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tv   MTP Daily  MSNBC  October 22, 2015 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT

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heard lawrence talking about the idea that maybe house republican leaders thinking, uh-oh, is this not going as well as we thought it would go? any chance leadership is pulling trey gowdy aside, giving him advice how to finish this hearing? >> well, then you'd have to say, who is in leadership right now? john boehner is almost out the door, and presented a congressional gold medal to the monuments men from world war ii. kevin mccarthy, i would imagine, would stay clear of this issue, given his sort of remarks. waiting to find out if paul ryan will be the next speaker who would drop that dime on trey gowdy to say wrap it up? i'm not sure that's going to happen. i do think, in this break, if they're conferring amongst themselves, i wonder if there's a strategic change, any sense of needing to move it a different direction. i think it's pretty clear that the committee's biggest accomplishment in find nug information is something that
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they are staying away from and that is the private e-mail server. and they did that in part because, clearly, the installation of that server and the original use of it predates the benghazi attack some they've been avoiding that, to not appear political, and yet what we have seen play out certainly has tones of being political, both republicans sort of challenging the memo writing for how to take credit for events from hillary clinton and her staff. and on the democratic side, trying to maybe assist the former secretary or to beef up certain points that they have wanted to make. so it's hard to find much that is new here. i think some of the most interesting information out of those e-mails is not so much the sidney blumenthal story line they've given so much attention to, but when jim jord often ohio questioned secretary clinton about the different responses she sent in the hours of the attack to family and colleagues and then general public. >> i don't mean -- i'm going to
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be short with you here, looks like everybody's getting their seats. secretary clinton is back in her chair. chairman gowdy. ranging member elijah cummings. never mind. i'm going to hand it over, it looks like to chairman gowdy. i've gotten more press releases about the president's veto of the defense bill. >> with that, we will go to the gentle lady from alabama, miss roby. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary clinton, i want to talk to you about august 17th, 2012. on that day you received two memos about libya and its security. the first one described deteriorating security situation and what it meant for your people on the ground. the second one also described libya's security as, in simple terms, a mess some this memo wanted you to approve 20 million to be given to the libyan
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government to bolster -- >> could you tell me what tab that is on the materials? >> sure. the first one is, i believe, 33 -- 33 and 34. >> thank you. >> i apologize. you received two memos second one described libya's security as a mess and it was then that you were approached about a a. proving $20 million that we've referred to as contingency fund that would have gone to the libyan government to bolster their security there in country. then in fact, a few days later you approved that $20 million. and i'm going to get back to that in a minute. but i want to circle back, based on those two memos, to some questions that my colleague, mr. pompeo asked, about the 1998
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arb. you had talked about in that line of questioning that you, in fact, had closed, made the decision to close some embassies based on the premise, 1998 arb recommended secretary of state should personally review the security situation. you made a distinction between whether walls should be ten foot high versus whether or not it was a highly vulnerable situation. and so i wanted to ask you, as i was listening to that, knowing i was going to address these august 17 memos, i wanted to ask you, when you were looking at these two memos on august 17th, when said security was one in disarray, and the other said they paint a picture of a country in chaos, and i wanted to just ask you, in your opinion, as secretary of state, that had closed embassies,
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whether those references to the security situation in libya would amount to one as highly vulnerable per your own words. >> congresswoman i want to answer your question but we need the right tabs. >> excuse me. 8 and 32. i apologize. >> thank you very much. let me take a look at those. 8 and 32. on august 17th, there was a memo from beth jones, acting secretary of state, describing a spike in violence and characterizing it as perhaps a new normal. it is very clearly something that we were following, as i have said throughout the hearing today. it said that that the international committee of the red cross had withdrawn personnel from benghazi and
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continued to work in the rest of libya. it also pointed out that there is a lack of effective security and that the transition, the kind of transition we wanted to see for the people of libya, particularly in benghazi, was not as forthcoming from the libyans themselves. i think that the description here is certainly something that we were aware of, and a list of recent violence in libya is something we were aware of. and the ongoing monitoring of the situation in libya is something we took very seriously. i can tell you that these kinds of assessments were not uncommon for other places, high threat dangerous, unstable places, even war don'ts, where we were also
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operating. >> would you categorize those type of descriptions as highly vulnerable? >> well, i think that, again, there was no recommendation based on any of the assessments, not from our state department expertser not from the intelligence community, that we should abandon either benghazi or tripoli. >> i understand that. secretary clinton, you know, i guess one of the question we need answered is, you were a huge advocate for our presence there to begin with. what prevented you from making the decision based on the knowledge that you had from these memos about the deteriorating security situation? what prevented you, as secretary of state from making that decision on your own? >> well, congresswoman, i took into consideration a wide variety of factors. there were a number of places where violence would spike and we would have to make a
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decision. at this point, what we were trying to do was work with the libyan authorities, that's what the august 17th memo from secretary -- deputy secretary nides refers to. trying to provide additional security assistance so that the libyans could do more to assist themselves. and you know, it is the case that in the world we're in today, there are a lot of places that are dangerous. violence goes up and goes down, part of what acting assistant secretary beth jones was referencing in this memo is, this is a new -- is this a new normal? and the secretary does personally oversee the decision to order departure or shut down posts and it it is important to take that ultimate responsibility very much to heart which i did. but i think that there was no recommendation to do that.
