tv Americas Newsroom With Bill Hemmer and Martha Mac Callum FOX News October 22, 2015 6:00am-8:01am PDT
>> you can get them by installing the latest software update on your iphone. i've got it. my wife's going to get a taco later today. >> and joel, celebrating your sweatshirt. >> come on out here! bill: good morning, everybody. it should be the biggest day in hillary clinton's political career. it is expected to be a contentious hearing on benghazi. what does trey gowdy know that we do not know? martha: there have been many hearings, yet there are many unanswered questions about what was going on on the ground in libya when these four brave americans were murdered. we know ambassador stevens was
worried. he wanted security ramped up and those pleas went unanswered. why did the state department just turn over 1,300 pages of his emails that have been asked for for years? bill: what should we expect from leading in the republicans in that hearing? reporter: definitely a buzz of nerves. gowdy would prefer this be a closed session, but he says hillary clinton wanted it to be open. he says hillary clinton will be treated fairly and professionally. expect detailed questions about stevens' emails and hillary
clinton's emails. her top aid huma abedin was up here friday testifying. she has not complained about her treatment at the hearing. she is expected to testify as they try to get to specific details about hillary clinton's emails and chris stevens' emails as well. bill: what are their expectations. reporter: the democrat say it has turned into a circus. they believe hillary clinton will be very disciplined and
represent herself very well. they say there is a chance of republican overreach and if that is the case, that will backfire. we expect to see secretary clinton walk through here tip the next hour. bill: mike emanuel reporting from his post on capitol hill. martha: how did we get here? it's important to remember the events that happened that day. it was september 11 of 2012. the reaction in the days and weeks that followed is significant. protesters apparently angry over an anti-muslim film scaled the embassy wall and tore down the american flag. but no protesters spotted in neighboring benghazi. then 4:00 p.m. eastern benghazi. the first wave of attacks begin
on the u.s. compound. two hours into that attack the state department send an email to the white house saying ansar al-sharia just claimed credit for the attack on benghazi. still later that night secretary of state clinton issues a statement saying the -- the assault was in response to an anti-muslim movie. the administration blamed the attacks on the movie. but they also say there were spontaneous protests going on that day in the streets. >> no act of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great station, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values we and for. >> some have thought to justify this vicious behavior along with the protest that took place in
our embassy in cairo as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. >> we have seen range posted about our embassy over an internet video we had nothing to do with. >> we were not aware of intelligence indicating an attack on the embassy was planned or imminent. >> this was not a pre-planned attack. what happened initially, it was a spontaneous reaction to what transpired in cairo as a consequence of the video. >> the natural protests that arows because of the outrange of the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they could also directly harm u.s. interests. >> what happened in benghazi was a terrorist attack. >> i made it clear the united states government had nothing to
do with this video. i believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. march are september 26 secretary clinton suggested the attack actually may have been preplanned, at least backed by terrorists. bill: back to capitol hill. steven hayes, good morning. a series of questions for you. what would be your fir question on this committee? >> that's a good question. i think i would probably start with emails if i were on the panel in part because i don't think hillary clinton will be looking at questions about emails at least to begin with. the republicans on the panel are more likely to ask her about benghazi, about the attacks. given the narrative momentums she has going into this session. you might surprise her if you want to take her off her footing.
lay out one of the things she said that turn out not to have been true about the emails and ask her to defend that or explain those discrepancies. bill: is this story remarkably different at the end of the day than it is at the moment? >> that will depend on what trey gowdy and his colleagues have that we don't know about. in the absence of something new and explosive it will be a similar story. the republicans stepped on to their own feet heading into this with the public comments of kevin mccarthy. if we had this question four week ago we would be talking about republican on the offensive. but i expect hillary clinton to be on the defensive.
i expect her to give a challenging opening statement. she'll try to put republicans back on their heels. bill: trey gowdy said he wanted to do that behind closed doors. she took self days away from the campaign trail. no fundraisers be no campaign events. a woman who want to be president in the middle of this campaign. how significant are the political ramifications for her? >> i think they are huge. it's wise for her to take that time. she need to go back and study up. but we have seen some thing that give you pause about the honesty and integrity of the democrats. you have the release of 300-plus pages from cheryl mills.
democrats by leaking interview transcripts have given hillary clinton a roadmap and told her what other people have testified to so she can avoid contradicting the defendant money from her aide. she have given her a playbook and said here is what you need to say to avoid contradicting those who came before you. bill: steven hayes, from the hilda. martha: then u.n. ambassador susan rice appeared on five sunday morning talk shows after the benghazi attacks to make it clear the video you heard discussed was the crux of the reason. it was the catalyst for sparking the deadly violence that took the lives of those four americans. benghazi record revealed a memo directing her to quote underscore these protests are
rooted in an internet video and not a broader policy failure. that came from ben rhode. the white house insists ask. but nuke more well edited -- but mike morrell edited those talking points. >> when she talked about the video, it was not something the analysts said. reporter: gregory hicks who serve offed under the ambassador chris stevens testified before the house oversight committee that no such protest ever happened. hick wahicks was at the base in tripoli. his last word, quote, we are
under attack. hicks said he was floored when he herd the administration's take on this. >> would a highly decorated career diplomat told you there had been a demonstration outside his facility that day? >> yes, sir, he would have. >> did he mention one word about a protest or demonstration? >> no, sir, he did not. >> fast forward to the sunday talk shows and ambassador susan rice. she blamed this attack on a video and did it five different times. what was your reaction to that? >> i was stunned. my jaw dropped. and i was embarrassed. martha: that's gregg hicks from memorable testimony. he brought into question early on that this was sparked by a
video. bill: it's a short drive to capitol hill, drive has not begun yet. the search for answers into what happened that night when four brave americans died, including a response from the white house, whether a standdown order was given to our military. jason chaffetz has had this conversation two years ago. >> the military is told to stand down, not even gang in the fight. these are the kind of people willing to even gang. where did that message come down. where did the standdown order come from?
>> how did the personnel react to being told to stand down? >> they were furious. i can only say, i will quote lieutenant colonel gibson, he said this is the first time in my career that a diplomat has more balls than somebody in the military. >> the military is told to stand down and not engage in the fight. these are the kinds of people willing to engage. where did that message come from. where did the standdown order come from?
