tv Hillary Clinton Testimony at House Select Committee on Benghazi CSPAN October 24, 2015 3:19pm-4:55pm EDT
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.
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. an
>> you can see the final five hours of testimony tomorrow. here is a behind-the-scenes look of coverage of the hearing. kaplan.raig i usually cover house and senate floor legislation. and key events on capitol hill. we are committed to covering the hearing gavel to gavel with a to gavel.le -- gavel it was a high profile committee. this was one of the