tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN October 22, 2015 11:00am-12:01pm EDT
professionals who are 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 codels, they are the ones who plan your trip to keep you safe. they certainly did that for me, but most importantly, that's what they do every day for everybody who serves our country as a diplomat or development professional. . 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. the changes that were recommended by the accountability review board are ones that we thought made sense and began quickly to implement. mr. cummings: the a.r.b. after conducting, madam secretary,
more than 100 interviews identified specific employee at the state department who denied these requests. it was deputy assistant secretary of the bureau of diplomatic security lamb. she did come before the oversight committee. the a.r.b. report was very critical of her. t was also critical of her two supervisors, deputy assistant secretary, and assistant secretary of diplomatic security. the oversight committee found the same answer as the a.r.b.. it found this official denied these requests and it found no evidence that you approved or denied them. the problem is republicans keep asking the same questions 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 denying these requests in cable over your signature. the next day, the next day the chairman of the oversight committee, darrell issa, went on national television and accused you of the same thing. can we play that clip, please. mr. issa: secretary of state was just wrong. she said she did not participate in this, and yet only a few months before the attack she outright denied security in her signature in a cable april, 2012. mr. cummings: do you remember that allegation, madam secretary? secretary clinton: i do. mr. cummings: when a "washington post" fact checker
examined this claim. they gave it four pinocchios, a whopper. it turns out the republicans had a copy of that cable but they didn't tell the american people that your so-called signature was just a stamp that appear on millions of cables from the state department every single year. is that right? secretary clinton: that's correct. mr. cummings: madam secretary, my goal has always been to gather facts and defend the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. last year i asked our staff to compile an asked and answered database, and this specific issue was answered thoroughly. 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 emails that raise new questions. the truth is that we have reviewed these emails and we -- they don't contradict previous
conclusions, they confirm them. they corroborate them. we've reviewed emails from ambassador stevens and they show that he asked lamb for more security. nothing we have obtained, not the new interviews or the new emails changes the basic facts we have known for three years. secretary clinton, let me ask one final question, 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 argued that since you knew the danger was increasing in libya you should have been in there making detailed decisions about whether this should be five, seven, or nine security officers at any given post. madam secretary, i know you have answered again, you might want to elaborate and give you
-- i have a minute and seven seconds. secretary clinton: 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 -- explained the fact which is it's the long-standing tradition of the state department for cables from around the world to be sent to and sent from the state 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. the other point which i thank you for raising so that perhaps
i can speak to this one as well, there is, of course, information that we were btaining about the increasingly dangerous environment in libya. across the country but in particular in eastern libya. we were aware of that and we were certainly taking that into account. there was no actionable intelligence on september 11 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 his historically and certainly before this terrible incident not had the amount of money
that we thought would be 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 that they thought that the high threat post should move to a higher level of scrutiny and we had immediately moved to do that. mr. cummings: thank you. mr. gowdy: the chair now recognizes the gentlelady from indiana, mrs. brooks. mrs. brooks: good morning, skip. thank you for being here today. in drawing what you just said very few, no requests for benghazi came to your attention, i'd like to show you something. this pile represents the emails