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and again, i was following it, i was watching it, i was trying to make a very well reasoned analysis but i was also listening to people both on the ground and with a lot of experience who had served in iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, yemen, other places like that, and there was no recommendation. >> secretary clinton, what i'm trying to make a distinction between is the decisions that you made with respect to benghazi and decisions that your staff made with respect to benghazi. but i'm running out of time. i want to get back to $20 million that we talked about. on numerous occasions, the finger's been pointed at congress for not properly funding the security -- the funding not being available for the security qup yrequest. i find it curious you found $20 million to support increased
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security forces in libya, yet we weren't able to find money to support your own people on the ground and, you know, particularly in light of the fact that mrs. lam said funding wasn't an issue. i think it's been a little bit misleading to say it's congress' fault but then also it's worth pointing out that there's $20 million found for libyan security and no dollars found to support increased security for our own people. >> well, as i know you're aware, congresswoman, the congress sets spending levels in categories of spending and, as i said earlier, the request for diplomatic security to do exactly what you are referencing, were underfunded. they were underfunded continuously. i am pleased that following the tragedy of benghazi we began to
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get more support from the congress. but one of the funds that is very important when you're actually talking about an american presence in the country, goes back to questions that i was being asked by congresswoman duckworth, if we can help build up libyan forces, they are the host country, it is their responsibility to protect diplomatic posts. so i don't see these as unconnected. but it is true that we spent money for diplomatic security out of what the congress appropriated for -- >> secretary clinton, charlene lam said herself it wasn't a budget issue. do you take issue with that statement? >> i can only tell you our analysis of the funding of security for our diplomatic posts was very much in line with what i have just said, we asked for money in this administration in the earlier years and we were
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underfunded. so i can tell you that it would have been -- it would have been very helpful to have more money for diplomatic security and i want to thank the congress for upping the amount of money that went to diplomatic security, working with the defense department to get more marines deployed to more posts and the other actions that have been taken since benghazi. >> we appreciate that. i think there's a conflict between charlene lam's statement and some that you've made about that. but quickly, mr. chairman, i want to run through one quick time line and make an observation. on august 17th, you received a memo on the deteriorating security in libya. the same day you were asked to give $20 million to the libyan government to bebeef up its own security. your department issued a warning telling american citizens to get out of libya and not to travel there. then libya itself issued a, quote, maximum alert for
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benghazi. you several times made the statement, and we believe you, the ambassador stevens was your friend, and i am wondering why, with all of this in front of you, secretary of state, why did it not occur to you to pick up the phone and call your friend? i know you've mentioned experts, i know you've said ambassador stevens and other diplomats go into these high threat situations with their eyes wide open i want to hear from you why, with all of this information in front of you, particularly on the date of august 17th, did it not occur to you to pick up the phone and call your friend, ambassador stevens, and ask him what he needed. >> we knew what he was asking for, those requests went to the security professionals, and i would only add with respect to the travel warning, we issued travel warnings for many, many
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places in the world. they are really aimed at informing american travelers, business travelers, tourists, about conditions that they might face if they go to countries. they are not a criterion for determining whether we keep or end a diplomatic presence. and i just want to go back to the point you are making and read from the accountability review board. for many years the state department has been engaged in a struggle to obtain the resources necessary to carry out its work with varying degrees of success. this has brought about a deep sense of the importance of husbanding resources to meet the highest priorities, laudable in the extreme, but it has also had the effect of conditioning a few state department managers to favor restricting the use of resources as a general orientation. it is imperative for the state department to-ing mission driven rather than resource constrained and one overall conclusion in
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this report is that congress must do its part to meet this challenge and provide necessary resources to the state department to address security risks and meet mission imperatives. >> my time is out. i'm afraid my chairman is going it tell me to be quiet. >> well, we -- i'm not going tell you to be quiet. i'm going to ask if you might hole it. i'll be quicker on the gavel than i've been in the interest of time. >> i'll circle back then. thank you. i yield back. >> recognize the gentleman from maryland. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me say that the, madam secretary, and committee, the august 17th, 2012 information memo just referenced is not something new. >> that's right. >> it's not something that this committee uncovered. >> that's right. >> in fact, congress has had the information memo for years.
