of memos,
a great deal of classified information. i made a lot of secure phone calls. i was in and out of the white house all the time. there were a lot of things that happened that i was aware of and that i was reacting to. if you were to be in my office in the state department, i didn't have a computer. i did not do the vast is majority of the work on my e-mail. i bet there are a lot of sid blumenthal e-mails in there too. i don't want you to have a mistaken impression about what i did and how i did it. most of my work was not done on e-mails with my closest aides, with officials in the state department, officials in the rest of the government, as well as the white house, and people around the world. >> and thank you for sharing that. because i'm sure that it's not done on all e-mails, madam secretary. there are meetings and there are discussions. so when your compound took a second attack on june 6th, when a bomb blew a wall through the compound then, no e-mails, no
e-mails at all. but i am interested in knowing who were you meeting with, who were you huddling with, how were you informed about those things? because there is nothing in the e-mails that talks about two significant attacks on our compounds in 2012? there was a lot of information in 2011 about issues and security posture and yet nothing in 2012. >> well, i would be happy to explain. every morning when i arrived at the state department, usually between 8:00 and 8:30, i had a personal one-on-one briefing from the representative of the central intelligence agency who shared with me the highest level of classified information that i was to be aware of on a daily basis. i then had a meeting with the top officials of the state department every day that i was in town. that's where a lot of information, including threats and attacks on our facilities was shared. i also had a weekly meeting
every monday with all of the officials, the assistant secretaries and others so that i could be brought up to date on any issue they were concerned about. during the day, i received hundreds of pages of memos, many of them classified. some of them so top secret they were brought into my office in a locked briefcase that i had to read and immediately return to the currier. and i was constantly at the white house in "the situation room" meeting with the national security adviser and others. i would also be meeting with officials in the state department, foreign officials and others. so there was a lot going on during every day. i did not e-mail during the day except on rare occasions when i was able to. but i didn't conduct the business that i did primarily on e-mail. that is not how i gathered information, assessed information, asked the hard questions of the people that i worked with with. >> it appears leaving benghazi with respect to all of that
danger, leaving benghazi was not an option in 2012. and i yield back. >> if i could just quickly respond, never a recommendation from any intelligence official in our government, from any official in the state department, or from any other person with knowledge of our presence in benghazi to shut down benghazi even after the two attacks that the compound suffered. and perhaps you would wonder why. but i can tell you it was thought that the mission in benghazi, in conjunction with the cia mission, was vital to our national interest. >> the gentlelady yields back. >> very much, mr. chairman. i just want to clarify. i was asking secretary clinton a moment ago i mentioned an e-mail that had gone from ambassador chris stevens to deputy secretary lamb.
what i meant to say was a cable. >> the record will reflect that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary clinton, i'm pleased that you finally have the opportunity to be here. before i start my line of questioning, i just want to clarify with regards to the april, june 2012 incidents, i believe that the procedure that the state department had for these types of incidents was to actually hold what are called emergency action committee meetings on the ground immediately. in fact, there were at least five on record for june alone in both tripoli and benghazi. that is the correct procedure for handling such incidents, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> my job is to make sure we never put brave americans like shawn spieth, glen dougherty, chris stevens anywhere in the
world without the protection they so rightly deserve. having flown combat missions myself and in so many dangerous places, i understand the dedication of those who choose to serve our country overseas. i have a official affinity of the diplomatic core. they go in without the benefit of military might, weapons, only with american values and diplomatic words and a handshake to forward our nation's interest globally. so i am absolutely determined to make sure that we safeguard in the name of our heroic dead, our men and women in the diplomatic wars wherever they are around the world. so the bottom line for me, i'm a very mission-driven person. the bottom line for me is with respect examining what went wrong in benghazi is clear. let's learn from those mistakes and figure out what we need to do to fix them. i have been in congress not
quite three years. i have served on two other committees that has looked at the benghazi a attacks. so i have had a chance to really look at all of these documents. one of the things that i saw, and i would like you to discuss this with you, is that the department of state and the department of defense at the time seems to have not had the most ideal cooperation when it came to security analysis. i do know, however, that over the past decade they have established working together on the ground in dangerous regions that has increased over time. however, as a member of the armed services committee, which also looked at the benghazi attacks, i'm concerned the inter office was not sufficient leading up to the weeks of the september 11th attacks.
the katrina exercises, if we had conducted exercises, this may have helped the state and dod to identify and fix existing eventual vulnerabilities. it could have facilitieded the prepositioning of assets where there were real questions of the host country's ability to protect our diplomatic personnel. secretary clinton, within the weeks of the terrorist attacks in benghazi happening, following that, i understand you partnered with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to establish and deploy five inter agency security assessment teams. to assess our security posture and needs at least the 19 high threat posts in 13 different countries. in fact, deputy secretary nye
testified. why did you partner with the department of defense to conduct such a high priority review and was it effective and applying it for other locations. >> congresswoman, thank you very much. your knowledge about these issues rising from your own. and the service on the committees. it is very challenging to get military assets into countries that don't want them there. and in fact, that has been a constant issue that we have worked between the state department and the department of defense. the libyans made it clear from the very beginning, they did not
approximate want any american military or any foreign military at all in their country. and what i concluded is that we needed to have these assessments because even if we couldn't post post our own military in the country, we needed to have a faster reaction. i certainly agreed 100%. our military did everything they could. they turned over every rock. they tried to deploy as best they could to try to get to benghazi. it was beyond the geographic range. they didn't have assets nearby. because we don't have a lot of installations and military personnel that are in that immediately region. so following what happened in benghazi, the chairman of the joint chiefs general dempsey and
i agreed to send out mixed teams of our diplomatic security and their top security experts from the defense department to get a better idea of the 19 high threat posts. and that's exactly what we did. and it gave us some guidance to try to have better planning ahead of time. i know admiral mullen testified that it would be beyond the scope of our military to be able to provide immediate reaction to 270 posts. but that's why we tried to narrow down. and of course we do get help from our military in war zones. the military has been incredibly supportive of our embassy in kabul and our embassy in baghdad. but we have a lot of hot spots now. and very dangerous places that are not in military conflict areas where we have american military presence. we need a fast reaction team to try to prevent what happened in
benghazi. >> thank you. so this process that the joint teams of dod and state goes out initially look at the 19 posts. that's great that they come back with a report. it's kind of like the seven reports do this. now we have another committee. we can keep having committees look into benghazi. we never act on them. it doesn't help our men and women on the ground. that's what i'm focused on. with these isats, they came back with their recommendations to you. are they institutionalized? what has been done with this process so it's not a snapshot in time in reaction to benghazi attack? and i want to make sure at the very least they are continuing the cooperation or there is some institutionalization of the review process to make sure that if it's not those 19 posts, if the shift now is there's 20 posts or some other posts. what has been done to make sure it is institutionalized? >> well, that is one of the
changes i instituted before i left. and i'm confident that secretary kerry and his counterpart, secretary carter at the defense department, are continuing that. because i think it was very useful. certainly it was useful for our security professionals and our diplomats to be partnered in that way with the defense department. you know, historically the only presence at some of our facilities has been marines. and as you know well, marines were there not for the purpose of personnel protection. they were there to destroy classified material and equipment. and so part of the challenge that we have faced and some of these hot spot dangerous areas is how we get more of a presence. and after benghazi we were able to get marines deployed to
tripoli. it is my belief that the isat process should be institutionalized and we should learn from it. >> coming from armed services, even as a young platoon leader out in a platoon, we got and read the defense quad review, a review that happens on a periodic basis. it gives the individual soldier an idea what the defense department is trying to do. and i understand you initiated something similar in the state department. >> right. >> and this goes to -- there's been discussion already about the culture at the state department, especially when it comes to security. i found that the department of defense review is good at instilling culture throughout the department. can you talk how and why you decided to do the review for the state department? was it useful? is it useful?
is it getting out there? is it a waste of time and we shouldn't be wasting money on it and we should be doing something else? >> well, i hope it's not the latter. i learned about the quad renyel defense review in the senate during my time there. i agree with you completely, congresswoman. it is a very successful road map as to where we should be going. i'm impressed as a platoon leader it was something you too into account. when i came to the state department, there was no road map. the state department, usaid would come up and fight for the money they could get out of congress no matter who was in charge every single year. it is 1% of the speier budget. it was very difficult to explain effectively what it is we were trying to achieve. so it did institute the first quad republicanal diplomacy and development review. and one of the key questions we were addressing is what is is
this balance between risk and reward when it comes to our diplomats and our development professionals. because the first thing i heard when i got to the state department was a litany of complaints from a lot of our most experienced diplomats that they were being ham strung. the security requirements were so intense they were basically unable to do their jobs. and of course then from the security professionals who were a all part of this what we call the qddr, they were saying we don't want you to go beyond the fence. we can't protect you in all of these dangerous circumstances. how you balance that, and it is a constant balancing of risk and reward in terms of what we hope our diplomats and development professionals can do. so it's been twice now. secretary kerry, in his tenure, has done the second qddr. and i hope it becomes as important and as much of a road map as the qdr has for our
defense department and our military service ises. >> thank you. i'm out of time, mr. chairman. >> thank you the gentle lady from illinois. the gentle lady from alabama, ms. roby. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> secretary clinton, some i colleagues have focused on your relationship with the ambassador chris stevens and why you sent him into benghazi in 2011 as part of your broader libya initiative. but it's not so clear from everything that we've reviewed that you had a vision in benghazi going forward into 2012 and beyond. it appears that there was confusion and uncertainly within your own department about libya. and quite frankly, secretary clinton, it appears that you were a large cause of that uncertainty. and we have seen all the day-to-day updates and concern early in 2011. i heard what you said to my colleague mrs. brooks. and i'll get to that in a
minute. but showing that libya, and for that matter benghazi, belonged to you in 2011. it was yours, so to speak. from your own records that we have, we saw a drop in your interest in libya and benghazi in 2012. not only do the records show your drop in interest in benghazi, it was even noticed by your own staff. i want to point this out to you -- i say this i want to point you to an e-mail in early february 2012 between two staffers at your libya desk that says you didn't know whether we still even had a presence in benghazi. let's not use my words. let's use theirs. this can be found at tab 31. the e-mail says -- it dated february 9, 2012. one writes to the other about annen can counter she had with you. "the secretary also asked last
week if we still have a presence in benghazi" i think she would be upset to hear, yes, we do. but because we don't have enough security, they are on lockdown." and i say this is very troubling to me because it raises several issues i would like to ask you about. i'm struck by the first part, "the secretary asked last week if we still have a presence in benghazi." you pointed out to mrs. brooks in her last line of questioning based on the e-mail stacks here that you engaged in a lot of conversations and briefings. so i'm assuming that this conversation with this member of your staff took place in one of those briefings. but then they sent this e-mail asking about this. so how can this be that two of your staffers are e-mailing about whether or not you even knew if we had a presence in
benghazi in 2012 with all your and in libya in 2011, including your trip in october of 2011 and that months later we come to find out you didn't even know we had a presence there? >> well, i can't comment on what has been reported. of course i knew we had a presence in benghazi. i know we were evaluate issing what that presence should be, how long it should continue. and i know exactly what we were doing in libya. and i think it's important. since you have very legitimate questions about what we were doing. the united states played a role in the first election that the libyan people had in 51 years. it was a successful election by every count. they voted for moderates. they voted for the kind of people they wanted to govern them. we had a very successful effort that the united states supported, getting rid of gadhafi's remaining chemical
weapons, which we led and supported the united nations and others to be able to do. we were combatting the proliferation of weapons. that's one of the reasons why there was a cia presence in benghazi. we were trying to figure out how to get those weapons out of the wrong hands and get them collected in a way and destroyed. and in fact, we began reducing those heavy weapon stocks. we were working on providing transition assistance to the libyans. i met with the libyans. i telephoned with the libyans. i saw the libyans all during this period. and it was hard. because a lot of them knew what they wanted, but they didn't know how to get from where they were to that goal. and we did an enormous amount of work. my two deputies went to libya. other officials in the state department went to libya. so there was a constant, continuing effort that i led to
try to see what we could do to help. one of the problems we faced is that the libyans did not really feel that welcome a peace-keeping mission. they couldn't welcome foreign troops to their soil. that made it really difficult. and it didn't have to be american troops. it could have been troops from anywhere in the world under a u.n. mandate that might have helped them begin to secure their country. >> secretary clinton, i hear what you're saying, but this e-mail says something very different i can't speak to that. i can just tell you what i was doing, and i was doing a lot. >> this was your staff. if they had this conversation with you, why would they make it up? but i want to move on. but this e-mail, you know, makes me wonder about the vision for benghazi because they're asking if you -- they're saying you asked if we still had a presence. but, you know, you look at the second part of the e-mail, "and
i think she would be upset to say, yes, we do. >> congresswoman, i'm sorry. i have no recollection of or no knowledge of -- >> please turn to tab 31. >> well, i trust that you have read it. but i also tell you that we had a presence in benghazi. we had members of the administration and congress visiting benghazi. so of course i knew we had a presence in benghazi. i can't speak to what someone either heard or misheard. but i think what's important, and i understand that the underlying point of your request question is what were we doing about libya? >> i heard that first part. >> and that's what i'm trying to explain to you about what we were doing. >> yes, ma'am. i want to get to the second part of the e-mail that you would have been upset to know yes, we were in lockdown. and you said on numerous occasions, including in your opening statement on point number one, america must lead and we must represent in
dangerous places. "they can't do their jobs for us in bunkers." essentially what we know is that there weren't the required number of security on the ground in order for the individual to even move about the country to provide you with what you have reiterated on numerous occasions as being very important at that time, which is political reporting. >> could you tell me who are the names on the e-mail that you're talking about? >> you can turn to tab 31. you have a book in front of you. it is alice abdallah and -- i'm going to pronounce it wrong. enya sodarais. >> they were not on my staff. i'm not in any way contradicting what they think they heard. >> can you tell me who they were if they were not on your staff? >> they were in the state department, long with thousands of other people.
they were not part of the secretary staff. but i get what you're saying, congresswoman. and i want to focus on this. i think it's a fair and important question. the facility in benghazi was a temporary facility. there had been no decision made as to whether or not it would be permanent. it was not even a consulate. our embassy was in tripoli. obviously much of the work that we were doing was going through the embassy. there was a very vigorous discussion on the part of people who were responsible for making a recommendation about benghazi as to what form of consulate, what form of facility it should be. chris stevens believed that it should be a formal consulate. but that was something that had to be worked out. and there had not yet been a decision at the time that the attack took place. so it was not a permanent facility. and, you know, there were a
number of questions that people were asking about whether it could or should be. >> i want to drill down on the security issue. i want to say it's frustrating for us here on this panel asking these questions to hear you in your opening statement talk about the responsibility you took for all 70 plus thousand employees. but i read an e-mail between two of those employees and it seems you're brushing it off as not having any knowledge. >> i am saying i have no recollection of it and it doesn't correspond with the facts of what we were doing on a regular basis. >> i want to talk about security. i have a few seconds left. in 2011, during the revolution, then envoy stevens had 10 agents with him on the ground in benghazi. and then we know in 2012 where the security situation had deteriorated even further, there were only three-eighths assigned to benghazi.
again, can't even move anybody off of the facility to do the necessary political reporting. and my question is, you know, why did you not acknowledge, because of your interest in 2011, the importance of having those security officers there to do what was so important to you, which was the political reporting then in 2011, 2010, and when an am bass doctor was there, three, and he brought two of his own the night of the attack, which would meet the requisite five. but there were only three there at any given time. >> well, he did have five with him on september 11th. >> well, he brought two, right? there were three there. >> right. >> but the fact was they were personal security. so they were there to secure him. yes, he did bring two. when he got there, he had five. the day before september 10th he
went in to benghazi. he went to a luncheon with leading civic leaders, business leaders in benghazi. so he felt very comfortable. it was his decision. ambassadors do not have to seek permission from the state department to seek travel around the country that they are assigned to. he decided to go to benghazi by taking two security officers with him and three there, he had the requisite five that had been the discussion between the embassy and the state department security professionals. i'm not going to in any way suggest that he or the embassy got everything they requested. we know that they didn't from the accountability review board, by investigations done by the congress. we know that there were a lot of discussions about what was
needed, particularly in benghazi. and that the day that he died he had five security officers. a lot of security professionals who have reviewed this matter, even those who are critical, that the state department did not do enough have said that the kind of attack that took place would have been very difficult to repel. that's what we have to learn from, congresswoman. there are many lessons going back to beirut, tehran and going all the way through these years. sometimes we learn lessons and we actually act and we do the best we can. and there's a perfect terrible example of that with respect to what happened in benghazi. >> certainly. and my time has expired. we will certainly never know what the outcome would have been if there had been more agents that night.
>> that's not what the professionals and security and experts have concluded if you have read the abilitiabilit acc >> i have read it. and it says security was grossly in adequate. >> it pint pointed out that the diplomatic security officers that were there acted heroic alley. there was not single question about what they did. they were overrun. it was unfortunate that the agreement we had with the cia annex and when those brave men showed up that it was also not enough. >> certainly. we'll discuss this more. i have to yield back. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from washington. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just to clarify, you knew we had a presence.
>> i know, congressman, of course. >> going back to your earlier question, you were aware of the two attacks on your compounds even though you didn't e-mail about it. >> yes, i was aware. >> after 17 months and $17 million, as the ranking member pointed out in his opening statements, this committee is simply not doing its job. and i don't really think it should have been formed in the first place. what we have heard -- first of all, the e-mail. the idea that two fairly junior level staffers might not have gotten something wrong in what they heard or the information in an e-mail might, in fact, not be accurate are certainly not things that should be news to anybody. but it is the obsession with the e-mails that takes us off what should have been the task of this committee. i also find it interesting that mr. obi's comment were to quote
the a.r.b. quote. we absolutely had to have it. it was important for the congress to do the investigations they did. all of that begs the question as to why we have spoeupbt $4.7 billion we have spent on this. in the chairman's opening remarks, it was primarily defense of the committee's existence. not any new information. not here's what we, in those 17 months and $4.7 million have figured out that is new and different. nothing. in fact, we have heard nothing. even in today's hearing. not a single solitary thing that hasn't already been discussed repeatedly. so we have learned absolutely nothing. yes, we have uncovered a trove of new information. in this age, i don't think there's ever an end to e-mails. we could go on another two years and probably find more. the question is what we found anything substantively that tells us something different about what happened in benghazi? the answer to that question is
no. look, i didn't think this committee should have been formed in the first place. but if it was going to be formed the least we could do is to actually focus on the four brave americans who were killed, why they were killed, and focus on benghazi. and we have not. mr. ruskin's questions were the most interesting. it was like he wanted running for president. he wanted to debate you on why we went in in the first place. it's not about what we could have done to better protect them. i think we have seen this committee is focused on you. and the ranking member of the armed services committee, i don't see the department of defense here. i don't see the cia here. there were many, many other agencies involved in this. and yet yours has been the one they have obsessively focused on.
and i think that's a shame for a whole lot of reasons. for one thing, this committee, as it has been in the news the last several weeks, has been one more step in denigrating this issue. not less. so i wish we would stop doing that. and you mentioned beirut, and that was the first thought that occurred to me when this happened, was a democratic congress at the time did a fair and quick investigation of what was an unspeakable tragedy, two separate suicide bombings, four months apart, and there was clearly inadequate security. but the focus there was not on partisanship, not on embarrassing the reagan administration, but in actually figuring out what happened and how we can better protect americans. now, i want to talk and ask questions about what i think is the central issue. and that is, how do we have that presence in the world that you described in what is an increasingly dangerous world? because as i've traveled to
pakistan and afghanistan, yemen and other places, i'm consistently amazed by the willingness of our diplomatic corps to put their lives at risk. i wonder how do you balance that very difficult decision. because frankly, what i've heard more often from that diplomatic corps is that they chafe at the restrictions. i remember vividly being in peshawar. i didn't like the ride from the airport to the embassy, which was ten minutes. we were there for a few hours, then out. the state department personnel, they lived there and went out amongst the community. how do you try and strike that balance of, you know, being present and at the same time meeting the security obligations? and then, most of the importantly, who drives that decision? because it seems to me in most instances it is driven by the diplomatic corps there. if they take risks, it's because they've decided to do it.
