Home Front Page Hillary Clinton bangs fist on table during Benghazi hearing

Hillary Clinton bangs fist on table during Benghazi hearing

Hillary Clinton faced her toughest critic in Wednesday’s Senate hearing over Benghazi attack when Senator Rand Paul criticized her role in the investigation as a “failure of leadership”.

“I think that ultimately with your leaving, you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11, and I really mean that,” Rand Paul said at the hearing.

“Had I been president at the time and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post.

“It’s not satisfactory to me.”

In a response that some critics saw as a way to deflect blame onto her inferiors, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “I am the Secretary of State. And the Accountability Review Board made very clear that the level of responsibility for the failures that they outlined was set at the Assistant Secretary level and below.”
Hillary Clinton faced back-to-back hearings on Wednesday, the first in the Senate and an afternoon session in the House which remains underway.

The first hearing was rife with emotional moments, whether it be her sparring matches with Republicans or the moment where she got choked up while talking about the four Americans who lost their lives in the September 11 attack.

Hillary Clinton said the incident is not just about “policy, it’s personal”.

“I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters and the wives left alone to raise their children,” she said, her voice shaking.

“I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews.”

Hillary Clinton appeared more composed during the hearing in the House of Representatives, which is underway now.

“As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility,” Hillary Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger and more secure.”

Hillary Clinton insisted on Wednesday that the department is moving swiftly and aggressively to strengthen security at U.S. missions worldwide after the deadly September 11 raid on the consulate in Libya.

In probably her last appearance on Capitol Hill as America’s top diplomat, Hillary Clinton once again took full responsibility for the department’s missteps leading up to assault at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Hillary Clinton alternated between being feisty and emotional in her responses.

Though each of the members of the Senate committee were congratulatory at the beginning of their remarks regarding her wide-reaching travels during her time as Secretary of State, three Republicans were her toughest critics.

The first was Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, a Tea Party favorite, who took issue with the fact that Hillary Clinton and her team did not immediately interview the other evacuees who were able to leave Libya safely.

“We had four dead Americans! Whether it was attack preplanned by terrorists or it because of a guy out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill Americans- what difference at this point does it make?!” Hillary Clinton responded.

Hillary Clinton chokes up, bangs fist on table during Benghazi testimony

Hillary Clinton chokes up, bangs fist on table during Benghazi testimony

After the heated exchange, Congressman Ron Johnson said that her emotional answer was just a way to avoid answering the question.

“It was theatrics. Again, she didn’t want to answer questions so she makes a big show of it,’ he told reporters afterwards.

“I’m not trying to be obnoxious here, I’m just trying to get the answers I believe the American people deserve to hear. It’s been four months.”

The next confrontation came from Senator John McCain. The senator and Hillary Clinton has worked together for years and have a generally friendly relationship, which was initially clear.

“It’s wonderful to see you in good health and as combative as ever,” John McCain said.

From there, things took a less convivial tone as John McCain grilled her about the fact that UN Ambassador Susan Rice made several appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows following the attack on behalf of the administration, where she claimed the attack was started by a protest that got out of hand.

Susan Rice was a hot-topic throughout the nearly three-hour hearing, and Hillary Clinton stood by her fellow diplomat.

“People have accused Ambassador Rice and the administration of misleading Americans… nothing could be further from the truth,” Hillary Clinton said during her testimony.

Susan Rice and the rest of the administration were “speaking off of what had been determined as the most acceptable talking points”.

Hillary Clinton went on to say that it was in American’s nature to give answers before they are confirmed fact, and that may have caused problems in this case.

“We get out there, here’s what we think happened, it’s subject to change,” she said of the claims made by Susan Rice.

John McCain has been one of the biggest critics of President Barack Obama and Susan Rice, effectively blocking her nomination to replace Hillary Clinton by saying that their moves in the days following the attack were not sufficient.

“We did not conclude, finally, that there were no protests at all until days after the attack,” Hillary Clinton said, explaining the long timeline.

“Even today, the motivation, the actions before they got onto the compound, is still not nailed down.”

Still she maintains that the motivation should not be the main focus of the investigation and subsequent American actions regarding the issue.

Hillary Clinton said that the reason for the attacks is “less important today… than to find them and to bring them to justice”.

Arguably the most abrasive interrogation came from Senator Rand Paul, who said that she should have been fired after she admitted that she did not read every diplomatic cable that comes through the State Department.

Rand Paul is widely considered to be a likely future presidential nominee for the Republican Party, so it may not be the last time that he squares off with Hillary Clinton.

“As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility,” Hillary Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at various points.

“Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger and more secure.”

Though Hillary Clinton received no such demotion, an official U.S. inquiry concluded that the State Department was completely unprepared to deal with the attack, citing “leadership and management” deficiencies, poor coordination and unclear lines of authority in Washington.

Four lower-level U.S. officials were placed on administrative leave following the release of the inquiry, which did not find Hillary Clinton personally at fault.

This was Hillary Clinton’s second-to-last appearance on Capitol Hill as the nation’s top diplomat, as she will return on Thursday to attend the hearing of Senator John Kerry, who is expected to replace her as the Secretary of State.

While tarnishing Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, the controversy over the Benghazi attack also cost Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, her chance to succeed Clinton as secretary of state.

Republicans in Congress harshly criticized Susan Rice for her comments days after the attack in which she said the incident appeared to be the result of a spontaneous demonstration rather than a planned assault.

Susan Rice, who has said her comments were based on talking points from the U.S. intelligence community, eventually withdrew her name from consideration for the top U.S. diplomatic job.

“We were misled that there were supposedly protests and then something sprang out of that, an assault sprang out of that,” Senator Ron Johnson said, referring to Susan Rice’s appearance on Sunday television talk shows.

Hillary Clinton said the department is implementing the 29 recommendations of an independent review board that harshly criticized the department as well as going above and beyond the proposals, with a special focus on high-threat posts.

“Make no mistake about it, we have got to have a better strategy,” she said.

She also defended the State Department’s immediate response to the attacks, saying it was “timely and exceptional” and “saved American lives”.

But she noted that the U.S. is facing “increasingly complex threats”.

“We should never forget that our security professionals get it right more than 99 per cent of the time,” she said.

Hillary Clinton added that there is a “sliding scale” of about 20 U.S. missions globally that are at risk.

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Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.