that you sent or received about libya in 2011. from february through december of 2011. this pile represents the emails you sent or received from early 2012 until the day of the attack. there are 795 emails in this pile. we have counted them. there are 67 emails in this pile in 2012. d i'm troubled by what i see here. so my questions relate to these piles. did this pile in 2011 i see daily updates. sometimes hourly updates. from your staff about benghazi and chris stevens. when i look at this pile in 2012, i only see a handful of emails to you from your senior staff about benghazi, and i have several questions for you about this disparate because we
know from talking to -- disparity because we know from talking to your senior advisors, they knew, many of them are here today, they knew to send you important information. issues that were of importance to you. and i can only conclude by your own records that there was a lack of interest in libya in 012. let's first focus, though, on this pile and what was happening in libya in 2011. we have an ambassador to libya, but you have told us that -- you told us in your opening you handpicked chris stevens to be your special representative in benghazi, and you sent him there. by your own emails most provided last february, a few provided a few weeks ago, they show that in march of 2011, we are in march of 2011, you had chris stevens join you in paris where you were meeting with the leader of the libyan revolution. and after paris, that is when when you talked about chris stevens bent went into benghazi
on that greek cargo ship. how long was he expected to stay? what were chris stevens' orders from you about libya and about benghazi specifically? secretary clinton: chris stevens was asked to go to benghazi to do reconnaissance to try to figure out who were the leaders of the insurgency wh were based in benghazi, what their goals were, what they understood, what happened if they were successful. it was, as i said, the hard nose 21st century diplomacy that is rooted in the old-fashioned necessary work of building relationships and gathering information. mrs. brooks: how long was he anticipated to stay in benghazi, do you recall? secretary clinton: it was open-ended. we were in discussing it with him i'm sure 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' own assessment. we knew we were sending someone who 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. mrs. brooks: i'd like to draw your attention to an email. it's an email found at tab 1. it's an ops center email that as forwarded to you from abadin on sunday, march 27, that says at the bottom of the email, the current game plan is for mr. stevens to move no later than wednesday, but the bottom of the email says the goal of this one-day trip is for him to lay the groundwork for a stay of up to 30 days. 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? because, at that time, if i'm not mistaken, gaddafi's forces were still battling the rebels, correct? secretary clinton: that's right. mrs. brooks: what were you personally briefed before you sent mr. stevens in to benghazi? secretary clinton: 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 expeditiously -- expeditionary diplomacy. it was going to require him to make a lot of judgments on the ground about what he could where sh and including
it would be safe for him to be and how long for him to say. i think the initial decision was 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 reported back to us. mrs. brooks: and possibly what was determined about the dange every of benghazi. who were those officials? secretary clinton: there were a number of officials -- mrs. brooks: that were advising you on the security specifically. secretary clinton: with respect to the security, this was a particular concern of the assistant secretary for the bureau in which chris worked. mrs. brooks: what was that person's name? secretary clinton: assistant second jeff feldman. it was also a concern of assistant secretary for diplomatic security, as well as other officials within the state department. i think it's fair to say, congresswoman, this was -- we all knew a risky undertaking. it was something that was, as i said in my opening statement, more reminiscent of the way diplomacy was practiced back in the 19th century because we didn't have the internet. we didn't have instantaneous communications. you would send diplomats and
envoys into places and not hear from them for maybe months. is 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 undertaking and one which chris volunteered for and was anxious to undertake. mrs. brooks: it was so risky i would like to pull up another email from the ops center that was forwarded to you on sunday, april 10, he had been there about five days. it indicates that 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 within the first five days that he had gone in? did anyone share that with you? secretary clinton: we were aware because we were really counting on chris to guide us. and give us the information from the ground. we had no other sources. there was no american outpost.