they're there. they know the security situation, certainly better than the secretary, and better than most everybody else. what is the proper way to strike that balance going forward, to protect our personal anel and s fulfill their mission? >> congressman, that is the most important question, and i would certainly welcome congressional discussion and debate about this, because it's what we tried to do, going back to congresswoman duckworth's question, in the review, the first one ever done, because that's exactly what we're facing. we have had diplomats and professionals in war zones now for a number of years. we've had them in places that are incredibly unstable and dangerous because of ongoing conflicts. it is i think the bias of the diplomacy corps that they be
there, because that's what they signed up for. and they know that if america is not represented, then we leave a vacuum, and we lose our eyes and our ears about what people are thinking and doing. it is certainly the hardest part of the job in many of our agencies and departments today. and it was for me in the state department. that's why i relied on the security professionals, because by the time i got there in 2009, the diplomatic security professionals had been taking care of american diplomats in iraq, in afghanistan, in pakistan, for years. and they had learned a lot of the lessons. and they were forced to make tough decisions all the time. you mentioned peshawar. one of clearly the high threat posts that the united states maintains a presence in. but when you think that since
2001 we've had 100 of our facilities attacked, if we were to shut them all down, if we were to pull out from all of them, we would be blinding ourselves. so it's a constant balancing act. what are the risks and what are the rewards for opening, maintaining, and/or closing a site. i don't know that there's any hard and fast rule that we can adopt. we just have to get better at making that assessment, congressman. and your question really goes to the heart of it. when you were as a member of congress in peshawar, you were regarded by our diplomatic security professionals. they had to assess, is it safe enough for a member of congress to come, how do we get him from the airport to the embassy. it won't surprise you to hear we've had attacks there as so many other places around the world. and that is a heavy responsibility. and the diplomatic security professionals get it right 999
times out of a thousand. and it's deeply distressing to them when anything goes wrong. we have lost non-americans with some of these attacks on facilities. we've lost our locally-employed staff. they never want to see any successful attack. they have to be right 100% of the time. the terrorists only have to be right once. and that's why this is really at the core of what i tried to do before even i got the accountability review board, going back to the qddr, to come up with a better way of trying to make those assessments. >> madam secretary, if i may, the bottom line is benghazi, on 9/11, 2012, was not the only dangerous place in the world where our security personnel were and where these difficult decisions had to be made. >> right. >> the other point, this is 2012 so we were only a couple of years into this, but secretary
of defense ash carter just i think yesterday wrote an editorial in the "wall street journal" about the impact of five years of budget uncertainty on the dod's ability to function. for five years we have gone through crs, threatened government shutdowns, one actual government shutdown, and constant budget uncertainty. now, my area is the department of defense. i know how it's impacted them. they basically from one week to the next barely know what they can spend money on. one of the criticisms is that there should have been more security. but if you don't have a budget, if you don't have an appropriations bill, how does that complicate your job as secretary in trying to figure out what money you can spend? >> well, it makes it very difficult, congressman. and this is a subject that we talked about all the time, how do you plan. how do you know -- you know, you have so many diplomatic security officers in so many dangerous places. how do you know what you're
going to have to be able to deploy, and where are you going to have to make the choices. that's why the prioritization, which shouldn't have to be, in my view, the responsibility of the officials in the state department or the defense department, to try to guess what makes the most sense. we should have a much more orderly process for our budget. i would say again, as secretary of state, the kind of dysfunction and failure to make decisions that we've been living with in our government hurts us. it hurts us in the obvious ways, like where you're going to deploy forces if you're in dod or where are we going to send security if you're in the department of state. but it hurts us as the great country that we are, being viewed from an abroad as unable to handle our own business. and so it has a lot of consequences. and it's something that i wish we could get over and have our arguments about policy, have our
arguments about substance, but get back to regular order, where we have the greatest nation in the world with a budget that then they can plan against as opposed to the uncertainty that has stalked us now for so long. >> thank you, madam secretary. so the bottom line is congress needs to do its job. >> i agree with that. >> the gentlemen yields back. i'll be happy to get a copy of my opening statement for the gentleman from washington so he can refresh his recollection on all the things our committee found that your committee missed. with that i'll go to mr. westmoreland. >> thank you. madam secretary, i talk a little slower than everybody else. >> i lived in arkansas a long time. i don't need an interpreter, congressman. >> some of the questions could just have a yes-or-no answer, that would be great, but i do want you to give us a full answer. mr. smith from washington mentioned there was no new facts brought out in some of these interviews. i want to just say he was at one
interview for one hour. i have been at a bunch of those and there has been a lot of new facts that have come out. one of the things he said, that you knew about these two incidents that have been mentioned previously, it's not a matter if you knew about them. it's a matter of what you did about them. and to us, the answer to that is nothing. you say you were briefed by the cia every morning that you were in washington; is that correct? >> that's correct. >> did they ever mention to you assistant acting director morrell wrote in his book that there were scores of intelligence pieces describing in detail how the situation in libya was becoming more and more dangerous, did you ever read any of these pieces? >> yes, as i previously stated,
we were certainly aware that the situation across libya was becoming more dangerous, and that there were particular concerns about eastern libya. >> did you read the piece that was libya, al qaeda establishing sanctuary? >> i'm aware that was certainly among the information provided to me. >> there was another particular piece that was talked about after the ied attack that apicom wrote. al qaeda expands in lybia. were you familiar with that? >> i can't speak to specific pieces, congressman, but i was well aware of the concerns we all had about the setting up of jihadist training camps and other activities in libya, particularly in eastern libya. >> you were briefed, and i think the cia between january and september of 2012, at over 4500
pages of intelligence. were you aware of how many pages of intelligence? and i know you had a specific division, i guess, of the state department under you that was called intelligence and research. >> mm-hmm. >> did they keep you up to speed on all these 400 cables or different things that they were getting? did they keep you up to speed on that, that you were aware of them? >> congressman, i can't speak to specific reports. but i can certainly agree with you that i was briefed and aware of the increasingly dangerous upsurge in militant activity in libya. >> and so what did you do to make sure that our men and women over there were protected, knowing how much the threat had
grown, especially in benghazi, because a lot of people say that really, in the summer of 2012, the security in benghazi was worse than it was during the revolution. >> well, congressman, with respect to not only the specific incidents that you referenced earlier, i think i stated previously, there was never any recommendation by anyone, the intelligence community, the defense department, the state department officials responsible for libya, to leave benghazi. even after the two incidents that you mentioned. because, in part, as i responded to congressman smith, we had so many attacks on facilities that, as i said, went back to 2001, that certainly also happened in other parts of the world while i
was there. each was evaluated. and there was not a recommendation. furthermore, there was not even on the morning of september 11th, while chris stevens was at the compound, chris had spoken to our operatives. there was no known intelligence threat against our impound. >> you said that ambassadthe am was pulled out of tripoli because of threats on his life. >> there were threats associated with qaddafi after the publication of cables he had written that were made public by wikileaks. >> you say you were aware of the two attacks at the mission facility in benghazi. >> mm-hmm. >> mr. morrell in his book states that there was 20 attacks
on that facility. are you familiar with the other 18? >> there were two that we thought rose to the level of being serious. >> were you familiar with the other 18? >> i'm not aware of 18 others. and i would point out, and i am sure that former deputy director morrell made this point when he was testifying, the cia stayed in libya. the cia had a much bigger presence than the state department. despite the overall decline in stability, some might argue actually because of the overall decline in stability, it was thought to be even more important for the cia to stay there. and they also did not believe that their facility would be the subject of a deadly attack either, because i think sometimes -- >> ma'am -- >> sometimes the discussion gets pulled together, when really we
had chris and sean dying at the state department compound which we are discussing, and we had our other two deaths of tyrone woods and glenn dougherty at the cia annex. >> reclaiming my time for just a minute. i do appreciate that. if you talk to the cia contractors that were at the annex, and you ask them how they were armed and equipped, and then if you would or could talk to the diplomatic security agents that were at the facility, i think you will see that there was a big, big difference in the equipment that they had to protect themselves. but you knew of the two what you called major incidents but you don't recollect the other 18 that mr. morrell says happened. how many instances would it have taken you to say, hey, we need to look at the security over there? would it have been three major
instances, 30 instances, 40 instances, 50 instances? how many instances would you have been made aware of that would have made you say, hey, i don't care what anybody else says, we're going to protect our people, chris stevens is a good friend of mine, we're going to look after him. >> congressman, of course i made it abundantly clear that we had to do everything we could to protect our people. what i should not as secretary do is substitute my judgment from thousands of miles away for the judgment of the security professionals who made the decisions about what kind of security would be provided. >> ma'am -- >> i know that sounds somewhat hard to understand. but, you know, we have a process, and the experts who i have the greatest confidence in
and who had been through so many difficult positions, because practical aly all of them had rotated through afghanistan, pakistan, iraq, yemen, other places, they were the ones making the assessment. no one ever came to me and said, we should shut down our compound in benghazi. >> ma'am, i'm not saying shut it down. i'm saying protect it. >> well -- >> i'm not saying shut it down. i'm just saying protect it. >> right. >> when you say security professionals, i'm not trying to be disparaging of anybody, but i don't know who those folks were, but -- >> they were people who risked their lives to try to save -- >> -- when it came to protecting people. you said that the mission that you gave ambassador stevens was to investigate the situation. it seems to me he would have to
get out into the country to investigate it. i don't know if you're aware of it or not, but there were not even enough diplomatic security for him to leave the compound without asking the cia operatives to assist them. were you aware that? >> well, we had an agreement with the cia to help supplement security and to come to the aid. it was a mutual agreement. >> was that a written agreement? >> no, it was not a written agreement. but we are posted with the cia in many places in the country, in the world. and it's important to have a good working relationship. and we did. and unfortunately, despite all the weapons and despite the fortification, two cia contractors died at the cia annex that night. >> just to follow up on one thing about ambassador stevens. you got a lot of e-mails from sidney blumenthal.
and you say that mr. bloom ee e blumenthal was a friend of yours and he had your personal e-mail address. you say chris stevens was a personal friend of yours. he asked numerous times for personal protection. i think anybody out there watching this would agree. if i had been mr. stevens and i had had a relationship with you, and i had requested 20 or more times for additional security to protect not only my life but the people that were there with me, i would have gotten in touch with you some way. i would have let you know that i was in danger, and that the situation had deteriorated to a point, i needed you to do something. he didn't have your personal e-mail? >> congressman, i do tnot beliee that he had my personal e-mail. he had the e-mail and he had the
direct line to everybody that he had worked with for years. he had been posted with officials in the state department. they had gone through difficult, challenging, dangerous assignments together. he was in constant contact with people. yes, he and the people working for him asked for more security. some of those requests were approved. others were not. we're obviously looking to learn what more we could do, because it was not only about benghazi, it was also about the embassy in tripoli. i think it's fair to say that chris asked for what he and his people requested because he thought that it would be helpful. but he never said to anybody in the state department you know what, we just can't keep doing this, we just can't stay there. he was in constant contact with, you know, people on my staff,
other officials in the state department. and, you know, i did have an opportunity to talk with him about the substance of the policy. but with respect to security, he took those requests where they belonged. he took them to the security professionals. and i have to add, congressman, the diplomatic security professionals are among the best in the world. i would put them up against anybody. and i just cannot allow any comment to be in the record in any way criticizing or disparaging them. they have kept americans safe in two wars and in a lot of other really terrible situations over the last many years. i trusted them with my life. you trust them with yours when you're on codels. they deserve better. and they deserve all the support congress can give them because they're doing a really hard job very well. >> ma'am, all i can say is they missed something here. and we lost four americans.
>> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair would recognize the gentleman from kansas. >> madam secretary, you've referred to the qddr a couple of times as being important to diplomatic security; is that correct? >> it provoked a discussion, congressman, about balancing of risk. >> madam secretary, i had a chance to read that. i wanted to read the executive summary that ran 25 pages. but it didn't have a word about diplomatic security. not one word, remaining. then i read the remaining pages. do you know how many pages of those 270 had to do with diplomatic security? >> it was about the balancing of risk and reward, which was not only about diplomatic security specifically, but about the larger question of our mission around the world. >> madam secretary, there was no balance. there was no balance. there was two pages out of 270 pages. you talked about a lot of things
in there. you talked about a lot of improvements. it didn't have anything to do with diplomatic security in any way in that report. you talked about being disappointed, i've heard you say that several times. why didn't you fire someone? in kansas, madam secretary, i get asked constantly, why has no one been held accountable? how come not a certainly person lost a single paycheck connected to the fact that we had the first ambassador killed since 1979? how come no one has been held accountable to date? >> the review board pointed out several people working in the state department who they thought had not carried out their responsibilities adequately. but they said that they could not find a breach of duty. >> yes, ma'am. >> the personnel rules and the laws that govern those decisions were followed very carefully. >> yes, ma'am. i'm not asking what the arb did.
i'm asking what you did. >> i followed the law, congressman. that was my responsibility. >> madam secretary, you're telling me you had no authority to take anyone's paycheck, to cause anyone to be fired? you're telling me you were legally prohibited from doing that, is that your position here this morning? >> it is my position that in the absence of finding dereliction or breach of duty, there could not be immediate action taken. but there was a process that was immediately instituted and which led to decisions being made. >> yes, ma'am. the decision was to put these on all back pay, keep them on as employees. that was the decision made as a result of the process you put in place. the folks in kansas don't think that is accountability. i want to do some math with you. can i get the first chart, please. do you know how many security requests there were in the first quarter of 2012? >> for everyone, or for benghazi? >> i'm sorry, yes, ma'am, related to benghazi, libya.
there were just over a hundred plus. second quarter, do you know how many there were? >> no, i do not. >> ma'am, there were 172-ish. might have been 171 or 173. how many were there in july and august and then in that week and few days before the attacks, do you know? >> there were a number of them, i know that. >> yes, ma'am. 83 by our count. that's over 600 requests. you've testified here this morning that you had none of those reach your desk; is that correct also? >> that's correct. >> madam secretary, mr. blumenthal wrote you 150 e-mails. it appears from the materials we've read that all of those reached your desk. can you tell us why security requests from your professionals, which you just testified and when i agree are incredibly professional, capable people, trained in the art of keeping us all safe, none of those made it to you, but a man who was a friend of yours who had never been to libya, didn't know much about it, at least that was his testimony, didn't know much about it, every one of those reports that he sent on to
you that had to do with situations on the ground in libya, those made it to your desk. you asked for more of them. you read them. you corresponded with him. and yet the folks that worked for you didn't have the same courtesy. >> well, congressman, as you're aware, he's a friend of mine. he sent me information he thought might be of interest. some of it was, some of it wasn't, some of it i forwarded to be followed up on. the professionals and experts who reviewed it found some of it useful, some of it not. >> madam secretary -- >> he had no official position in the government. and he was not at all my adviser on libya. he was a friend who sent me information that he thought might be in some way helpful. >> madam secretary, i have lots of friends. they send me things. i have never had somebody send me pieces of intelligence with the level of detail mr. blumenthal sent every week. that's a special friend. >> it was information that had been shared with him that he forwarded on. and as someone who got the vast
majority of the information that i acted on from official channels, i read a lot of articles that brought new ideas to my attention, and occasionally people including him and others would give me ideas. they all went into the same process to be evaluated. >> yes, ma'am. i will tell you that the record we received to date does not reflect that. it simply doesn't. we've read the e-mails. we've read everything we can get our hands on. it's taken us a long time to get it. you just described all this other information you relied upon. it doesn't exhocomport with the record this committee has been able to establish today. i want you to take a look at this chart to the left. you'll see the increasing number of contracts, over 600. i think data matters. pictures are worth a lot. you see the increase in the requests, and the bottom line is the increase in security. you'll note that the slope of those two lines is very different. can you account for why that is, why we have an increase in requests yet no increase in security? >> congressman, i can only tell
you that i know a number of requests were fulfilled, and some were not. but from my perspective, again, these were handled by the people that were assigned the task of elevating them. and, you know, i think it's important to again reiterate that although there were problems and deficiencies discovered by the accountability review board, the general approach to have security professionals handle security requests i think still stands. >> yes, ma'am. i wish you to listen to those security professionals. you described mr. stevens as having the best knowledge of libya of anyone. your words this morning. and yet when he asked for increased security, he didn't get it. may i see the second chart, please. i just talked to you about requests for assistance. i won't go through the numbers in detail.
it shows the increasing number of security incidents at the facility, your facility, the state department facility, in benghazi, libya. then again, it shows the increase in security being nonexistent. i assume your answer is the same with respect to the fact that we have increasing security incidents but no corresponding increase in the amount of security? >> congressman, i just have to respectfully disagree. many security requests were fulfilled. we would be happy to get that information for the record. so i can't really tell what it is you're putting on that poster, but i know that a number of the security requests were fulfilled for benbenghazi. >> yes, ma'am. it shows that the security agents there before that day and the number on that day is no different. >> congressman, the decision, as i recall, the post, namely embassy tripoli on behalf of
benghazi, requested five diplomatic security personnel, and they did have that on the day that chris stevens was in benghazi. unfortunately, that proved insufficient in the face of the kind of attack that they were facing. >> yes, ma'am. let's put the next poster up, please. madam secretary, you're not likely to know who these two folks are, do you? >> i do not. >> the one on the left is a al azawi, head of a jihadist group based in benghazi. the men on your left is be ben hamid. are you aware your folks in benghazi met with that man within 48 hours before the attack? >> i know nothing about any meeting with him. >> ambassador stevens on the day he was killed sent a cable about his meeting with mr. hamid. are you aware of that cable? >> no, i'm not.
