Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified at hearings before House and Senate committees yesterday. The hearings were largely tense affairs that had Clinton on the defensive for much of the time.
In the aftermath of the attack on our consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, the Obama Administration and State Department stuck by an unlikely narrative that the obvious terrorist attack was the result of a spontaneous protest over a YouTube video that got out of hand.
The pushing of this narrative in conjunction with the State Department’s unwillingness to act on requests for security before and during the attack has caused an uproar with the right. However, in the four months since the attack, details of the State Department’s failings and the subsequent cover-up have been difficult to come by.
Yesterday, as Senator Ron Johnson questioned Clinton, he noted that the answer to whether or not the attack was, indeed, the result of a protest or not could have been ascertained by making a phone call to a survivor of the siege on Benghazi.
To Clinton, Johnson Stated,
“W]e 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 then heatedly responded,
“With all due respect, the fact is we have four dead Americans was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go 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.”
While the mainstream media has remained largely quiet on the callous remark, some in the mainstream and alternative media have voiced concern over the callousness of the remark.
Erik Wemple of The Washington Post wrote,
“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.’”
“Clinton’s frustrated question lets slip the familiar liberal contempt both for members of the other party and for the ‘regular Americans’ they represent. To her, all the folderol about a film and a spontaneous protest that mushroomed may seem like little more than bureaucratic confusion — or a stab at savvy ‘crisis control’ in the midst of a presidential campaign. But to regular Americans, how and why something like this could have happened makes a great deal of difference, indeed. — as does the issue of whether they were intentionally deceived for days. They are fair questions, and her efforts to dodge them by claiming a desire to prevent future attacks are specious. Nothing says a government can’t both prevent similar catastrophes in the future and simultaneously give a full and accurate accounting of what happened in the past. In fact, the latter is a prerequisite of the former. Surely someone who famously worked for the Watergate committee can understand how Americans might be curious about whether there was deliberate deception at the highest levels of their government.”
Clinton’s remark is sure to haunt her in future years as the frustrated response, equipped with fists pounding on the table, signaled a desire to move on from discussions of culpability in this whole quagmire of governmental ineptitude and dishonesty. At a time when Americans are demanding answers from government and an administration that promised transparency, this Benghazi scandal is not going away and Clinton’s desire to gloss over details may have created more discussion than anything else.