In a repeat appearance to testify in the Benghazi hearings, Hillary Clinton refrained from any screaming outbursts, but she was no more willing to accept any blame for the events that left four Americans dead in Libya.
Despite a lecture from committee Chairman Trey Gowdy that the Benghazi investigation was about the deaths that occurred and the events leading up to them, rather than being about Clinton and her campaign for president, the hearing was really all about Clinton.
The former secretary claimed she was involved in the quote-unquote big decisions, such as sending Ambassador Chris Stevens to Libya in the first place, but that she didn’t micromanage and that responsibility for security and other details in Benghazi was left to underlings.
Ultimately, she blamed the ambassador for getting himself and three others killed by not getting enough security at the Benghazi facility.
“Chris Stevens had an opportunity to reach me directly any time he thought there was something of importance,” she said.
There is a record of Stevens warning the State Department on numerous occasions that security was not sufficient and needed to be beefed up, but his requests were denied.
Republican Rep. Susan Brooks got Clinton to say she “thought” she had talked to Stevens at least once after he was sworn in, but Clinton wasn’t sure.
Brooks suggested that Clinton lost interest in Libya after the country’s former leader, Moammar Gadhafi, was overthrown with the help of U.S. assistance. Brooks displayed a large stack of emails regarding Libya from 2011, then only a small pile after the Benghazi attack.
The Democrats on the committee jumped to defend Clinton on numerous occasions, while Republicans complained that the Democrats had tried to stymie the investigation into Benghazi.
Rep. Peter Roskam said that Clinton was shifting the blame to others and asked the former secretary of state whether she was responsible in any way for Benghazi.
Clinton retorted, “I think it is a disservice for you to make that comment. … It is a disservice to people who are charged with making difficult security decisions.”
That would be the same difficult security decisions she didn’t make but left to others, one assumes.
Clinton also swept aside the fact that while the State Department was telling the world that the Benghazi attack was spurred by an Internet video, her own emails to State Department personnel and others show that the agency knew it was a terrorist attack. The Obama Administration, despite what President Obama himself said during the presidential debate in 2012, for weeks maintained the fiction that the attacks were caused by an anti-Islam video on YouTube.
Clinton remained as slippery as ever during the questioning, which lasted more than eight hours.
In her own mind, Clinton probably thought she was showing how “innocent” she is in regards to the deaths of four Americans, but what really came across is the image of a lazy, ignorant, hands-off prima donna of a boss who is happy to take credit for other people’s work and quick to place blame on others for her own mistakes.
The overall picture that’s been painted is that Clinton was gung-ho to overturn the government of Libya but didn’t care to have her State Department make any plans for dealing with the resulting chaos after Gadhafi was gone. At the same time, the Obama Administration was dealing with former elements of al-Qaida in Libya to smuggle arms and personnel into Syria by way of Turkey, in order to pursue Obama’s long-time ambition of getting rid of Syria’s leader Assad.
The result was an inevitable blow up in which some of those al-Qaida elements turned on the Americans, U.S.-provided weapons in hand.
At the time, President Obama was facing a re-election campaign in which one of his major selling points was the claim that he had killed Osama bin Laden and had al-Qaida on the run.
If the truth about the fiasco in Benghazi had gotten out in the mainstream media, it could have greatly hurt his chances for re-election, thus we got the video excuse and the ongoing cover-up of events that actually are at this point well-known to the entire world except Americans who still rely on television and mainstream news outlets for their information.
Now the story focuses on Clinton, not just because of her Oval Office ambitions, but because the Benghazi lies seem to have originated at least in part with her, and because of the ongoing issue with her emails in which she foolishly or deliberately exposed classified information to hackers from multiple foreign countries.
The Benghazi investigation may not be about Clinton, but what’s important about Clinton is all represented in the Benghazi investigation — the lies, the conceits, the disdain, the egotism, the condescension, the stupidity and the foolishness.
And all that baggage is packed and waiting just a few steps from the Oval Office.