>> he said they, referring to mr. hamid, they wanted an introductory meeting, they asked us what we needed to bring security to benghazi. so your officials were meeting with this man on the ground in benghazi, libya, discussing security, two days before that. but in august of that same year, the united states government had said that this very man was, quote, a young rebel leader who allegedly fought in iraq under the flag of al qaeda. were you aware that our folks were either wittingly or unwittingly meeting with al qaeda on the ground in benghazi, libya, just hours before the attack? >> i know nothing about this, congressman. >> i think that's deeply disturbing. i think the fact that your team was meeting -- >> i'm sorry. which team is this? >> we don't know exactly who -- >> it would be helpful -- >> it would have been one of your state department employees, madam secretary, i don't know which one. perhaps you can enlighten us or
help us get the records we need to do so. >> since we didn't have an ongoing significant presence of state department personnel in benghazi, i don't know to whom you are referring. >> mr. chairman, i'll yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from kansas yields. the chair will now recognize the gentle lady from california, ms. sanchez. >> thank you, madam secretary, for coming to answer our questions. we know over the last 17 months there have been a number of allegations that have been made with respect to you, and when the facts and the testimony and the record don't support that, we seem to move on to the next, you know, new allegation. one of the more recent ones is that republicans are claiming that because you received e-mails from sidney blumenthal, that he was your primary source for intelligence. now, chairman gowdy claimed that mr. blumenthal was, and i'm going to quote him here, quote, secretary clinton's primary adviser on libya because nearly
half of all the e-mails sent to and from secretary clinton regarding benghazi and libya prior to the benghazi terrorist attacks involved sidney blumenthal, end quote. he also claimed that mr. blumenthal was, and i'm quoting again, one of the folks providing her the largest volume of information about libya. secretary clinton, was sidney blumenthal your primary policy adviser or your primary intelligence officer? >> no, of course not. >> was he the primary source of information that you were receiving on libya? >> no, absolutely not. >> can you tell us then, who were you receiving information from, and in what form? because there's been a particular emphasis on e-mail communication and e-mail communication only. >> as i testified earlier, i did not primarily conduct business on e-mail with officials in our government. and i think the e-mails that have been produced thus far
demonstrate that as well. as i said, i got intelligence briefings from the intelligence community. i had a very experienced group of senior diplomats who knew quite a bit about libya. deputy secretary bill burns had been our nation's top diplomat, who actually had negotiated with qaddafi. prior to the entering in by the united states to support our european allies and arab partners, i sent a team to meet with representatives of cqaddaf to see if there were some way he would back down and in back off of his increasingly hysterical threats against his own people. we had people like the ambassador that i referenced earlier who had served in libya and had the occasion to observe and to meet with qaddafi. so we had a very large group of
american diplomats, intelligence officers, and some private citizens who were experts in libya, who were available to our government. and we took advantage of every person we could with expertise to guide our decision making. >> so would it be fair to say that you received information from ambassador stevens? >> yes. >> the assistant secretary for near eastern affairs? >> yes. >> the director of policy planning, jacob sullivan? >> yes. >> the national security council? >> yes. >> the intelligence community? >> yes. >> the defense department? >> yes. >> this weekend one of our colleagues on this panel, mr. pompeao, went on "meet the press." he had this exchange. can we please play the video clip. >> mr. blumenthal, it goes directly to the security issue. we see now that former secretary
relied on mr. blumenthal for most of her intelligence. >> that is factually not correct. relied on mr. blumenthal for most of her intelligence? >> take a look at the e-mail train. >> i cover the state department. that is just factually not correct. >> that clip for me just defies all logic. andrea mitchell correctly called him out on something that was a falsehood. secretary clinton, what did you think when you heard that clip? >> well, that it was factually untrue. and i think your questioning and what i have stated today is a much clearer and more factual description of how we gathered information to make our decisions regarding libya. >> with your answer that you believe it to be factually incorrect, i just want to add that the "washington post" fact checker immediately awarded that claim four pinocchios, which is
the worst rating possible. i'll quote the "post" on what they said. looking at her private e-mails is just part of the picture and ignores the vast amount of information, much of it classified, that is available to the secretary of state. secretary clinton, would you agree with that statement from the wa"washington post"? >> yes, i would. >> it seem to me there have been allegations that the work that this committee has done has been political in nature, and that much of the facts have already been decided before all of the evidence is in, including your testimony here today. when i see clips like that, it sort of supports the theory that this panel is not really interested in investigating what happened just prior to, the evening of, and immediately in the aftermath of september 11th, 2012, but that in fact there is another motive hibehind that. i want to allow you to debunk the many myths that have been
generated over the last 17 months, most of which have no factual basis for those being said. one is that you seemingly were disengaged the evening of september 11th, 2012. mike huckabee aaccusccused you, mr. cummings said, of ignoring the warning calls of those dying in benghazi. senator lindsey graham tweeted, where the hell were you on the night of the benghazi attack. those appear to be based on the testimony of witnesses and the documentation that we have obtained in this committee and other previous committees, they seem to run counter to the truth, because the testimony we've received states pretty much that you were deeply engaged the night of the attack. so can you describe for us what the initial hours of that night were like for you and how you learned about the attacks and what your initial thoughts and
actions were? >> congresswoman, i learned about the attacks from a state department official rushing into my office shortly after or around 4:00 to tell me that our compound in benghazi had been attacked. we immediately summoned all of the top officials in the state department for them to begin reaching out, the most important, quick call was to try to reach chris himself, that was not possible. then to have the diplomatic security people try to reach their agents. that was not possible. they were obviously defending themselves along with the ambassador and sean smith. we reached the second in command in tripoli. he had heard shortly before we reached him from chris stevens, telling him that they were under attack. we began to reach out to
everyone we could possibly think who could help with this terrible incident. during the course of the following hours, obviously i spoke to the white house, i spoke to cia director petraeus, i spoke to the libyan officials, because i hoped that there was some way that they could gather up and deploy those who had been part of the insurgency to defend our compound. i had conference calls with our team in tripoli. i was on a videoconference with officials who had operational responsibilities in the defense department, in the cia, at the national security council. it was just a swirl and whirl of constant effort to try to figure out what we could do. and it was deeply -- it was
deeply distressing when we heard that the efforts by our cia colleagues were not successful, that they had had to evacuate the security officers, our diplomatic security officers, that they had recovered sean smith's body, and they could not find the ambassador. we didn't know whether he had escaped and was still alive or not. >> if i may, because my time is running short, i just want to point out that you spoke with folks on the ground, you spoke with folks in the white house, the cia, the libyan president of the general national congress. now, interestingly enough, former director of the cia david petraeus has not been before this committee and has not spoken with this committee. but he did testify before the house intelligence committee in 2012, and he said that you personally called him and asked him for help that night. and i just want to end on this quote. quote, when secretary clinton
called me later that afternoon to indicate that ambassador stevens was missing and asked for help, i directed our folks to ensure that we were doing everything possible, and that is of course what they were doing that night. is that correct? >> that is. and also the defense department was doing everything it could possibly do. we had a plane bringing additional security from tripoli to benghazi. there was an enormous amount of activity. it was all hands on deck, everyone jumped in to try to figure out what they could do. the attack on the compound was very fast. >> would it be safe to say you were fully engaged that evening? >> that is certainly safe to say, congresswoman. >> thank you. i yield back. >> the gentlelady from california yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. >> you just gave a long answer, madam secretary, to ms. sanchez about what you heard that night,
but nowhere in there did you mention a video, because there was never a video-inspired protest in benghazi. victoria new land, your spokesperson at the state department, hours after the attacks said this: in cairo police have removed demonstrators. benghazi, you have weapons and explosions. cairo, you have spray paint and rocks. one hour before the attack in benghazi, chris stevens walks a diplomat to the front gate. the ambassador didn't report a demonstration, because it never happened. an eyewitness in the command center that night on the ground said no protest, no demonstration. two intelligence reports that day. no protest, no demonstration. the attack starts at 3:42 eastern time, ends at approximately 11:40 p.m. that night. at 4:06, an ops alert goes out across the state department, it says this: mission under attack,
armed men, shots fired, explosions heard. no mention of video, no mention of a protest, no mention of a demonstration. but the best evidence is greg hicks, the number two guy in libya who worked side by side with ambassador stevens. he was asked, if there had been a protest, would the ambassador have reported it. mr. hicks's response, absolutely. for there to have been a demonstration on chris stevens's front door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable. mr. hicks said, secondly, if it had been reported, he would have been out the backdoor within minutes, and there was a back gate. everything points to a terrorist attack. we heard about the long history of violence in the country. yet five days later susan rice goes on five tv shows and she says this: benghazi was a spontaneous reaction as a consequence of a video. a statement we all know is
false. don't take my word for it. here's what others have said. rice was off the reservation. off the reservation on five north tex networks. white house worried about the politics. the white house didn't make those statements. they were made by people who worked for you, the actual experts on libya in the state department. so if there's no evidence for a video-inspired protest, then where did the false narrative start? it started with you, madam secretary. at 10:08, on the night of the attack, you released this statement: some have sought to justify the vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. at 10:08, with no evidence, at 10:08, before the attack is over, at 10:08, when tyrone woods and glenn dougherty are still on the roof of the annex fighting for their lives, the official statement of the state
department blames a video. why? >> during the day on september 11th, as you did mention, congressman, there was a very large protest against our embassy in cairo. protestors breached the walls. they tore down the american flag. and it was of grave concern to us because the inflammatory video had been shown on egyptian television, which has a broader reach than just inside egypt. and if you look at what i said, i referred to the video that night in a very specific way. i said, "some have sought to justify the attack because of the video." i used those words deliberately, not to ascribe a motive to every attacker, but as a warning to
those across the region that there was no justification for further attacks. and in fact during the course of that week, we had many attacks that were all about the video. we had people breaching the walls of our embassy in tunis, in khartoum. we had people, thankfully not americans, dying at protests. that's what was going on, congressman. >> i appreciate that. modified attac most of the attacks were after the attack on the facility benghazi. ms. newland said, if pressed by the press, she said, there's no connection between benghazi and cairo. your experts knew the truth. your spokesperson knew the truth. greg hicks knew the truth. what troubles me more is i think you knew the truth. i want to show you a few things here. you're looking at an e-mail you
sent to your family. here's what you said. at 11:00 that night. approximately one hour after you told the american people it was a video, you say to your family, two officers were killed today in benghazi by an al qaeda-like group. you tell the american people one thing, you tell your family an entirely different story. also on the night of the attack, you had a call with the president of libya. here's what you said to him. al sharia is claiming responsibility. unfortunate guys arrested in charge actually belonged to that group. and finally, most significantly, the next day, within 24 hours, you had a conversation with the egyptian prime minister. you told him this: we know the attack in libya had nothing to do with the film. it was a planned attack, not a protest.
let me read that one more time. we know, not we think, not it might be, we know the attack in libya had nothing to do with the film that was a planned attack, not a protest. state department experts knew the truth. you knew the truth. that's not what the american people got. again, the american people want to know why. why didn't you tell the american people exactly what you told the egyptian prime minister? >> i think if you look at the statement that i made, i clearly said that it was an attack. and i also said that there were some who tried to justify -- >> secretary clinton -- >> -- on the basis of the video, congressman. >> real quick, calling it an attack is like saying the sky is blue. of course it was an attack. we want to know the truth. the statement you sent out was a statement on benghazi, and you say vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material on the internet. if that's not pointing at the motive as being a video, i don't know what is. that's certainly how the american people saw it.
>> congressman, there was a lot of conflicting information that we were trying to make sense of. the situation was very fluid. it was fast-moving. there was also a claim of responsibility by al sharia. when i talked to the egyptian prime minister, i said this was a claim of responsibility by al sharia, a group that was affiliated or at least wanted to be affiliated with al qaeda. sometime after that, the next day, early the next morning after that, on the 12th or 13th, they retracted their claim of responsibility. >> madam secretary -- >> i think if you look at what all of us were trying to do, we were in a position, congressman, of trying to make sense of a lot of incoming information. and watch the way the intelligence community tried to make sense of it. so all i can say is nobody -- >> there was no conflicting information the day of the attack because your press secretary said, if pressed,
there is no connection between cairo and benghazi. it was clear. you're the ones who muddied it up, not the information. >> there's no connection -- >> here's what i think is going on. here's what i think's going on. let me show you one more slide. again, this is from victoria newland, your press person. she says to jake sullivan, subject line reads this, romney's statement on libya. e-mail says, this is what ben was talking about. this is the now somewhat famous ben rhodes, author of the talking points memo. 27 minutes after you told everyone it's a video, while americans are still fighting because the attack is still going on, your top people are talking politics. it seems to me that night you had three options, secretary. you could tell the truth, like
you did with your family, like you did with the libyan president, like you did with the egyptian prime minister, tell them it was a terrorist attack. you could say, you know what, we're not quite sure. don't really know for sure. i don't think the evidence -- i think it's all -- but you could have done that. but you picked the third option. you picked the video narrative. you picked the one with no evidence. and you did it because libya was supposed to be, and mr. roscum pointed out, this great success story for the white house and the state department. a key campaign theme that year was bin laden is dead, al qaeda is on the run. now you have a terrorist attack in libya, 56 days before an election. you can live with protest about a video. that won't hurt you. but a terrorist attack will. you can't be square with the american people. you tell your family says the
terrorist attack, but not the american people. you can tell the libyan president it's a terrorist attack, but not the american people. you can tell the egyptian prime minister it's a terrorist attack, but you can't tell your own people the truth. madam secretary, americans can live with the fact that good people sometimes give their lives for this country. they don't like it. they mourn for those families. they pray for those families. but they can live with it. but what they can't take, what they can't live with, is when their government is not square with them. mr. chairman, yield back. >> madam secretary, you're welcome to answer the question, if you would like to. >> well, i wrote a whole chapter about this in my book, "hard choices." i would be glad to send it to you, congressman, because i think the insinuations that you are making do a grave disservice
to the hard work that people in the state department, the intelligence community, the defense department, the white house did during the course of some very confusing and difficult days. there is no doubt in my mind that we did the best we could with the information that we had at the time. and if you would actually go back and read what i said that night, i was very careful in saying that some have sought to justify. in fact the man that has been arrested as one of the ring leaders of what happened in benghazi is reported to have said it was the video that motivated him. none of us can speak to the individual motivations of those terrorists who overran our compound and who attacked our cia annex. there were probably a number of different motivations. i think the intelligence community which took the lead on
trying to sort this out, as they should have, went through a series of interpretations and analysis. and we were all guided by that. we were not making up the intelligence. we were trying to get it, make sense of it, and then to share it. when i was speaking to the egyptian prime minister or in the other two examples you showed, we had been told by al sharia that they took credit for it. it wasn't until about 24 or more hours later that they retracted taking credit for it. >> secretary criminal tlinton - >> we also knew, congressman, because my responsibility was what was happening throughout the region, i needed to be talking about the video, because i needed to put other governments on notice that we were not going to let them get away with attacking us, as they
did in tunis and khartoum. in tunis there were thousands of protestors breaching the calls of our embassy, burning down the american school. i was calling everybody in the tunisian government i could get, and finally the president sent his presidential guard to break it up. there was example after example. that's what i was trying to do during those desperate and difficult hours. >> if i could, mr. chairman. secretary clinton, you said my insinuation. i'm not insinuating anything. i'm reading what you said. plain language. we know the attack in libya had nothing to do with the film. that's as plain as it can get. why didn't you just speak plain to the american people? >> i did. if you look at my statement as opposed to what i was saying to the egyptian prime minister, i did state clearly, and i said it again in more detail the next morning, as did the president. i'm sorry that it doesn't fit your narrative, congressman.
i can only tell you what the facts were. and the facts, as the democratic members have pointed out in their most recent collection of them, support this process that was going on, where the intelligence community was pulling together information. and it's very much harder to do it these days than it used to be, because you have to monitor social media, for goodness's sakes. that's where the ansar al sharia claim took place. the intelligence committee did the best job they could and we all did our best job to try to figure out what was going on and then convey that to the american people. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. schiff. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary. we're almost at the end of the first round of questions. i'll have an opportunity, then the chairman will, before we have a break, just to let you know where we are in the scheme
of things. i am the to take a moment to -- i want to take a moment to think about where we are in this round, and where this began, with the chairman's statement. the chairman said at the outset of the hearing that the american people were entitled to the truth, the truth about what happened in benghazi, the truth about the security there, the truth about what happened after the attack. the implication of this of course is that the american premium don't know the truth, that this is the first version we have ever had. the reality is we've had eight visa investigations. we've gone through this endlessly. if we look at the documentary record, we have the arb report. we have the report of the armed services committee led by republican buck mckean which debunked the standdown order allegation. we have the report of the committee on government reform.
we have the report of the senate homeland security committee. we have the report of the house foreign affairs committee. we have the gop conference's own report. we have the report of the intelligence committee on which i serve. now, bear in mind, these aren't with their accompanying exhibits or the classified stuff, because it would be up through the ceiling if i included them. this is the report of our committee. this is what $4.7 million of taxpayer money buys you. this is what 17 months of investigation have shown. now, the chairman said, and he's a very good lawyer and a good former prosecutor, we have a lot of former prosecutors here on the panel, he gave you a recitation of the number of witnesses and the number of documents. there are too many good prosecutors on this panel not to know that when a lawyer describes the metrics of the
success of an investigation by the sheer number of people they've talked to or the volume of documents, it says nothing about the substance of what they've learned, there's a problem. and the reality there's a probl. and the reality is that after 17 month, we have nothing new to tell the families. we have nothing new to tell the american people. we have discovered nothing that alters the core conclusions of the eight investigations that went on before. my colleagues have been saying quite often this week with amazing regularity that this is a fact-centric investigation. and i agree because i would like to talk about president facts thatcentric to this investigation. because while the american people are entitled to the truth about benghazi they're also entitled to the truth about our committee. fact: what gave rise to your
appearance today was many months ago a group called the stop hillary pac which aired an offensive ad during the democratic debate showing the tombstone of mr. stevens among other things delivered 264,000 signatures demanding you appear before us. fact: it was the next day the majority approached us to have you come before this committee. fact: after the "new york times" issued its story in march, this committee canceled all other hearin hearings except for a hearing with a witness named "clinton." fact: we abandoned our plans to bring in the secretary of defense and the head of the cia. fact: we haven't had a single hearing from the department of defense in 17 months. fact: of the 70,000 pages of documents obtained by the select committee, the only documents that the chairman has chose on the release publicly are your
e-mails with sidney blumenthal. fact: of the 32 press releases that have been issued since march of this year, 27 of them are about you or the state department and five are about everything else. fact: as recently as last week the chairman issued a 13-page letter which is alleges you risk it had lives of people by sending an e-mail that contained the name of a classified cia source. fact: cia told us there was nothing in that e-mail that was classified nor was the name of that person whose who is well known to many. the chairman has said that this will be the final, definitive report. one thing i think we can tell already -- there will be nothing final about this report. wherever we finish, if ever we
finish, the problem we've had as a committee is we don't know what we're looking for. but there won't be a final conclusion. there won't be anything definitive about the work of this committee because unlike the accountability review board that operated in a non-partisan way, it's unlikely the majority here will even consult with us on what their final report looks like. those who want to believe the worst will believe the worst. those that want to believe that this is a partisan exercise will believe it. as i said, from the beginning of the investigation the only way this committee will add any central to what's gone on before is if we can find a way to work together and reach a common conclusion but it's plain that's not their object. the chairman might say "ignore the words of our republican leadership, ignore the words of our republican members, ignore the words of our own gop investigator. judge us by our actions."
but it is the actions of the committee that are the most damaging of all because they have been singly focused on you. let me ask you briefly, because i want to expand on just the -- what i think is the core theory here. i want to give you a chance to respond to it. as a prosecutor, we're taught every case should have a core theory and the evidence and the witnesses go back to that core theory. and i've wrestled as i've listened to my colleagues today, as i have over 17 months. what is the core theory of their zmas wh case? what are they trying to convey? i have to say i think it's confusing. i think the core theory is this -- that you deliberately interfered with security in benghazi and that resulted in people dying. i think that is the case they want to make and notwithstanding how many investigations we've had that have found no merit to that, that is the impression they wish to give. i have to say, i'm confused today because my colleague pointed to an e-mail suggesting you weren't aware we had a presence in benghazi so if you weren't aware we had a presence
i don't know how you could have interfered with the security there. but nonetheless, i do think that's what they're aiming at. i know the ambassador was someone you helped pick. i know the ambassador was a friend of yours and i wonder if you would like to comment on what it's like to be the subject of an allegation that you deliberately interfered with security that cost the life of a friend. >> congressman, it's very personally painful accusation. it has been rejected and disproven by non-partisan, dispassionate investigators but nevertheless having it continued to be bandied around is deeply distressing to me. you know, i've -- i would imagine i've thought more about what happened than all of you put together. i've lost more sleep than all of you put together.
i have been wracking my brain about what more could have been done or should have been done. and so when i took responsibility, i took it as a challenge and an obligation to make sure before i left the state department that what we could learn -- as i'm sure my predecessors did after beirut and after nairobi and dar es salaam and after all the other attacks on our facilities, i'm sure all of them -- republican and democrat alike -- especially where there was loss of american life said, okay, what must we do better? how do we protect the men and women that we send without weapons, without support from the military into some of the most dangerous places in the world?
and so i will continue to speak out and do everything ache from whatever position i'm in to honor the memory of those we lost and to work as hard as i know to try to create more understanding and cooperation between the state department, our diplomats, our development professionals from usaid and the congress so that the congress is a partner with us. as was the case in previous times. i would like us to get back to those times, congressman. whereas i think one of you said beirut we lost far more americans, not once but twice within a year. there was no partisan effort. people rose above politics. a democratic congress worked with a republican administration
to say "what do we need learn?" out of that came the legislation for the accountability review board. similarly, after we lost more americans for the bombings in east africa, again, reps and democrats worked together and said "what do we need to do better?" so i'm -- i'm an optimist, congressman, i'm hoping that will be the outcome of this and every other effort so that we really do honor not only those we lost but all those who right as we speak are serving in dangerous places representing the values and the interests of the american people. >> thank you, madam secretary. >> the gentleman from california yields back. i'm going to address a couple things he said and then recognize myself. because he invoked the family members of the four, madam secretary and partially this will be for your benefit also i want to specifically address the
family members that are here. there are no theory of the prosecution, mr. schiff, because there is no prosecution. there's a very big difference between a prosecution where you already have reached a conclusion and you're just trying to prove it to people. this is an investigation which is why it's so sad that nowhere in that stack that you just put up there were the e-mails of secretary clinton, the e-mails of the ambassador, 50,000 pages worth of documents, eyewitnesses, that's the real tragedy. to the family and the friends. when you're told there have been seven previous investigations and an arv, you should immediately ask "why did you miss so many witnesses? why did you miss so many documents?" this is not a prosecution, mr. schiff. you and i are both familiar with them. i've reached no conclusions and i would advise you to not reach any conclusions, either, until we reach the end. there are 20 more witnesses so i'll agree not to reach any conclusions if you'll do the same. with that, madam secretary,
regardless of where he ranked in the order of advisors, it is indisputed that a significant number of your e-mails were to or from a sidney blumenthal. now, he did not work for the state department. he didn't work for the u.s. government at all. he wanted to work for the department but the white house said no to him. do you recall who specifically at the white house rejected sidney blumenthal? >> no, i do not. >> after he was turned down for a job at the state department by the white house, he went to work where? >> i think he had a number of consulting contracts with different entities. >> well, if he had a number of them, do you recall any of them? >> i know he did some work for my husband. >> well, he worked for the clinton foundation. >> that's correct. >> he worked for media matters. >> i'm sure he did. >> he worked for correct the record. >> i'm sure he did.