>> i believe it came from africom or south africa. gregg hicks was the second in command in libya during the benghazi attacks. he's accusing a standdown order. a lot of debate over the standdown order. but that moment from gregory hicks. he comes across as very credible and not having anything in the game other than his recollection of what happened that night. >> he wasn't playing partisan politics. the military doesn't do anything without a paper trail. if he was given an order to stand down there will be emails and orders and directive. where are they? we haven't seen them yet.
maybe they have been erased. why would they not do it in the original september 11, nobody knew what happened in the moments after the plane going into the twin towers. but our nypd, our new york fire department, they didn't know how long it was going to last, they went to the fight. our military is trained to do the same thing. waste was at the benghazi compound, our guys wanted to go to it. why were they not allowed to at least go into the area. you never know, you never are sure. you can make it up as you go along in the sense of a rescue mission. when hicks got the phone call, when chris stevens said we are under attack, you didn't know if
it was one minute, one hour, a day, you didn't know if it was going to be a hostage situation lasting 100 days. martha: what was going on at the state department. they are were saying, oh, my god, we are under attack. they reported they were in a safe house. that turned out to turn into a horrific situation. it raised questions about what was happening at this annex. this is post-qaddafi. we encouraged the fall of qaddafi. other folks were scrambling for power at that moment. i want to play this piece of sound in the testimony, and the questioning by rand paul to hillary clinton and get your thoughts on this. >> is the u.s. involved with procuring of weapons and
transferring weapons to turkey out of libya? >> to turkey? i will have to take that question for the record. nobody has ever raised that with me. >> it's been in news reports that ships have been leaving from libya and they may have weapons? you are saying you don't know? >> i do not know. i don't have any information on that. >> were they there to secure weapons that had become loose after the fall of qaddafi. >> when qaddafi fell very quickly those were not necessarily secured in advance. within weeks some of those arms showed up on the international arms market. he asked about turkey. secretary clinton is a good lawyer. she'll say not turkey, maybe they were going somewhere else. we don't know. there were a lot of weapons loose and the question i have
always had from the beginning, what is a diplomatic embassy? an annex? that's where diplomats issue passports, tourist visas. that's not where navy seals and special forces guys hang out. were they getting guns and putting them somewhere else? that's illegal. that's iran-contra. bill: fox news alert. a senior pentagon defense official confirming a special-ops raid rescues several iraqis held by isis. the official would not say where the rescue took place. it said expect a statement shortly from washington. it's breaking news. we are back on this news and the benghazi hearing next. hi i'm heather cox
on location with the famous, big idaho potato truck. our truck? it's touring across america telling people about idaho potatoes. farmer: let's go boy. again this year the big idaho potato truck is traveling the country spreading the word about heart healthy idaho potatoes and making donations to local charities. excuse me miss, have you seen our truck? you just missed it. ahhh! aw man are you kiddin' me?
bill: the committee members were inside that room. that's 55 minutes before the hearing begins. all this happens a day after vice president joe biden said his window on the white house is closed, but taking a swipe at hillary clinton anyway. alluding to clinton saying she is proud to call republicans her enemy, kind of sort of. he said republicans are my friends. fast nighing "new york times" -- fascinating "new york times" piece.
the rivalry between bind and hillary clinton that goes back decades. foop joe biden has been running for president since 1987. hillary clinton has been running since 2001. the deal for both of them are they are two highly ambitious human beings who have lived in the official space of washington and the inside of the democratic party establishment. they have not gone the along and they have not minded throwing sharp elbows at each other. joe biden would like democrats to know he's available. he wants them to know he's not afraid to give hillary clinton a hard time about not only himself and his legacy but barack obama and his. carson leads trump in iowa. what's changing?
>> iowans are particular. they are conservative by and large and they are religious by and large. they are staunch christians in iowa. ben carson, that's where he's strongest. his strongest lane in the republican party is among conservative voters. the highest for truck is self-identified moderate. it may rub some conservative republicans the wrong way. carson thriving in a space where he's thriving nationally. that carson would thrive in a space where the kind of conservative and evangelical voters like him best is not surprising.
bill: kind of a flip when you jump 8 points. how careful does hillary clinton need to be, that's one point. and will trey gowdy and republicans do it right or will they screw it up. >> washington -- these events are usually boring disasters. this one stands to be different. because gowdy and his team are promising real discipline. but instead of making a bunch of noise to generate sound bites for fundraising emails, they will be asking lawyerly questions. hillary clinton is good at this. she has given and taken more depositions than most people will do in a lifetime. we'll expect to see tough questions, good answers, and just maybe some surprises.
bill: it was in that same room that then first lady hillary clinton talked about her healthcare reform. chris stirewalt in washington riding shotgun with us today. martha: plenty of questions remain three years after the benghazi attacks including whether the white house concern was for terror or politics. >> he ad at that point -- he at that point directed myself and general dempsey to do whatever wwe needed to do to protect lives. >> did you have any further conversations with him that night? >> no. >> when the proverbial 3:00 a.m. call came where was the administration that night. other big news today. big night for the mets. there is a reason they call them amazing.
martha: we are less than half-hour away from hillary clinton's opening statement before the house benghazi committee. you can see the room starting to buzz. we have the door we expect her to walk through. it's one of those days where we are tracing every moment in the steps that lead up to this because it will be quite interesting to hear the line of questioning. to see how well this goes on both side because it's a very important moment. as we start to see some of this take shape. we know the night of the attacks the then secretary of state spoke to the president once
during that evening. but as the attacks stretched past the 6-hour mark and there were questions about where, including our ambassador and these other individual were, the president only spoke with his generals one time to find out what was going on before he hopped a flight to a campaign stop he was making in las vegas. but here is the former defense secretary leon panetta on this. >> we just picked up the information that something was happening. there was an apparent attack going on in benghazi. i informed the president of that fact. and he at that point directed both myself and general dempsey to do everything we needed to do to try to protect lives there. >> did you have any further communications with him that night? >> no. >> how long did the conversation last? >> we were there in the office for probably 30 minute.