there was no 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. we knew that. mrs. brooks: 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. and in fact, that is when gaddafi fell. he fell in 2011. but then when we go to 2012, libya, benghazi, chris stevens, the staff there, they seem to fall off your radar in 2012 and the situation is getting much worse in 2012. it was getting much worse. let me just share for you in
your records that we have reviewed there is not one email to you or from you in 2012 when an explosive device went off at our compound in april. there's not a single email in your records about that explosive device. my question is, this was a very important mission in 2011. you sent chris stevens there, but yet when our compound is attacked in 2012, what kind of culture was created in the state department that your folks couldn't tell you in an email about a bomb in april of 2012? secretary clinton: congresswoman, i did not conduct most of the business that i did on behalf of our country on email. i conducted it in meetings. i read massive amounts of memos, 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 department, i didn't have a computer. i did not do the vast majority of my work on email. and i bet there's a lot of sid blumenthal's emails from 2011, 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 emails 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. mrs. brooks: thank you for sharing that. because i'm sure it's not all done on emails, madam secretary. there are meetings and there are discussions. so then when our compound took a second attack on june 6, when a bomb blew a wall through the compound then, no emails, no emails 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? ecause there is nothing in the emails that talks about two significant attacks on our compound in 2012. there was a lot of information in 2011 about issues and security posture and yet nothing in 2012. secretary clinton: 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 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 that they were brought into my office in a locked briefcase that i had to read and immediately return to the courier. and i was constantly at the white house in the situation room meeting with the national security advisor and others. i would also be meeting with officials in the state department, foreign officials, and others. there was a lot of r going object during -- a lot going on during every day. i did not email every day except on rare occasions when i was able to. i didn't conduct the business i did primarily on email. that is not how i gathered information, assessed information, asked the hard questions of the people that i worked with. mrs. brooks: it appears benghazi with respect to that danger, leaving benghazi was not an option in 2012. i yield back. secretary clinton: if i could quickly respond, there was
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 that it was thought that the mission in benghazi in conjunction with the c.i.a. mission was vital to our national interest. mr. gowdy: the chair now briefly recognizes mr. cummings and ms. duckworth. mr. cummings: i want to clarify. i was asking secretary clinton a moment ago. i mentioned an email that had gone from ambassador chris stevens to deputy secretary lamb. what i meant to say was a cable. i just wanted to make sure the record was clear. mr. gowdy: the record will reflect that. ms. duckworth. ms. duckworth: thank you, mr.
hairman. secretary clinton, i'm pleased you have an opportunity to be here. i want to clarify with regard to the april, june, to 12 incidents, i believe that the procedure that the state department had with these types of incidents was to actually hold what are called emergency action hearings on the ground immediately. in fact, there were at least five on record for june alone, on the ground in both tripoli and benghazi. that is the correct procedure for handling such instances, is that not correct? secretary clinton: that's correct. ms. duckworth: my focus is to make sure that we never put brave americans' life, ever on the ground again anywhere in the world without the protection that they so rightly deserve. having flown combat missions myself and in some dangerous
places, i understand the dedication of our men and women who choose to serve this country overseas. i have a special affinity for the diplomatic corps because these are folks who go in without the benefit of weapons, without the benefit of military might, armed only with america's values and diplomatic words and a handshake to forward our nation's interests globally. i am absolutely determined to make sure that we safeguard in heroic dead, our men and women in the diplomatic corps wherever they are around the world. the bottom line for me, i'm a very mission driven pesh, the bottom line for me -- person, the bottom line for me with respect to 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 only been in congress not quite three years, almost three years, in this time i have actually served on two other committees in addition to this one that has looked at the benghazi attacks, both armed
services and oversight and government reform. i have had a chance to look at all these documents. one of the things that i saw discuss ike you to 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 a tradition of 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 that the interagency cooperation between state and d.o.d. was not sufficient in the weeks and months leading up to the september 11, 2012 attacks. for example, the joint contingency planning and training exercises, if we had conducted any, joint interagency planning, this may
have helped the state and d.o.d. to identify and fix existing vulnerabilities in the temporary mission facility in benghazi. moreover, regular communications between africom, the d.o.d. command, and special mission benghazi, could have facilitated the prepositioning of military assets in a region where there were very real questions over the host country's ability to protect our diplomatic personnel. sclip, within the weeks of the terrorist attacks of benghazi happening that, following that, i understand you partnered with the chairman of the joint establish aff to and deploy five interagency assessment teams to assess our security posture and needs at least the 19 hi threat posts in -- high threat posts in 13 different countries. in fact, deputy secretary testified before the house foreign affairs committee in december of 2012 that the state department and d.o.d. created a mode rap for emerging security
challenges. why did you partner with the department of defense to conduct such a high priority review? was it effective? addressing the shortfalls in benghazi and applying it for other locations? secretary clinton: congresswoman, thank you very much. thanks for your service and particularly your knowledge about these issues rising from your own military service and the service on the committees here in the house. 's very challenging to get military assets into countries that don't want them there. 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 very clear from the very beginning they did not want any american military, or any foreign military at all, in their