>> when you were asked about sidney blumenthal you said he was an old friend who sent you unsolicited e-mails which you passed on in some instances because you wanted to hear from people outside what you called the bubble. we will ignore for second whether or not sidney blumenthal is outside the bubble but i wanted to ask you a couple things. because he was an old fwloend knew nothing about libya, was critical of president obama and others that you work with, loved to send you political and image advice, had business interests in libya which he not only alerted you to but solicited your help for and you often forwarded his e-mails but usually on after you redacted out any identifier so nobody knew where the information was coming from. what does the word "unsolicited" mean to you? >> it means that i do not ask
him to send me the information that he sent me and as i have previously stated some of it i found interesting, some of it i do not. some of it i forwarded, some of it i do not. i do not know anything about any business interest. i thought that just as i said previously newspaper articles, journalists of which he is one, a former journalist, had some interesting insights and so we took them on board and evaluated them and some were helpful and others were not. >> we're going to get to all the points you just made but i want to start with your public comment that these e-mails were unsolicited. you wrote to him "another keeper, thanks and please keep them coming." "greetings from kabul and thanks for keeping this stuff coming." "any other info about it" "what are you hearing now?"
"got it. will follow up tomorrow. anything else to convey?" now, that one is interesting because that was the very e-mail where mr. blumenthal was asked you to intervene on behalf of a disease deal he was pursuing in libya. what did you mean by "what are you hearing now?" >> i have no idea, congressman. they started out unsolicited and, as i said, some were of interest, i passed them on and some were not so he continued to provide me information that was made available to him. >> i don't want to parse words and i don't want to be hypertechnical because it's not a huge point but it's an important point. you didn't say they started off unsolicited. you said they were unsolicited. >> well they were unsolicited. but obviously i did respond to some of them. >> well -- >> and i'm sure that encouraged him. >> anything else to convey?
what are you hearing now? i'm going to paris tomorrow night will meet thenc lead joers th -- leaders so this useful. still don't have blackberry coverage post-iran so i have to resort to my new ipad. let me know if you received this. we'll talk about the new ipad in a little bit. here's another one. "this report is in part a response to your questions." that's an e-mail from him to you. "this vort in part a response to your questions. there will be further information in the next day." if you're the one asking him for information, how does that square with the definition of "unsolicited"? >> i said it began that way, mr. chairman, and i will add that both chris stevens and gene cretz found some of the information interesting. far more than i could because they knew some of the characters who were being mention and they were the ones, the kind of persons with the expertise that i asked to evaluate to see
whether there was any useful information. >> we'll get to that in a second. before you give mr. blumenthal too much credit you agree he didn't write a single one of those cables or memos he sent you. >> i'm sorry, what? >> he didn't where write a single one of those cables or memos. >> i don't know who wrote them. he sent them to me. >> would you be surprised to know not a single one was from him. >> i don't know where he got the information that he was sending to me. >> did you ask? you're send megavery specific detailed intelligence, what is your source? that seems like a good question. >> i learned later he was talking to or sharing information from former american intelligence official zbs s. >> by the name of -- >> who wrote those cables. >> i don't know, mr. chairman. >> you had this information passed on to others is but at least on one occasion you miss abedin "can you print without any identifiers?" why would you want his name removed? >> because i thought it would be more important to just look at the substance and to make a
determination as to whether or not there was anything to it. >> well, don't people have a right to know who the source of the information so they can determine credibility? >> but he wasn't, as you just said, the source of the information. >> but you didn't know that madam secretary. and that's what you just said. >> no, mr. chairman, i said that i knew that he didn't have the sources to provide that information. i knew he was getting it from somewhere else, whether he knew a lot of journalists, he knew others in washington, it could have been a variety of people! if you're going to determine credibility, don't you want to know the source? >> well, it wasn't credibility so much as trying to follow the threads that were mentioned about individuals and as i already stated, some of it was useful and some of it was not. >> well, did the president know mr. blumenthal was advising you? >> he wasn't advising me. mr. chairman -- >> did he know he was your most prolific e-mailer that we have found on the subjects of libya and benghazi? >> that's because i didn't do
most of my work about libya on e-mail. >> that's fair. i'm not challenging that, madam secretary. i am not challenging that. all i'm telling you is that documents show he was your most prolific e-mailer on libya and benghazi. and did the president, the same white house that said "you can't hire him" did he know he was advising you? >> he was not advising me and i have no reason to have ever mentioned that or know that the president knew that. >> all right. i want to draw your attention to an e-mail about libya from mr. blumenthal to you dated april 20 2011 and it will be exhibit 67. "this is informative. shall we pass this on -- then in pa parentheticals, unidentified -- to the white house?" why would wow take that off?
>> a lot of information i reviewed over the yours you often don't have the source of if intelligence. you look at the intelligence and you try to determine whether or not it is credible. whether it can be followed up on. >> well, i'm going to accept the fact that you and i come from different backgrounds because i can tell you that an unsourced comment could never be uttered in any courtroom. >> but we're not talking about courtrooms, mr. chairman, we're talking about intelligence. >> no, we're talking about credibility and the ability to assess who a source is and whether or not that source has ever been to libya, knows anything about libya, or has business interests in libya, all of which would be important if you were going to determine the credibility which i think is why you probably took his information off of what you sent to the white house . ? one e-mail he wrote this.
"tyler knows him well and says he's a mean vicious little -- i'm not going to say the word but he did. this is an e-mail from blumenthal to you about the president and secretary of defense. here's another one about president's national security advisor. frankly, tom donelan's babbling rhetoric about narratives on a phone briefing of reporters on march 10 has inspired derision among foreign policy analysts here and abroad. and here's another from what you say is your old friend sidney blumenthal. this is a quote from him. "i would say obama" and by the way he left the president part out. "i would say obama appears to be intent on seizing defeat from the jaws of victory. he and his political cronies in
the white house and chicago are to say the least unenthusiastic about regime change in libya. obama's lukewarm and self-contradicting statements have produced what is at least for the moment operational paralysis. i think that may give us a better understanding of why the white house may have told you you cannot hire hiblumenthal bl been to libya, had no expertise in libya, was critical of the president and others that you worked with, shared polling data with you on the intervention in libya, gave you political advice on how to take credit for libya all the while working for the clinton foundation and some pseudo news entities. and madam secretary, he had unfittered access to you.
and he used that access at least on one occasion to ask you to intervene on behalf of a business venture. do you recall that? >> you know, mr. chairman, if you don't have any friends who say unkind things privately i con gooj late you. but from my perspective -- >> i'd like to think i'd correct them. >> i don't know what this line of questioning does to help us get to the bottom of the deaths of four americans. >> i'll be happy to help you understand that, madam secretary. >> but i want to reiterate what i said to congresswoman sanchez. these were originally unsolicited. you've just said that perhaps the main if not the exclusive author was a former intelligence agent for our country who rose to the highest levels of the cia and who was given credit for being one of the very few who pointed out that the intelligence used by the bush
administration to go to war in iraq was wrong so i think that, you know, the sharing of information from an old friend that i do not take at face value, that i sent on to those who were experts is something that, you know, makes sense but it was certainly not in any way the primary source of or the predominant understanding that we had of what was going on in libya and what we needed to be doing. >> well, madam secretary, i'm out of time and we'll pick this back up the next round but i'll let you know ahead of time why it's relevant. it's relevant because our ambassador was asked to read and respond sidney blumenthal's drivel. it was sent to him to read and react to, in some instances on the very same day he was asking for security. so i think it's imminently fair to asked why sidney blumenthal
had unfittered access to you, madam secretary, with whatever he wanted to talk about and there's not a single solitary e-mail to or from you to or from ambassador stevens. i think that that is fair and we'll take that up. >> will the gentleman yield? >> sure. >> thank you. mr. chairman, you've made several inaccurate statements over the past month as you have tried to defend against multiple republican admissions that the select committee has been wasting millions of tax dollars to damage secretary clinton's bid for president. on sunday you made another inaccurate statement during your appearance on "face the nation" and it's being taken up here. here's what you said, and i quote "there are other folks who may have equities in her e-mails and there may be other entities who are evaluating her e-mails.
but my interest in them is solely making sure that i get everything i'm entitled to so that i can do my job. the rest of it, classification, clinton foundation, you name it, i have zero interest in it. which is why you haven't seen me send a subpoena related to it or interview a single person other than brian fabiano because i need to know that the record is complete." and i'm going back to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. >> i'm waiting -- >> mr. chairman, let me finish. >> i'm coming, just wait. >> i'm waiting on the inaccurate statement. >> i'm getting there. >> well, we have to take a break. >> well it's not going to take a long. you took up four minutes over so let me have three. >> i've let everybody go over, including you. >> thank you very much. you issued a subpoena to sidney blumenthal on may 19, 2015, compelling him to appear for a deposition on june 25, 2015. you issued the subpoena
unilaterally without giving select committee members the opportunity to debate or vote on it. you sent two armed marshals to serve the subpoena on mr. blumenthal's wife at their home without ever having sent him a request to participate voluntarily which he would have done. then, mr. chairman, you personally attended mr. bumen all that blumenthal's deposition, you person personally asked him about the clinton foundation and directed your staff to ask questions about the clinton foundation which they did more than 50 times. knees these facts directly contradict the statements you made on national television. >> no, sir, with all due respect, they do not. we just heard e-mail after e-mail after e-mail about libya and benghazi that sidney blumenthal sent to the secretary of state. i don't care if he sent it by morse code, carrier pigeon, smoke signals, the fact that he happened to send it by e-mail is irrelevant. what is relevant is that he was
sending information to the secretary of state. that is what's relevant. now, with respect to the subpoena, if he bothered to answer the telephone calls of our committee he would haven't needed a. >> would the gentleman yield? >> i'll be happy to but you need to make sure the entire record is correct. >> and that's exactly what i want to do. >> go ahead. >> i'm about to tell you. i move we put into the record the entire transcript of sidney blumenthal. we're going to release the e-mails, let's do the transcript. that way the world can see. >> it i second that motion. >> well, we didn't -- >> that motion has been seconded? >> we won't take that up in a hearing. >> mr. chairman, i have consulted with the palme parliamentarian and they inform us we have a right. you asked for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. that's what we want to have. let the world see. >> it why is it that you only want mr. blumenthal's transcript released? >> i'd like to have all of them released. >> the survivors? even their name? you want that released? >> let me tell you something --
>> the only one you've asked for is sidney blumenthal. that's the only one you've asked for, miss mills. >> cheryl mills. >> that's not true. >> that's two out of 54. >> the chairman asked for a recorded vote? >> i ask for a recorded vote on the blumenthal -- you said from the beginning we want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. why don't we put the entire transcript out there and let the world see it? what do you have to hide? >> these are the only e-mails that you have to release and in fairness to mr. blumenthal and the american people, in the interest of a complete record, if you're going to release the e-mails, release the transcript where he has a chance to give the context of those e-mails. >> well, you keep referring to blumenthal e-mails. i would hasten to remind both of you the only reason we have blumenthal e-mails is because he e-mailed the secretary of state. those are her e-mails. that's why they were released. they're not blumenthal's e-mails and she wanted all of her e-m l e-mails released. she's been saying since march i want the entire world to see my e-mails.
when he will sidney blumenthal's e-mails are part of that. so here's what i'll do. i'll be happy to talk to the parliamentarian because the parliamentarian told me your motion would not be in order for a hearing but at the latest we'll take a vote and the first we can we are back after this week we'll have a business meeting, we can take up mr. blumenthal's transcript and other transcripts and while we're there we can take up the 20 some odd outstanding requests. why don't we take it up then? >> mr. chairman, the allegations that have been made against him are refuted by his own testimony, in the interest of not having -- >> that's your opinion, adam. >> if you disagree, release the transcripts. >> what allegation? >> why conceal the transcripts? even if the motion were not in order, you have to power to release them. >> i'll tell you why, because i'm not going to release one transcript of someone who knows nothing of libya by his own admission while people who risk their lives -- you have no interest in their story getting
out. you don't want the 18 ds agents, you don't want the cia agents. the only transcripts you want released from ms. mills and sidney blumenthal's. so we'll take all of this in november. >> the only person you are interested in asking about during her entire questioning were sidney blumenthal. if you're so interested in him, release the transcript. you released his e-mails, they're the only witness. so you're asking why are we only ask asking for his. >> i'm going to ask the gentleman from california to do a better job of characterizing. these are not sidney blumenthal's e-mails. these are secretary clinton's e-mails. if you think you've heard about sidney blumenthal so far, wait until the next round. with that, we're adjourned.
>> a rather boisterous end to the first round of what we expect will be four rounds of questions for former secretary of state hillary clinton before the select committee on the attacks on the u.s. compound in benghazi. the first round going some 3:15. they started at 10:00 eastern this morning. we will continue our lye coverage here on c-span 3. on c-span radio and cspan.org where you can also watch our stream, our dual stream online at cspan.org. you're not sure when the committee will gavel back in, probably a lunch in here and then the committee will return. a full day ahead of more questions for hillary clinton. so we're opening up our phone lines to hear what you think. 202-748-8921 the number for republicans.
202-4 202-4 202 202-748-8920 for democrats. we expect the committee to myung-bak for lunch. another round of after lunch. there are seven republicans and five democrats on the committee. you say trey bgowdy and elijah cummings going back and forth. we've seen sheila jackson lee and others on your screen from texas. also senator joe manchin, charlie wrangle. let's get to your calls and hear what you have to say. alabama is first up. debra, go ahead. >> caller: yes, hi. i was just wondering how much money we're spending on this charade today. i mean, this is ridiculous. i'm so sick of hearing about the
e-mails. i think it's all a waste of time. but i would love to know how much money we're spending just on this escapade. >> well, from the democrats on the benghazi committee, they have a ticker online of how much it's costing the taxpayers. again, this is from the democratic members of the benghazi committee and so far 4.8 million and counting. to sandra next in ithaca, new yo york. >> caller: yes, thank you. i just wanted to say that i think this committee should be disbanded. this is not about seeing what we can do better to protect our embassy personnel. this is just a personal witch-hunt against hillary clinton and i'm not a democrat but i can see what it is. i've watched the whole thing and i'm very disappointed and i want them stop spending our tax dollars on this nonsense. >> to washington, next up,
minna. are you watching and listening to hearing? go ahead, washington, d.c. >> caller: 4.8 million and counting and yet the republicans voted against giving senior citizens a cola increase. seniors have worked their entire lives and yet they can't get an increase on their social security benefits but we got $4.8 million and counting just wasting money. on your screen is former republican congressman from virginia tom davis among the many members and former members in the audience. again, some 3:15 of opening testimony and question this is morning with the select committee on benghazi. we're covering it for you all day on c-span 3 and online our dual streams on line at cspan.org including the one
focusing just on hillary clinton and you can see the live picture there at cspan.org. to louisiana and james on the republican line. go ahead. >> caller: yes, thank you. i'd just like to say that i keep hearing the democrats clamoring about how they have so many investigations into this but they don't seem to mention the fact that they were doing it blindly -- >> okay, james, hang on, a quick second. we understand that elijah cummings, the ranking democrat, is speaking to reporters. >> and i said this and i'll say it again it is to defend the truth. what evidence? i am not here to defend hillary clinton. i am here to defend the truth. >> thank you, mr. cummings. appreciate it. >> thank you, i've got to go. >> mr. cummings, one second -- >> he needs to get down the hall, please.
>> that's democrat elijah cummings, the ranking member on the select committee on benghazi. it's been mentioned, too, that he's a possible candidate for maryland senate in 2016, if the u.s. senate. >> the blumenthal e-mails, we have for months been asking him to release the entire transcript which we have no problem with. nor do we have a problem with him releasing the transcripts. >> nbc's luke russet talking to congressman cummings. james in louisiana, sorry to cut you off. you have the floor. >> caller: thank you, sir. first off, i just don't understand how they sit there
saying how many investigations have already been completed yet they fail to mention the fact that they didn't have all the information. they kept withholding e-mails over 16,000 pages they handed them two days ago. how are they supposed to examine that in two days? not to mention in elijah cummings, he keeps on trying to say that it's some kind of witch-hunt but the fact is this is important and hillary clinton should be held accountable. >> your comments on twitter are welcome @c-span. here's one from mason who says "trey gowdy's questions on benghazi are snarky, rude and why are earth is the amount of blumenthal pertinent to benghazi attack." michelle says jim jordan getting at the crux, finally. she's commenting on early questions from jim jordan. someone else says "this is clearly on indicting hillary not
preventing future attack." and jack says "how many attackers have been brought to justice." answer, zero. we go to west babylon new york. zbroe joe on our democrats line, joe, hello there. >> caller: hi, how are you. as a democrat we need to look at this. there is new information coming out everyday. the reason this committee goes on and might go on is because we're still getting a dump of e-mails that clearly show and we should be concerned as republicans and democrats when a high-ranking official, secretary of state, somebody who was rebuffed by the white house does have unfittered access and influence, it seems, to the secretary of state. and as they got close -- and i'm a democrat, but as they got close to that hot pyre democrats started to object to the whole committee because they're trying to take away what was important. regardless of republican or democrat, those people who died, nobody knows their party. and if this sidney blumenthal had unfittered access as it
seems he did and had influence over the secretary of state we need to know that. it's interesting, something that was missed there by mr. cummings was he had business with the clinton foundation. we have a secretary of state that has a conflict of interest. she has to serve two masters, the american people and people who donate to the clinton foundation and if this was a republican, i have to say, it would be interesting how the press would treat them, this conflict of interest. i think that's what we have to look at. we can't just say $4.7 million. it doesn't matter. the reason the committee goes on is because this data dump is being slowly dumped even though it's been requested. so people who watch this say oh, my god, all this money being spent but wait a minute, how can they conclude an information when the documents, the e-mail, some of them just released in the last 48 hours, how can it be concluded if they're being stonewalled? i think the answer is how about the government release all of
the data then they can conclude this and we'd be done with this. but you know what? it's time we ask the officials that are governing this government what interest do these people who are e-mailing anybody, it could be republican or democrat, if there's a financial interest let's face it, sidney blumenthal has no white house clearance, no government clearance yet she was sending his e-mails to the white house and redacting. as a democrat, i'm embarrassed because her eyes went down, her body language postured and then the democrats tried to come to some kind of disorder to take away from the meeting. i don't care how they're asking the questions. >> you're breaking up on us a little. thanks for calling. a couple more minutes of your calls. we're understanding from the committee that they will gavel back in at 2:15 eastern. our live coverage continues then here on c-span radio on c-span 3 and enhanced coverage on line at cspan.org. let's go to houston, texas. we hear from julie on our others
line. go ahead. >> caller: yes, hi. i just have a problem with the metadata. i have a legal background and secretary clinton was an attorney, i'm sure she was well aware of the federal rules of civil procedure about protecting documents and metadata. the metadata was wiped by her attorneys before they turned over any documents. the servers were wiped. the metadata was wiped and this is not transparent. this is an effort to conceal. when you destroy metadata, you're destroying the data about the data, including when data was received. it would be very easy to fabricate information with wiped metadata because you're turning other paper documents that have to be ocr'd, scanned in. you're not getting the underlying metadata.
has the committee addressed this? >> i don't know. what does the term "ocr" mean? >> that's optical character recognition. that is a technique that is done when you have metadata that has been wiped. you literally have to come back in and recreate what the text said so you're creating a copy, a digital copy from a xerox. you're not getting the underlying original. >> appreciate your input, lisa. we're getting some comments outside of the committee room. let's go there now. >> speaking spanish ].
