News / USA

Clinton: Internet Claim About Libya Attack Proves Nothing

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers a reporter's question on Libya during a joint news conference with Brazil's Foreign Minister Antonion de Aguiar Patriota, October 24, 2012, at the State Department in Washington.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers a reporter's question on Libya during a joint news conference with Brazil's Foreign Minister Antonion de Aguiar Patriota, October 24, 2012, at the State Department in Washington.
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— U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says an Internet claim of responsibility that followed last month's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is not hard evidence of who killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.  The Obama administration's handling of the event has become an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign.

Within hours of the September 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, a State Department clearinghouse for publicly available information notified U.S. officials that the Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia claimed credit for the violence in posts on Facebook and Twitter.

That has raised more questions about the Obama administration's initial public assessment that the violence was linked to a protest over an Internet video defaming the Prophet Muhammad - an explanation the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations repeated five days after the attack.

Secretary Clinton says the Ansar al-Sharia Internet claim proved nothing.

"Posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence, and I think it just underscores how fluid the reporting was at the time and continued for some time to be,'' he said.

Speaking to reporters at the State Department Wednesday, she said an ongoing review of those events is looking into all of the information available at the time, as well as what has been learned since.

"The independent Accountability Review Board is already hard at work looking at everything, not cherry picking one story here or one document there, but looking at everything, which I highly recommend as the appropriate approach to something as complex as an attack like this," said the secretary of state.

  • Yemeni protestors break a door of the U.S. Embassy during a protest about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Mohammed, Sana'a, Yemen, September 13, 2012.
  • Yemenis protest in front of the U.S. Embassy during a protest about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Mohammed, Sana'a, September 13, 2012.
  • Egyptian protesters burn tires as they clash with riot police outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, September 13, 2012.
  • An Egyptian protester throws back a tear gas canister toward riot police outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo, September 13, 2012.
  • A policeman stands in front of a police car set on fire by protesters in front of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt, during clashes between protesters and police, September 13, 2012.
  • White House staff are pictured after they lowered the U.S. flag to half staff on the roof of the White House in Washington, September 12, 2012, following the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
  • President Barack Obama delivers a statement with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, September 12, 2012
  • A burnt car is parked at the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen, in Benghazi, Libya, September 12, 2012.
  • An exterior view of the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen yesterday, in Benghazi September 12, 2012.
  • An interior view of the damage at the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen yesterday, in Benghazi, Libya, September 12, 2012.
  • Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was killed along with three of his staff on September 11, 2012 during a demonstration at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  This photo was taken at his home in Tripoli, June 28, 2012.
  • A vehicle sits smoldering in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.
  • An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi, Libya, late on September 11, 2012.
  • U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in flames during protest, September 11, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and some of his party's lawmakers in Congress have accused the Obama administration of misleading Americans about the violence that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

White House press secretary Jay Carney says "there were emails about all sorts of information that was becoming available in the aftermath of the attack,'' and that U.S. intelligence officials moved to "assess strands of information and make judgments about what happened and who is responsible.''

Secretary Clinton says no one wants to get to the bottom of what happened more than the Obama administration.

"What I keep in mind is that four brave Americans were killed and we will find out what happened, we will take whatever measures are necessary to fix anything that needs to be fixed, and we will bring those to justice who committed these murders,'' she said.

It is reported that Turkey has extradited to Tunisia a suspect in the Benghazi attack, but State Department officials would not comment on whether U.S. authorities are trying to question that individual.

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by: Bob from: NC
October 24, 2012 8:30 PM
Clinton continues the LIES of obama and his admin. The wh watched our people being murdered by radical muslims but did nothing about it except cover up another obama mistake He is guilty of murder!


by: Lou Volpe
October 24, 2012 5:44 PM
Would some reporter or news organization ask Clinton or Obama IF, as they say, claims by a terrorist organization, which took responsibility for the attack and posted to Facebook and twitter were unreliable, as was so much conflicting information, as they claim, THEN WHY DID THEY LIE about this attack, stating unequivocally that it was a result of some video that NO ONE SAW? Since their defense in this tragedy is that they did not have conclusive evidence, then please present the conclusive evidence that the administration used to deceive the American public for 2 weeks!

