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Topics in the News: Benghazi


Mike Pence on War & Peace : Jul 21, 2016
Hillary Clinton left Americans in harm's way in Benghazi

Mike Pence said, "It was Hillary Clinton who left Americans in harm's way in Benghazi and after four Americans fell, said: 'What difference, at this point, does it make?' "

THE FACTS: At no point has Clinton said--or even implied--that it makes no difference whether Americans died in the Benghazi attacks. Clinton's well-known quote came at a January 2013 Senate hearing when she was pressed about the motive for the attack. Her point was that it was less important to understand the reason for the attack than in knowing what to do about it. Republicans have persistently criticized the Obama administration for initially and wrongly blaming the attack on an anti-US protest.

Whether Clinton as secretary of state acted properly in that crisis is a matter of enduring debate. But she was not, as Pence suggested, cold about the fact that Americans died.

Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: ABC News Fact-Check on 2016 Republican National Convention

Hillary Clinton on Principles & Values : Feb 4, 2016
Before it was emails, it was Benghazi; it's all a ploy

Q: Democratic voters tell our reporters they're worried about the emails issue. Can you reassure these Democrats that somehow the email issue isn't going to blow up your candidacy if you're the nominee?

CLINTON: Absolutely I can. You know, before it was emails, it was Benghazi, and the Republicans were stirring up so much controversy about that. I testified for 11 hours, answered their questions. They basically said "yeah, didn't get her. We tried." That was all a political ploy.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire

Donald Trump on Homeland Security : Dec 15, 2015
Benghazi was a disaster; Gadhafi couldn't have been worse

Q: Are Americans safer with dictators running the world in the Middle East?

TRUMP: In my opinion, we've spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could've spent that $4 trillion to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems, we would've been a lot better off. We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we've done a tremendous disservice to humanity. It's not like we had victory. It's a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized.

Carly FIORINA: That is exactly what President Obama said. But let's just start with, who got it wrong? Recall that Hillary Clinton was all for toppling Gadhafi then didn't listen to her own people on the ground. And then when she lied about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, she invited more terrorist attacks.

TRUMP: Well, people feel differently. I mean, the fact is Benghazi was a disaster because of Libya, everything just fell into place. It could not have been worse.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican two-tier debate

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jul 2, 2015
FactCheck: 7 official reports on Benghazi over 3-year period

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said about Benghazi, "Many questions remain unanswered and I applaud the Select Committee's continued diligent efforts to find the truth." Have there been sufficient investigations to answer questions, or, as Democrats contend, is this issue being politicized? We found seven published reports: Whether questions "remain unanswered" is opinion; but the fact is, there has been plenty of OPPORTUNITY to "find the truth.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on Benghazi

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jul 2, 2015
FactCheck: Dozens of U.S. diplomats killed during Bush terms

Jeb Bush said that Benghazi was "the first deadly assault on a U.S. diplomat since 1979." Is that true? We checked and found that assertion to be entirely false. Following is the list of fatalities from such attacks just during the George W. Bush presidency, excluding many attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad:
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on Benghazi

Donald Trump on Education : Feb 27, 2015
Opposes Common Core

Donald Trump doesn't think the GOP is demanding enough. "Republicans have to toughen up," Trump said in a speech at CPAC. "Toughen up on the IRS, toughen up on Benghazi, toughen up on everything."

Trump bashed Jeb Bush on education, who Trump said was "in favor of common core."

"I thought Romney could do it," Trump, who backed the candidate during the last election, said. "I don't want what happened to Mitt Romney to happen again."

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: CBS News on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf.

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jun 8, 2014
More Benghazi hearings ok only to learn what to do better

Q: There is bipartisan concern about how you handled the Benghazi attacks the killed four Americans: 13 hearings, 25,000 documents turned over. There's going to be another hearing in the House. Are you going to testify?

CLINTON: Well, that's going to be up to the people running the hearing.

Q: If they ask you, you'll go?

CLINTON: Well, we'll see what they decide to do, how they conduct themselves, whether or not this is one more travesty about the loss of four Americans or whether this is in the best tradition of the Congress, an effort to try to figure out what we can do better.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : May 30, 2014
Dozens of Benghazi attackers had dozens of motives

On the Benghazi attack: "There were scores of attackers that night, almost certainly with differing motives. It is inaccurate to state that every single one of them was influenced by this hateful video. It is equally inaccurate to state that none of them were. Both assertions defy not only the evidence but logic as well."

On the President's actions during the Benghazi attack: Obama "gave the order to do whatever was necessary to support our people in Libya. It was imperative that all possible resources be mobilized immediately. When Americans are under fire, that is not an order the Commander in Chief has to give twice. Our military does everything humanly possible to save American lives--and would do more if they could. That anyone has ever suggested otherwise is something I will never understand."

