Washington, DC, United States (4E) – State Secretary Hillary Clinton on Wednesday admitted before a Senate panel hearing the deficient security at the Benghazi consulate in Libya when it was attacked by terrorists in September.
Testifying for the first time on the Benghazi mission attack that killed Amb. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the morning that she had not personally reviewed an Aug. 12 cable requesting reinforcements because it did not come to her. However, she said such requests were handled by other State Department officials and normally would not reach her level.
“I didn’t see those requests, they didn’t come to me, I didn’t approve them, I didn’t deny them,” Clinton said, according to Al Jazeera.
Clinton added that the department sent military and civilian experts to help post-Qaddafi Libya deal with it deteriorating security environment. She said they found out that Libya lacks the capacity and the department will need Congress’ help to pay for the building of a decent Libyan security force.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said not knowing the request cost the lives of four Americans.
“Their lives could have been saved had someone been more available, had someone been aware of these things, more on top of the job,” CBS News quoted Paul as saying.
In the hearing, Sen. Ronald H. Johnson (R-Wis.) asked Clinton why the Obama administration gave an inaccurate initial report on the attack. He was referring to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s Sept. 16 TV announcements that the attack was triggered by protests on a U.S.-made video mocking Prophet Mohammad. The White House later corrected Rice’s report.
Clinton said Rice did not misled the public as she read a set of unclassified talking points that were edited to cut specific references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism,”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was critical of the administration’s handling of its response, called Clinton’s testimony “not satisfactory.”
Meanwhile, Clinton revealed that the department is now implementing recommendations of the Accountability Review Board to improve protection of American diplomats.