country. what i concluded is we needed to have these assessments because even if we couldn't post our own military in the country, we needed to have a faster reaction. i certainly agree 100% with the findings of the armed services committee here in the house and other investigations. i 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 immediate region. so following what happened in benghazi, the chairman of the joint chiefs, general dempsey, and i agreed to send out mix 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. that's exactly what we did. 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's been incredibly supportive of our embassy in kabul and our embassy in baghdad. but we have a lot of hot spots now, very dangerous places that are not in military conflict areas where we have american military presence. we wanted to figure out how we could get more quickly a fast reaction team to try to help prevent what happened in benghazi. miss duck worth: thank you. -- ms. duckworth: this process at
the d.o.d. and state that go out initially look at the 19 posts, that's golden state they come back with a report. it's like the seven reports of this. we have another committee. we have another committee 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. what i want to know with these isat is, when they came back with the recommendations to you, had they been -- 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 that at the very least we are continuing the cooperation or at least there is some institutionalization of the review process to make sure that if it's not those 19 posts, there's 20 posts, some other posts, what has been done to make sure it's institutionalized? secretary clinton: that was 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. 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. historically the only presence at some of our facilities has been marines. 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 in some of these hot spot dangerous areas is how we get more of a presence. after benghazi we were able to get marines deployed to tripoli . this is a constant effort between the state department and the defense department, but it's my strong belief that the isat process has been and should be institutionalized and we should keep learning from it.
ms. duckworth: i'd like to touch on the quadrennial reviews. coming from armed services, even as a young platoon leader out in a platoon, we got and read the defense quadrennial review, which is a review that happens on a periodic basis that gives the individual soldier an idea of what the defense department is trying to do. i understand you initiated something similar in the state department. and this goes to -- there's been discussion already about the culture at the state department, especially when it comes to security. i find that the department of defense quadrennial defense review is very good at instilling culture throughout the department. can you talk a little bit about 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 should be doing something else?
secretary clinton: i hope it's not the latter. i learned about the quadrennial defense review serving on the armed services committee in the senate during my time there. i agree with you completely, congresswoman. it's a very successful road map as to where we should be going. and i'm impressed as a platoon leader it was something you took into account. so when i came to the state department, there had never been anything like this done. there was no road map. the state department, usaid would come up and fight for the money that they could get out of congress no matter who was in charge of the congress every single year. it's 1% of the entire budget, and it was very difficult to explain effectively what it was we were trying to achieve. i did institute the first ever quadrennial diplomacy and development review. and one of the key questions that we were addressing is what is this balance between risk and reward when it comes to our diplomats and our development
many professionals? the first thing i heard when i got to the state department was a litany of complaints from a ot of oufer most experienced -- a lot of our most experienced diplomats that they were being hamstrung. that the security requirements were so intense they were basically unable to do their jobs. of course from the security professionals who were 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. it's been done twice now. secretary kerry in his tenure has done the second qddr, and i hope it becomes as important and as much of the road map as the q.d.r. has for our defense department and military services. mr. gowdy: the chair would now
recognize the gentlelady from alabama, mrs. roby. mrs. roby: secretary clinton, my 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 have reviewed that you had a vision in benghazi going forward into 2012 and beyond. it appears there was confusion and uncertainty within your own department about libya. quite flangely, secretary clinton, it appears you were a large cause of that uncertainty we have seen all the day-to-day updates and concern early in 2011 and i heard what you said to my colleague, mrs. brooks, i'll get to that in a minute. showing that libya and for that matter benghazi belong 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 ben gazzy, it was even noticed by your own staff. i want to point this out to you -- i say this because i want to point you to an email 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 email says, it's dated february 9, 2012, one writes to the other about an encounter she had with you. quote, also the secretary 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, end quote. i say that this is very troubling to me because it raises several issues that i'd like to ask you about. i'm struck by the first part, quote, 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 upon the email stacks here that you engaged in a lot of conversations and briefings. so i'm assuming this conversation with this member of your staff took place in one of those bleefings, but then he sent this email asking -- briefings, but then she sent this email asking about this. so how can this be that two of your staffers are emailing about whether or not you even knew that we had a presence in benghazi in 2012 with all your interest 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 if we had a presence there. secretary clinton: i can't comment on what has been reported. of course i knew we had a presence in benghazi. i knew that we were evaluating what that presence should be. how long it should continue. and i knew exactly what we were doing in libya. i think it's important since you have some very legitimate questions about what we were doing. the united states played a major role in the first election that the libyan people had in 51 years. it was a successful election by every count, and 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 gaddafi's remaining chemical weapons which we led and supported. the united nations and others in being able to do.
