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Clinton: Benghazi Attack Part of Broader Challenge in Africa

Clinton: Benghazi Attack Part of Broader Terrorist Challenge in Africai
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January 23, 2013 8:35 PM
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says last September's attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi was part of wider terrorist insecurity across North Africa. As VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Clinton testified before Congress Wednesday about what she is doing to prevent such an attack in the future.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last September's attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi was part of wider terrorist insecurity across North Africa. Clinton testified before Congress Wednesday about what she is doing to prevent such an attack in the future.

Clinton said the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the ambassador, is part of a broader strategic challenge in the fight against terrorism.

"The Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region," she said. "And instability in Mali has created an expanding safe haven for terrorists who look to extend their influence and plot further attacks of the kind we saw just last week in Algeria."

U.S.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies during a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, Jan. 23, 2013.U.S.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies during a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, Jan. 23, 2013.
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U.S.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies during a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, Jan. 23, 2013.
U.S.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies during a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, Jan. 23, 2013.
Clinton told lawmakers she has accepted all of the recommendations of an independent review board, 85 percent of which will be completed by the end of March.

"We are taking a top-to-bottom look, and rethinking how we make decisions on where, when, and how our people operate in high threat areas, and how we respond to threats and crises," she said.

Political fall-out over the response to the Benghazi violence focused on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who gave a series of television interviews shortly after the attack - linking it to Islamist protests, not a terrorist attack.

Senator John McCain called that "unacceptable." He said, "The American people deserve to know answers. And they certainly don't deserve false answers. And the answers that were given the American people on September 15th by the ambassador to the United Nations were false."

Findings of the Accountability Review Board for Benghazi

  • There were no protests before the attacks.
  • Intelligence provided no specific warning of the attacks.
  • The scale and intensity of the attacks was not anticipated.
  • Systemic failures and leadership deficiencies in the State Department resulted in inadequate security.
  • The Libyan government's response to the attack was "profoundly lacking."
  • U.S. personnel in Benghazi acted with courage in a "near impossible situation."
  • There was not enough time for U.S. military assets to have made a difference.
And McCain said Clinton must be more forthcoming about what really happened in Benghazi.

"There are many questions that are unanswered. And the answers frankly that you have given this morning are not satisfactory to me," he said.

Clinton said bringing to justice those responsible is more important than determining their motives.

​"The fact is we had four dead Americans," she said. "Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they would 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."

Clinton said she needs Congress' help to see Libya's democratic transition through to a successful conclusion.

"Right now, Libya is still dangerous," she said. "It is still in a very unstable status. And whatever we can do for them we at least ought to agree we need to do and get out there and start delivering."

Cato Institute analyst Malou Innocent said U.S. challenges in Libya are substantial.

"Moving forward, we are still going to see a degree of chaos within Libya even as it has a veneer of a Western democracy," she said.

At the start of his second term, Innocent said President Obama is moving to put the Benghazi violence behind him.

"The Obama administration is going to try to salvage whatever it can from the Libya operation but not intervene too forcefully with ground forces or any sort of nation-building operations," she said.

Whatever can be done to reduce threats to U.S. diplomats abroad, Clinton said they accept a level of risk in their work and cannot do their jobs from bunkers.

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by: saleem from: Libya
January 23, 2013 11:21 PM
I think CIA gives clinton unsure updates , and she had to give a logical explanation about what happened in Benghazi-Libya . what really happened is just a muss.

by: Bukahrin from: Russia
January 23, 2013 10:40 PM
the USA is loosing all their claims to moral superiority - they used to be the champions of liberty and integrity and now they are sponsoring the Muslim Brotherhood with money and military material aid... Muslim Brotherhood - an international terrorist organization - Al Qaida - the world is stunned by their actions.

by: CcyY
January 23, 2013 9:24 PM
Clinton said bringing to justice those responsible is more important than determining their motives,but i think determining their motives is as important as bringing them to justice. Only if we make sure of their motives,will we can take targeted measures to avoid such tragedy happening again.

by: Dona from: UK
January 23, 2013 9:07 PM
truth is a foreign concept to the Clinocios... she has just authorized cutting edge military technology to the Muslim Brotherhood!!! hey, Idiot, its the Muslim brotherhood!!! you are arming a psychotic sadistic theological criminal organization. Egypt is Hamas !!! it is Al Qaeda... it is dedicated to the slaughter of the children of your beloved Israel... what the hell are you doing...???

by: new york from: new york
January 23, 2013 6:39 PM
Hilary Clinton Americas need truth from you talk truth

by: southerndemocrat from: nashville, tn
January 23, 2013 6:19 PM
McCain is such a sore loser, sore about losing to Obama, sore about Obama being re-elected. He's become a cranky old white man, the face of the Republican Party. And sadly that will be his short-lived legacy.

by: biff from: texas
January 23, 2013 6:05 PM
Hillary's comments seem so distant from Obama's campaign rhetoric which held fast to the lie that Al Qaeda had been "decimated" by the single act of killing bin Laden. I suppose now they'll tell us that GM isn't really alive...

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