republican congressman raw raul labrador talking to reporters. he's not on the committee but one of many members in the audience. let's get back to a couple more minutes of your calls to hampden, massachusetts. lisa on the republican line. >> caller: i just wanted to make a statement. first of all i want to thank my democratic friend who just came on. thank you so much for your honesty. we need more democrats like that to really say it like it is and i'm sure democrats feel like that as well as republicans and vice versa. i wanted to say i think it's very important that so we're spending money on our taxes? you know what? it's worth it. these four men's lives are worth it and i want to thank their families for them giving up their lives for us. though justice might not be there of why they had to pass
away in benghazi and i just wanted to say we need to know the truth and stop spending our money and start getting to the truth and start getting everything out there. the truth, the paperwork that needs to come out: we need to know it all. we need to know who's running in this country for president so we get a good idea of what we want in office that can tell the truth and who can't. that's all i had to say. >> obviously the e-mails are a big part of this hearing. our capitol hill producer craig caplan showing us what the audience is seeing. jim jordan questions hillary clinton at benghazi hearing. we welcome your tweets, too, @c-span. david is in new york on our democrats line. david, high there. hello? sounds like we lost him. we'll go to norma in the nation's capital, republican line. hi. michigan, i correct myself there. washington michigan. it's norma.
go ahead. >> caller: yeah i just wanted to see if you would air the very original first committee that they had on benghazi since hillary clinton cared so much, why did she throw her hands up and say "what difference does it make? we have four dead americans." could you ask them to air that during this committee? >> what was your question, norma? >> i wanted them to air the first video from when they had the first hearing on benghazi when hillary clinton threw up her hands and said "what difference does it make." >> that senate foreign relations. we actually did on some of our programming earlier today and overnight on the c-span networks. you can find that any time at cspan.org. here's jess in canton, north carolina. welcome. >> caller: hello. i thank you for opening the phone lines. i'm a member of the jump in the
lake part yy. my observation, you know, we can dig into the weeds and spend years picking out who did this and who didn't do that but what i see as a general picture that seems consistent as the different speakers come up and take their turns is that chairman gowdy seems to be intent on gathering information and you try to take people at their word that he hasn't drawn conclusions as he wants to gather the complete picture whereas it seems like every representative from the democratic party is intent on shouting down the process and they seem like terrified and desperate and don't want the information to come out and so there 's this obfuscation as to the process rather than pursuing the goal and as far as making it
a trial, a trial of hillary clinton or against her behaviors it seems that that effect has been perfected by the fear and the terror in the statements of the democrats who are doing everything they can because they fear outcome if she were on trial rather than if this were at this point still an investigation and their fear and on fewication of the process is what has put hillary clinton, i think, in the air of this information in fact on trial. >> that's jess and we'll get to more of your calls in just a bit. the chairman of the committee, trey gowdy, back into the committee room. this is a notable room, especially over the last week or so. this is the ways and means committee room in the long worth
house office building on capitol hill across from the u.s. capitol. was in this room last week that republican kevin mccarthy announced he would not seek the speakership and it's likely from this room next week that the conference will meet again to elect who is presumably the favorite for speaker and that's paul ryan. a tweet from our capitol hill producer shows "what you can't see are the paintings of the predecessors on the ways and means committee." you have don rostenkowski, bill come mass and dave camp being most recent and now it's paul ryan. so we're going to show you just in the next couple minutes here the opening statement by hillary clinton and that that we expect the committee to gavel in at 2:15 eastern. more of your calls and comments ahead. live coverage on c-span 3, on c-span radio and on line at cspan.org. we'll reair all of it tonight on
our common kppanion network c-s >> madam secretary, you are recognized for your opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman, ranking member cummings, members of this committee. the terrorist attacks at our dwiptic compound and later at the cia post in benghazi, libya, on september 11, 2012 took the lives of four brave americans, ambassador chris steven, sean smith, glen dodoer ede -- doher tyrone woods. i'm here to honor the service of those four men. the courage of the diplomatic security agency and the cia officers who risked their lives that night and the work their colleagues do every single day all over the world.
i knew and admired chris stevens. he was one of our nation's most accomplished diplomats. chris's mother liked to say he had sand in his shoes because he was always moving, always working, especially in the middle east that he came to know so well. when the revolution broke out in libya we named chris as our envoy to the opposition. there was no easy way to get him into benghazi to begin gathering information and meeting those libyans who were rising up against the murderous dictator qaddafi but he found a way to get himself there on a greek cargo ship, just like a 19th century american envoy. but his work was very much 21st century hard-nosed diplomacy.
. it is a testament to the relationships that he built in libya that on the day following the awareness of his death tens of thousands of libyans poured into the streets in benghazi. they held signs reading "thugs don't represent benghazi or islam." "sorry, people of america. this is not the behavior of our islam or our prophet." chris stevens, a friend to all libyans. although i didn't have the privilege of meeting sean smith personally, he was a valued member of our state department
fami family. an air force veteran he was an information management officer who had served in pretoria, baghdad, montreal, and the hague. tyrone woods and glen doherty worked for the cia. they were killed by mortar fire at the cia's outpost in benghazi a short distance from the diplomatic compound they were both former navy seals and trained paramedics with distinguished records of service, including in iraq and afghanistan. as secretary of state, i had the honor to lead and the response to support nearly 70,000 diplomats and development experts across the globe. losing any one of them as we did
in iraq, afghanistan, mexico, haiti and libya during my tenure was deeply painful for our entire state department and usaid family and for me personal personally. i was the one who asked chris to go to libya as our envoy. i was the one who recommended him to be our ambassador the president. : after the attacks, i stood next to president obama as marines carried his casket and those of the other three americans off the plane at andrews air force base. i took responsibility and as part of that before i left office i launched reforms to better protect our people in the field and help reduce the chance of another tragedy happening in
the future. what happened in benghazi has been marco scutaro sized by a non-partisan hard-hitting accountability review board, seven prior congressional investigations, multiple news organizations and, of course, our law enforcement and intelligence agencies. so today i would like to share three observations about how we can learn from this tragedy and move forward as a nation. first, america must lead in a dangerous world and our diplomats must continue representing us in dangerous places. the state department sends people to more than 270 posts in 170 countries around the world. chris stevens understood that
diplomats must operate in many place places where our soldiers do not. where there are no other boots on the ground and safety is far from guaranteed. in fact, he volunteered for just those assignments. he also understood we will never prevent every act of terrorism or achieve perfect security and that we inevitably must accept a level of risk to protect our country and advance our interests and values. and make no mistake, the risks are real. terrorists have killed more than 65 american diplomatic personnel since the 1970s and more than 100 contractors and locally employed staff. since 2001 there have been more than 100 attacks on u.s.
diplomatic facilities around the world. but if you ask our most experienced ambassadors they'll tell you they can't do their jobs for us from bunkers. it would compound the tragedy of benghazi if chris stevens' death and the death of the other three americans ended up undermining the work to which he and they devoted their lives. we have learned the hard way when america is absent especially from unstable places there are consequences. extremism takes root, aggressors seek to fill the vacuum and security everyone is threatened, including here at home. that's why chris was in benghazi. it's why he had served previously in syria, egypt, saudi arabia, and jerusalem
during the second sbi groups, rampant instability. but chris chose to go to benghazi because he understood america had to be represented there at that pivotal time. he knew that eastern libya was where the revolution had begun and that unrest there could derail the country's fragile transition to democracy. and if extremists gained a foothold, they would have the chance to destabilize the entire region, including egypt and tunisia. he also knew how urgent it was to ensure that the weapons gaddafi left strewn across the country, including shoulder-fired missiles that could knock an airplane out of the sky, did not fall into the
wrong hands. the nearest israeli airport is just a day's drive from the libyan border. above all, chris understood that most people in libya or anywhere reject the extremists' argument that violence can ever be a path to dignity or justice. that's what those thousands of libyans were saying after they learned of his death. and he understood there was no substitute for going beyond the embassy walls and doing the hard work of building relationships. retreat from the world is not an option. america cannot shrink from our responsibility to lead. that doesn't mean we should ever
return to the go it alone foreign policy of the past, a foreign policy that puts boots on the ground as a first choice rather than a last resort. quite the opposite. we need creative, confident leadership that harnesses all of america's strengths and values. leadership that integrates and balances the tools of diplomacy, development and defense. and at the heart of that effort must be dedicated professionals like chris stevens and his colleagues who put their lives on the line for a country, our country, because they believed, as i do, that america is the greatest force for peace and progress the world has ever known. my second observation is this. we have a responsibility to provide our diplomats with the resources and support they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible.
after previous deadly attacks, leaders from both parties and both branches of government came together to determine what went wrong and how to fix it for the future. that's what happened during the reagan administration. when hezbollah attacked our embassy and killed 63 people, including 17 americans, and then in a later attack attacked our marine barracks and killed so many more, those two attacks in beirut resulted in the deaths of 258 americans. it's what happened during the clinton administration when al qaeda bombed our embassies in kenya and tanzania killing more
than 200 people, wounding more than 2,000 people and killing 12 americans. it's what happened during the bush administration after 9/11. part of america's strength is we learn, we adapt and we get stronger. after the benghazi attacks, i asked ambassador thomas pickering, one of our most distinguished and longest serving diplomats, along with admiral mike mullen, the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff appointed by president george w. bush to lead an accountability review board. this is an institution that was set up after the attacks in beirut. there have been 18 previous boards.
only two have ever made any of their findings public. the one following the attacks on our embassies in east africa and the one following our attack -- the attack on benghazi. the accountability review board did not pull a single punch. they found systemic problems and management deficiencies in two state department bureaus. the review recommended 29 specific improvements. i pledged that by the time i left office, every one would be on the way to implementation. and they were. more marines were slated for deployment to high threat embassies, additional diplomatic security agents were being hired and trained. and secretary kerry has continued this work. but there is more to do. and no administration can do it alone. congress has to be our partner
as it has been after previous tragedies. for example, the accountability review board and subsequent investigations have recommended improved training for our officers before they deploy to the field. but efforts to establish a modern joint training center are being held up by congress. the men and women who serve our country deserve better. finally, there's one more observation i would like to share. i traveled to 112 countries as secretary of state. every time i did, i felt great pride and honor representing the country that i love. we need leadership at home to match our leadership abroad.
leadership that puts national security ahead of politics and ideology. our nation has a long history of bipartisan cooperation on foreign policy and national security. not that we always agree. far from it. but we do come together when it counts. as secretary of state, i worked with the republican chairman of the senate foreign relations committee to pass a landmark nuclear arms control treaty with russia. i worked with the republican leader, senator mitch mcconnell, to open up burma to democratic change. i know it's possible to find common ground, because i have done it. we should debate on the basis of fact, not fear. we should resist denigrating the patriotism or loyalty of those we disagree. so i'm here despite all the previous investigations and the
talk about partisan agendas, i'm here to honor those we lost and to do what i can to aid those who serve us still. my challenge to you, members of this committee, is the same challenge i put to myself. let's be worthy of the trust the american people have bestowed upon us. they expect us to lead, to learn the right lessons, to rise above partisanship and to reach for statesmanship. that's what i tried to do every day as secretary of state. and it's what i hope we will all strive for here today and into the future. thank you. hillary clinton her testimony from this morning, her opening testimony from in front of the benghazi select committee. they gavel back in for second round of questions at about 2:15 we understand. we'll open up the phone lines momentarily for your comments and calls.
republicans, 202-748-8921, 202-748-8920 for democrats. let go live now outside the committee room. >> -- about knowing what was needed, yet as was evidenced by the questioning, there were hundreds and hundreds of requested for additional security including that by t ambassador that were turned down. so we're hearing differing things and again, we look forward to more questions, more substantive questions about the secretary's involvement in the days, weeks and honesmonths lea up to the attack, during the attack and what followed after. >> we have time for a couple questions. yes. >> you say this is a fact
finding mission but it sounds like you've already drawn your conclusions. >> well, those were evident this morning. so i think that there is an opportunity to hear more things. second clinton has ample opportunity over the course of this entire day, she's had ample opportunity to describe her situation and her story and she is no stranger to big venues. so this is not somebody that needs our help to tell her story, but we do have a responsibility and that is to find these facts. >> and let me just say this. we are trying to find the facts. and she says she knew the two big attacks on the facility in benghazi. mr. moral in his book says there were 20 attacks. so the fact we're trying to find out is how many attacks would have been necessary that she knew about would have been necessary for her to give additional security in benghazi
especially after she admits that she got briefed every day she was in d.c. by the cia. and these are very cia report mrs. morrell is talking about. there were 4500 pages from january 1st to the attack. so we just want to know how many pages it would have taken, how many attacks it would have taken, what it would have taken to get more security for person tell on the ground. >> and there are additional documents that we will have the opportunity in the next few hours to ask her about that she has not been asked about in previous hearings. so -- >> last question. [ inaudible question ] >> i think these discussions with about what is released and what isn't released need to be
made in the totality of the whole investigation. so as the chairman has said, 50 witnesses have been interviewed, there is probably 20 more that are queueed up. so in the midst of and ongoing investigation and the chairman and i agree says let's disclose them on a timely basis. and the only reason that we're talking about sydney blumenthal, think about it, is because secretary clinton was listening to sydney blumenthal. uniquely listening to sydney blumenthal. in fact he had access that the american ambassador didn't. we have to go back in. thank you. are there are 7 republicans, 5 democrats. they will gavel back in in about ten minutes. we're taking your calls here before they do. let's go to martha who is first up here in port charlotte,
florida on the democrats line. >> caller: hi. i was just -- god help america. this is really just a witch hunt and the lady from texas that said she was a democrat, she's not. i know who she is. she's a republican. and she works for the house, okay? one other thing is why would anybody think that hillary would not do her best to try to save people's lives? and to insinuate that she didn't give them enough help? i mean people, stop and think. why would you even think that? and this rosenblum or whatever it is, it's just a witch hunt. and i hope that the republican party gets trump as their running guy because they deserve him. anybody that just doesn a witch hunt, they deserve trump and
they will see how they cannot get anything done. for eight years they wouldn't work with a great president and now look where we're at. >> and that video we saw was hillary clinton arriving earlier. the hearing got under way at 10:00 eastern. three hours and 15 minutes for the first round. they come back in for round number two of what we expect to be four rounds of ten minute questions each. here is carol who is in in marblehead, massachusetts on the others line. >> caller: good afternoon. i am entlaul with the dialogue, but i'm very disappointed with the dysfunctionality of the government. i don't deny bhom oobama'sed a n administration -- i'm an incident, but as far as the commitment of hillary clinton, i
don't deny her at all. i'm disappointed in the fact that we are focusing on this because i think it's targeted to the next election and that exclusively. i'm disappointed in our -- and i'm trying to support my people in the state of massachusetts that make a difference in congress because this is not making a difference. this is making it a debacle and the whole world is be looking at us. >> and some frustration expressed also in this tweet from jason, he says the good part of the c-span app, talking about the radio app that is carrying it live, i can listen to it live and hear our government works. it's also the bad part. and judy says hillary clinton sounds like a blistering condemnation on his previous panel of republicans. and from 4 by 4 says let me guess, it wasn't her fault, wasn't her responsibility and everything else is to blame.
here is joyce next up in athens, georgia on the democrats line. >> caller: good afternoon. i'm just very embarrassed the way our leaders are portraying our country on open tv. and i agree with the lady that says that we as just plain americans and laypeople, we might not understand all of the terms that they're using, the big lawyers and -- but we can see this for what it is. it's a witch hunt. i agree with her. and they need to quit. republicans need to quit saying the american people want to know. they need to say we republicans and whatever hand few it is and name names, we, john and -- just name names and just say we want to know. our country was built on godly principles.
and i think we should go back to that. and i can't see that in this. it's a waste of our money. they could be talking about things like making laws for gun control. >> joyce, appreciate your comments. let's listen into congressman adam schiff speaking to reporters. >> one of the allegations made today, have been debunked before, for example some of the last lines of inquiry of the secretary were about the changing intelligence and in fact if you look at the very early intelligence on the day of the attack, it was felt it was a deliberate attack. if you look at the analysis 24 hours later, the intelligence assessment was if began as a protest. if you look at the intelligence about a week hater on elater on the videos from the actual com pound, we could see there was no protest and the secretary's statements track the intelligence as she was getting it.statements track the
intelligence as she was getting it. and they're consistent with what we found when the intelligence committee did a republican-led investigation that concluded some time ago. >> mr. cummings has said that he concluded that this committee is designed to take down hillary clinton. [ inaudible question ] >> it's something we'll certainly have to discuss. part of the challenge frankly is the committee majority habit told us where we're going from here. this is the only hearing they were interested in in year p we have no idea what they will do next. to be honest, i don't think they know what they're going to do next and this has been a problem all along. we've asked what is the scope of this investigation, what is the time table, what issues will we look at. and they haven't been able to express what exactly we're looking for, which is the quintessential definition of a fishing expedition. so we'll see what they say in terms of the future agenda. and then we'll have to weigh frankly the benefits of being in the room and able for rebut misleading allegations, the most
recent anding egregious was the chairman's open lettwn let are the secretary endangered somebody by writing about classified source in an up unclassified e-mail. but being in the room, we are lending legitimacy to an investigation that really has none. that has solely partisan objective. >> secretary clinton initially said that those e-mails -- [ inaudible ] is she changing her story? >> no, i don't think so. and i don't understand why this is even relevant or significant. and i was baffled that the
chairman wanted to use this time to discuss sydney blumenthal. there is not a member on that die as oig that hasn't received innumerable e-mails from friends offering unsolicited advice and we are often very polite saying thank you for the good information, keep it coming and that is the polite thing do. and i have no doubt that is the kind of polite thing the secretary does like every other elected official. >> nancy pelosi did say that you would be discussing whether or not you would be leaving the committee after this. the way things are going right now, does it seem like you guys are going to be leaving the committee after the hearing? >> well, i think we'll have to wait and see just what the republican majority on this committee has in mind. they haven't been able to tell
us where we're going from here, whether the hearings they're planning. because all of the other hearings they had planned they canceled. and to be candid, i don't think the gop knows where they want to go. i don't think they know they ar from an effort to damage secretary clinton. presumably at some point after today they will tell us this is what we're going to do. we will have to decide does being there give them legitimacy they don't deserve because is this a completely partisan exercise or does being there allow us to refute these misleading leak after leak after leak that we're seeing characterize the committee. so we'll have to weigh that. that will be a decision i'm sure above my pay grade. >> -- essentially serves as be defenders of mrs. clinton or no? >> no, i don't view my role that way and i don't think the other democratic members view their roam that way. i do think that it's incumbent on us to fight the abuse of congressional process.leram tha.
i do think that it's incumbent on us to fight the abuse of congressional process.m that wa. i do think that it's incumbent on us to fight the abuse of congressional process. that way. i do think that it's incumbent on us to fight the abuse of congressional process. that way. i do think that it's incumbent on us to fight the abuse of congressional process. what disturbs me is we're setting a terrible precedent for the future. whatever party in power can form a select investigatory committee to go after the likely nominee for president of the other party and i think we'll rue the day that we did this. it may be four years from this or eight or 12, but i guarantee you one side or the other will ask the question should we form a selective investigative committee, should we do a when g benghazi on that candidate. and democrats may say they did to us, should we do to them. that's not a conversation i ever want to have. so i view my role the way this committee has operated in the hopes that we will never do this again. >> an assertion that this is an investigation, not a
prosecution. what is your response to that? >> well, judging from this cross spam nation examination of the secretary, it certainly looked like a prosecution. and we're not in a courtroom. but it certainly as has the aura of a prosecution. it has a singular focus on a singular person. it's designed to try to impeach her credibility. and that is quite divorced from the events in benghazi on september 11th. thank you. ed adam schiff, sits on the select committee on benghazi looking into the attacks on the u.s. compound september 11th, 12012 that killed ambassador chris stevens and three others. held gavel back this shortly. a live look anticipating that secretary of state clinton will be returning shortly.
recorded vote. >> recorded vote has been requested. chairman's vote -- yeah, i'm sorry. secretary call the roll. >> mr. westmoreland. >> no. >> mr. westmoreland votes no. mr. jordan. >> mr. who? >> sorry, mr. jordan. >> no. >> mr. jordan votes no. mr. ross consume. >> no. >> mr. ross consume vote nos. mr. pompao. >> no. >> mrs. roby. >> no. >> mrs. brooks. >> no. >> mr. cummings.