we were combating the proliferation of weapons. that's one of the reasons why there was a c.i.a. presence in benghazi because 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. we did an enormous amount of work. my two deputies, tom and bill went to libya. other officials in the state department went to libya. there was a constant continuing effort that i led to try to see what we could do to help. now, one of the problems we face is that the libyans did
not really feel that they could welcome a peacekeeping mission. they couldn't welcome foreign troops to their soil. that made it really difficult. 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. mrs. roby: secretary clinton, i may, i hear what you're saying. but this email -- secretary clinton: i can't speak to that. can i tell you what i was doing. mrs. roby: this is your staff. if they had this conversation with you why they would make it up. i want to move on. this seem -- this email makes me wonder about the vision for benghazi because they are asking -- you're saying that you asked if we still had a presence, but if you -- we look at the second part of the email, quote, and i think she would be upset to hear yes, we do. secretary clinton: i'm sorry. i have no recollection of or no
knowledge of -- mrs. roby: please turn to tab 31. secretary clinton: i trust that you read it. i also tell you that we had a presence in benghazi. we had members of the administration in congress visiting benghazi. of course i knew we had a presence in benghazi. i can't speak to what someone either heard or misheard. i think what's important and i understand the underlying point of your question is what were we doing about liba after gaddafi fell. that's what i'm trying to explain to you. mrs. roby: i want to get to the second part of the email that suggests that we were in lockdown, that you would have been upset to no, yes. heard the first part of your answer. we were in lockdown. you said on numerous occasions, including your opening statement, point number one, america must lead and we must represent in dangerous places, quote, they can't do their jobs for us in bunkers. essentially what we know is
that there weren't the required number of security oned 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. secretary clinton: could you tell me who is did -- who are the names on this emails you are talking about? mrs. roby: turn to tab 31. you have a book in front of you. yenia lice abdallah, and saterais. secretary clinton: they were not on my staff. i'm not in any way contradicting what they think they heard or what they heard somebody say. but the people that i -- mrs. roby: could you tell me who they were if they were not in your staff? secretary clinton: they were in the state department along with thousands of other people. they are were not part of the secretary's staff. i get what you're saying, i
think it's a fair and important quefment the facility in benghazi -- question. the facility in ben gazz yea was a democrat pore rarery facility. there had been no decision made whether it was going to be permanent. our embassy was in tripoli. obviously much of the work 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 merm facility. -- permanent if acy. there were a number of questions people were asking about whether it could or should be. mrs. roby: i want to drill down on the security issue.