>> you talked to him for 30 minute one time, and you never talked to him again? either one of you? >> until afterward. >> until after the attack was over. >> i wouldn't say there was no follow-up from the white house. there was no follow-up from the president but his staff was engaged in the nationality military command center pretty constantly through the period. man haron monis dog shown and monica crowley, good to have you -- doug schoen and monica crowley, good to have you both here. there was a political strategy going on to isolate the president during an elect campaign from what was going on from an event as tragic as it was that the staff didn't quite
know what was going on. the video tory proved to be plain false. i think tom donalan made a decision to isolate the president. we heard that that's effectively what happened. >> this was a purely political calculation. this took place weeks before the presidential elect. their whole campaign slogan was bin laden is dead. they could not have this on their plate because it ruined their entire political calculations going into the election. >> i talked to the president at the end of the day, but i had been in constant communication with the national security advisor, i had been on secure
videoconferences with high-level officials in the white house and the defense department. martha: let me may something out for you. as monica point out, the narrative which is an overused word, but the narrative, bin laden was dead, the threat was over. hillary clinton had been involved in what was going on in libya. qaddafi had fallen. it was hopeful some wonderful group was going to come in and take over libya. that didn't appear to be happening. and you have the ongoing evident by the administration to improve relations with the muslim world which the administration said that was one of their goals. it would help to that aim to say, shame on you makers of this video. this is not what we are about. and they went out strongly and said we condemn this video in the strongest language. that was the road taken rather
than the all hell is breaking loose in libya right now. >> it was tragically wrong. they sent susan rice out on all the sunday shows. secretary clinton herself hued to that line. it was obvious to me this was a terrorist attack pure and simple. from what i could tell from what secretary clinton is reported to say, tom donilon was the person who was her primarily point of contact. he was a political person in the white house in washington in the most sensitive national security job, but also understanding as monica says correctly, that politic was at the center piece of what they were doing.
martha: if that is true. can you imagine being in chris stevens' shoes. the two former navy seals were on the rooftop, and they lost that battle as we know. something going, where is everybody. i'm an american citizen and nobody seems to be coming to help. where is everybody? >> beginning at 4:05 p.m. washington time. hillary clinton's state department operations center started to send bulletins saying the attack was under way. there was american personal including the american ambassador under sync in this environment. and that was the first of a series of messages that came from her state department. they knew this attack was happening in real-time. yet they did not ray a finger for at least seven hours. one of the critical questions is who came up with the fiction of the video to blame it on those.
one specific point which has not been identified. hillary clinton as secretary of state co-sponsored human right resolution 1618. that move to criminalize anti-islam speech. did she come up with a figure to blame it on his anti-islam video because that's what she was pushing at the united nations? martha: thank you. great input from both of you. thank you so much for being here. bill: 20 minute away, awaiting former secretary of state hillary clinton. what will we learn about what happened in benghazi before, during and after the attack? and will we see a moment like this from two years ago? >> the fact is we have four dead americans.
of the people in your book on what we are about to watch today. >> the lack of extreme ownership. leaders have to own everything in the world. they can't cast blame and make excuses. the reason they have to take ownership is so you can soft problems preventing you from winning. for benghazi, we left americans on the battlefield calling for help and we didn't send help. >> i have been in some horrible situations where i was in charge and had things go terribly wrong. and the easiest thing to do is to say it's not my fault, it's the other person's fault. but you can't do that. you have to take personal responsibility for what happens when you are in charge. that's called ownership. if you don't do that there is
not much there at all. bill: what do you see it from your perspective. >> there is a huge lack of extreme ownership in washington. if you can't take ownership, you will never solve the problem. jako taught me, i gained respect when something bad happened to stand up and say it's on me, that's what happened. instead of losing respect we gained respect. our leaders in washington are trying to pass blame. they don't want to say it's on me. bill: jako you were his boss, right? >> i was. as i looked up to leaders who came before me. the ones i saw who took
ownership, i said wow, i look up to that person. bill: what wha is the secret cae of a navy seal? >> a mindset ... there are seals that are successful, there are seals that are less successful. there is always a bell curve in there. but folks who exercise a mindset, when they take ownership of everything in their worlds. if they are humble enough to realize they answers, and i would say a default aggressive mindset to accomplish the mission. bill: what would you add to that? >> in the seal teams your buddies are more important than you. and you are always looking to take care of your buddies. bill: "extreme leadership: how
to you inside of "america's newsroom." martha: secretary clinton arriving moments ago to get seated. everybody standing. a lot of mention the room. as we do that i'm joined by tucker carlson, editor of the "daily caller." tucker, good to have you here today. what's important about the hearing this morning? >> the current condition of the middle east is a disaster and it's a threat to notr not just american national security but to western europe which is being totally transformed as a result of it. the overview question is what role did hillary clinton play a role in to destabilize country after country. i think we could get to that. if the questioning is smart and
focused, it pains me to think republicans haven't used this opportunity to focus more. it will be interesting to see other members, see them time with gowdy, and let them do the questioning himself. that's not going to happen. but i hope there is some coordination. but a consistent narrative unfolds. martha: you major such an important point in all of this. hillary clinton was overseeing our libya policy essentially. why would she say the was a video? what was the point? it goes back to the fact everybody thought this great arab spring was unfolding. hillary said we came, we saw, and he died. if it looks like all hell is breaking loose and things aren't going wilt was quite convenient to find another reason.
>> it's a childish thing to say. it's hard to believe she said that it many one thing for us to get swept up tonight but it's bad faith when policy makers do. martha: we'll take a quick aside as we wait for her to come in. bill: we believe trey gowdy will go first. hillary clinton will make an opening statement as well. the benghazi committee on the house side of the u.s. congress about to commence. we'll see it live after this. .