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Politico.com excerpts

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : May 30, 2014
Benghazi security was simply inadequate in a dangerous city

On the Accountability Review Board investigation into the Benghazi attacks: Clinton writes that the security upgrades to the Benghazi compound were "simply inadequate in an increasingly dangerous city." She notes that Benghazi compound personnel felt their requests for additional security were not given adequate weight by the US Embassy in Tripoli, a point Republicans have argued does not absolve Clinton since those officials report to her. Clinton reiterates that she never saw cables requesting additional security. The cables were addressed to her as a "procedural quirk" given her position, but didn't actually land on her desk, she writes: "That's not how it works. It shouldn't. And it didn't."

On the claim that the investigation of the attack was rigged since Clinton appointed some of the Board members and she was not interviewed, she writes that they "had unfettered access to anyone and anything they thought relevant to their investigation, including me if they had chosen to do so."

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Politico.com excerpts

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : May 30, 2014
Benghazi talking points were written by CIA for Congress

[Hillary] defends UN Ambassador UN Susan Rice for describing the Benghazi attack as a "copycat" of the video-spurred Cairo protests. Rice, Clinton writes, was relying on existing intelligence. The talking points she used were written by CIA officials to help members of Congress address the attacks. CIA officials didn't know Rice would use them, Clinton writes.

The talking points have been a focus of Republican critics, who insist they stemmed from the White House [as spin on] a terrorist attack on the eve of Obama's reelection. "Susan stated what the intelligence community believed, rightly or wrongly, at the time," Clinton writes. "That was the best she or anyone could do. Every step of the way, whenever something new was learned, it was quickly shared with Congress and the American people. There is a difference between getting something wrong, and committing wrong. A big difference that some have blurred to the point of casting those who made a mistake as intentionally deceitful."

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Politico.com excerpts

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : May 30, 2014
Benghazi: focused on rescue & prevention, not retrospection

[Writing about Benghazi in her book, Hillary] addresses her much-seized-upon remark before a congressional committee in January 2013, when she used the phrase "what difference at this point does it make." Republicans have claimed it betrayed Clinton's lack of interest in getting to the bottom of the attack. Clinton writes that her words were blatantly twisted.

"In yet another example of the terrible politicization of this tragedy, many have conveniently chosen to interpret" that phrase "to mean that I was somehow minimizing the tragedy of Benghazi. Of course that's not what I said," she writes. "Nothing could be further from the truth. And many of those trying to make hay of it know that, but don't care."

She adds, "My point was simple: If someone breaks into your home and takes your family hostage, how much time are you going to spend focused on how the intruder spent his day as opposed to how best to rescue your loved ones and then prevent it from happening again?"

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, Politico.com excerpts

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Sep 22, 2013
Benghazi: Figure out what happened to prevent repeating

The NATO intervention in Libya was the most important foreign intervention of her tenure, and a seemingly successful one, but the lack of security in Benghazi and the confusion over how the incident occurred set off a heated Republican attack on Clinton's handling of the disaster, and she was roasted on the cable-news spit for weeks. In January, she took responsibility for the deaths of the four Americans before Congress--while also questioning her inquisition, snapping at a Republican congressman, "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."

Benghazi will be the go-to bludgeon for Republicans if and when Clinton tries using her experience at State to run for president. Republicans are liable to use Benghazi as a wedge to pry back her stately exterior, goading her into an outburst, once again revealing the polarizing figure who saw vast right-wing conspiracies.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: New York Magazine interview, "Hillary in Midair"

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jan 29, 2013
Congress' tight security money partly caused Benghazi

Q: On Benghazi: Are we moving to secure all our consulates and embassies for our diplomats overseas?

A: The accountability review board made a set of recommendations. We are embracing and implementing all of them. Now, it's not all a question of money. You have to have the right people making the right decisions. But money is a factor. And ever since the Bush administration, our requests for security monies from Congress have not been met. So you've had to make priority decisions. I am determined to leave the State Department safer and stronger.

Q: Do we go back to Benghazi?

A: This was the heart of the Libyan revolution. We knew that there were dangerous people in and around Benghazi. So there were very important reasons why we were there, not just the State Department, but other government agencies. Whether or when we go back will depend upon the security situation. But I hasten to add that I have dangerous posts all over the world. We have people in incredibly high-threat environments.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Fox News "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren"

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jan 23, 2013
Benghazi was a tragedy, but we get it right 99% of the time

Any clear-eyed examination of this matter must begin with this sobering fact: Since 1988, there have been 19 Accountability Review Boards investigating attacks on American diplomats and their facilities. Benghazi joins a long list of tragedies. Of course, the list of attacks foiled, crises averted, and lives saved is even longer. We should never forget that our security professionals get it right 99% of the time. That's why, like my predecessors, I trust them with my life.

Let's also remember that administrations of both parties, in partnership with Congress, have made concerted and good faith efforts to learn from the tragedies that have occurred, to implement recommendations from the Review Boards, to seek necessary resources, and to better protect our people from constantly evolving threats. And it's what we are doing again now. I take responsibility. Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, & more secure

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Benghazi Hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jan 23, 2013
Described Benghazi as "armed militants" in "act of terror"

On the night of September 11 itself, the Accountability Review Board said our response saved American lives in real time--and it did. The very next morning, I told the American people that "heavily armed militants assaulted our compound" and vowed to bring them to justice. And I stood with President Obama as he spoke of "an act of terror."

You may recall that in that same period, we also saw violent attacks on our embassies in Cairo, Sanaa, Tunis, and Khartoum, as well as large protests outside many other posts where thousands of our diplomats serve. So I immediately ordered a review of our security posture around the world, with particular scrutiny for high-threat posts. I also appointed the Accountability Review Board led by Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen so that we could more fully understand what went wrong and how to fix it. I have accepted every one of their recommendations. Because of the effort we began in the days after the attacks, work is already well underway.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Benghazi Hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jan 23, 2013
We responded to Benghazi immediately, and for the long run

Let me share some of the lessons we learned [about Benghazi]. Let's start on the night of Sept. 11 itself and those difficult early days. I directed our response from the State Department, stayed in close contact with officials from across our government and the Libyan government. No delays in decision making, no denials of support from Washington or from our military. The Review Board said the response saved American lives in real time and it did.

The very next morning, I told the American people that heavily armed militants assaulted our compound. I vowed to bring them to justice, and I stood with President Obama in the Rose Garden as he spoke of an act of terror.

It's also important to recall that in that same period, we were seeing violent attacks in our embassies, as well as large protests outside many other posts where our thousands of our diplomats serve. So, I immediately ordered a review of our security posture around the world with particularly scrutiny for high threat posts.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Obama Cabinet: Senate Hearing Testimony on Benghazi attack

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Jan 23, 2013
Worked with Libya before Benghazi, but they had no capacity

Sen. RUBIO: Were there any interagency meetings--before this attack--with regard to deteriorating security situation in Libya?

CLINTON: I had no knowledge of specific security requests. With regard to the situation in Libya, there were a number of meetings about this transition to elections.

RUBIO: At the Oct. 2011 & March 2012 meetings, did this issue come up with regards to the inability of the Libyan government to protect our diplomatic institutions?

CLINTON: We talked a great deal about th deteriorating threat environment in Libya.

RUBIO: Was there a specific conversation with regards to the inability of Libya to meet their obligations to provide security?

CLINTON: Oh, absolutely--a constant conversation. And what I found with the Libyans was willingness, but not capacity.

RUBIO: Before the attack, what had we done to help them build their security capacity?

CLINTON: Well, there's a long list, filled with training, with equipment, with planning that they had not done before.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Testimony at Senate Hearing on 9/11/2012 Benghazi attack

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy : Oct 22, 2012
Libyans marching FOR America means we've been successful

Q: Your opinion on the Benghazi attack?

ROMNEY: With the Arab Spring came a great deal of hope that there would be a change towards more moderation. But instead we've seen in nation after nation a number of disturbing events.

OBAMA: With respect to Libya, [I said that] we would go after those who killed Americans, and we would bring them to justice. But I think it's important to step back and think about what happened in Libya. Now, keep in mind that I and Americans took leadership in organizing an international coalition that made sure that we were able to--without putting troops on the ground, at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in Iraq--liberate a country that had been under the yoke of dictatorship for 40 years, got rid of a despot who had killed Americans. And as a consequence, you had tens of thousands of Libyans after the events in Benghazi marching and saying, "America's our friend. We stand with them." Now that represents the opportunity we have to take advantage of.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Joe Biden on Homeland Security : Oct 11, 2012
We should not cut embassy security funding

Q: One month ago, on the anniversary of 9/11, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure?

RYAN: It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack. Our ambassador in Paris has a Marine detachment guarding him. Shouldn't we have a Marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi?

BIDEN: With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey. The congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for.

Q: What were you first told about the attack? Why were people talking about protests?

BIDEN: Because that's exactly what we were told by the intelligence community. You know, usually when there's a crisis, we pull together as a nation. But even before we knew what happened to the ambassador, the governor was holding a press conference. That's not presidential leadership.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Sep 19, 2012
Libyan people appreciate that America liberated them

Q: [After the release of a movie preview perceived as mocking Muhammad], we have seen anti-American protests by thousands of Muslims in many countries. Why weren't our embassies better prepared with more security on September 11?

A: We mourn the loss of the Americans who were killed in Benghazi. But that's not representative of the attitudes of the Libyan people towards America, because they understand because of the incredible work that our diplomats did as well as our men and women in uniform, we liberated that country from a dictator who had terrorized them for 40 years. We've seen this in the past, where there is an offensive video or cartoon directed at the prophet Muhammad. And this is used as an excuse to carry out inexcusable violent acts. We told the [Libyan & other] leaders, that although we had nothing to do with the video, we find it offensive, it's not representative of America's views, but we will not tolerate violence, and we will bring those who carried out these events to justice.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama-Romney interviews by Univision Noticias (Spanish News)

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Page last updated: Apr 15, 2019