i also want to say it's frustrating for us 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, yet i read you an email that is a conversation between two of those employees and it seems as though you're brushing it off as not having any knowledge. secretary clinton: i'm saying i have no recollection of it and it doesn't correspondent with the facts of what we were doing on a regular basis. mrs. roby: we talk for just a minute about the 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 agents assigned to benghazi. again, can't even move anybody off of the facility to do the necessary political reporting. y question is, 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 and when an ambassador was there and he brought two of his own the night of the attack, which would meet the requisite five, but there was really only three there at any given time. if you could address that. i'm short on time. secretary clinton: he did have five with him on september 11. mrs. roby: he brought two with him. there were three there. secretary clinton: the point was they were personal security. so they were there to secure him. so, yes, he did bring to and when he got there he had five. on september 10 he went into benghazi. 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 travel around the country that they are assigned to. he decided to go to benghazi by taking two security officers with him and having three there, he had the requisite five that had been the subject of 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, from investigations that were 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 -- there were many lessons going back to beirut, going back to tehran and the takeover of our embassy 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. mrs. roby: my time has expired. we certainly will never know what the outcome would have been if there would have been more agents that night. secretary clinton: that's not what the professionals, experts in security have concluded if you read the accountability review board. mrs. roby: i have read it and
it said security was grossly inadequate. secretary clinton: it said there were deficiencies within two bureaus in the state department which we have moved to correct. is it also pointed out the diplomatic security officers who were there acted heroically . there was not one single question about what they did. and they were overrun and it was unfortunate that the agreement we had with the c.i.a. annex and when those brave men showed up that it was also not enough. mrs. roby: we'll discuss this more. i have to yield back. mr. gowdy: the chair now recognizes the gentleman from washington. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam secretary, for being here. mr. smith: just to clarify. you knew we had a presence. secretary clinton: of course. mr. smith: going back to an earlier question you were also aware of the two attacks even
though you didn't email it. secretary clinton: i was. mr. smith: after 17 ponts and 4.7 million as the ranking member pointed out in his opening statements and we have seen today, this committee is simply not doing its job. and i don't really think it should have been formed in the first place, but what we have heard here, is first of all an obsession with email. the idea that two fairly junior level staffers might not have gotten something wrong in what they heard, or this information in an email might, in fact, not be accurate are certainly not hings that should be news to anybody. but it is the obsession with the emails that takes us off of what should have been the task of this committee. i also find it interesting that mrs. roby's final comments were to quote the a.r.b. report. the a.r.b. report i think was very good. i think we absolutely had to have it and i think it was appropriate for the committees
and congress to do the investigations that they d all of that begs the question as to why we have spent the $4.7 million we have spent on this. even in the chairman's opening remarks, it was primarily a 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 today's hearing. not a single solitary thing that hasn't already been discussed repeatedly. we have learned absolutely nothing. yes, we uncovered a tromb of new information. in this age -- tromb of new information. in this age i don't think there is an end to emails. we would probably go on for a few years and find more. the question is have we found anything substantively that tells us something different about what happened in benghazi? the answer to that question is no. and 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 would be
to actually focus on the four brave americans who were killed, why they were killed, and focus on benghazi. and we have not. mr. roskam's questions i found to be the most interesting. it was like he was running for president. he wanted to debate you on overall libya policy as to why we got in there in the first place. that's debateable. i think you will argue that quite well. that's not about the attack on ben gazzy. that's not about what we could have done in benghazi to better protect them. so again 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 c.i.a. here. there were many, many other agencies involved in this and yet yours has been the one that they have obsessively focused on. i think that's a shame for a whole lot of reasons, but one thing this committee as it's been in the news in the last several weeks has been yet one
more step in denigrating this institution. i happen to this this institution needs more support not less. would stop doing that. and i -- 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. the focus there was not on partisanship. not on embarrassing the reagan administration. but actually figuring out what happened and how we can better protect americans. now, i want to 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, and what is an increasingly dangerous world. as i have traveled to pakistan and afghanistan, yemen, and other places, i'm consist tenly amazed by the willingness of