>> pressure sure on trey gowdy to show it is not about to show it is not about . this is third time hillary clinton testified. there have been seven previous investigations. we did not have ambassador stevens email any investigations. most importantly we didn't have hillary clinton's email. it was never revealed in those first seven investigations. you can't do a thorough investigation without having all the facts. bill: get your iphones ready. trey gowdy wrote a piece. access to iphones are critical. they are not -- she is in the room. what are the stakes for gowdy,
ed? reporter: onus is on him to show this is serious investigation. i sat down with him recently, trey gowdy vowed to me in his words, no arm waving, no shouting matches. he wants to stick, is former prosecutor. he wants to stick to the facts. he has got to do that. bill: ed henry in washington. we see the meet and greet at front table. martha: we watched hillary clinton go up and down the dais shook hands with everybody. this is live shot of her as she continues to smile and greet the room as she getted ready to sit down. byron york, "washington examiner" and fox news contributor. byron, good morning. >> this is huge day for hillary clinton and also a huge day for the benghazi investigation. we need to look at politics of the day and substance of the day. democrats feel they have advantage on politics after kevin mccarthy, the second ranking republican in the house,
basically said the committee was formed to damage hillary clinton politically. as far as republicans are concerned, they have new information and want to look into that. martha: byron thanks. they're coming to order. let's listen in. >> couple of quick administrate tough matters before we start. madam secretary there are predetermined breaks but i want to make it absolutely clear, we can take a break for any reason or for no reason. if you or anyone will just simply alert me, then we will take a break and it can be for any reason or for no reason. to our guests, we are happy to have you here. the witness deserves to hear the questions and the members deserve to hear the answers. so proper decorum must be observed at all times. no reaction to questions or answers. no disruptions. some committees take an incremental approach to decorum. i do not. this is your one and only notice. madam secretary, the ranking member and i will give opening
statements. then you will be recognized for your opening statement. then after that the members alternate from on side to the other. because you have already been sworn, we will go straight to your opening. so i will now recognize myself and then recognize mr. cummings and then, you, madam secretary. chris stevens, sean smith, glen doherty and tyrone woods served this country with courage and with honor. and they were killed under circumstances that most of us could never imagine. terrorists pour through the front gate of an american facility, attacking people and property with machine guns, mortars and fire. it is important that we remember how these four men died. it is equally important that we remember how these four men lived and why.
they were more than four images on a television screen. they were husbands and fathers and sons and properties and family and friend. they were americans who believed in service and sacrifice. many people speak which is fully of a -- wisttfully about better world but do little about it. these four went out and tried to make it better and it cost them their lives. so we know what they gave us. what do we owe them? justice for those that killed them? we owe their families our every lasting gratitude respect we owe them and each other the truth. the truth why we were in libya. the truth about what we were doing in libya. the truth about the escalating violence in libya before we were attacked and these four men were killed. the truth about requests for additional security.
the truth about requests for additional personnel. the truth about requests for additional equipment. the truth about where and why our military was positioned as it was on the anniversary of 9/11. the truth about what was happening and being discussed in washington while our people were unattack. the truth about what led to the attacks and the truth about what our government told the american people after the attacks. why were there so many requests for more security personnel and equipment and why were those requests denied in washington? why did the state department compound and facility not even come close to meeting proper security specifications? what policies were we were pursuing in libya that required a physical presence despite escalating violence? who in washington was aware of the escalating violence?
what precautions were taken any on the anniversary of 9/11? what happened in washington after the first attack and what was our response to that attack? what did the military do or not do? what did our leaders in washington do or not do and when? why was the american public given such divergent accounts what caused these attacks and why is it so hard to get information from the very government these four men represented, served and sacrificed for? even after an accountability review board and half a dozen congressional investigations, these and other questions still lingered and these questions lingered because previous investigations were not thorough. these questions those previous investigations were narrow in scope and either incapable or unwilling to access the facts and evidence necessary to answer all relevant questions. so the house of representatives,
including some democrats i hasten to add, asked this committee to write the final definitive accounting of what happened in benghazi. this committee is the first committee to review more than 50,000 pages of documents because we insisted that they be produced. this committee is the first committee to demand access to more eyewitnesses because serious investigations talked to as many eyewitnesses as possible. this committee is the first committee to thoroughly and individually interview scores of other witnesses, many of them for the first time. this committee is the first committee to review thousands of pages of documents from top state department personnel. this committee is the first committee to demand access to relevant documents from the cia, the fbi, the department of defense, even the white house. this committee is the first committee to demand access to the emails to and from ambassador chris stevens.
how could an investigation possibly be considered serious without reviewing the emails of the person most knowledgeable about libya? this committee is the first committee, the only committee to uncover the fact that secretary clinton exclusively used personal email on her own personal server for official business and kept the public record, including emails about benghazi and libya in her own custody and control for almost two years after she left office. you will hear a lot today about the accountability review board. secretary clinton mentioned it more than 70 times in her previous testimony before congress but when you hear about the arb, you should also know the state department leadership hand-picked the members of the arb. the arb never interviewed secretary clinton. the arb never reviewed her emails and secretary clinton's top advisor was allowed to review and suggest changes to the arb before the public ever
saw it. there is no transcript of arb interviews. so it is impossible to know whether all relvan questions were asked and answered. and because there is no transcript it is also impossible to cite the arb interviews with any particularity at all. that is not independent. that is not accountability. that is not a serious investigation. you will hear there were previous congressional investigations into benghazi and that is true and it should make you wonder why those investigations failed to interview so many witnesses and access so many documents. if those previous congressional investigations were really serious and thorough, how did they miss ambassador stevens's emails? if those previous investigations were serious and thorough, how did they miss secretary clinton's emails? if those congressional investigations really were serious and thorough, why did they fail to interview dozens of
key state department witnesses including agents on the ground who experienced the attacks first-hand? just last month, three years after benghazi, top aides finally returned documents to the state department. a month ago this committee received 1500 new pages of secretary clinton's emails related to libya and benghazi. three years after the attacks. a little over two weeks ago this committee received nearly 1400 pages of ambassador stevens's emails, three years after the attacks. it is impossible to conduct a serious fact-centric investigation without access to the documents from the former secretary of state. the ambassador who knew more about libya than anyone else and testimony from witnesses who survived the attacks. madam secretary, i understand there are people frankly in both parties who have suggested this investigation is about you.