>> yes. >> mr. smith. >> aye. >> mr. schiff. >> aye. >> ms. sanchez. >> aye. >> miss duckworth. >> aye. >> the clerk will report. >> and mr. gowdy. >> no. >> mr. gowdy votes no. yea 5, nos 8. >> and the motion is not agreed to. madame secretary -- >> my apology, sir. it was 7. >> motion still not agreed to. even south carolina math can
figure that out. madame secretary, before we broke, there was a question asked that i thought was a fair question, which is why was i talking about mr. blumenthal's e-mails. i do think that's a fair question. i think it's an equally it fair question to ask why you were reading mr. blumenthal's e-mails. i think both are fair. so i want to go to june of 2012 which is an interesting time period to look at. charlene lamb was an employee of the state department ande-mail, read it, but where she describes benghazi as a soft target, attacks on americans not staffed adequate thely, a very haunting e-mail to read. it was actually three months to the day when our four fellow
citizens were killed. and that is on june 7, 2012. also on june 7 of 2012, your deputy chief of staff mr. jake sullivan is e-mailing ambassador stevens asking ambassador to look at a memo sydney blumenthal sent you. and in fact mr. sullivan writes for ambassador, chris, checking in with with you on this report. any reactions? that is on exactly the same day that i believe our ambassador's papers were accepted in libya. it's the day after an ied attack on our compound and chris stevens is being asked to read and react to an e-mail by sydney blumenthal from your deputy chief of staff. this is what he's writing on the 7th after he's been turned down
on a request for more security. is this o this is our ambassador. appreciate you giving this proposal a, even if the conclusion was not the favorable for us. we'd be interested in pursuing the other avenue you suggest, high threat trained agents best. so i have this contrast in my hipd. ambassador newly in place. it's a day after an attack on our facility. your deputy chief of staff is sending him an e-mail from sydney blumenthal asking him to take time to read and react to it. and then to the best of my recollection, that's forwarded to you. so help us understand how sydney blumenthal had that kind of access to you, madame secretary, but ambassador did not. >> thank you, mr. chairman. because i think that your
question does help to clarify matters. chris stevens e-mailed regularly with jake sullivan one of my closest aides in the state department. he could have e-mailed to mr. sullivan knowing that it would have been immediately responded to on any issue that was of concern to him and he did not raise issues about security on that day or other days. and i think it's important to recognize that when apambassador is at post overseoverseas, espe as experienced as chris stevens, he knows where to pull the levers, where to go for information, where to register concerns. and i think he did exactly as one might have expected. he dealt with security issues through dealing with the security professionals who were the ones making the assessments.
and i think that ambassador stevens understood completely that that is where the experts were and that is where anything he requested or anything he was questioning should be directed. >> speaking of experts, who is victoria newland? >> a very experienced diplomat. she served as our ambassador to nato appointed by george w. w h bush. she served as a foreign service officer delegated to the white house for vice president cheney. she served as the spokesperson for the state department during my tenure and she is currently the assistant secretary for europe under secretary kerry. >> she wrote this to the ambassador on june 13, 2012, that is a week after the facility was attacked, it is only a handful of days after he
was turned down on a specific request for more security. chris, i know you have your hands full, but we'd like your advice about public messaging on the state of violence in libya over the past ten days. so she's asking him for help with public messaging. jake sullivan which is the ear and a ha other half of the question that i don't think we got, to i understand that chris stevens was a rule follower. i haund. understand that. my question is not why krigs stevens didn't contact you, but why this jake sullivan send chris stevens a blumenthal e-mail to read and react to on a day after the facility was attacked, the same day he was denied a request for more security and instead of e-mail traffic back and forth about security, it's read and react to a blumenthal e-mail. >> well, i think any ambassador if one were sitting before the committee would say that they
handled a lot of incoming information and requests, some of it was about what was happening in-country, some of about t. was about what was happening back in the united states. and chris felt strongly that the united states needed to remain in and committed to libya. so he was concerned that there might be a feeling on the part of some either in the state department or elsewhere in the government that we shouldn't be in libya. and he was adamantly in favor of us staying in libya. so part of what the discussion with him and jake sullivan and others was, you know, how do we best convey what the stakes the united states has in staying involved in libya would be. and i thought that was very much in keeping with both his assessment and his experience. >> well, i appreciate your perspective, madame secretary. let me share with you my perspective. and if you need to take time to read a note, i'm happy to pause.
>> no, i'm just being remimded which i think is important that remember chris spent the vast majority of his time in tripoli, not benghazi. so a lot of what he was looking at is how you deal with not only those in authority positions in libya who were based in tripoli at that time, but also representatives of other governments and the like. and i think it is fair to say that anytime you're trying to figure out what is the best argument to make especially if you're someone like chris stevens trying to put together and make the best argument about why the united states should remain committed to libya and others, as well, he's going to engage in conversations about that. >> well, with respect, madame secretary, no matter what city he was in in libya, having to stop and provide public messaging advice to your press shop and having to read and respond to an e-mail sent by
sydney blumenthal, it didn't matter what town you're in, he needed security help. he didn't need help messaging the violence. he needed help actually with the violence. you have said several times this morning that you had people and processes in place. and i want to ask you about an e e-mail sent to you by another one of your aids, miss ooma an dean, she e-mailed you that the libyan people needed medicine, gasoline, diesel and milk. do you know how long it took you to respond to that e-mail? >> well, i responded to it very quickly. >> 4 minutes. my question, and i think it's a fair one, is the libyan people had their needs responded to directly by you in 4 minutes. and there is no record of our
security folks ever even making to your inbox. so if you had people and processes in place for security, did you not the also have people this processes and place for medicine, gasoline, diesel, milk? >> you know, mr. chairman, i've said it before and i will say it again, i'll say it as many times as is necessary to respond. chris stevens communicated regularly with the members of my staff. he did not raise security with the members of my staff. i communicated with him about certain issues. he did not raise security with me. he raised security with the security professionals. i know that's not the answer you want to hear because it's being asked in many different ways by xl committee members. but those are the facts. ambassadors in the field are engaged in many different tasks.
they're basically our chief representative of the president of the united states. so they deal with everything from, you know, foreign aid to -- and chris stevens had regular contact with members of my staff and he does not raise security issues. now, some of it may have been because despite what was implied earlier, there was a good back and forth about security and many of the requests that came from embassy tripoli, both for tripoli and for benghazi were acted on affirmatively. others were not. that is what an ambassador especially a diplomat as experienced as chris stevens would expect, that it would be unlikely to be able to get every one of your requests immediately
answered positively. so, yes, he had regular contact with my aides. he did not raise security with with me. and the security questions and requests were handled by the security professionals. >> with all due respect, those are two separate issues. who chris stevens had access to is one issue. who had sack saaccess to you isr issue. you had processes in place for people who wanted to send you meaningless political advice. and also for people who want to fuel and also processes in place for people who want to provide insults toward folks you want to work with in theed administration. all of that made it directly into your inbox. my question is how did you decide when to invoke a people
and process and who just got to come straight to you? because it looked like certain things got the straight to your inbox and the request for more security did not. and while you're answering that, i want to inform and instruct why i'm asking it. you have mentioned the arb on a number of occasions again today. this was not the first arb. we had one after kenya and tan tan is zena a. the secretary of state should certa personally review the security situation of our embassy facilities. that arb put the responsibility squarely on you. so with respect to will that previous arb recommendation, and in contrast what did make your inbox versus what did not, did you personally review our security situation as the previous ar bb required? >> let me see if i can answer the many parts of your question.
yes, personal e-mail came to my personal account. work-related e-mail did, as well. and i also relied on a number of my aides and staff members as well as experienced foreign service officers and civil servants who were similarly engaged in gathering information and sharing it. and as i said and i will repeat, chris stevens communicated with with a number of people that i worked with on a daily basis in the state department. so far as i know, he did not raise any issue of security with any of those people. he raised it where he knew it would be properly addressed. if he had raised it with me, i would be here telling you he had. he did not. and so i think it's important to try to separate out the various elements of your question, mr. chairman, and i will do my best to continue to try to answer
your questions. but i have said before and i will repeat again, sid plume sma blumenthal was not my adviser official or unofficial about libya. he was not involved in any of the meetings, conversations, other efforts to obtain information in order to act on it. on occasion i did forward what he sent me to make sure it was in the mix so that if it was useful, it could be put to use. and i believe in response to the e-mail you pointed out originally from ambassador stevens, he actually said it rang true and it was worth looking in to. so i think it's important that we separate out the fact that mr. blu mr. blumenthal was not my adviser. he was not passing on official information. he like a number of my friends who would happened me a newspaper article, would button hole me a reception and say what about this or what about that.
we're trying to be helpful. some of it was, a lot of it wasn't. >> the chair will now recognize the gentle lady from california, ms. sanchez. >> i listened very carefully when mr. gowdy was questioning you. we waited more than a year to finally get you up here to testify. we spent almost $5 million and we interviewed about 54 witnesses. and when the chairman finally got his chance to question you, he asked you -- he quibbled actually over the definition of the word unsolicited. as if that wasn't bad enough, then he doubled down on this idea that sydney blumenthal was your primary adviser on libya, a claim that we heard the "washington post" awarded for pinocchios. he said on sunday on national television that he had zero interest in the clinton foundation and other topic, but then he just spent his full
questioning time in the first round asking you about the clinton foundation, media matters and other topics that didn't really have anything to do with the attacks that occurred in benghazi. and my own sense of incredulity was really, really is this why we're asked you to come to testify about that? the overwhelming sense that i get from the republican side of the aisle is they seem to be arguing that sydney blumenthal had access to you while ambassador stevens did not. do you think that's an accurate statement? >> of course not, congresswoman. you know, you didn't need my e-mail address to get my attention. in fact most of the work i did as i said this morning had nothing to do with my e-mails. it had to do with the kind of meetings and materials that were provided to me through those who were responsible for making decisions on a whole range of issues. and as i just told the chairman,
if ambassador stevens had grave concerns that he wanted raised with me, he certainly knew how do that. >> he could speak to your office or your staff? >> absolutely. >> or you directly on the telephone? >> absolutely. >> did he ever ask you for your personal e-mail address and you turned him down? >> no, he did not 37. >> the other thing that i'm hearing from the other side of the aisle is they're arguing that there was this7. >> the other thing that i'm hearing from the other side of the aisle is they're arguing that there was this. >> the other thing that i'm hearing from the other side of the aisle is they're arguing that there was this. >> the other thing that i'm hearing from the other side of the aisle is they're arguing that there was this -- security was, you know -- it was sort of decomposing in eastern libya. and that no security improvements were ever made to the benghazi outpost. that's not a true statement, is it? >> no, it is not. >> in fact there were many security enhancements that were asked for that were actually made, although there were others that were -- other requests that were not fulfilled? >> that's correct. >> the other line of questioning that sort of surprises me is that over the course of this investigation, republicans have repeatedly asked why the u.s.
was still this benghazi on the night of the attacks. during the select committee's first hearing more than a year ago, the chairman posed the following question. we know the risk of being in benghazi. can you tell us what our policy was this libya that overcame those risks. in other words, why were we there? and the accountability review board had already answered that question. it explained that benghazi was the largest city and historical power center in eastern libya. further went on to say although the rebel-led transitional council declared tripoli would continue to view the capital of post gadhafi libya, many of the influential players remained based in benghazi. and the arb went on to explain ambassador stevens advocated for a u.s. presence in benghazi and his status as the leading u.s. government advocate on libya policy and his expertise on benghazi in particular caused washington to give unusual deference to his judgments. secretary clinton, do you agree,
was ambassador stevens a leading expert on libyan policy and did you also give his opinions a lot of weight and respect? >> yes, i did. >> and do you recall ambassador stevens advocating from the ground up for continued u.s. presence specifically in benghazi? >> yes, he did. >> in fact ambassador stevens' e-mails confirm what you've just stated. mr. chairman, i would ask you now as consent to enter this document into the record. it's being passed out to the members of the committee. >> without objection. >> secretary clinton, i understand this e-mail is not one that you have seen before as it was not addressed or sent to you, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> in the e-mail before you, then special envoy stevens wrote this proposal for continued presence in benghazi at embassy tripoli -- as embassy tripoli was reopened following the fall of gadhafi. option a was a slimmed down compound and option b was a
virtual presence with zero full-time state department staff in benghazi. special envoy stevens sent this e-mail to ambassador to libya, chief of mission and director of the office of affairs. they had a combined 83 years of foreign service experience. would the recommendation of this team be given a fair amount of weight within the department? >> yes, it would. >> and is that the way that it should work that the views of experienced diplomats should count in decision making? >> they certainly did to me and i think that should be the practice. >> in the same e-mail, stevens states my personal recommendation would be option a, which was the option for a slimmed down compound. he then notes a few of his key reaction na reaction als for wanting to say. in an earlier e-mail, stevens provided more reasons including
the opportunity to, quote, monitor political trends and public sentiment regarding the new libya. the revolution began in eastern libya and the view of these 2 million inhabitants will certainly influence events going forward. secretary clinton, do you agree with ambassador stevens' view that there were important reasons to have a presence in benghazi despite the risks? >> yes, i do. >> other documents show that am ba ambassador stevens continued to advocate for u.s. presence. at the end of august just two week before the attacks, he was working on a proposal for permanent presence and, quote, a permanent branch office in benghazi to provide a permanent platform to protect u.s. national security interests in the region and to promote a stronger healthier and more vibrant bilateral relationship with the new, free and democratic libya. while ambassador stevens took
seriously the significant security incidents that occurred in june, he never decided that the risks youth weighkrou outwe benefit. he worked with his counterparts to try to manage that risk as best they could. in its report, the benghazi accountability review board found, quote, the total elimination of risk is a nonstarter for u.s. diplomacy given the need for the u.s. government to be present in places where stability and security are often most profoundly lacking and host government support is sometimes minimal to nonexistent. secretary clinton, this is such a difficult issue. the balancing of interests. from your perspective as a former senator and secretary of state, how do you best ensure that we are striking the right balance going forward? >> well, congresswoman, thank you for that question because i do think that's what we should be talking about and several of
you have posed similar questions. i think you do start with the best expert and experienced advice that you can get from across our government. and as you rightly point out, chris stevens never recommended that we close benghazi. heed ed advocated for keeping benghazi open and as you rightly referred in this e-mail for a particular configuration that would fulfill the needs of our country being represented there. obviously you have to constantly do this balancing act that i referred to earlier today and most times we get it right. in fact the vast majority of times, we get it right. with benghazi, the cia did not have any plans to close their facility. the opinion of those with the
greatest understanding of our mission, our diplomatic mission in benghazi was exactly the same, that we should not close down, we should not leave benghazi. and it's obviously something that you have to be constantly evaluating. and all of these difficult unstable spots around the world. but i appreciate your bringing to the committee's attention the strong opinion of the man who knew the most and was on the ground and who understood what we were trying to achieve this benghazi, ambassador stevens. >> was it your understanding that he certainly understood the risk of being there? >> he definitely understood the risks, yes. >> the claihair will now recogn miss brooks. >> sect chretary clinton, i'd l
to ask you a witness about your decision making and the discussions you had as it related to how long the benghazi mission itself was going to last. i'm putting up a map because most of us don't know much when the geography of libya and as we've talked about these various communities, i don't think most people realized. we know from my last round that chris stevens went into ben dwaz benghazi in april of 2011. i want to talk to but what happened the rest of that year. and just because there was a lot going on, i thought it would be helpful to have this map. so by mid-july, our government formally recognized the tmc as the official government of libya and t this. c was based in benghazi at that time. and in august after the gadhafi government fell, gadhafi left tripoli and he went into hiding
in sert. in in september, we radio he open our embassy and chris stevens stayed in benghazi. does that sound like an accurate summary of the summer of 2011? >> it does sound accurate except i'm not sure exactly the duration of ambassador stevens' presence in benghazi during those months. >> well, that leads to my next question. what was your plan for the mission in the fall of 2011 and going forward? what were the discussions you had and who did you have those discussions with about the mission of benghazi going forward in 2011? >> well, as you may have heard, congresswoman, the e-mail that
congresswoman sanchez introduced into the record was from the fall of 2011. and there was quite a discussion going on between officials in the state department, in the intelligence community, in both washington and libya about the path forward. the transitional national council had been based in benghazi. and there was a dispute even within the libyans themselves as to whether they would split the government, whether the government would be located predominantly but not exclusively in tripoli or as some were hoping predominantly but not exclusively in benghazi. so this was all a very live subject that was being debated both this libya and with respect to what our response would be in washington. so we at chris stevens' strong
urging and that of our of our experienced diplomats wanted to maintain a presence in benghazi in some form. we reopened our embassy in contribu tripoli which had been the historical capital certainly under gadhafi. but this was a constant discussion about what we should do when and where. and i think that is why this e-mail from chris stevens about his recommendations is so informative. >> well, thank you and i'll get to that in just a moment. but i have to ask you, i assume that your chief of staff cheryl mills was continintimate lir in with piece discussions with you and with your top staff in she's one of your staff as you were referring to them, is that right? >> she covered a broad range of issues. i'm sure she was involved in some of the discussions, but she had many other responsibilities, so i can't say all of them. >> i'd like to refer to you an update on tripoli operations
provided to cheryl mills on september 14th. and at the top of that two-page memo, assumptions for benghazi in september down of operations over the next six months, transition to tripoli only -- transition to tripoli by january of 2012. in consulate. no consulate meant no consulate in benghazi. this was in september. would that be fair and accurate? and were you in that briefing with ms. mills or did she brief you about the fact that in september the game plan was to shut down benghazi? >> well, i think you have to look at that in context, congresswoman. there was not an active plan for a consulate in benghazi at any point during this period. that is not what the compound in benghazi was. it was a temporary facility placed there to help us make a determination as to what we would need going forward in
benghazi -- >> excuse me, madam secretary. >> there was a strong argument that chris stevens and others made that they hoped eventually there might be a consulate, but there was never an agreement to have a consulate. >> if, in fact, it had been deemed a consulate, it would have had a different level of security than a temporary mission compound, is that accurate? consulates have certain levels of security. there are standards, there are protocols. when it is a consulatconsulate, a certain level of security. >> that is the hoped-for outcome, that is not what happens in the beginning especially the hot spots and the areas where a consulate is stood up. >> can you talk with me about the decision, then -- there is a briefing with respect to -- after the closing, rather, of the consulate in benghazi by january of 2012. we know it didn't close. it did not close. you went to tripoli in october
of 2011. the ambassador was still there. how about chris stevens? did chris stevens come over from benghazi to see you when you went for the big trip in october of '11? >> i don't recall. i don't recall if he did or not. this was -- this -- this was about ambassador cretz and he was the person that we were meeting with at that time. >> what was your purpose for meeting with ambassador cretz if chris stevens was your expert in libya? >> the ambassador was an expert as well. ambassador cretz was our ambassador. you remember as i mentioned to you before, he had been our ambassad ambassador, and then because he reported very accurately about what he observed regarding gadhafi and gadhafi's hen ofmen when wikileaks disclosed internal u.s. government cables and gene cretz's cables were
publicized talking very critically about gadhafi he was then subjected to threats and we took him out. we did not close the embassy at that time. so, he had returned to finish out his time and we were in the process of moving him to another assignment and nominating chris stevens to replace him. >> but you didn't, during that one trip to libya, you didn't talk to chris stevens, best of your recollection -- >> while i was in libya, i don't recall that. of course we consulted with him in respect to planning the trip. who we would meet with and what we would ask for. we were trying very hard to get people in positions of authority at that time in libya to let us work with them on everything from border security to collecting weapons and trying to disarm the militias. we had a lot of business we were doing with them. >> so, going back to miss sanchez's e-mail with respect from john stevens to miss polich it talks about option "a" and
slimming down the compound and so he weighed in on -- in october he was weighing in on whether or not the compound should stay open. but i'd like to direct your attention to an e-mail that's at tab four, dated december 15th from chris stevens. and i might add for the record, we do not still to this day have all of chris stevens e-mails. we received 1,300 more this week. we received most of them last week. we don't have the universe yet of ambassador stevens e-mails. but he e-mailed to a reporting officer who we know was in benghazi still. he wrote, "interesting. has security improved in benghazi in recent weeks? also curious what you guys decided to do regarding future of the compound." he was in washington, d.c., or back in the states during that time, and in december ambassador stevens, your soon-to-be ambassador, didn't know what was going to happen with the
compound in benghazi, how is that possible? >> well, congresswoman, one of the great attributes that chris stevens had was a really good sense of humor. and i just see him smiling as he's typing this. because it is clearly in response to the e-mail down below talking about picking up a few, quote, fire sale items from the brits. >> sure. those fire sale items are barricades. >> that's right. >> they are additional -- >> that's right. >> -- requests for security -- >> that's right. >> -- for the compound. that's what the fire sale was, because we weren't providing enough physical security for the compound, isn't that right? so they're picking up a fire sale because other consulates are putting out, other countries are pulling out. >> i thought it showed their entrepreneurial spirit, congresswoman, and i applaud them for doing so. we did respond to a number of the security requests, the
physical security requests. the posters that were up earlier this morning were only about the number of diplomatic security personnel. you're talking about physical -- physical barriers, physical additions to the compound. there were quite a few of those that were undertaken. >> but how is it that mr. stevens did not know in december whether or not the compound was going to remain open? >> well -- >> or do you think that was a joke he was making? >> well, i think that if it -- if it were not an example of his sense of humor, it was also as part of the ongoing discussion about mission benghazi's future which he went to great lengths to describe what he thought should be done. you know, a lot of it was trying to decide, could we afford it. could we maintain it. what did we need to have there. so, yes, there was an ongoing discussion. and i think he knew he was going to be in line to go to tripoli and he wanted to know exactly
what the decision was going to be about the compound. he had weighed in, not only in that e-mail but in numerous discussions with his colleagues back at the state department. >> and finally, secretary clinton, we know that the compound, the benghazi mission, was extended for yet another year. because that same month your benghazi point person here in washington jeff feldman, sent a memo wanting to extend benghazi through 2012. and he sent it to undersecretary patrick kennedy who approved it. another high-level official who, by the way, for the record state department has given us none of undersecretary patrick kennedy's e-mails yet. same with jeffrey feltman, very high-level officials within the state department. are you familiar with that memo sent on december 27th entitled "future of operations in benghazi, libya"? are you familiar with that memo and if so did secretary feltman discuss that with you at the time and discuss extending the
mission in benghazi in democrats of '11? >> i'm familiar that there was an ongoing discussion about the future of the mission in benghazi -- >> a discussion between whom, ma'am? >> between all of the relevant officials in the state department. >> help me with understanding -- >> jeff feltman was one of them. >> who else? >> chris stevens was one of them. but there were many others who had information and expertise to add to it. and there was a recommendation that benghazi be continued through 2012 as part of the continuing evaluation of whether or what we wanted to have on a more permanent basis in benghazi. >> and do you recall, were you in those discussions? were you specifically in those meetings? you've shared that you didn't do a lot by e-mail, that you had more meetings than briefings. were you in those meetings about extending benghazi through the end of the year? >> there were certainly meetings in which i was advised about the process being undertaken as to
determine whether benghazi should be extended. so, yes, i was aware of the process that was ongoing, and i was kept up to date about it. >> and were there any minutes or any briefings -- >> the gentle lady's time has expired. >> way over. >> the chair would recognize. >> ambassador stevens had access to you. >> yes, he did. >> i don't have the name in front of me, but ambassador in russia said that, you know, he always had access to you, always had constant communication with you, never had your e-mail address. >> that's right. >> i would hope that ambassadors would have more direct and immediate lines of communication, and ambassador stevens certainly did -- >> correyes. >> -- correct? and did ambassador stevens ever advocate either leaving libya or
abandoning benghazi? >> could the contrary, congressman, he was a very strong advocate for staying in libya, including benghazi. >> i think what we've learned here is, well, nothing frankly. that we didn't know already. the security situation in libya was dangerous. >> right. >> without question. would you say that ambassador stevens was unaware of any aspect of that? >> no, i would not. i think he was very aware. >> so, he knew the security situation in libya quite well. >> that's right. >> and yet -- again, i want to be clear on this. in his communications with you, when he had many, even if he didn't have your e-mail address, did he ever say, you know, did he raise the security issue directly with you? >> no, he did not. >> and, you know, obviously he chose to go to benghazi. he, as you have described earlier, as, gosh, all across the world today, diplomats are weighing the risks and the benefits in a lot of dangerous
places. and he had to do that -- >> yes. >> -- and he chose to go to benghazi. >> he did. and congressman, ambassadors in the countries they are representing the united states in do not as a practice ask permission from the state department to travel in the country where they are stationed. >> right. as well they should not. they need to be in charge of their country. also point out, you know, on the question of e-mails and which ones you received and haven't received, unfortunately the state department, which has been spending an enormous amount of time producing documents for this commitf ffcommittee, canno thousands of e-mails at the drop of the hat the committee chose to prioritize your e-mails and cheryl mills' e-mails and cindy blumenthal's e-mails to you and they chose to prioritize those e-mails over the others.
