News & Politics

9 Ways Hillary Clinton’s New Book Shows How Silly the GOP’s Benghazi Crusade Really Is

No wonder the Republicans are scared of her running for president.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock, fotostory

Politico.com has scored a journalistic coup. They obtained a copy of the chapter in Hillary Clinton’s new book, to be released in early June, that addresses what happened in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, when Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in an attack on a U.S. Embassy.

What follows are 9 excerpts with the most full-length quotes by Clinton, then Secretary of State, about what happened and why Republicans and Fox News-led attacks have been absurd and vindictive. These short excerpts underscore why the GOP is so scared of her likely 2016 presidential candidacy, and have launched yet-another House inquiry to smear her. Here are the excerpts.

1. “Those who exploit this tragedy over and over as a political tool minimize the sacrifice of those who served our country,” Clinton writes, in the chapter, Benghazi: Under Attack. “I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans. It’s just plain wrong, and it’s unworthy of our great country. Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me.”

2. There has been, she writes, a “regrettable amount of misinformation, speculation, and flat-out deceit by some in politics and the media,” but new information from “a number of reputable sources continues to expand our understanding of these events.”

3. As a former U.S. senator, she respects the “oversight role that Congress is meant to play,” but she adds, “Many of these same people are a broken record about unanswered questions. But there is a difference between unanswered questions and unlistened to answers.”

4. Responding to her critics’ obsession that there was a singular motive in play that night, she writes, “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 [anti-Islamic] video. It is equally inaccurate to state that none of them were. Both assertions defy not only the evidence but logic as well.”

5. 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.”

6. Clinton said that she never saw cables requesting additional security at that embassy compound. Those cables were addressed to her as a “procedural quirk,” but didn’t actually land on her desk. “That’s not how it works,” she said, saying a Secretary of State does not focus on that level operational level. “It shouldn’t. And it didn’t.”

7. Clinton defended then-Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice’s statement to the media as based on the best information available—from the CIA—at the time. “Susan stated what the intelligence community believed, rightly or wrongly, at the time… 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.”

8. The deaths of four “fearless public servants in the line of duty was a crushing blow,” she said, adding that she took it personally. “As Secretary I was the one ultimately responsible for my people’s safety, and I never felt that responsibility more deeply than I did that day.”

9. Clinton also addressed her remarks before a congressional committee in January 2013, when she said, “What difference at this point does it make,” when Republicans piled on the attacks, and then accused her of not wanting to offer helpful explanations. “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 said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. And many of those trying to make hay of it know that, but don’t care.”

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's democracy and voting rights. He is the author of several books on elections and the co-author of Who Controls Our Schools: How Billionaire-Sponsored Privatization Is Destroying Democracy and the Charter School Industry (AlterNet eBook, 2016).

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