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it was attached to, as an exhibit, to the benghazi arb report that secretary clinton stoe sent to congress before her testimony in congress in january of 2013. the arb had it and considered it important enough to append it to its report. congress already questioned the secretary about her awareness of security conditions in libya, in the run-up to the attack. >> will the gentleman yield? >> we just gave you an extra three minutes. i've got to use my time. i'm sorry. if i have extra time, i'll give it to you. within months of the attacks, the republican investigations of benghazi have begun and the chief investigator, madam secretary, who was chairman of theous oversight committee, daryl issa, made it clear that his efforts were directed at
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you. as he spoke at a political event in new hampshire. chairman issa had said he came to that political event in new hampshire to, quote, shape the debate for 2016, end of quote. how right he was. and that event chairman issa explained -- roll the tape, please. >> we need to have an answer of when the secretary of defense had assets that he could have begun spinning up, why it was not one order give tonight turn on one department of defense asset. i had my suspiciouses which is secretary clinton told leon to stand down, we all heard about the stand down order for two military personnel than order is undeniable. they were told to get off the airplane --
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>> the idea that you would intentionally take steps to prevent assistance to americans under attack in benghazi is simply beyond the pale. the claim has also been disproven, multiple times over. first, it was disproved by the arb, which issued its report of at the end of 2012. admire mullin, former chairman of join chiefs of staff had led the arb's military review and concluded that the military had, and i quote, done everything possible that we could, end of quote. then the republican-led, the republican-led house armed services committee issued its report in february 2014, madam secretary, which detailed all of the steps taken by the military to mobilize upon hearing of the
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attacks including immediately redirecting a surveillance drone to benghazi, ordering two marine platoons to sfin deploy, one bound for benghazi, the other for tripoli, ordering the commanders in extremists force training in croatia to move to a u.s. naval air station in italy, and dispatching a special operations unit to the region from the united states. about his review, the chairman, howard buck mckeon, a republican, stated, i think i've been pretty well satisfied that given where the troops were, how quickly the thing all happened, and how quickly it dissipated,
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we probably couldn't have done more than we did, end of quote. chairman issa's oversight committee, which i'm the ranking member of, even spent years actively pursuing evidence for this claim and found nothing. and as it says in the democratic report, we put out on monday, none of the 54 individuals interviewed by our select committee has identified any evidence to support this republican claim against you. in fact, not one of the nine congressional and independent investigations has identified any evidence to support this assertion in the last three years. my question, i sincerely hope this puts this offensive claim to rest once and for all. i'm asking you, madam secretary, did you order the secretary leon
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panetta to stand down on the night of the attacks? >> of course not, congressman, and i appreciate your going through the highlights of the very comprehensive report that the house armed services committee did on this. i think it's fair to say everybody, everybody, certainly defense secretary panetta, joint chief of staff chairman dempsey, everybody in the military scrambled to see what they could do, and i was very grateful for that. and, as you rightly point out, logistics and distance made it unlikely that they could be anywhere near benghazi within any kind of reasonable time. >> madam secretary, the benghazi attacks occurred during a period of significant upheaval in africa there was tremendous unrest throughout the region.