the state department is trying to get those e-mails but it is a the priority of the committee. the other point i want to make, and i won't take the full ten minutes here. a lot of accusations have been made back and forth about things that were said that were or were not true. i think the one thing that was said in this hearing that is clearly the farthest from the truth is that this is not a prosecution. if you listen to the other side, this is unquestionably exactly that, a prosecution. i mean, i ask viewers to just go back and listen to chairman gowdy's questioning of you before the first break and tell me that that's not a prosecution. and i think, again, i don't know if shame, embarrassment, whatever word you wish to choose, it shouldn't be a prosecution, you know, we have the, you know, former secretary of state here. we should be genuinely trying to inquire about how we can gather more information. now, the only interesting facts that seem to be brought up are always referenced back to the arb, which just points up the
fact that the information that we need and, again, i really want to emphasize this was a serious, serious matter for the united states. a loss of four americans is something we need to take incredibly seriously and investigate and we did. and the information that we found out, as you pointed out, was not always flattering. there was no question that mistakes were made. and we hopefully learned from them. but that was investigated. so, what is the purpose of this committee? and, you know, when you look at the e. mails they request and you look at the questioning, the purpose of this committee is to prosecute you. there will be time enough for that in the next year and, you know, people will do it. we don't need to spend $4.7 million and 17 months to simply prosecute you. and all the questions about, look, the security situation was well known in libya. the security situation in pakistan is well known. i visited the embassy in yemen
in 2009 about a month after someone had shot a rocket-propelled grenade through the front door. the security situation there is incredibly serious as well as it is in a whole lot of other places, and those are difficult decisions. but the effort here today seems to be that somehow you personally decided not to do your job in libya. okay? you were apparently the advocate of the policy in libya, apparently passionate about it, but not passionate enough to care about the security situation in libya and, you know, chris stevens incredibly passionate about libya. wanted to make that country work. now, it has proven very, very difficult. we want to go back to moammar gadhafi in charge, i don't think so, to make a policy point as long as i have a few minutes. it's interesting to juxtapose libya with syria. because just as many of my republican colleagues are ripping apart the obama administration and all those involved for choosing to remove
gadhafi, they are ripping apart the obama administration, all the current officials, for choosing not to get involved in syria. what that points up, frankly, is the difficulty of the job that you had. and i thank you for taking it. i'm not sure i would be so bold. it is a very, very dangerous world. bad things are going to happen. and what we are witnessing today is if bad things happen, you know, you will be dragged out over months and months and months in this partisan atmosphere and that is very, very unfortunate. it needed to be investigated, you know, 9/11, we didn't investigate 9/11, you know, 9/11/2001 just to specify, with the length and depth that we have chose to investigate this. so, again, i come back to the central point of the central problem with this committee. it is a prosecution. it is a partisan exercise. it is not trying to investigate
and find out the truth. and, again, we are now the math here, five hours into it, count the break, maybe four hours into it. we have learned nothing substantively new about what happened in benghazi. very serious things happened. they were investigated. they were reported. mistakes were made. they were reported. but this committee and all that time and effort has unearthed nothing. instead they want to prosecute you. and you rip apart your every word, your every e-mail. two staffers five levels down from you that said something bad about you? i mean, my goodness, i hope i don't ever have to undergo that kind of scrutiny. i would not survive it. and i don't think many would. so, you know, i hope in the hours that we have left to do this that we will try to circle back to learning something new, to figuring out how we can best strike that balance that you described of being present in the world but also trying to
keep our people safe throughout the history of the country, my aunt was actually a foreign service officer way back when, and, you know, you know, we have lost many diplomats and she tells me about it all the time. and, you know, it's a difficult balance. if we can get back to that, if we can learn something new about what happened in benghazi, i think that might be helpful. but right now this committee is not doing a service to the four people who died or their families or to preventing any of these future incidents from happening. so, i thank you for your testimony. i thank you for your leadership and your willingness to do a very, very difficult job and with that i yield the remaining of my time. >> madam secretary, maybe an hour or so ago we were talking about the diplomatic security folks on the night of the incident, and it appeared that you wanted to say a little bit more about that and what they -- speaking of that -- the
incident, would you like to elaborate? >> well, thank you, congressman. you know, i don't want anything that is said to me or about me to take away from the heroic efforts that the diplomatic security officers exhibited. the five men who were with chris and shawn smith risked their lives repeatedly. and were themselves under grave threat. i wanted to point out that even when we try to get it right, which we do try, sometimes there are unintended consequences. and there is an example out of this tragedy. coming out of previous assessments of attacks on facilities, we now have safe havens, safe rooms in facilities
particularly residences. the diplomatic security officers were able to get both chris and shawn into that safe room. of course, the idea behind the safe room, why security experts advocated for them, was to protect our civilians, our d diplomats from attacks like the one that was occurring. the attackers used diesel fuel to set the compound on fire. and the safe room was anything but safe. i'm sure the committee members know that neither chris stevens nor shawn smith died from injuries directly inflicted by the attackers. they both died of smoke inhalation.
and one of the recommendations in this arb report is that when we have safe havens, we need to have equipment that will enable people that are safe within them to withstand what happened in benghazi. the lead diplomatic security officer who was with both the ambassador and shawn smith endeavored to lead them to safety through a wall of black smoke. he wanted to get them out of the compound, interior up to the roof, where they could be out of the fire and also out of the attackers' assault. he himself nearly died of smoke inhalation. when he looked around to make sure that both shawn and chris were with him, he couldn't find them.
rather than proceeding and saving himself, which would be a natural human instinct, he turned back into that black diesel smoke desperately trying to find chris and shawn. he did find shawn, and shawn had succumbed to smoke inhalation, and the diplomatic security officer managed to take shawn out of the building. he could not find chris stevens. one of the horrors of the hours after the attack was our failure to be able to find where the ambassador was. we hoped against hope that he had somehow gotten himself out of the compound and he was alive somewhere maybe in the back.
and additional efforts by the diplomatic security officers and then eventually by the cia reinforcements that arrived to find his body or to find him hopefully were unsuccessful. and they had to withdraw because of the continuing attack back to the cia annex before we knew what had happened to the ambassador. we were desperate. and we were trying to call everybody we knew in benghazi, in libya, get additional help. what appears to have happened at some point later is that libyans found ambassador stevens, and they carried him to the hospital in benghazi. and libyan doctors labored nearly two hours to try to resuscitate him.
and i mention all of this because i want not just the committee members but any viewers in the public to understand that this was the fog of war. that the diplomatic security officers and later the cia officers responded with heroism, professionalism as they had been trained to do. we thought things would be safe once they took refuge in the cia annex. and as we know even though that was a highly fortified, much more secure facility than our diplomatic compound and one that we had nothing to do with in the state department, it turned out also to be a target for the militants, which is where the two cia contractors, mr. woods and mr. doherty, died.
but in looking at all of the information, the accountability review board and particularly admiral mullen who was focused on what happened, what the security personnel did that night, came out agreeing that they were heroic and they did all they could do to try to save their colleagues' lives. >> the gentleman yields back. madam secretary, i apprec yate you go iing through their heroi. it infuriates me to hear folks to my left who don't raise a single whistle per about spending $50 million to train 5 isis fighters but god forbid we spend one-tenth of that to give some answers to the family members sitting on the first row. so, i appreciate you discussing their heroism while some of my colleagues discuss money. with that, mr. pompeo.
>> i think mr. smith gave a soliloquy. i think it was eloquent, but it was representative of the democrats on this panel since may of 2014. not one question for a witness. they say they want to get to the matter of the truth but the truth of the matter is they spend most of the time today attacking members of this committee and this process and i regret that i think that's a violation of their duty to the country and most importantly their duty to the families. i want to go back to a couple things i talked to you about a bit before, madam secretary. ambassador stevens didn't have your e-mail, correct? your personal e-mail? >> i'm sorry, what did you ask me? >> ambassador stevens didn't have your personal e-mail, we've established that. >> that's right. >> did he have your cell phone number? >> no, but he had the 24-hour number in the state department
that can reach me 24/7. >> yes, ma'am. did he have the fax number? >> he had the fax number of the state department in. >> did he have usual home address? >> no, i don't think any ambassador has ever asked me for that. >> did he ever stop by your house? >> no, he did not, congressman. >> mr. blumenthal had each of those and did each of those things. this man who provided you so much information on libya had access to you in ways that were very different than the access that a very senior diplomat had to your -- to you and your person. i'd ask -- i had a picture up here a bit ago of a man that you said you didn't recognize who he was. were you ever briefed that he was present at the compound the night that ambassador stevens was killed? >> we are trying to track down the basis of your question, congressman. we have no information at this time. >> my question is a yes-or-no question, it's pretty simple. >> i don't have any information i can provide to you yes or no
because i know nothing about this question. >> the answer to the question is were you briefed and the answer is? >> we don't know anything about it so how could i have been briefed about something we know nothing about? >> great, thank you. are all arbs created equal? >> well, there have been 19, including the one that we impaneled after benghazi. they've all been led by distinguished americans. they've all been set up in accordance with the laws and rules that the congress established when they created the legislation to establish arbs. so, i assume in those respects they are created equal. >> yes, ma'am. i'm asking a pretty simple yes-or-no question i guess. i'm happy to let you expand and i'm happy to bring breakfast in. but when i ask a yes-or-no question it sure would be helpful if we could get to the
answer. are the recommendations of each arb worthy of equal treatment? >> well, they are certainly worthy of follow-up by the department and i believe that they have been. >> there was an arb -- please, if you would put up the poster, please. there was an arb in 1998, you said this before in your testimony, 200 folks were killed. 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. and you 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. and we will be back as quickly as we can.
>> we're good. >> all right. former secretary of state hillary clinton testifying in front of the select committee on benghazi. so far today almost five hours of testimony. 3 1/2 this morning, and then an hour and a half or so. the committee breaking here. there's a series of votes on the house floor which may take us until about 4:30, 4:35 or so. and then we expect the committee to gavel back in. from what we understand, four separate rounds of questions from members, which could go well into the evening. hour on c-span3, c-span radio and c-span.org, we'd like to
hear what you have to think. 202-748-8921 is the number to call for republicans. our democratic line is 202-748-8920. and for independents and all others 202-748-8922. also join the conversation on facebook, or send us a tweet @c-span. we will take your comments and calls. we'll also show you some of the highlights so far and some of the testimony from -- that just wrapped up, including the questioning of the committee chair, trey gowdy. we go to connie in middleburg, florida. republican line. >> caller: hi. >> go ahead. make sure you mute your television or radio. go ahead with your comment. >> caller: okay. my question to hillary is, why was the security team of the approximately 15 called back from benghazi about a month before the 9/11 attacks?
when the head of the team said they had to say there. >> have you heard a member of the team or anybody ask her that? >> caller: no, i haven't heard anybody ask her that. >> connie next to the bronx and frank on our democrats line. >> caller: hi, i am a registered democrat. >> go ahead. >> caller: i am very appalled at the way democrats are handling this situation. and anybody who says that this committee is a waste of taxpayer money is too naive to understand what it is to be an american, okay? hillary clinton keeps saying i will accept the responsibility. i accept the responsibility. how did she accept responsibility? they keep talking about subcontractors and security specialists and didn't want to step on anybody's toes and all this. at the end of the day she's the boss of all those units. this whole thing about democrats say oh, what are we going to learn from this? this is what the moral of the story, it's a bunch of rubbish.
because the bottom line in america, we're held to account. and how did she take responsibility? nobody knows. almost eight investigations and the democrats on the table have no answers as to who took responsibility for this fiasco. and that's what we americans are demanding. who is going to take respon responsibili responsibility? not the lessons we learned how we could make it better. hillary's going to get back on the democratic nomination to the president. i find it appalling she would even be running for president after her last testimony -- testimony in 2013. so it's like seem insulted every day by this. so that's my comment about this. hillary has to accept responsibility. she's the boss of everybody. >> comments on twitter. let's take a look. mira tweets @cspan. used to agree with republicans on benghazi. today can't tell what they're trying to find out. america says, so true, democrats do not want the truth to come to light.
they all are allergic to it. from justin who says the benghazi hearing not going well for the chairman who is acting awfully biassed in what he wants people to know, not the whole truth. and from pam, says, hillary certainly is a polished dancer, talks for hours and says nothing related to the questions asked of her. again, so far, some five hours of testimony. we'll show it to you all again tonight beginning at 8:00 eastern over on our companion network c-span2. and we continue our live coverage when they gavel back in here on c-span3, on c-span radio and c-span.org. you're looking live inside the hearing room. this is the ways and means committee room on capitol hill. charleston, south carolina. martin on the independent line. >> caller: yes, i find it awful funny that the democrats are complaining about spending $4 million with this hearing and yet they have no problem with their leader, the president of the united states, spending $4.1
million to go on a golf out iin and to raise money for the democratic party. what a disgrace. it's an absolutely total disgrace. they make fools out of themselves every time they open their mouth. thank you much. >> democrats' line 202-748-8921 for republicans. 8920 for democrats, and 8922 for independents. florida, neal, hello there. >> caller: hello there. >> go ahead. make sure you mute your television or radio. >> caller: i just wanted to say that i'm a democrat, and i wasn't sure that ms. clinton had so much baggage to handle the president presidency and i watched this review and i feel like she's a strong woman who's done the best she could do. you know, the world is not perfect. more is any single person.
i feel that she's a very strong woman and that she has changed my view on her, and i really respect miss clinton. she's a strong woman. >> to angie in virginia beach on the republican line. committee in a recess due to votes in the house. angie, hello there. >> caller: hi. i just wanted to reemphasize that the benghazi incident, and several of the issues of going on in america for the last few years, americans have a right, all of the politicians there, in congress work for us. we have a right to know the truth. and no matter what it costs $4 million, $4 wl, $400 million. and what bothers me is president obama, when he first got into office, he's the one that closed the doors on the republicans and had a private meetings with
democrats. he's the one that started this partisanship. we want the truth. we want them for once to run and work for us. not for their money. not for their bank accounts. we want hillary, which i call hil-lie-ry, because she lies, not her, but we want americans want to know the truth. so just keep going with this investigation. if it takes her out of the presidency role, i'm sorry, i almost voted for her. i was a democrat at one time. i am so thankful i didn't vote for her. i'm thankful i didn't vote for obama. because i have no guilt. i can sleep at night. and obviously she said she couldn't. so that should tell you all something. thank you for your time. >> okay. huntington beach, california, mark on the independents line. >> caller: thank you. first, push back against
congressman schiff's comments about the benghazi committee being some sort of right-wing conspiracy and hyperpartisan. i'd like to refer him back to the committee on the financial collapse. in that committee, that was run entirely by democrats, and the republicans weren't even allowed -- well they were barely allowed to interrogate people or to have much of a say in that committee. that was a completely partisan witch-hunt there for the bush administration. now on to this particular benghazi committee you have to remember we just got a document, 2,000 e-mails just last night, the night before this investigation, take place, and it's also kind of the question in my mind is that if you have sidney blumenthal, who is, you know, a number of numerous left wing organizations getting a voice or getting the ear of hillary rodham clinton, 60% of
the time, that's kind of questionable. so, anyway. that would be my comment. thank you. >> okay. that's mark in california. here on c-span3. we will continue our live coverage of the hearing when they gavel back in. also, on c-span radio, and online. our dual stream, our enhanced coverage at c-span.org. reporters and others waiting in the room. also a number of members have been in and out watching the hearing, and hillary clinton's long time aide huma abedin who testified last week behind closed doors also in the audience, sheryl mills who was at the state department for a bit with hillary clinton also there as well, she, too was behind closed doors with the committee a couple of weeks ago. we continue with your calls and comments and go to dee, who is in gainesville, florida. democrats line. >> hi. can we all agree to disagree? i'm a democrat, and i feel that
secretary clinton answered the most honest and objective way that she can, and otherwise thought there was some that would be -- answer. she did give a powerful response how we as americans need to work together and make improvements. and many of the people at congress, even show that that they wanted to see the improvements. so we can agree to disagree. we're not going to agree on everything. doesn't make one person a bad person because of a mistake. >> let's hear from charlene from saint charles, missouri on the independents line. >> caller: hi there. my comment is that watching these hearings is just evidence
of there is no truth coming out from hillary clinton. the one lady representative that told -- gave the stats -- showed the stats of papers, one year she had almost 800 correspondences, the year of the benghazi attacks, there was this little tiny i don't remember the amount of paper shown. that to me was glaring proof that there was either a son of correspondence missing, or that she was not involved in this at all. these hearings are glaring proof of the lives th s -- lies that woman has told. it is despicable that the american people have to put up with this. >> teresa is next up on the republican line asking you tur thoughts. so far the committee is in a break. the benghazi committee, hillary clinton former secretary of state back before the committee.