let me assure you it is not, and let me assure you why it is not. this investigation is about four people who were killed representing our country on foreign soil. it is about what happened before, during and after the attacks that killed them. it is about what this country owes to those who risk their lives to serve it. and it is about the fundamental obligation of government to tell the truth always, to the people that it purports to represent. madam secretary, not a single member about this committee signed up to investigate you or your email. we signed up to investigate and therefore honor the lives of four that we sent into a dangerous country to represent us. and to do everything we can to
prevent it from happening to others. our committee has interviewed half a hundred witnesses. not a single one of them has been named clinton until today. you were the secretary of state for this country at all relevant times. so of course the committee is going to want to talk to you. you are an important witness. you are one important witness among half a hundred important witnesses. and i do understand i wanted to come sooner than today. so let me be clear why that did not happen. you had an unusual email arrangement, which meant the state department could not produce your emails to us. you made exclusive use of personal email and a personal server. when you left the state department you kept the public record to yourself for almost two years. it was you and your attorneys who decided what to return and
what to delete. those decisions were your decisions, not our decisions. it was only in march of this year we learned of this email arrangement and since we learned of this email arrangement, we have interviewed dozens of witnesses only one of whom was solely related to your email arrangement and that was the shortest interview of all, because that witness invoked his fifth amendment privilege against incrimination. making sure the public record is complete is what serious investigations do so it was important and remains important that this committee have access to all of ambassador stevens's emails and emails of other senior leaders and witnesses and it is important to gain access to all of your emails, madam secretary. your emails are no less or more important tanthan the emails of anyone else. it took us a little bit longer
to get them and it garnered a little more attention in the process. i want you to i can note during this hearing how many times congressional democrats call on this administration to make long-awaited documents to us. they won't. take note of how many witnesses congressional democrats ask us to scheduled for interview? they won't. we would be much closer to finding out what happened and writing the final definitive report in democrats on committee had helped just a little bit pursue the facts. but if the democrats on this committee had their way, dozens of witnesses would have never been interviewed. your public record would still be private. thousands of documents never would have been accessed and we wouldn't have the emails of our own ambassador. that may be smart politics but it's a lousy way to run a serious investigation. there are certain
characteristics that make our country unique in the annals of history. we are the greatest experiment in self-governance the world has ever known. and part of that self-governance comes self-scrutiny, even of the highest officials. our country is strong enough to handle the truth and our fellow citizens expect us to pursue the truth wherever the facts take us. so this committee is going to do what we pledged to do and what should have been done, frankly, a long time ago. which is interview all relevant witnesses, examine all relevant evidence, and access all relevant documents. and we're going to pursue the truth in the manner worthy of the memory of the four people that lost their lives and worthy of the respect of our fellow citizens. we're going to write that final definitive accounting what happened in benghazi and we would like to do it with your
help and help of our democrat colleagues but make no mistake we are going to do it nonetheless because understanding what happened in benghazi goes to the heart of who we are as a country, and the promises we make to those that we in harm's way. they deserve the truth, they deserve the whole truth and they deserve nothing but the truth. the people we work for deserve the truth. the friend and family of the four who lost their lives deserve the truth. we're going to find the truth because there is no statute of limitations on the truth. with that i would recognize my friend from maryland. >> the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. madam secretary, i want to thank you very much for being here today to testify before congress on this very important issue. this is your third time. this week our chairman, mr. gowdy, was interviewed in a lengthy media profile. during his interview he complained that he was, and i quote, he has an impossible job. that's what the chairman said, impossible job. he said it is an impossible to conduct a serious, fact-centric investigation in such a, quote, political environment. i have great respect for the chairman but on this score is absolutely wrong.
in fact it has been done by his own republican colleagues in the house on this very issue, benghazi. the republican chairman of the house intelligence committee conducted an extensive, bipartisan, two-year investigation and issued a detailed report. the senate intelligence committee, and senate homeland security committee also conducted a bipartisan investigation. those bipartisan efforts respected and honored the memories of the four brave americans who gave their lives in benghazi. ambassador chris stevens, sean smith, tyrone woods, and glen doherty. the problem is that the republican caucus did not like
the answers they got from those investigations. so they set up this select committee with no rules, no deadlines, and unlimited budget. and they set them loose, madam secretary, because you're running for president. clearly it is possible to conduct a serious, bipartisan investigation. what is impossible is for any reasonable person to continue denying that republicans are squandering millions of taxpayer dollars on this abusive effort to derail secretary clinton's presidential campaign. in the chairman's interview he tried to defend against this criticism by attempting to cast himself as the victim and he complained about attacks on the
credibility of the select committee. his argument would be more compelling if republicans weren't leading the charge. as we all know representative kevin mccarthy, speaker boehner's second-in-command, and the chairman's close friend, admitted that they established the select committee to drive down secretary clinton's poll numbers. democrats didn't say that. the second-in-command in the house said that, a republican. republican congressman richard hannah, said select committee was quote, designed, designed, to go after secretary clinton. and one of the chairman's own hand-picked investigators, a self-proclaimed conservative republican, charged that he was fired in part for not going along with these plans to quote,
hyper-focus on hillary clinton, end of quote. these stark admissions reflect exactly what we have seen inside this select committee for the past year. let's just take a look at the facts. since january republicans have canceled every single hearing on our schedule for the entire year except for this one, secretary clinton. they also canceled numerous interviews that they had planned with the defense department and the cia officials. instead of doing that, they said they were going, what they were going to do, republicans zeroed in on secretary clinton, her speechwriters, her i.t. staffers, and her campaign officials. this is what the republicans did. not the democrats. when speaker boehner established this something like that committee, he justified it, justified it arguing it would
quote, cross jurisdictional lines. i assume he meant we would focus on more than just secretary of state. but, madam secretary, you're sitting there by yourself. the secretary of defense is not on your left. director of the cia is not on our right. that's because republicans abandoned their own plans to question those top officials. so instead of being cross-jurisdictional, republicans just crossed them off the list. last weekend the chairman told the republican colleagues to shut up, and stop talking about the select committee. what i want to know is this. and this is a key question. why tell the republicans to shut up when they are telling the truth but not when they are attacking secretary clinton with
reckless accusations that are demonstrably false? why not tell them to shut up then? carly fiorina had said that secretary clinton has blood on her hands. mike huckabee accused her of ignoring the warning calls from dying americans in benghazi. senator rand paul said benghazi was a 3:00 a.m. phone call that she never picked up. and senator lindsey graham tweeted, where the hell were you on the night of the benghazi attack? everyone on this panel knows these accusations are baseless, from our own investigations and all those before it. yet republican members of this celebrity committee remain silent. on monday the democrats issued a
report showing that none of the 54 witnesses the committee interviewed substantiated these wild republican claims. secretary clinton did not order the military to stand down, and she neither approved nor denied requests for additional security. i asked that our report be included in the official record for today's hearing, mr. chairman? >> without objection. >> what is so telling is that we issued virtually the same report a year ago, same report. when we first joined the select committee i asked my staff to put together a complete report and database setting forth the questions that have been asked about the attacks, and all of the answers that were provided in the eight previous investigations. i asked that this report also
included in the record, mr. chairman. >> without objection. >> the problem is rather than accepting these facts, republicans continue to spend new -- spin new conspiracy theories that are just as outlandish and inaccurate. for example, the chairman recently tried to argue that sidney blumenthal was secretary clinton's primary advisor on libya and this past sunday representative pompeo claimed on national television that secretary clinton relied on sidney blumenthal for most, for most of her intelligence on libya. earlier this week the washington post fact checker awarded this claim four pinocchios. its worst rating. here is the bottom line. the select committee has spent 17 months and $4.7 million of
taxpayer money. we've held four hearings and conducted 54 interviews and depositions. yes, we have received some new emails from secretary clinton, ambassador stevens and others. yes, we have conducted some new interviews, but these documents and interviews do not show any nefarious activity. in facts it just the opposite. the new information confirms and corroborate core facts we already knew from eight previous investigations. they provide more detail but they do not change the basic conclusions. it is time and time now for the republicans to end this taxpayer-funded fishing expedition. we need to come together and shift from politics to policy.
