Assessing The Clinton Testimony On Benghazi

Hillary testifies

In the end, we either learned something worth learning, or we didn’t. It comes down to how important one thinks it is to know that your government lies to you, and to know that a party’s Presidential candidate is a liar as well.

Early in the questioning yesterday, Hillary Clinton was confronted with previously unrevealed e-mails showing that within hours of the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, she emailed her daughter, Chelsea, and said that Americans had died at the hands of “an al-Qaeda like group.”   Clinton also informed Egypt’s prime minister and Libya’s president that the attacks were “preplanned” and “had nothing to do with” an anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube.

Days later, Clinton told the American public and families of the Benghazi victims that a YouTube video incited protesters in Benghazi and spontaneously launched assaults.

Why had the e-mails not been unavailable earlier? Well, they were sent via that private server that Clinton set up and used for official government business when she was Secretary of State. They were not originally turned over in response to public records requests and subpoenas, because that’s what the private server was designed for in the first place: to provide protection for Clinton and e-mails that might cause political embarrassment or worse.

Am I being unfair so far? If you think so, wait for the next post. You’re hopeless. The Benghazi committee discovered the existence of Clinton’s private server last year. Was that important information worth knowing? Again, if you don’t think so, do not pass GO. You are corrupted by bias.

The e-mails showed…

1)  That Clinton had direct knowledge of the terrorist origins of the attacks,

2) That she did not believe otherwise.

3) That she informed Chelsea Clinton of this sensitive information, based on a classified or soon to be classified analysis by government intelligence. Chelsea did not have security clearance.

4) That Clinton almost immediately told a different story to the public and in various statements and speeches. At 10:08 p.m. the night of the attacks, she said in a statement that “some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.” That’s a great example of Clinton deceit: “Some have sought..” but not ME!

5) That she told a different story to the victims’ family, as they have confirmed publicly

6) That she  stood silent as the Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, and other Obama administration officials pressed different explanations. This was part of a political strategy: Obama adviser Ben Rhodes had instructed Rice via email to employ the video to make sure the attacks were not taken as a “broader failure” in U.S. policy.

Attempting to explain the contradictory messages, Clinton told the committee that “there was a lot of conflicting information that we were trying to make sense of…The situation was fluid. It was fast-moving,” and denied that political calculations were involved. Do you believe that? Really? A Clinton’s conduct didn’t involve political calculations?

“I still believe the video played a role,” she added. What is that supposed to mean? That she believed that when she told Chelsea otherwise, to put her off the track? When she told foreign leaders that the video “had nothing to do with” the attacks, she was lying to them? Is there any interpretation of Hillary’s e-mails and statements that don’t show her  to be dishonest and untrustworthy, or assisting in an effort to mislead the news media and the public?

I have not gone over the entire transcript, but I would say that this is the most substantive new information to come out during the grilling of Mrs. Clinton yesterday.

Was it worth getting?

Essentially all the committee Democrats contributed to the hearing yesterday were condemnations of the Committee’s  Republicans for continuing the investigation into Benghazi after being stonewalled by the administration, after discovering that the Secretary of State in charge during the episode that took four American lives had withheld and indeed hidden communications relevant to the government’s performance. We were told that this exercise in fact-finding  was purely political in nature, that the Republicans should reimburse the Treasury for its cost.

I confess to being amazed that honest and reasonable American citizens would not find this outrageous, and even ominous.

While the investigation led by Republicans was partially politically motivated—if you want to say substantially, fine: they were certainly eager to embarrass Clinton and Obama—it was also motivated by a desire to get the full story from an administration that was, as has been its practice (See—the IRS official at the center of the illegal activities of that agency refusing to testify; perjured testimony from the heads of the CIA, the NSA and the Justice Department; evasive testimony from the heads of the HHS, the VA, the Secret Service and OPM, and more…) avoiding public candor and accountability. Republicans do not trust the Administration to be candid, especially about their botches, which have been legion. They do not trust its agencies and executives, and would be foolish, indeed breaching their duties, to do so.

The conduct of the Democrats, however, was entirely politically motivated, 100%. They did not want to know about Clinton’s machinations (assuming they didn’t know already) or for the public to know. They didn’t want  to know that Obama was distorting the story during a re-election campaign so he would not have to explain why he crowed that killing bin Laden had “decimated” al-Qaeda, yet years layer here that decimated group was killing an American Ambassador in a planned attack. They didn’t want the public to know either, because their current President and their anointed one would both be embarrassed, and would deserve to be.