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i'd like to play a clip that shows what was happening at dozens of posts throughout the world and then i would like to get your reaction, if you can. please play the tape. >> protests spread over amateur video made in the united states which mocks islam. in the afghan capital, kabul la, a thousand afghans held protest, burning cars and tires and shooting at police. in the indonesian capital, jakarta, hundreds of protesters from hard line islamic groups throughout petrobombs and rocks. in pakistan, one protester was killed. in beirut, head of the shia muslim movement everybody hezbollah called for weaker demonstrations against the video
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tens of thousands turned out in a tightly, organized peaceful protest. live on the half now to the streets of beirut. >> senator clinton what was your sense how things were unfolding? >> congressman, they were very dangerous and very volatile. starting on monday, with the attack on our embassy in cairo, going all the way through that week into the next week, there were numerous protests, some of which you have shown us clips of, and they were dangerous. you know, the one that i was particularly concerned about happened in tunis, and it was the friday after the attack in benghazi. we knew from monitoring the media, from reports coming in from our embassies throughout the region, that this was a very hot issue. it was not going away. it was being kept alive. we were particularly worried about what might happen on
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friday because friday's the day of prayers for muslims. so we were on very high alert going into friday. i got a call through our operations department from our ambassador in tunis who was in the safe room in the embassy in tunisia. there were thousands of demonstrators on the outside. they were battering down the barriers and the walls around our embassy. they had already set on fire the american school which is very close to the embassy. and the ambassador and his team were desperate for help. their calls to the government of tunisi tunisia, host government had gone unanswered. i immediately got on the phone calling the foreign minister, the prime minister, who were heads of government, i could not find either one of them. i called the president,
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president marzuki, i got him on the phone, told him he had to rescue our people, he had to disperse the crowds that were there because of the video. he said, i don't control the army. i have nothing i can do. i said, mr. president, you must be able to do something. i've got all of my people inside the embassy. they are being attacked. if the protesters get through into the embassy, i don't know what will happen. he said, you know, i do have a presidential guard. i said, mr. president, please deploy your presidential guard at least show that tunisia will stand with the united states against these protesters over this inflammatory video. to his great credit, and to my great relief, that is exactly what he did. he sent the presidential guard, those of you traveled know sometimes there are men in fancy uniforms, sometimes on horses, but he sent them. he sent whatever he could muster
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it our rescue. the crowd was dispersed, damage was extensive, but we thankfully did not have anything other than property damage to the embassy and to the american school. and the government of tunisia later helped us to repair that. but it was the kind of incredibly tense moment -- we had protesters going over the walls of our embassy in khartoum, we had protests, as you rightly point out all the way to indonesia, thankfully no americans were killed, partly because i had been consistent in speaking out about that video from the very first day when we knew it had sparked the attack on our embassy in cairo. i spoke about it because i wanted it to be clear to every government around the world that we were going to look to them to protect our facilities, and it was a very tense week, congressman, one that i think
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demonstrated how volatile the world is and how important it is for the united states to be on top of what people themselves are reacting to. and that's what i tried to do during that time. >> thank you very much. >> thank the gentleman from maryland. the chair would recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. westmoreland. >> thank you for giving us a play by play of what happened in tunisia. could you do the same thing of what happened in benghazi? could you tell us the same kind of play by play that who came to the rescue there, because i don't know anybody that did. so i don't know who you called and their lack of ability to get anybody there. it's just hard for me to comprehend why you'd give us that blow by employ of something we're not investigating but we appreciate it.
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i want to ask you -- >> congressman if i could, several of you have raised the video and have dismissed the importance of the video, and i think that is unfortunate because there's no doubt, and as i said earlier, even the person we have now arrested as being one of the ring leaders on the attack of the compound in benghazi, is reputed to have used the video as a way to gather up the attackers that attacked our compound. so i think it's important, these are complex issues, mr. congressman, and i think it's important that we look at the totality of what was going on. it's like that terrible incident that happened in paris, cartoons sparked two al qaeda-trained attackers who killed, you know, nearly a dozen people o. i think it's important, as you are members of congress looking into these issue you look at