that is what the american people want. shifting from politics to policy we need to finally make good on our promises to the families. the families only asked us to do three things. one, do not make this a political football. two, find the facts. three, do everything in our power to make sure that this does not happen again. and so we need to start focusing on what we here in congress can do to improve the safety and security of our diplomatic core in the future. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the chair thanks the gentleman from maryland. madam secretary you're recognized for your opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member cummings, members of this committee. the terrorist attacks at our diplomatic compound and later at the cia post in benghazi, libya, on september 11th, 2012,
took the lives of four brave americans, ambassador chris stevens, sean smith, glen doherty, and tyrone woods. i'm here to honor the service of those four men. the courage of the diplomatic security agency and the cia officers who risked their lives that night. and the work their colleagues do every single day all over the world. i knew, and admired chris stevens. he was one of our nation's most accomplished diplomats. chris's mother liked to say that he had sand in his shoes because he was always moving, always working, especially in the middle east that he came to know so well. when the revolution broke out in
libya we named chris as our envoy to the opposition. there was no easy way to get him into benghazi to begin gathering information and meeting those libyans who were rising up against the murderous dictator qadaffi, but he found a way to get himself there, on a greek cargo ship, just like a 19th century american envoy. but his work was very much 21st century, hard-nosed diplomacy. it is a testament to the relationships that he built in libya that on the day following the awareness of his death, tens of thousands of libyans poured into the streets in benghazi.
they held signs reading, thugs don't represent benghazi or islam. sorry, people of america, this is not the behavior of our islam or our prophet. chris stevens, a friend to all libyans. although i didn't have the privilege of meeting sean smith personally, he was a valued member of our state department family. an air force veteran, he was an information management officer who had served in pretoria, baghdad, montreal, and the haig. -- hague. tyrone woods and glen doherty worked for the cia. they were killed by mortar fire at the cia's outpost in
benghazi, a short distance from the diplomatic compound. they were both former navy seals and trained paramedics with distinguished records of service including in iraq and afghanistan. as secretary of state i had the honor to lead and the responsibility to support nearly 70,000 diplomats and development experts across the globe. losing any one of them, as we did in iraq, afghanistan, mexico, haiti, and libya, during my tenure was deeply painful, for our entire state department and and usaid family and for me personally. i was the one who asked chris to
go to libya as our envoy. i was the one who recommended him to be our ambassador to the president. after the attacks, i stood next to president obama as marines carried his casket and those of the other three americans off the plane at andrews air force base. i took responsibility, and as part of that, before i left office, i launched reforms to better protect our people in the field and helped reduce the chance of another tragedy happening in the future. what happened in benghazi has been scrutinized by a non-partisan, hard-hitting accountability review board. seven prior congressional investigations, multiple news organizations, and of course our law enforcement and intelligence
agencies. so today i would like to share three observations about how we can learn from this tragedy and move forward as a nation. first, america must lead in a dangerous world, and our diplomats must continue representing us in dangerous places. the state department sends people to more than 270 posts in 170 countries around the world. chris stevens understood that diplomats must operate in many places where our soldiers do not. where there are no other boots on the ground. and safety is far from guaranteed. in fact, he volunteered for just those assignments. he also understood we will never prevent every act of terrorism or achieve perfect security, and
that we inevitably must accept a level of risk to protect our country and advance our interests and values. and make no mistake, the risks are real. terrorists have killed more than 65 american diplomatic personnel since the 1970s, and more than 100 contractors and locally-employed staff. since 2001 there have been more than 100 attacks on u.s. diplomatic facilities around the world. but if you asked our most experienced ambassadors, they'll tell you, they can't do their jobs for us from bunkers. it would compound the tragedy of benghazi if chris stevens's death and death of the other
three americans ended up undermining the work to which he and they devoted their lives. we have learned the hard way when america is absent, especially from unstable places, there are consequences. extremism takes root, aggressors seek to fill the vacuum and security everywhere is threatened including here at home. that's why chris was in benghazi. it's why he had served previously in syria, egypt, saudi arabia, and jerusalem during the second intifada. nobody knew the dangers of libya better. a weak government, extremist groups, rampant instability, but chris chose to go to benghazi because he understood america had to be represented there at
that pivotal time. he knew eastern libya where the revolution had begun and unrest there could derail the country's fragile transition to democracy. if extremists gained a foothold, they would have the chance to destablize the entire region including egypt, and tunisia. he also knew how your bent -- urgent it was that the weapons qadaffi left strewn across the country, including shoulder-fired missiles that could knock on airplane out of sky did not fall into the wrong hands. the nearest israeli airport is just a day's drive from the libyan border. above all, chris understood that most people in libya, or anywhere, reject the extremists
argument that violence can ever be a path to dignity or justice. that's what those thousands of libyans were saying after they learned of his death. and he understood there was no substitute for going beyond the he will ba sy walls and doing the hard work of building relationships. retreat from the world is not an option. america can not shrink from our responsibility to lead. that doesn't mean we should ever return to go it alone foreign policy of the past, a foreign policy that puts boots on the ground as a first choice, rather than a last resort. quite the opposite. we need creative, confident leadership that harnesses all of america's strength and values, leadership that integrates and
balances the tools of diplomacy, development and defense. and at the heart of that effort must be dedicated professionals like chris stevens and his colleagues, who put their lives on the line for a country, our country, because they believeds, as i do, that america is the greatest force for peace and progress the world has ever known. my second observation is this. we have a responsibility to provide our diplomats with the resources and support they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible. after previous deadly attacks leaders from both parties and both branches of government came together to determine what went wrong and how to fix it for the future. that's what happened during the reagan administration.