So they obstructed the inquiry. There  is no other way of interpreting what they said yesterday, and one has to assume that this has been their conduct from the beginning. They have complained about the length of the inquiry, though half the committee taking the investigation’s mission seriously, adding their influence to the Committee’s requests, would have made the investigation easier, faster, and less expensive, as well as removing the patented Clinton “partisan politics of personal destruction” tactic from this latest Clinton scandal.

Complaining about the cost takes a special level of gall and hypocrisy. The Administration just blew 45 million dollars on training 50 fighters in Syria as a cynical effort to appear to be doing something about ISIS, which, we have learned, is doing far better than the Pentagon was letting onby all means, why won’t Republicans just accept the stories put forth by Obama, Clinton and the rest? When the Pentagon digs in and stonewalls, will Democrats in Congress, aided by the biased news media, again say, “This is enough! It’s a witch hunt!”?

This was why it was important, crucially so, to show that stonewalling won’t work, even when a Justice Department is refusing to do its duty (as in Watergate) and the press is facilitating government lies and corruption rather informing than the public that has the right to know when it is being disrespected and lied to.

Today the Democratic spin machine is making hay over Committee Chair Trey Gowdy’s answer to the question about whether the Committee learned anything “new”:

“I think some of Jimmy Jordan’s questioning [the discussion of the Chelsea e-mail and the others]– well, when you say new today, we knew some of that already. We knew about the emails. In terms of her testimony? I don’t know that she testified that much differently today than she has the previous time she testified.”

That’s an honest answer—Gowdy, unlike his Democrat Co-Chair Elijah Cummings, is a truth-seeker rather than a partisan hack—but he did not say that the public learned nothing, or would not if Clinton’s two-faced handling of the video weren’t buried by her media allies. (Please observe if the Times, MSNBC, ThinkProgress, the Daily Kos, ABC, CNN, NBC and the rest bury the Chelsea e-mail or omit mentioning it entirely.) Of course the Committee knew, but the key was to make Clinton acknowledge it under oath. Otherwise, if it was just in their final report, Hillary and her paid spinners would evade the issue the way she has lied about her server, changing the story daily.

I learned something. I suspected strongly that Clinton was hiding what she knew about the attack, but it was not confirmed until yesterday. Was that worth learning? For me,  I can trust our government a little bit more, because I know that some part of it, for partisan reasons or not, I really don’t care, will not allow the Nixon-Clinton strategy of “deny deny deny” until the public gets bored—it’s called the “Move-On” strategy—work against the public, no matter how much officials and journalists whose first loyalty is supposed to be the American people try to push it along.

Is it worth having verification that Hillary Clinton lies? Well, if the Democrats’  argument,  and Rachel’s and Chris’s and Ashley’s and the rest is that everyone already knows Hillary is corrupt and untrustworthy but they don’t care and she should be President anyway, let them admit that. Let her supporters in the public admit that too, so the lines are clear.

Is it worth hearings and millions of dollars to get confirmation that a major party will be offering someone as the next President who cannot be trusted?

You’re damn right it is.


Sources: Washington PostTalking Points Memo


31 thoughts on “Assessing The Clinton Testimony On Benghazi

  1. My dad and I concluded that it was probably a draw, no one won, no one clearly lost. My liberal colleagues today all say that the GOP didn’t lay a glove on Clinton and that it was just more wasting of taxpayer money.

  2. I would have personally spent 4 million, if I had it to spend, to watch her sqirm and sweat for hours. Materially speaking, the Democrats will still vote for her no matter what (see further evidence of that in those school newspaper articles I sent you), and people looking for an ounce of integrity in the next President will not. Now, what will make it priceless is if the FBI finds some direct evidence of perjury and other jail-worthy criminal activity. I’d trade years off of my lifespan for that!

    • If and when she goes to prison, I will bribe a guard to bottle her tears for me. I will add 1 drop of her tears to my morning coffee to start each day.

    • The state department and FBI already found quite a lot of jail-worthy material. The DOJ just won’t prosecute over it. She had severely classified material on her server. She had material that had been moved off the classified network illegally on her server. She had the data on that server maintained by people without security clearance (they had full access to all the material), she gave it to an attorney without sufficient security clearance, she left if on an unprotected Windows server for years (which is the internet equivalent of leaving it in a cardboard box in your carport). Each instance is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

      Reports have come out that President Obama was aware of her use of a private server and she was told to stop using that (and stop communicating about confidential and classified matters with Sydney Blumenthal) and she just refused. If this is the case, she can’t claim that she thought it was permissible.