our -- consistently amazed by the willingness of our diplomatic corps to put their lives at risk. how do you balance that very difficult decision? what i have heard more off from the diplomatic corps is that they chafe at the restrictions. i remember vividly being in the shower which is -- i didn't like the ride from the airport to the embassy, which was 10 minutes. we were there for a few hours and then out. the state department personnel, they live there. and went out monks the community. how -- amongst the community. how do you strike that balance of being present and at the same time meeting the security obligations? and most 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 have decided to do it. they are 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 personnel and still fulfill their mission? secretary clinton: congressman i think that is the most important question. i would certainly welcome congressional discussion and debate about this because it's what we try to do going back to congresswoman duckworth's question, what we try to begin to do in the quadrennial diplomacy and development review, the first one that was ever done, because that's exactly what we were facing. we have had diplomats and development professionals in war zones now for a number of years. we have had them in places that are incredibly unstable and dangerous because of ongoing conflicts. t is, i think, the bias of the diplomacy corps to be there because that's what they signed up for and they know if america is not represented, then we
leave a vacuum. and we lose our eyes and our es about what people are thinking and -- 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 lessons and they were forced to make tough decisions all the time. peshawar, clearly the high threat post that the united states maintains a presence in, but when you think that since 2001 we have had 100 of our facility the attacked. if we were to shut them all
down, pull out from all of them, we would be blinding ourselves. 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 bert at making that assessment, congressman. your question really goes to the heart of it. when you were as a member of ngress you were guarded by our diplomatic security professionals. they had to assess was 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 have had attacks there as so many other places around the world. and that is a heavy responsibility. and the diplomatic security get it right 999 times out of 1,000. it's deeply distressing to them
when anything goes wrong. we have lost nonamericans with some of these attacks on facilities. we have 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. 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. mr. submit: madam secretary, if i may. two final points. the bottom line is benghazi on 9/11, 2012, was not the only dangerous place in the world for our security personnel where and where these difficult decisions had to be made. the other point i want to make before my time expires, this was in 2012, we were only a couple years into this, but secretary of defense ash carter just yesterday wrote an editorial in the "wall street journal" about the impact of
five years of budget uncertainty on the d.o.d.'s ability to function. for five years we have gone through c.r.s, threatened government shut downs, one actual government shut down, and constant budget uncertainty. 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 to spend the money on. the other is there should have been more security. 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 to spend? secretary clinton: it makes it very difficult, congressman. this is a subject that we talked about all the time. how do you plan? how do 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 the defense department to try to guess what makes the most sense. we should have a much more orderly process for our budget. and i will say, again, as secretary of state kind of dysfunction and failure to make decisions that we have 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 d.o.d., or where we're going to send security if you're in the department of state, it hurts us as the great country that we are being viewed from abroad as unable to handle our own business. so it has a lot of consequences. it's something that i wish that 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 they can plan against as opposed to the uncertainty that has stalked us now for so long. mr. smith: thank you, madam secretary. the bottom line is congress needs to do its job. secretary clinton: i agree with that. mr. depoudy: the gentleman 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 previous committee missed. with that i'll go to the gentleman from georgia, mr. westmoreland. mr. westmoreland: thank you, madam secretary. i talk a little slower than everybody else. secretary clinton: i lived in arkansas a long time. i don't need an interpreter a long time. mr. west more lan: some of the questions if you give us a yes or no answer that would be great. i do want you to give us a full answer. mr. smith from washington mentioned that there was no new facts brought out in some of these interviews. i want to just say that i think he was at one interview for one hour. i have been at a bunch of those and there is a lot of new facts that's come out.
one of the things that 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. to us the answer to that is nothing. you say you were briefed by the c.i.a. every morning. that you were in washington, is that correct? secretary clinton: that's correct. mr. westmoreland: did they ever ention to you t. 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? secretary clinton: yes. as i briefly stated we were certainly aware that the situation across libya was becoming more dangerous.
and that there were particular concerns about eastern libya. mr. westmoreland: did you read the piece that was libya -- >> you can continue to watch hillary clinton's testimony on c-span3, c-span.org or listen to c-span radio. your phone calls, facebook, are welcome. ts the entire hearing will reair tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. here on c-span the house is about to begin its legislative day and preliminary debate on a budget deficit reduction bill containing language that repeals the health care laws' individual mandate and defunds planned parenthood for a year. live coverage of the house. the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by ur guest chaplain reverend rod cannon, new vision worship center, florida. >> we are