lancaster, pennsylvania, teresa on the republican line. >> caller: yes, good afternoon. i've been listening to callers in and things and i was just curious as to how many of them watched the debates. the democratic debates where hillary clinton said that republicans were one of her top enemies. and then also, how many of them are fully aware of how many times she said i had other people dealing with benghazi. they claim that she was a strong woman and did little misfortune. if any of you are viewers had any dealings with military how would they feel if their sons or daughters were out there in the public -- i'm sorry out in a situation like that and they were just left regardless, right or wrong, the department or whoever, left them to die. would you not at least want to know why they were allowed to
die. and how many of those listeners are fully aware what's going on. there hasn't been one word out of hillary's mouth that answered a yes or no question. and all of the republicans say, yes, the democrats are all beating up the republicans. why are they not focusing on benghazi? they haven't focused on benghazi. they focused on what they don't want the republicans to hear. so i challenge all of your viewers listening to this to become more informed. and if you still feel the same way, because you've seen it, you know it, you've been investigated it, then you can criticize the people that are out there. just trying to find the answers. so i challenge you people to become more aware and informed. if you can do that after all of this goes on then you can vote her in to office. but you become aware before you challenge and call other people stupid, dumb and retarded and whatever names you call them. >> want to remind folks, too, not only this hearing but the senate foreign relations committee hearing of last -- of two years ago, and other coverage related to benghazi that we've covered all of that
is available at c-span.org. more of your calls coming up. the committee expected back in in the next half hour. there's a house vote or series of house votes going on, thus the recess. we will have live coverage here on c-span3, on c-span radio and online. dual coreage at c-span.org as well. politico.com, their front page shows shouting match at benghazi hearing. but maybe more accurately showing that shouting match. it was really a shouting match between elijah cummings the ranking democrat, and the chairman of the committee trey gowdy. this is rebecca lieber from the new republic who tweeted this, clinton might be enjoying it. a look at the dual screen look at hillary clinton as the shouting match, as politico called it went on. here's what some of that looked like. mr. chairman, you've made several inack read statements over the past month, as you have tried to defend against multiple
republican admissions that the select committee has been wasting millions of tax dollars to damage secretary clinton's bid for the president. on sunday, you made another inaccurate statement during your appearance on "face the nation" and it's being taken up here and this is the relevance. here's what you said. and i quote, there are other folks who may have equities in your e-mails. and there may be other entities who are evaluating her e-mails. but my interest, my interest, in them is solely making sure that i get everything i'm entitled to so that i can do my job. the rest of it, classification, clinton foundation, you name it, i have zero interest in. which is why you haven't seen me send a subpoena related to it or interview a single person other than brian palliano because i need to know that the record is complete. and i'm going back to the truth,
the whole truth and nothing but the truth. >> i'm waiting -- i'm waiting for you. i've been very patient. >> wait. >> i'm waiting on the inaccurate statement. >> i'm getting there. mr. chairman -- >> well we've got to take a break. >> it's not going to take long. you took four minutes over so let me ask -- >> i've let everybody go over including you mr. cummings. >> thank you very much. you issued a subpoena to sidney blumenthal on may 19th, 2015, compelling him to appear for a deposition on june 16th, 2015. you entered the subpoena unilaterally without giving the select committee members the opportunity to debate or vote on it. you said two armed marshals to serve the subpoena on mr. blumenthal's wife on their home without having ever sent him a request to participate voluntarily, which he would have done. then, mr. chairman, you personally attended mr. blumenthal's deposition. you personally asked him about the clinton foundation, and you personally directed your staff to ask questions about clinton,
the clinton foundation, which they did more than 50 times. now, these facts directly contradict the statements you made on national television -- >> no, no sir. with all due respect. they do not. we're -- we just heard e-mail after e-mail after e-mail about libya and benghazi that sidney blumenthal sent to the secretary of state. i don't care if he sent it by morse code, carrier pigeon, smoke signals, the fact that he happened to send it by e-mail is irrelevant. what is relevant is that he was sending information to the secretary of state. that is what's relevant. now with respect to the subpoena, if he'd bothered to answer the telephone calls of our committee, he wouldn't have needed a subpoena. >> will the gentleman yield? >> i'll be happy to. but you need to make sure the entire record is correct. >> that's exactly what i want to do. >> then go ahead. >> that's what i'm about to tell you. i move that we put into the record the entire transcript of sidney blumenthal. we're going to release the e-mails, let's do the
transscript. that way the world can see. >> well, we -- >> we didn't -- >> i motion -- >> we're not going to take that up at a hearing -- >> consulted with an attorney and they have informed us that we have a right to record a vote on that motion. >> well i'll tell you what -- >> we want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. that's what we will have. let the world see it >> why is it that you only want mr. blumenthal's transcript released? >> i'd like to have them all released. >> the survivors? even their names? you want that. you want that released? >> let me tell you something, right now -- >> the only one you've asked for is sidney blumenthal. that and this bill. >> -- mills? >> that's not true. >> if you want to ask for some facts -- >> record a vote on the blumenthal -- >> you said from the beginning we want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. why don't we just put that entire transcript out there, and let the world see it. what do you have to hide? >> these are the only e-mails you have released.
in the fairness to mr. blumenthal and to the american people, in the interest of a complete record, if you're going to release his e-mails, release his transcript where he has a chance to give the context of those e-mails. >> well you keep referring to blumenthal e-mails. i would laisten to remind both of you the only reason we have blumenthal e-mails is because they e-mailed the secretary of state. those are her e-mails. that's why they were released. they're not blumenthal's e-mails and she wanted all of her e-mails released. she's been saying since march. i want the entire world to see my e-mails. well sidney blumenthal's e-mails are part of that. so here's what i'll do. i'll be happy to talk to the parliamentarian. because the parliamentarian told me that your motion actually would not be in order, or a hearing. but at the latest, we'll take a vote, and the first week we are back after this week, we'll have a business meeting, we can take up mr. blumenthal's transcript. we can take up whatever other transcripts you want, and while we're there we can also take up the 20-some odd outstanding
discovery requests we have to different executive branch entities. why don't we just take all of it up then? >> and that's how the first session ended earlier this afternoon, about 1:15 eastern. we are in a break as the committee members of the committee who headed to the house floor for a series of votes in the house, they should come back in in 20 minutes, 25 minutes or so. some reaction from c-span viewers on what they're seeing. this is from gem on twitter the benghazi committee and the republicans are a bit out of control, especially the chairman. another view that says the democrats are a disgrace to the benghazi hearings. the benghazi committee and the american public who want answers. your thoughts welcome @cspan. also on facebook, on the phone, 202-748-8921. for republicans 202-748-8920 for democrats. all others 202-748-8922. let's go to sherry who's on our democrats line.
>> caller: hello. hello. i'm just actually kind of amazed and floored at some of the comments i'm hearing. you know, all this search for the truth, now how long are we going to search for truth? and whose truth are we searching for? all benghazi hearings, all the investigations so far have come back, have found absolutely nothing no wrongdoing at all. watergate was not investigated to this degree. and while we're at it, neither was 9/11, and all the things that led up to that, and the cya comments that george bush made when he was notified a month before that. and apparently didn't take seriously. we -- the attacks that happened while george bush was president, and had way more fatalities than
the benghazi which is not in any way in any way to minimize what happened in benghazi. it is only to put it in perspective. so all these people that want the truth. whose truth? it has been the comments that the republicans have made themselves, indicate that this is nothing more than a witch-hunt this is nothing more than to eliminate or certainly minimize hillary clinton as a candidate for president. and really it's despicable. and all these people that are talking about how she's lying. you -- you don't know who's lying. you don't know unless you were there and unless you heard it and unless you saw it and unless you read it, and unless and until this committee releases all the transcripts, and all of the information, and they
have -- then maybe we can see. and while we're doing it, let's go back and let's investigate all those other attacks and let's investigate the real 9/11. >> let's get a view from our republican line to maryland in forest hills, new york. >> hi. is there anyone out there besides me that remembers the day that our four heroes were brought home in the airport hangar? and they had the ceremony with obama, and hillary. >> what do you -- what do you remember about that, marilyn? >> caller: it was respectful until it was over. with all their loved ones, the family there, there's obama and hillary, hugging each other and laughing. now i dare somebody to replay that video. what kind of people are they? every time one of them says, god this and god that, i cringe.
my stomach knots up. who are you talking to? they make me sick what they've done to this country it's unbelievable. i'm sorry, i just wish the republicans would move on some of the things that they promise, stop the abortions, same sex -- >> all right let's go to virginia, matt on our democrats line. go ahead, matt. >> caller: hey, how are you guys doing? one thing i wanted to just come in c-span is showing the four pictures of the -- the -- the people who were slain in benghazi. >> yeah. >> caller: i would just like to comment, i absolutely think that this is a witch-hunt. i completely agree that the american people have a right to know what was going on in this -- with this issue and with all types of issues. but the thing is, the truth is out. it's been out for years now.
and some people just ignore it. some people deny it. and on the comment of sending money, yeah, it is both sides do spend money. but for a political party -- political party -- money $1.7 trillion in iraq, i find that ridiculous. but, now let me -- benghazi committee hearings, i imagine if this had been -- this had been obama or if this had been one of president bush's heads of state, if he had started a war in iraq or if he had gotten a memo like the august memo in 2011 about bin laden attacking the united states. what would happen then if obama had been in the administration? would these same people have the same reaction? would they want to go after and
have all these committees, which are well over a dozen to this date, i think it's just really nonsense. and i'm not saying it's nonsense because four people were killed. that's tragic. it's nonsense that people in the republican party are using this tragedy -- political. and that's what this is. it's conjured up outcry and conjured up outrage, and it's partisan, it's political, and -- know this. when the iraq war was going on, and the iraq war was started we heard nothing about the question of the motive, and also, the nearly 5,000 people that died or u.s. soldiers who have died. >> all right, matt asked about the -- mentioned the four who were killed in the attack on benghazi. the ambassador to libya chris stevens, tyrone woods, sean smith and glen doherty. hillary clinton was asked about the sequence of events on that
september 11th, 2012 in the last round of questioning. here's what she had to say. >> i don't want anything that is said to me or about me to take away from the heroic efforts that the diplomatic security officers exhibited. the five men who were with chris, and sean smith risked their lives repeatedly. and were themselves under great threat. i wanted to point out that even when we try to get it right, which we do try, sometimes there are unintended consequences. and there is an example out of this tragedy. coming out of previous assessments of attacks on facilities, we now have safe havens, safe rooms, in
facilities, particularly residences. the diplomatic security officers were able to get both chris and sean into that safe room. of course the idea behind the safe room, why security experts advocated for them, was to protect our -- our civilians, our diplomats, from attacks like the one that was occurring. the attackers used diesel fuel to set the compound on fire. and the safe room was anything but safe. i'm sure the committee members know that neither chris stevens nor sean smith died from injuries directly inflicted by the attackers. they both died of smoke inhalation.
and one of the recommendations in this arb report is that when we have safe havens we need to have equipment that will enable people that are safe within them to withstand what happened in benghazi. the lead diplomatic security officer who was with both the ambassador and sean smith endeavored to lead them to safety through a wall of black smoke. he wanted to get them out of the compound, interior, up to the roof where they could be out of the fire, and also out of the attackers' assault. he himself nearly died of smoke inhalation. when he looked around to make sure that both sean and chris were with him, he couldn't find them.
rather than proceeding and saving himself, which would be a natural, human instinct, he turned back in to that black diesel smoke, desperately trying to find chris and sean. he did find sean. and sean had succumbed to smoke inhalation, and the diplomatic security officer managed to take sean out of the building. he could not find chris stevens. one of the horrors of the hours after the attack was our failure to be able to find where the ambassador was. we hoped against hope that he had somehow gotten himself out of the compound, and that he was alive somewhere, maybe in the back. and additional efforts by the
diplomatic security officers, and then eventually by the cia reinforcements that arrived, find his body, or to find him, hopefully, were unsuccessful. and they had to withdraw because of the continuing attack, back to the cia annex before we knew what had happened to the ambassador. we were desperate. and we were trying to call everybody we knew in benghazi, in libya, get additional help. what appears to have happened at some point later is that libyans found ambassador stevens. and they carried him to the hospital in benghazi. and libyan doctors labored nearly two hours to try to resuscitate him.
and i -- i mention all of this because i want not just the committee members, but any viewers in the public to understand that this was the fog of war. that the diplomatic security officers and then later the cia officers responded with heroism, professionalism, as they had been trained to do. we thought things would be safe once they took refuge in the cia annex. and as we know, even though that was a highly fortified, and much more secure facility than our diplomatic compound, and one that we had nothing to do with in the state department, it turned out also to be a target for the militants, which is where the two cia contractors, mr. woods, and mr. doherty,
died. but in looking at all of the information, the accountability review board, and particularly admiral mullin who was focused on what happened, what the security personnel did that night, came out agreeing that they were heroic and they did all they could do to try to save their colleague's lives. >> former secretary of state hillary clinton testifying this afternoon before the select committee on benghazi. detailing some of the events of september 11th, 2012, when the ambassador to libya, christopher stevens, and three others, were killed in benghazi, libya. it would be a year later before the first congressional hearing would begin. that would be the house oversight committee, october 10th, 2012. you heard the secretary talking about the accountability review board. that review was released on december 8th, 2012, and said in part that there were systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at
senior levels in the state department. hillary clinton testified in january of 2013 before the senate foreign relations committee, a year and a half later, a little less than a year and a half later, may of last year, 2014, this committee, the house select committee, was created. and the suspect, one of the suspects in the benghazi attacks was captured on october 14th, 2014, and arraigned on 17 charges. the committee is in a recess due to a series of votes on the house floor. they should come back in shortly. 4:35 or so. and we continue with your comments and calls. your tweets, your facebook posts. let's hear from jo jo who is on our republican line in chesterfield, virginia. go ahead. >> caller: hi, good afternoon. hey, i would like to respond to everybody's comment about the witch-hunt statements. tell me why and what and how the democrats are afraid of in finding the truth? witch-hunt, if it was, your
family members you would want the truth. justice. $5 million is not a lot for four u.s. citizens who you know were supposed to -- who hillary clinton was supposed to protect. let hillary walk around without security, ride around in unarmed, armed vehicles, and remain vulnerable and rely on our nsa. since 1924, before we have been under attack, home and abroad, ever since pearl harbor, and we still put an unarmed guards at our embassies. wake up, protect our people, home and abroad. stop making promises you can't keep. all lives matter. it doesn't matter. thank you. >> thank you. here's terra in sierra vista, arizona. independents line. >> caller: hi. the news showed when they
brought -- when the dead arrived home, hillary and the president stood beside the four coffins, the four dead americans, and told the families of those -- of those dead americans, and the american american public, that this was caused by a video, and the producer of that video would be punished. if democrats are so worried about how much money we spend. we spend as opposed to the truth, they should go home and face the taxpayers, instead of sitting there. thank you for hearing me. >> more of your calls and comments ahead the committee will gavel back in. we're cover it all here live on c-span3. c-span radio which is also available on the c-span radio app and you can download that easily off our home page at c-span.org or the link at the bottom of that page on c-span.org we're covering the hearing with an additional screen, and that is focused on
hillary clinton so you can see our dual screen coverage at c-span.org. danville, illinois, and barry on our democrats line. >> caller: how you doing today? >> doing fine, barry. please mute your television or radio, and -- >> caller: yes, i will. this is a question that i'm concerned about. in the vietnam war we had 58,000 men killed. and we're talking right now about four people, which is understandably a bad situation. but my point is that just like obama, a lot of things that congress has not done to do anything to want to protect america. obama, not only that, they are against hillary clinton. and in the end, when she's
elected there's still going to be a whole bunch of mad, white men. and that's my point i want to make. thank you. >> dalton, georgia, next up, democrats line, also brenda, hello there. >> caller: hello. yes, i would like to speak about all the people that are calling in. you know, we have spent a lot of money on this talk and this situation, and what about the guy that was running for speaker and they voted him out because he gave away the office before against hillary was a witch-hunt and he gave that up they threw him out as speaker. so, you know, this all is a witch-hunt. it is costing the taxpayers more money, more time that they should be spending on the people that are poor, are out of work, have nowhere to go, have no life
to live, but to listen at this crazy things that's going on right now. it is outrageous. and the lady that spoke about she cringes when the democrats speak about god. who calls her to be the judge of anyone to call on god's name. who left her as judge? >> -- mentioned the house speaker race, it was two weeks ago today, two weeks ago, just about today, that the that kevin mccarthy withdrew his name in the very room where the hearing is happening, withdrew his name from the speakership consideration. so ahead next week will be the conference meeting next week. we expect to choose a new speaker. republican conference. and that's expected to be paul ryan. the current chair of the ways and means committee. and just today, the republican study committee announced their support for paul ryan. the whole house, according to the scheduled vote on that a week from today, will vote on the speaker a week from today on
the house floor. continuing with your calls and comments. here's a tweet from our capitol hill producer craig kaplan as the second session wrapped up. a number of supporters in the audience, a big hug from representative joe crowley to hillary clinton as the house benghazi hearing takes its second break of the day. they're breaking because there are votes on the house floor. we expect another 20 minutes or so is what we're hearing. to kansas and becky on the independent line. hi. >> caller: hi. thank you for taking my call. i have to respond to the comment about watergate. what nixon did was wrong. but he had at least the courage to resign. and what he did didn't kill anybody. senator clinton was fired from that investigation. if she didn't have anything to hide, she would have never touched that server, and would have turned it over when it was requested. i don't know how this woman
looks herself in the mirror every day, knowing that those four lives are on her watch. she -- my saying for her is out of all the lies that she has told, which one is her favorite. because she's really doing a job now. >> that's video you're seeing by the way of hillary clinton earlier today arriving this morning for the opening of the hearing at 10:00 eastern. pretty sharp is when they gaveled in. 10:00 this morning. and they're out for the recess temporarily for house votes. a couple of comments on twitter. this one from steven who says the fact is all prior benghazi committees never interviewed all those involved and witnesses and never had relevant documents. serena says seven investigations, 13 hearings, 50 briefings and 25,000 plus pages of documents but this is just about the truth, right? from tweet here that says enkwirry would've been settled a long time ago had clinton and
her people not utilized her private e-mail server. and lorraine says the gop needs to bring their party back to earth. nobody under the age of 30 is ever going to vote for them now or in the future. to texas, we hear from tripp. independents line. tripp in texas. >> caller: appreciate taking the call, man. appreciate the coverage. i just wanted to reiterate, a lot of callers, a lot of people i talk to, a lot of americans are looking for accountability. as a former military brat and employee i had a principle really simple that the difference between responsibility and accountability, though you may not be directly responsibility for what happened, even though she did have a hand in it i believe, she's accountable. that's the price of leadership. i think what we need now is a high profile accountability held in our nation so that people know that yes the people are still in power and that they work for us. my last little quick comment is i'm hearing a lot of people going at each other, democrat this, republican that. at the end of the day guys we're
all americans and we've got to come together in times of crisis and even not, work it out. it's on us to figure it out and get our country on the right track. i appreciate it and god bless america. >> all right, san jose, texas -- san jose, california, next. maria, democrats line. >> caller: yes this is all about trust. no matter what political party you're affiliated with, we all need to trust our government. and a don't believe that our elected officials are always very honest. this whole process wound up taking so lopg if the state department had released documents months and months and months ago. and of course it took even longer, once this committee found out that she had a private server. okay. so, the democrats can, you know, and all parties, whatever you're affiliated with, we can all complain about how much money and how much time it took, but