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totality so we can learn the best lessons. >> let me ask you about a little thing. you said that you spent a lot of sleepless nights, and i can't imagine, and you said you often wondered what you could have done different. what did you come up with? >> long list, a long list, congressman -- >> top two. >> well, to go back to the point that congresswoman duckworth was raising about contractors. if we'd had a more reliable security force in large enough numbers, well armed and well focused on protecting our -- >> what could you have done -- >> -- compound. >> what could you have done different than what you did do? >> i'm trying to tell you. i think if the militia that had been engaged by both the cia and state department had been more relyble. you didn't have anything to do with that you said. >> i made a long list,
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congressman, about anything, that anybody could have done, and that's how i looked at it. i looked at it from the perspective of what are the many pieces, contracting is a part of that. there are many other issues that we need to address. that's really the main reason i'm here to continue to try to do what i can to honor those who were lost and to make sure that, you know, we are well prepared to try to prevent. now we know we can't prevent everything, that's the way the world is. but to do the very best we can -- and there are many elements -- >> the contractors number one. what would be number two? >> well if -- i don't think that's an unimportant point. we had a militia, we had an unarmed static force, that probably couldn't have done much more. it should, i think, inspire us to look for ways to get host countries to permit there to be more dedicated security forces,
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well enough armed and trained, to be really a force to protect our compounds and our other facilities. that would have perhaps made a difference. >> okay. >> certainly, you know, might have made a difference if we had more help from the cia there on the compound, if maybe we had a rotating presence. but i have to -- vi have to say in reviewing a the of the analyses made by security experts, very well-trained, experienced security people, they're not sure that anything would have stopped the attackers, and i know admiral mullen, when he went into his work for the arb was concerned that none of the diplomatic security officers had fired a shot. they had their weapons, hadn't fire a shot. >> i'm not trying to cut you i've tried to be nice. you're doing well. let's give each other a little breathing room here. you talked about miss victoria
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nuland, you know her, right. >> i do. >> this was a -- this was her briefing on september 13th. some reporter named elise asked her about security, i'm going to reject that. let me tell you what i can about the security of our mission in benghazi. it did include a local libyan guard force around the outer perimeter. that guard force never showed up that night, and it did not normally patrol the outer perimeter. the only people that patrolled the outer perimeter was the unarmed blue mountain. but she said, this is the way we work in all of our missions, all around the world, that the outer perimeters is the responsibility of the host government, which there really wasn't a host government at the time.
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there was obviously a physical perimeter barrier, a wall, and then there was a robust american security presence inside the compound. i don't -- i don't think five ds agents not fully equipped or armed for what they were facing you could call a robust american security presence. would you have used the word "robust"? >> i would certainly have said that the security on that night was reliant on a militia that did not perform as expected -- >> i'm not talking about the militia on the outside. i'm talking about robust american presence on the inside. >> i -- it was considered robust in the sense that the request had been for five diplomatic
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security officers to accompany the ambassador. there were five there. they did as i have testified to, very best they could. they were armed. and in the course of the thorough investigation conducted by the accountability review board, as i was saying, admiral mullen zeroed in on this, having more than 40 years' experience in the militarier and he wanted to know why the ds agents had not fired their weapons, and they explained, as many since have heard who have interviewed them, their assessment was that it would have resulted in the loss of even greater life. and they chose not to. admiral mullen reached the conclusion that they acted appropriately. even though we had five ds agents that had been requested, they were overrun and unable to do more than they did. >> they were overrun because they didn't have any defensive
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positions to fight from because they refused to give them additional sandbags because they did not want it to look like a military compound. i've heard that testimony. i want to ask you about the fest. are you familiar with the fest? >> yes. >> what is the fest, madam secretary? >> it is an emergency support team to help stand up embassies that have or counsel it or other fast facilities impacted by natural disasters or some kind -- >> attack. >> -- attacks. >> kidnapping. where are they located? >> they are located in the united states. >> langley air force base? >> i'm not sure of where they're located now. >> they're there. interagency task force. >> right, right. >> includes fbi, i guess d.o.d., and state department. if you look at the state department website, fest comes up under that, i'm assuming you are the lead in those agencies.
