News / USA

    Clinton Grilled on Security Lapses in Benghazi Attack

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on the September attack on U.S. diplomatic sites in Benghazi, Libya during a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington January 23, 2013.
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on the September attack on U.S. diplomatic sites in Benghazi, Libya during a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington January 23, 2013.
    VOA News
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified Wednesday before a Senate Committee about last year's attack on the U.S. mission in the Benghazi, Libya, in a hearing that included sharp criticism from lawmakers on her handling of the incident.  

    Among her harshest critics on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was one-time Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain.

    "There are many questions [about Benghazi] that are unanswered and the answers frankly that you have this morning are not satisfactory," he said.

    Republican Senator Bob Corker said security shortfalls point to a larger problem.

    "It seems to be Benghazi symbolizes just the woeful unpreparedness that our nation as it relates to issues in North Africa," he said.

    Watch related video by VOA's Scott Stearns from the State Department

    Clinton: Benghazi Attack Part of Broader Terrorist Challenge in Africai
    X
    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.

    Clinton agreed, saying "Make no mistake about it.  We need a better strategy."

    Republican Senator Ron Johnson questioned the administration's handling of the attack that killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

    "We were misled that there were supposedly protests and that somehow an assault sprang out of it," he said.  "And that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact.  And the American people could have known that within days."

    The outgoing secretary of state said assigning blame is not helpful. 

    "The fact is we had four dead Americans.  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 in our power to prevent it from ever happening again, senator," she said.

    Watch a video clip of Clinton's testimony

    Video of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Testimonyi
    X
    January 23, 2013 6:05 PM
    Video of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Testimony

    During her testimony, Clinton said the response to the attack from the State Department, the U.S. military and the Libyan government was "timely"  and said the Accountability Review Board investigating the attack found the response saved American lives.

    Clinton said this issue is not just a matter of policy, it's personal.

    "I stood next to President Obama as marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews [Air Force Base]. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters and wives left alone to raise their children," she said.

    Growing threat in North Africa

    Clinton issued a warning of her own, saying there is a growing jihadist threat across northern Africa.

    "We have to recognize this is a global movement," she said. "We can kill leaders, but until we help establish strong democratic institutions, until we do a better job communication our values and building relationships, we are going to be faced with this level of instability."

    Clinton said the Benghazi attack is part of a broader strategic challenge for the United States and African allies in the fight against terrorism.

    "The Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region. 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," she said.

    Clinton said the Obama administration remains in close contact with Algerian authorities about last week's hostage taking at a natural gas plant near the Libyan border and offers its deepest condolences to the families of those killed and injured.

    "We are seeking to gain a fuller understanding of what took place so that we can work together to prevent terrorist attacks like this in the future," she said.

    Panel's findings

    The Accountability Review Board that investigated the Benghazi attack said senior level "systematic failures and management deficiencies" within two State Department bureaus led to a security posture that was inadequate to deal with terrorist attacks at the facilities in Benghazi.  It said the number of diplomatic security staff members there at the time of the attack was "inadequate" in spite of repeated requests from diplomats in Libya for additional staffing.

    It made many recommendations, including increased security at temporary facilities in high-risk areas. It also urged the State Department to lengthen the duty assignments for program and security personnel at high-risk posts.

    The panel said the "short-term, transitory nature" of staffing at the Benghazi mission had resulted in "diminished institutional knowledge" and a lack of continuity.

    Initial response criticized

    The Benghazi attack and the initial response from the Obama administration became a highly charged issue in the weeks leading up to his November re-election.

    U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice was criticized by Republican lawmakers after she initially described the attack as a "spontaneous reaction" to protests near the U.S. embassy in Cairo in response to an anti-Islamic video that was produced in the United States.

    Rice said she was repeating information that had been provided to her by the U.S. intelligence community.

    But the continued Republican criticism led Rice to withdraw her name from consideration to replace Clinton as secretary of state.

    Scott Stearns contributed to this report from the State Department.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Curious from: Asia
    January 24, 2013 12:26 PM
    What would happen to her and the president if she was proven guilty of lying to the American people in her depiction of the attact to the US embassy in Lybia in order to boost Obama's re-election?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora