Poor 13Hours 1500 brown

it’s our job to do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again!

EVERYWHERE I TURN, whether in con­ver­sa­tion, via emails from my Re­pub­lican con­tacts, and es­pe­cially on the in­ternet, I hear people “quoting” then Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Clinton to the ef­fect that she said that the raid deaths reason what­ever in Beng­hazi “didn’t matter” or “doesn’t matter.”

As much as the righties hate all things Clin­tonian, they (and those Dems who take the cor­po­rate media at their word) could at least get the quote cor­rect and in con­text. Of course, that would di­lute the state­ment of all its pro­pa­gan­distic value for the right’s ubiq­ui­tous dis­sem­i­na­tors of mis­in­for­ma­tion.

Here is the full and ac­tual (that means it’s REAL and NOT made-up, al­though I am not sure that those qual­i­fiers matter all that much to the demagogue-ridden rightwing of this country) state­ment that Ms. Clinton made be­fore the Senate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mittee on Jan­uary 23, 2013. She was having a back-and-forth with Sen­ator Ron Johnson (R-WI):

JOHNSON: “Thank you Mr. Chairman and Madame Sec­re­tary. I would like to join my col­leagues in thanking you for your ser­vice sin­cerely, and also ap­pre­ciate the fact that you’re here tes­ti­fying and glad that you’re looking in good health.”

CLINTON: “Thank you.”

JOHNSON: “Did you … were you fully aware in real time—and again I re­alize how big your job is and every­thing was erupting in the Middle East at this time—were you fully aware of these 20 in­ci­dents re­ported in the ARB [State De­part­ment Ac­count­ability Re­view Board] in real time?”

CLINTON: “I was aware of the ones that were brought to my at­ten­tion. They were part of our on­going dis­cus­sion about the de­te­ri­o­rating threat en­vi­ron­ment in Eastern Libya. We cer­tainly were very con­scious of them. I was as­sured by our se­cu­rity pro­fes­sionals that re­pairs were underway—additional se­cu­rity up­grades had taken place.”

JOHNSON: “Thank you. Did you see per­son­ally the cable on—I be­lieve it was, Au­gust 12th—specif­i­cally asking for, ba­si­cally, re­in­force­ments for the se­cu­rity de­tail that was going to be evac­u­ating … leaving in Au­gust? Did you see that per­son­ally?”

CLINTON: “No sir.”


What dif­fer­ence, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what hap­pened and do—and do every­thing we can to pre­vent it from ever hap­pening again, Sen­ator!


JOHNSON: “Okay. When you read the ARB, it strikes me as how cer­tain the people were that the at­tack started at 9:40 Beng­hazi time. When was the first time you spoke—or have you ever spoken to—the re­turnees, the evac­uees? Did you per­son­ally speak to those folks?”

CLINTON: “I have spoken to one of them, but I waited until the ARB had done its in­ves­ti­ga­tion, be­cause I did not want there to be any­body raising and issue that I had spoken to anyone be­fore the ARB had con­ducted its in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

JOHNSON: “How many people were evac­u­ated from Libya?”

CLINTON: “Well, the num­bers are a little bit hard to pin down be­cause of our other friends.”

JOHNSON: “Ap­prox­i­mately.”

CLINTON: “Ap­prox­i­mately 25 to 30.”

JOHNSON: “Did any­body in the State De­part­ment talk to those folks very shortly af­ter­wards?”

CLINTON: “There was dis­cus­sion going on af­ter­ward, but once the in­ves­ti­ga­tion started, the FBI spoke to them be­fore we spoke to them. And so other than our people in Tripoli—which I think you’re talking about Wash­ington, right?”

JOHNSON: “Yes. The point I’m making is—a very simple phone call to these in­di­vid­uals, I think, would have as­cer­tained im­me­di­ately that there was no protest prior to this. I mean this at­tack started at 9:40 pm Beng­hazi time and it was an as­sault. And I ap­pre­ciate the fact that you called it an as­sault. But I’m going back to then-Ambassador Rice, five days later going to the Sunday shows and what I would say is pur­pose­fully mis­leading the Amer­ican public.”

CLINTON: “Well, since …”

JOHNSON: “Why wasn’t that known? And again I ap­pre­ciate the fact that the trans­parency of this hearing. But why weren’t we trans­parent at that point in time?”

CLINTON: “Well, first of all, Sen­ator, I would say that once the as­sault hap­pened and once we got our people res­cued and out, our most im­me­diate con­cern was, number one, taking care of their in­juries. As I said, I still have a DS [Diplo­matic Se­cu­rity] agent at Walter Reed se­ri­ously in­jured. Get­ting them into Frank­furt Ram­stein to get taken care of, the FBI going over im­me­di­ately to start talking to them.

We did not think it was ap­pro­priate for us to talk to them be­fore the FBI con­ducted their in­ter­views. And we did not—I think this is ac­cu­rate, sir—I cer­tainly did not know of any re­ports that con­tra­dicted the IC [in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity] talking points at the time that Am­bas­sador Rice went on the TV shows.

And, you know, I just want to say that people have ac­cused Am­bas­sador Rice and the ad­min­is­tra­tion of mis­leading Amer­i­cans. I can say, trying to be in the middle of this and un­der­standing what was going on, nothing could be fur­ther from the truth. Was in­for­ma­tion de­vel­oping? Was the sit­u­a­tion fluid? Would we reach con­clu­sions later that weren’t reached ini­tially? And I ap­pre­ciate the …”

JOHNSON: “But Madame Sec­re­tary, do you dis­agree with me that a simple phone call to those phone call to those evac­uees to de­ter­mine what hap­pened wouldn’t have as­cer­tained im­me­di­ately that there was no protest? I mean that was a piece of in­for­ma­tion that could have been easily, easily ob­tained.”

CLINTON: “But Sen­ator, again …”

JOHNSON: “Within hours, if not days?”

CLINTON: “Sen­ator, I—when you’re in these po­si­tions, the last thing you want to do is in­ter­fere with any other process going on. Number one …”

JOHNSON: “I re­alize that’s a good ex­cuse.” 

CLINTON: “Well, no it’s the fact. Number two, I would rec­om­mend highly you read both what the ARB said about and the clas­si­fied ARB, be­cause even today there are ques­tions being raised.

Now, we have no doubt they were ter­ror­ists, they were mil­i­tants, they at­tacked us, they killed our people, but what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still un­known …

JOHNSON: “No, no. Again, we were misled that there were sup­pos­edly protests and then some­thing sprang out of that—an as­sault sprang out of that—and that was easily as­cer­tained that that was not the fact … And the Amer­ican people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.”

CLINTON: “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 and de­cided they would go kill some Amer­i­cans?

What dif­fer­ence, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what hap­pened and do—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-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.”

JOHNSON: “OK, thank you Madam Sec­re­tary.”

Abridged versions abound

There are count­less web­sites that present abridged ver­sions of the con­ver­sa­tion, often ac­com­pa­nied by an edited video. Many of these sites have head­lines that make Clinton seem de­void of con­cern, or ar­ro­gant, or even having a “melt­down.” None of this is true!

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.” 

Make of this what you will, but, most likely, you won’t make of it what the rightwing echo-chamber has made of it …



 
 

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