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>> it's an inner agency effort. >> okay. it was deployed in 1998 in kenyaing correct, after the embassy bombing there. >> right. >> of the towers. and tanzania, correctly. >> that's correct. >> they were there, ready to go on short notice, said they could have been ready in four hours to leave. this is the group of people that would go into a situation, as you describe, embassy had been overruns, attacked, kidnapping or whatever, to basically give guidance to any of the other forces or help that was coming in, correct? i know that your staff -- we've got a number of e-mails from your staff -- that originally recommended that you send the fess team. and i think they may have talked to mr. sullivan or it was
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somebody that got an e-mail and they said they would pass it up the chain. and somebody made the decision not to send the fess team. which would have been, as secretary of state, i would think, since it was a state department-led mission that that would have been the first thing that you would have wanted to get out. but instead, if i understand correctly from the e-mail chain, your first request was to see how soon the fbi could get over there, that is a true statement? >> well, congressman, the fest went to east africa to help rebuild our embassy capacity. they have expertise in once our two embassies were bomb how do we regain communications, for example. we were not going to rebuild in benghazi, so there was no reason to send a fest team there was a
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reason to try to get the fbi investigators into benghazi as soon as it was safe for them to go so they could start to try to build a case so we could bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice. that was absolutely the primary goal that we had in working with the fbi and i think it's -- you know, when we make a decision on a deployment of the fest, it is not just the secretary of state. in this case there was the nfc involved, there was the cia involved, there was a -- and the considered conclusion was we're not going to rebuild in benghazi. >> that was a quick decision to make that night you're not going to rebuild in benghazi. >> the fest -- there was nothing to rebuild. >> you mentioned all of the agencies that would have been important to get on the ground as quick as possible and summarize what the situation was
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to give you that direction. but i know i'm out of time, mr. chairman. but i do want to say, what miss roby was trying to get you to say is what decisions did you make in regard to benghazi and what were you responsible to make? i think that's what all of us want to know. what did you do? what decisions did you make? and you said everybody else is responsible for everything else. what were you responsible for? >> i was responsible for sending chris stevens to benghazi as an envoy. i was responsible for supporting a temporary mission that we were constantly evaluating to determine whether it should become permanent in benghazi. i was responsible for recommending chris stevens to be the ambassador. i was responsible for working on the poll policy both before and
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after the end of the gadhafi regime. i was responsible for quite a bit, congressman. i was not responsible for specific security requests and decisions, that is not something i was responsible for. >> time has expired. chair would recognize mr. shift. >> thank you. now almost at the end of the second round of questions, and i find it necessary to amend something i said after the first round and that is, i don't understand the theory of this kaps i thought i did but after this round i honestly don't understand where my colleagues are coming from. probably not as good a lawyer, undoubtedly not as good a prosecutor as our chairman. most of what we've gone over in this round, frankly, questions asked when you testified before the house last time before you testified before the senate. they were the subject of the arb report. but there were a few unique lines of questioning that i want to comment and ask you about.
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one of my colleagues spent his time asking about some interactions with the oppressed people, i guess critiquing your overall libya strategy and something he called clinton doctrine. we've been assured this committee, contrary to what representative mccarthy said, is not about attacking you but i don't see the relevance of any of those questions in terms of what happened in benghazi except as a means of trying to attack you or make a political statement regarding the presidential campaign. and then there was the continuing preoccupation with sidney blumenthal, chairman spent both panels asking you about sidney blumenthal. vie to say, i don't understand the preoccupation with sidney blumenthal. you would think for the time we have spent on him that he was in benghazi, on the night manning the barricades. there is not a member on this die oes that doesn't have
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friends for a long time that send unsolicited e-mails and we're too polite to write back saying, this isn't all that helpful. there's not a member here that hasn't had that experience. i don't know why that is so remarkable. so i honestly, honestly don't understand the fixation. i do know one thing about sidney blumenthal, it's been abundantly clear today my seven colleagues do not want the american people to read what he said in his deposition. and i'll tell you it's not because of anything he said. but they really doesn't want the american people to see is what they asked. and it was what ranking member cummings intimated, we're not interested in the foundation, all of the other things we're only interested in whether we've gotten everything. when you read the deposition you see that is exactly what they were interested in. now i can't release it myself but i can tell you, sidney blumenthal, by the numbers, so here's sidney blumenthal by the
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numbers. republicans asked more than 160 questions about mr. blumenthal's relationship and communications with the clintons but less than 20 questions about the benghazi attacks. republicans asked more than 50 questions about the clinton foundation but only four questions about security in benghazi. republicans asked more than 270 questions about mr. blumenthal's alleged business activities in libya but no questions about the u.s. presence in benghazi. republicans asked more than 45 questions about david brock media matters -- i have no idea what that is even and affiliated entities -- but no questions, no questions about ambassador stevens and other u.s. personnel in benghazi. that's sidney blumenthal by the numbers. now, there were a couple lines of questioning i did understand. one of them was about the
