It was the first time we saw Secretary Clinton cry.
Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. American and Libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. Four Americans were killed. They included Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, and our Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals.This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence, and we send our prayers to the families, friends, and colleagues of those we’ve lost….
In the lobby of this building, the State Department, the names of those who have fallen in the line of duty are inscribed in marble. Our hearts break over each one. And now, because of this tragedy, we have new heroes to honor and more friends to mourn….
… we must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or Government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post.
May God bless them, and may God bless the thousands of Americans working in every corner of the world who make this country the greatest force for peace, prosperity, and progress, and a force that has always stood for human dignity – the greatest force the world has ever known. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.
Much early discussion centered on embassy security. Many wrongly assumed that Marine Embassy Guard were stationed at every embassy (untrue) and that their mission was to guard personnel. Hillary points out the error as did Victoria Nuland shortly after the attacks.
September 17, 2012 by still4hill
Hillary went to Capitol Hill to testify as soon as she had gathered the necessary information and her schedule permitted. She answered every question posed to her and also announced the appointment of the required Accountability Review Board (ARB).
September 20, 2012 by still4hill
I’m looking forward to the opportunity to go up to the Congress today. I will be briefing in two separate sessions, the House and the Senate, in a classified setting, along with my interagency colleagues, as we continue to work together, and with governments around the world, to ensure that our people and our facilities are safe. I will be joined today by the Director of National Intelligence, General Clapper, by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sandy Winnefeld, along with experts from the FBI, the State Department, and elsewhere in the government.
Now, I anticipate that this briefing will cover our security posture before and during the events, and the steps we have taken since to do everything we can with host governments to protect our people and our embassies and consulates. The Director of National Intelligence will speak to the intelligence issues surrounding these events in Libya. Deputy Secretary Carter will brief on the superb support we have had from the U.S. military in the wake of these events, and we are at the very early stages of an FBI investigation. The team from the FBI reached Libya earlier this week. And I will advise Congress also that I am launching an accountability review board that will be chaired by Ambassador Thomas Pickering.
Partisan attacks began early. We went on the defensive here.
October 7, 2012 by still4hill
October 10, 2012 by still4hill
In the course of the four-hour testimony there were some obvious gaps in congressional knowledge of how embassy security operates. As Victoria Nuland pointed out on September 17, internal security (walls inward) is the task of the guest country, and external security (walls outward) is up to the host country, Marine Embassy Security Guard (MESG) is posted at embassies (not usually at consulates) primarily to secure documents not personnel. That task falls under the purview of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security headed by Eric Boswell who testified in camera along with Secretary Kennedy yesterday to the same committee.
September 14, 2012 by still4hill
In the days since the attack, so many Libyans – including the Ambassador from Libya to the United States, who is with us today – have expressed their sorrow and solidarity. One young woman, her head covered and her eyes haunted with sadness, held up a handwritten sign that said “Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam.” The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring – and I quote – “an act of ugly terror.” Many others from across the Middle East and North Africa have offered similar sentiments…
This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable…
The people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. Reasonable people and responsible leaders in these countries need to do everything they can to restore security and hold accountable those behind these violent acts.
October 16, 2012 by still4hill
For more than a month Hillary had been taking responsibility, talking to Congress and the press, providing explanations and information such as she could (some information was classified and later declassified, e.g. the fact that “the annex,” as the second building was called, was actually a CIA operation and the related fact that two of the four Americans killed were actually CIA officers and not State Department personnel).
Look, I take responsibility. I’m in charge of the State Department, 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts.
Nevertheless, when Hillary, traveling abroad in Peru, used those words to CNN’s Elise Labott it was breaking news across prime time cable. Remarkable. Proving that when it comes to Hillary Clinton even saying the same thing differently somehow generates headlines.
(Recently she mentioned that she would decide whether or not to run in 2016 “after the first of the year.” The story went viral despite that fact that for three months she had been saying that she would not make that decision “before the end of the year.”)
October 17, 2012 by still4hill
Hillary does not mention that, ill and injured, she was handling her duties from home and at one point from her hospital room during the weeks in December when the ARB Report came to her. We owe her dedication a great debt.
She has told us many times that we should take criticism seriously but not personally. Her summary of the ARB findings stand as an excellent example. In fact the ARB did not find fault with her or with any particular personnel. The faults they did spotlight were functional and procedural. Hillary addressed these with alacrity. She accepted all 29 recommendations and ordered them implemented. She pledged not to leave office until all were in the process of implementation and met that goal.
Here is a link to the ARB Report and the cover letter she sent with it to Congress.
December 19, 2012 by still4hill
She testified on Capitol Hill as soon as her doctors permitted (which may have been earlier than they recommended).
January 23, 2013 by still4hill
As I have said many times, I take responsibility, and nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure…
… let me underscore the importance of the United States continuing to lead in the Middle East, in North Africa, and around the world. We’ve come a long way in the past four years, and we cannot afford to retreat now. When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root; our interests suffer; our security at home is threatened.
That’s why I sent Chris Stevens to Benghazi in the first place. Nobody knew the dangers better than Chris, first during the revolution, then during the transition. A weak Libyan Government, marauding militias, terrorist groups; a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel, but he did not waver. Because he understood it was critical for America to be represented there at that time.
Our men and women who serve overseas understand that we accept a level of risk to protect the country we love. And they represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation. They cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs. So it is our responsibility to make sure they have the resources they need, and to do everything we can to reduce the risks.
January 23, 2013 by still4hill
With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.
Hillary speaks eloquently in this chapter in her own defense. She really should not have to, but Benghazi became a political football the very day after it happened and the fact that she was out of politics when it happened and that those who testified before Congress were career diplomats and not politically aligned mattered nothing to the people who intended a witch hunt.
None of us can really know what we might have done as colonial residents of Salem if our neighbors were accused of witchcraft. A rapidly dwindling number of Americans knows how they reacted when asked by Congressmen or an ambitious and wrong-headed Senator to name names of “enemies” in the entertainment industry, the military, and even in the very department Hillary headed. I, however, did know what I could do to defend Hillary, so I have included in this post not only her words, but my own defenses of her – some of them.
I know Hillary does not agree with some of what I have said, and I did go ahead and name names as she has not. None of it is secret.
April 24, 2013 by still4hill
Part of the partisan offensive was a review of the Accountability Review Board reporting system initiated by some in Congress who, as Hillary points out, refused to be satisfied or simply refused to listen. It was a silly, frivolous waste of taxpayer dollars.
September 28, 2013 by still4hill
September 28, 2013 by still4hill
Benghazi was the event that drew a dividing line through the Hillary team. People I had known since her 2008 campaign peeled off. It was fast and furious in dramatic, stunning contrast to the pro-Hillary passion they had professed up until that point.