      Here is the relevant training document that I’m sure Secretary Clinton was required to complete.

      Click to access UDB_091211.pdf

      I would like the media to explain (in terms of this training video) why it was OK for Secretary Clinton to act the way she did.

  3. Wait. When all this happened, wasn’t Chelsea working for NBC? If so, was Hillary leaking classified information to the media?

    • Yep – that is what I thought, too. It may be spun as a distraught mom sending notes to her loving daughter, seeking comfort. But, these are Clintons so nothing they do should be taken at face value. That would justify the $600,000 salary, no?


      • That would be some pretty ridiculous spin, but I wouldn’t put it past her. The fact that she sent this e-mail to Chelsea is probably the real scandal here.

        I still think there was conflicting information that came out after that could easily explain her change in position, though.

        • I don’t know about easily. She had it right, then she started pushing the wrong conclusion, and emphatically, which was the initial media leapt-to story because of the Egypt riot—it was all supposition, because there were no protests in Benghazi—then came back to the conclusion that she had on good authority from the beginning? That’s pretty strange.

  4. I don’t want to stoke the pot anymore than is absolutely necessary, but this whole incident is bigger than Hillary Clinton’s failure = it wreaks all the way to the top. Rice, Clinton, and the Obama Administration spun the video yarn to deflect accountability. Rice and Clinton weren’t the only ones promoting the “video as the root cause” nonsense. President Obama took the video over to the U.N. as a means to lead a national discussion on limitations of free speech, event to the point of arresting the creator of the video on some parole violation because he posted a video online.


    • “President Obama took the video over to the U.N. as a means to lead a national discussion on limitations of free speech”

      What misleading framing. If you listened to or read his speech to the UN, then you know that he clearly came out against limitations on free speech in response to the video:

      “I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech. Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. Moreover, as President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views – even views that we disagree with.

      We do so not because we support hateful speech, but because our Founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views, and practice their own faith, may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can become a tool to silence critics, or oppress minorities. We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech – the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.

      I know that not all countries in this body share this understanding of the protection of free speech. Yet in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how we respond. And on this we must agree: there is no speech that justifies mindless violence.”

        • It’s an interesting stance with him, he consistently talks about how Americans should be allowed to criticize him and other government people and entities, but also consistently says that the citizens untied decision was wrong… Almost like he’s forgotten that the case was born of a video critical of Hillary Clinton, and he really believes that he could somehow stop the slide of rights before it impacted individuals.

          • Some people seem to think the slope is rough rather than slippery, and are certain that as long as the right people (i.e. them) are in charge, it will be fine! See also: a long list of presidents and congressman who act as though the opposition party will never gain access to whatever new authority they are trying to establish for themselves.

  5. Jack: You say it is worth “hearings and millions of dollars to get confirmation that a major party will be offering someone as the next President who cannot be trusted”.

    Whether or not this is the case, it isn’t supposed to be the issue being addressed by the Committee.

    I don’t think we heard anything new from that marathon grilling that could in any way be relevant to protecting US diplomatic staffs better. It sounds as if the Committee should finalise its report and close up.

    • I’d agree with the last part. But the hearings were supposed to get to the truth of Benghazi, and since there were obfuscations, official lies and distortions by Clinton among others, her e-mails contradicting what she, the President and Rice said to muddy the waters is absolutely relevant.

  6. Chelsea Clinton needs a security clearance? She’s a CLINTON! A security clearance? Are you kidding me? We don’t need no stinkin’ security clearance!

  7. I also get a kick out of the “spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars” talking point every one’s been chanting lately. If the Democrats are investigated and exposed with taxpayer dollars, that’s verboten. But if they are investigated and exposed with private dollars, that’s also verboten because the the Kochs footed the bill.Clearly, the only suitable, clean hands are people who work for free.

  8. It just hit me. Can’t the people who made the video now sue for slander? I mean, they were accused as the cause of a riot that resulted in numerous deaths and untold damage to property. The accusations led lots of people around the world to denounce them. The accusations probably put their lives in jeopardy. These accusations were broadcast by high-level government officials with full knowledge that they were false. I would think that this is a slam-dunk slander case if the courts system were based on facts, not politics.

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