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accountability review board report. now not the one actually that's relevant today about benghazi but one written 17 years ago about a different attack, in tanzania. mr. pompeo put up a very nice chart. they've got great exhibits. selectively quoting from that report. and the implication was the secretary should have security, should be the one deciding the security at every facility around the world. what he didn't read to you was part of the same section of that report which says, quote, in the process the secretary should rec-examine the present structue with the objective of assuring that a single, high-ranking officer is accountable for all protective security matters and has the authority necessary to coordinate on the secretary's behalf. quite a different impression you get from reading the whole thing. we had a debate about whether we should participate in this
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committee, given where it was going and where it's been. mr. cummings said we should to be in the room to point out when a witness wasn't treated fairly. i have to say, i think he was right. as much as i held the opposite opinion. but it's important to be able to point out, if they're not going to give you the actual report or the time to read it, where they want to be selected to make a point. now i don't think that selectively quoting that 17-year-old arb sheds much light on what happened in benghazi but it's a nice way to attack you. i also want to talk a bit about something, and i spent a lot of time on, is the ranking on intel and as a member of the investigation that the intelligence committee did a republican-led investigation, two colleagues here on the same committee, went through the same investigation. and my colleagues have intimated that there was an effort to spin what happened. and they have neglected to point
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out, as you might imagine, and as you well know, that the intelligence we got after an attack like this in the fog of war, initially you believe one thing and then get more information and you understand something better and then you get more and you understand still something better. we were briefed by the director of the cia at the time -- wish he were here today -- and in the beginning we got it wrong. and i've looked through. and in that initial intelligence, within a few hours, there were some reports indicating it was a direct attack, as you told the egyptian prime minister at the time. that was what was understood in the immediate hours. within 24 hours, though, we had intelligence, both open source and signals intelligence, that there was a protest, protest was hijacked and that it became an ja attack and your statements were indicative and reflective of
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what he knew then. wasn't until a week or ten days later when we got videos from the compound we learned definitively there was no protest. well, that simple chronology sheds a lot of light on why you, ambassador rice, said what you did at the time, not a member here has shown anything you've said or the ambassador said that was at all inconsistent with what our intelligence agencies told us exactly at the time. it may come of interest to some of my colleagues not on intelligence to know that there are still a great many people in the intelligence community that believe the video was part of the motivation of some who attacked us on that night. i wish, frankly, we spent more time giving you an accurate representation of the documents and the reports and the facts instead of making an effort to
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demagogue on this. i find it fascinating, frankly, that my colleagues put so much reliance in a 17-year-old accountability review board report but they place no weight in thene actually about benghazi. thomas pickering has 40 years of experience. there's probably no one in the diplomatic corps more respected. admiral mullen, the other co-chair, something republicans and democrats both respected tremendously, are we now to believe they're a bunch of rubes, they had the wool pulled over their eyes? why is their report of so little value. hard to escape the conclusion that the one centric fact of them all is that you are running for president and with high poll numbers and that's why we're here. and i say all of this because i never want to see this happen
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again. i don't want four years from now or eight years from now or 12 years from now another presidential election for us to be here or for one side or the other -- i don't want republicans to say let's do benghazi again that really worked or the democrats to say they did it to us, let's do it to them, and i think, frankly, the only pointing these things out that's the only way avoid having this happen again. well, let's me just ask you, on that 17-year-old arb, and in light of mr. moral who came in and talked to us, not about the security at the diplomatic facility but the cia annex, his testimony was all inprovements security at benghazi base, idea to conduct assessment, the assessment itself, the implementation of recommendations were all done without knowledge and direction of the director and i. it happened exactly where it should have happened, which is
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in that security office. same view on the cia's part, of course they're not here. but would you like to comment on what the full on what the full recommendation of the tanzania arb was? >> thank you very much. i think you make an excellent point. i'm aware of deputy director morel's testimony. it is very similar to what i have said here and very similar to what i believe general petraeus would have said that the issues about security whether state department or talking cia or any other agency are not made at the level of secretary, director. it is made at the appropriate level of the security professionals.
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and i think what mike morel told you in the intelligence committee investigation you would hear from anyone in the government at a high level who has to deploy americans around the world. we see that with the defense department. we see breaches of security on our military bases. we know that everybody is struggling to get it right. and as i have said the vast majority of cases our security professionals do. and then unfortunately there are instances where they do not. that's why we have after action reports and the accountability review board to look at what happened and try to learn from it. and going all the way back to tehran and east africa and the 100 attacks on facilities around the world since 2001 we have tried to learn and apply those lessons.
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i hope we will continue doing so. >> i yield back. >> the chair will recognize the gentleman from ohio. >> secretary clinton a few minutes ago you said some of you have raised the video. raised the video? you raised the video. at 10:08 on september 11, 2012 you raised the video. at 10:08 with americans still fighting for their lives an hour and a half before the attack ends you raise. i want to go back to that 10:08 statement. in our first round you said that the statement was not meant to explain the type of attack or the cause of the attack. let's look at your statement. press statement on the attack of be benghazi. 12 sentences in this statement i'm going to focus on the one.
