Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hillary Clinton Testifies Before Congress on Benghazi

Hillary Clinton ends her reign as Secretary of State soon and Wednesday marked her last scheduled appearance to testify before Congress.  She testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the morning and the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the afternoon.

Clinton has been mum about any future political plans but if we are to take a cue from Congressional Democrats, she's a contender in 2016 in the Democratic presidential primary. Freshman congressman from California Bera said : "We didn't get a chance to really serve with you. We hope in a few years we will get that chance again."

Not exactly what Vice-President Biden wants to hear.

No new truths were gleaned from the hearings.  I didn't watch the morning session but I saw the afternoon session.  The big news from the morning Senate hearing was the theatrics between the Secretary of State and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got testy on Capitol Hill Wednesday in response to a query from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who called into question her department's accounting of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Facing expected scrutiny from Republicans during her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Clinton appeared to take exception to Johnson's pointed inquiry into the State Department's initial report that the attack had been mounted spontaneously as a reaction to an anti-Islam YouTube video.
"With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans," Clinton responded, raising her voice at Johnson, who continued to interrupt her. "Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk last night who decided to kill some Americans? 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, Senator."
Clearly, Hillary had this answer well rehearsed. The Democrats needed a strong Hillary moment. The bolded sentence is my emphasis.  It set off a firestorm in social media and a Washington Post reporter responded to it:

No matter your view of the media’s role in Benghazi; no matter your take on whether U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice leveled with the country on the Sept. 16 talk shows; no matter your view of Fox News’s Benghazi campaign, it surely does make a difference whether it was “because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans.” It makes a difference to the media, the public, the government, everyone.
The trustworthiness of the administration’s version of events — even the early one — makes a difference. Whether it was hard-core terrorism or a spontaneous attack or something else — that makes a difference too, with strong implications for intelligence accountability. Goodness gracious, in her very own statement, Clinton herself even seems to acknowledge that it makes a difference, when she says, “It is our job to figure out what happened …”
At one point in the proceedings, Clinton stated, “Maybe we didn’t do a good enough job of explaining that we didn’t have a good picture.” Yes, that would have helped. 
I firmly believe that had Fox News not stayed on the story and addressed it consistently, the White House would have successfully allowed it to be swept away.  None of the other networks would touch it until it simply became too embarrassing to ignore it any longer. It does matter that the American people were deliberately mislead to support the re-election of Barack Obama.

Rep Faleomavaega of Guam felt the need to state that politicians "shouldn't use terrorist attacks for political gain" which was a flash of irony, given that is exactly what Hillary Clinton did as Senator Hillary Clinton after the attacks of 9/11/01.  She went to the floor of the Senate and held up a New York Post  headline: "Bush Knew" as she spoke about that day.  Yeah, so that happened.

Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) countered during his questioning time by stating that it is not seeking political gain but the democratic way to fix problems by asking questions and placing blame for mistakes.  Hillary was masterful, as usual, at diverting the questions from real substance.

Democrats were strongly going for sainthood.  Saint Hillary was even praised for her "extraordinary daughter" who helped out at The Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy by Rep Gregory Meeks, (D-NY).

Republicans weren't having it. Rep Jeff Duncan from South Carolina - "you allowed the consulate to become a death trap", for example, voiced with frustration in statement as Clinton continued to deflect responsibility to the barrage of  correspondence her office receives as she insisted she was taking responsibility.

Democrats continued with their insistence that it was the penny pinching GOP led House of Representatives that wouldn't appropriate more money to keep our foreign service personnel safe overseas.  The commission hired by Hillary Clinton published the conclusion, however, that more money would not have solved the Benghazi tragedy.  It was found to be caused by systematic failure.

The four employees suspended after the findings were published are still being paid.  They have not been fired.  The only person held accountable to date has been the video maker who is in jail now after all the publicity which caused his past troubles to be known.  Hillary Clinton now denies she blamed the video, though we remember her speech at the Andrews AFB hangar in which she clearly blamed anger over the video for the attack. She never answered clearly why Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi instead of at the secure embassy in Tripoli on the date of 9/11/12.

It is always all about politics for Hillary Clinton.

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