when hezbollah attacked our embassy and killed 63 people including 17 americans, and then in a later attack, attacked our marine barracks and killed some more, those two attacks in beirut resulted in the deaths of 258 americans. it's what happened during the clinton administration when al qaeda bombed our embassies in kenya and tanzania, killing more than than 200 people, wounding more than 2,000 people, and killing 12 americans. and it's what happened during the bush administration after 9/11. part of america's strength we learn, we adapt, and we get
stronger. after the benghazi attacks, i asked ambassador thomas pickering, one of our most distinguished and longest-serving diplomats, alongwith admiral mike mullen, the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, appointed by president george w. bush, to lead an accountability review board. this is an institution that the congress set up after the terrible attacks in beirut. there have been 18 previous accountability review boards. only two have ever made any of their findings public, the one following the attacks on our embassies in east africa, and the one following our, the attack on benghazi. the accountability review board did not pull a single punch. they found systemic problems and management deficiencies in two
state department bureaus. and the review board recommended 29 specific improvements. i pledged that by the time i left office everyone would be on the way to implementtation. and they were. more marines were slated for deployment to high-threat embassies. additional diplomatic security agents were being hired and trained. and secretary kerry has continued this work but there is more to do. and no administration can do it alone. congress has to be our partner as it has been after previous tragedies. for example, the accountability review board and subsequent investigations have recommended improved training for our officers before they deploy to the field but efforts to establish a modern joint training center are being held up by congress.
the men and women who serve our country deserve better. finally there is one more observation lied like to -- i'd like to share. i traveled to 112 countries as secretary of state. every time i did i felt great pride and honor representing the countries that i love. we need leadership at home to match our leadership abroad. leadership that puts national security ahead of politics and ideology. our nation has a long history of bipartisan cooperation on foreign policy and national security. not that we always agree, far from it, but we do commodity together when it counts. as secretary of state i worked with the republican chairman of the senate foreign relations committee to pass a landmark
nuclear arms control treaty with russia. i worked with the republican leader, senator mitch mcconnell, to open up burma, now democratic change. i know it is possible to find common ground because i have done it. we should debate on the basis of fact, not fear. we should resist denigrating the patriotism or loyalty of those with whom we disagree. so i'm here. despite all the previous investigations and all the talk about partisan agendas, i'm here to honor those we lost, and to do what i can to aid those who serve us still. my challenge to you, members of this committee, is the same challenge i put to myself. let's be worthy of the trust the american people have bestowed upon us. they expect us to lead, to learn
the right lessons, to rise above partisanship, and to reach for statesmanship. that is what i tried to do every day as secretary of state, and it's what i hope we all will strife for here today and into the future. thank you. >> thank you, madam secretary. i did not cut off your opening at all, nor would s think about doing so because the subject matter is critically important and you deserved to be heard. i would just simply note. and i don't plan on cutting off any of your answers. our members have questions we believe that are worthy of being answered. i simply note we plan to ask all the questions and whatever precision you can give to the answers without giving any short-shrift to the answers would be much appreciated. with that i would recognize the gentleman from illinois, mr. roskam. >> good morning, secretary
clinton. jake sullivan, your chief foreign policy advisor wrote a tick cob -- ticktock mem might on libya. this is day before rebels took tripoli. quote, secretary's leadership on libya which he describes you as a quote, a critical voice and quote the public face of the u.s. effort in libya and instrumental in tightening the noose around qadaffi and his regime. that didn't come easy did it? because you faced considerable opposition. i can pause reading notes from your staff. >> one thing at a time, congressman. >> that didn't come easy, did it, that leadership role and that public face and so forth that just mentioned? >> this is an issue that the committee has raised, and it really boils down to why we were in libya?
why did the united states join with our nato and european allies, join with our arab partners to protect the people of libya against the murderous planning of qadaffi. why did we take a role, i have a long side your partners in doing so. there were number about reasons for that, and i think it is important to remind the american people where we were at the time when the people of libya, like people across the region, rose up, demanding freedom and democracy, a chance to chart their own futures. >> i take your point -- >> qadaffi threatened them with genocide, hunting them down like cockroaches. we were then approached by, with great intensity, our closest allies in europe. people who felt very strongly the french, the british, but others as well, that they could not stand idly by and permit
that to happen so close to their shores with the unintended consequences that they worried about. they asked for the united states to help. we did not immediately say yes. we did an enormous amount of due diligence in meeting not only with our european and arab partners but also those who were heading up what was called the transitional national council and we had experienced diplomats who were digging deep into what was happening in libya and what the possibilities were before we agreed to provide very specific, limited help to the european and arab efforts. we did not put one american soldier on the ground. we did not have one casualty and in fact, i think by many measures, the cooperation between nato and arab forces was quite remarkable. and something that we want to learn more lessons from. >> secretary clinton, you were meeting with opposition within
the state department from very senior career diplomats in fact and they were saying that it was going to produce a net negative for u.s. military intervention. for example, in a march 9th, 2011 email discussing what has become known as the libya options memo, ambassador steven mull, then executive secretary state department and one of the top career diplomats said this, in the case of our diplomatic history, when we provided material or tactical military support to people seeking to drive their leaders from power, no matter how just their cause, it's tended to produce net negatives for our interests over the long term in those countries. now, we'll come back to that in a minute but, you overruled those career diplomats. they report to you and you're the chief diplomat of the united states. go ahead and read the note, if you need to. >> i have to, i have -- >> i'm not done with my question.
i'm just giving you curt a at that sy reading your notes. >> that's all right. >> they were, they were pushing back, but you overcame those objections but then you had another big obstacle, didn't you? that was the white house itself. there were senior voices within the white house that were opposed to military action. vice president biden, department of defense, secretary gates, the national security council and so forth. but you persuaded president obama to intervene militarily, isn't that right? >> well, congressman, i think it is important to point out there were many in the state department who believed it was very much in america's interests and in furtherance of our values to protect the libyan people, to join with our european allies and our arab partners. the ambassador who had to be withdrawn from libya pause of direct attacks or direct threats to his physical safety but who knew libya very well, ambassador krebbs, was a strong advocate
for doing what we could to assist the europeans and the arabs. i think it is fair to say there were concerns and there were varying opinions about what to do, how to do it, and the like. at the end of the day this was the president's decision and all of us fed in our views. i did not favor it until i had done, as i said, the due diligence, speaking with not just people within our government and within the governments of all of the other nations who were urging us to assist them, but also meeting in person with the gentleman who had assumed a lead role in the transitional national council. so it is of course fair to say, this was a difficult decision. i wouldn't sit here and say otherwise. and there were varying points of view about it. but at the end of the day, in large measure, because of the strong appeals from our european allies, the arab league passing a resolution, urging that the
united states and nato join with them, those were unprecedented requests and we did decide, or in recommending to the president that there was a way to do it. the president i think very clearly had a limited instruction about how to proceed, and the first planes that flew were french planes. and i think what the united states provided was some of our unique capacity. but the bulk of the work militarily was done by europeans and arabs. >> i think you're underselling yourself. you got the state department on board, you convinced the president, you overcame the objections of vice president biden and secretary of defense gates, the national security council and you had another obstacle then and that was the the united nations. you were able to persuade the russians of all things to abstain. had you not been successful in arguing that abstention, the
security council resolution 1973 wouldn't have passed because the russians had a veto. so you overcame that obstacle as well, isn't that right? >> well, congressman it is right that after doing my due diligence and reviewing the various options and the potential consequences of pursuing each of them, i was in favor of the united states joining with our european allies and our arab partners and i also was in favor of obtaining u.n. security concerns sill support because i thought that would provide greater legitimacy. in that of course our ambassador to the u.n. was very influential and successful in making the case to her colleagues. but this was at the behest of and the direction of the president once he was presented with the varying arguments. >> and you presented the arguments -- >> i have been in a number of situation room discussions. i remember very well the very intense conversation over whether or not to launch the
navy seals against the compound we thought in a, abbotabad we thought might house bin laden. there was a split in advisors. eventually the president makes the decision. i supported doing what we could to support our european and arab partners in their effort on humanitarian basis, a strategic basis, to prevent qadaffi from launching and carrying out massachusetts curse. >> there was another obstacle thaw overcame and thats with the arabs themselves. jake sullivan sent you an email and he said this. i think you should call, it will be painful ten minutes but you will be the one who delivered arab support. that is jake sullivan email of march 17th to you asking you to call the secretary-general of the arab, of the arab league. so, to put this in totality, you were able to put, overcome opposition within the state department. you were able to persuade the
president you were able to persuade the united nations and international community. you made the call to arabs and brought them home. you saw it, you drove it, you articulated it and persuaded people. did i get that wrong? >> congressman, i was secretary of state. my job was to conduct the diplomacy and the diplomacy consists of a long series of meetings and phone calls both here in our country and abroad, to take the measure of what people were saying and whether they meant it. we had heard, sometimes, before, from countries saying, well, united states should go do this. and when we would say, what will you do in support of us? there was not much coming forth. this time if they wanted us to support them in what they saw as an action vital to their respective national security interests, i wanted to be sure that they were going to bear the bulk of the load and in fact
they did. what the united states did, as i have said, was use our unique capacities. as i recall, if you want it in monetary terms, slightly over a billion dollars or less what we spend in iraq in one day is what the united states committed, in support of our allies. you know, we ask our allies -- >> mr. secretary, my time is expiring. let me reclaim our time. >> they asked us to help them. >> let me claim my time because it is expiring. you summed it up best when i emailed your senior staff, you said of this interchange, you said it is good to remind ourselves and the rest of the world this couldn't have happened without us. you were right, secretary clinton, our libya policy couldn't have happened without you because you were its chief architect. i said we'll go back to ambassador mulls warning using military for regime change. he said long-term things weren't going going to turn out very well. he was right. after your plan, things in libya today are disaster. i yield back. >> we'll have more time to talk
about this because that is not a view that i will be a describe to. >> thank gentleman from illinois. recognize the gentleman from maryland. >> thank you very much, madam secretary. i want to thank you for being here. i want to start with the number one question that republicans claim has not been answered in eight previous investigations. yesterday, the chairman wrote an op-ed, and he said, this is his top unanswered question about benghazi. and it is, and i quote, why are people in libya and, and benghazi made so many requests for additional security personnel and equipment and why those requests were denied. i will give you a chance to answer in a minute. secretary clinton, as you know, this exact question has been asked many times and answered many times.
let's start with the accountability review board. now you, a moment ago talked about admiral mullin but you appoint ad very distinguished gentleman, ambassador pickering. and of course admiral mullens served under republican administrations. and ambassador pickering who i have phenomenal amount of respect for, served 40 years as you know, as a part of our diplomatic core. he served under george h.w. bush and served as u.n. ambassador, he also served under reagan. let me go back to that question, why are people in libya and benghazi made so many requests.
i want you to comment, seems to be an implication that the arb, the accountability reviewed board, was not independent. and i think the chairman said they were hand-picked by you. of course that is done by law. but i'm just, would you comment on those go things, please? >> yes, i'd be happy to. you know, as i said in my opening statement, i take responsibility for what happened in benghazi. i felt a responsibility for all 70,000 people working at the state department in usaid. i take that very seriously. as i said with respect to security requests in benghazi, back when i testified in january of 2013, those requests, and issues related to security, were rightly handled by the security professionals in the department. i did not see them. i did not approve them. i did not deny them. ambassador pickering, and
admiral mullen make this case very clearly in their testimony before your committee and in their public comments. these issues would not ordinarily come before the secretary of state, and they did not in this case. as secretary, i was committed to taking aggressive measures to insure our personnel's and facilities were as safe as possible, and certainly when the non-partisan critical report from the accountability review board came forward, i took it very seriously and that's why i embraced all of their recommendations and created a new position within the diplomatic security bureau specifically to evaluate high-risk posts. i think it's important also to mention, congressman, that the
diplomatic security professionals, who were reviewing these requests along with those who are serving in wash zones and hot spots around the world if you go on codells, 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. and i was not going to second guess them. i was not going to substitute my judgment, which is not based on experience that they have, in keeping people safe for theirs. and the changes that were recommended by the accountability review board are ones that we thought made sense and began quickly to implement. >> now, the arb after conducting, madam