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some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. there is a cause, motive presented there. there is only one motive. you say this. you say inflammatory material caused vicious behavior. vicious behavior that led and resulted in the deaths of four americans. there sure seems to be cause there? >> may i read what i said? what i said is that i condemn the attack on the mission in benghazi today. as we work to secure we confirmed one state department officer was killed. we are heart broken by this terrible loss. our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack. this evening i called libyan
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president to coordinate additional support. he expressed condolences and pledged full cooperation. some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as response to inflammatory material. the united states implores any effort. our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the beginning of our nation but let me be clear there is never any justification for violent acts of this kind in light of the events of today. the united states government is working with partner countries around the world to protect personnel, missions and american citizens world wide. >> and i'm asking, you said there was no motive, no cause. you weren't trying to explain the cause of the attack. it seems to me like you did. you presented inflammatory material is the reason for
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vicious behavior. >> that's not what it says. >> you read the whole thing. i'm asking about that one sentence because earlier you said it wasn't, there was no motive presented. i think there was. that's what i think most american people thought. >> i know there was a great deal of news coverage that looked at the events in cairo, looked at what happened in benghazi and drew some comparisons and maybe connections. i know as we just heard from congressman shif there was a lot of fast-moving analysis by the intelligence community to try to make sense of all of this. i can only tell you from the perspective of having been -- >> hang on a second. if the intelligence may have changed some but your story didn't. that is the point. privately your story was much different than it was
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publically. again, you said to the egyptian prime minister we know the attack in libya had nothing to do with the film. it was a planned attack, not a protest. you said to your family terrorists killed two of our good people. your story is different than what you are telling the american people. in benghazi you tried to put them all together. that is what bothers us. let me show you a slide here. this is from september 14th. the first statement is by jay carney. let's be clear these protests were reaction to a video that spread to the region. we have no information to suggest that benghazi was a preplanned attack. the statement below is from your press person in libya. sends this is greg hicks and to the experts in the affairs bureau same people saying susan
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rice was off the reservation. here is what they get. here is what she says to them. benghazi more terrorist attack than a protest. we want to distinguish, distinguish not conflate the events. this was a well-planned attack. so, again, privately the experts on libya know this was a well-planned attack but publically jay carney is saying the same thing you are saying publically. we have no information that this was pre-planned. this was caused by a video. >> congressman, the next morning at 9:59 i gave another statement. i listened carefully to what you said and you kept talking about cause. the word cause is not in my statement of the night before. >> i'm eareferring to what you said in our first exchange a few hours ago. >> i'm sorry if i haven't been
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clear. i will try to be clearer. i was talking about people throughout the region trying to justify attacks on our facilities as we saw later in the week. and justifying their behavior and repeating it and using the fact of the video not only to arouse crowds as we saw in the video clips that the ranking member played, but also that would deter governments from coming to our rescue because they would be perhaps ambivalent about doing so. you are right. i mentioned the video because i feared what would happen and, in fact, it did happen. and in the next morning -- the night before was a brief statement that we put out because we knew we had lost sean smith. i felt an obligation to tell that to the american people. the next morning i gave a much
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longer statement and it was very clear heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. >> that's all good, but you said you were trying to communicate to folks all over, all the folks you have around the middle east. right? >> i was trying to send a message, yes. >> that's not what the experts said. they said don't conflate the events. tell the truth about benghazi. other places where the video may have had an impact say that. why did you put them all together when you didn't do that privately? when you told your family about benghazi it was terrorists killed two of our people. when you talked to the libyan president al qaeda did it. when you talked to the egyptian prime minister we know it is not a film or protest or video, a terrorist attack? >> i was working off the information that we had which
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was that -- i did say that it was an al qaeda-related group. we were also -- >> look at the difference in these statements. one says it wasn't pre-planned attack. the other says from your experts in libya it was a well-planned attack. they could not be further apart. they could not be. that's what i'm having a hard time figuring out. the date of this 9/14/12. you know what else happened? another document kind of important, the same day that ben rodes drafted his talking points memo to under score that these protests are rooted in an internet video and not a broader failure of policy because we couldn't have libya, your baby, we couldn't have that


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