In Response

by: Vince from: Washington
October 25, 2012 6:19 PM
You should follow the progress in the investigation instead of claiming they lied about the attack. Claims of deception are worthless statements showing a lack of research effort.


by: DougW659 from: Chicago
October 24, 2012 5:40 PM
I just wish Hillary would just come out and say "You would have to be a monumental idiot to suggest that an internet claim of responsibility for an attack is in any way proof of anything. We get internet claims of responsibility every time there is a traffic accident involving a government official. Suggesting that this constitutes 'knowledge' of who launched the attack is right up there with believing JFK's brain is being kept alive by Elvis on his secret island in the South Pacific."


by: Dee from: Los Angeles
October 24, 2012 5:38 PM
There were warnings and pleas for help from Ambassador Stevens before the attack. There was a drone overhead that recorded the incident in real time...then there were emails notifiying the white house and state dept of the incident within half an hour of it's occurrance and of an organized terrorist group claiming responsibility. Neither Barrack or HIllary did anything to save those men. Barrack went to sleep and to a Las Vegas party/fundraiser the next day. Then he trotted out the story of the silly youtube movie causing protests. How stupid do these people think we are?


by: MACDONALDBANK from: DC
October 24, 2012 5:38 PM
Religious Republican zombies are coming out of the woodwork -- descending on America! Scary or what?
Romney; would be the equivalent to the Taliban -- in his treatment to women and the gay community -- with his extreme cultist attitude … if ever elected!
Religion; is the biggest bully on the block!
IRS codes prohibit churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates!
The IRS … should immediately tax churches -- that break that rule!
Churches -- are opposing gay rights -- based on a cult! Tax them or shut them down!
Roman Catholic; Baptist & Mormon churches who were involved in Proposition 8; against the gay community – should be shut down immediately and/or have their tax exemption status revoked!
Church manses; mansions; corporate jets and Christian college campuses … should face taxes or be shut down -- based on corruption and/or being involved in cultism!
Mormons are nothing more than homophobic bigots and lustful religious lunatics; who harvested women … attempting to scrutinize themselves; into eternity – without success!
Romney as President; would mean the darkest & meanest period in the United States of America’s history. Homophobic -- witchcraft would rule the government from Rome & Salt Lake City …!


by: commenter from: USA
October 24, 2012 5:33 PM
Here is what we know for sure:

1. An Al-Queda affiiate took credit for an attack 2 hrs after it occurred, on 9/11.

2. No news organization in Libya or anywhere else had yet reported the attack -- none were even aware of it yet, not nearly that early-on.

3. Nobody knew that it was a terror attack and not a video protest -- OTHER than the US security folks who were there or who were monitoring live video at DoS and DoD, plus the terrorists themseves.

How did this Al-Queda affiliate know enough to claim responsibility for a terror attack so quickly if they weren't responsible or involved in some way?


by: Gary Wige
October 24, 2012 5:22 PM
Duh! Of course a terrorist organization is going to want to take credit for a successful attack. They can get the attention that they want for someone else's dirty work. She's absolutely correct, a claim isn't proof.


by: TheIdahoKid from: Idaho
October 24, 2012 5:21 PM
Typical Politicians remark, Obumma did something, but they won't fess up, sure will be nice to get rid of Obama & the Clinton's


by: TrueAmerican
October 24, 2012 5:16 PM
Hillary Clinton does not belong in politics, She doesn't even do her job right, only thing she is good at is telling lies. Apparently we can use Facebook as hard evidence and it is used as evidence in courts, but if Hillary Clinton says its not evidence then its not evidence? Evidence a play off of evident which means clear or apparent. So it is clear and apparent that some group is claiming responsibility for a terrorist attack. Even if they did not perform this act but they claim to, they need to be held accountable by the US. Hillary Clinton couldn't even keep her husband in control how am I suppose to believe that she can help with foreign relations when her own relationship was foreign to her?? Only reason she is secretary of state is because Obama wants women to think hes about Women's Rights. If he was really about women's right dont you think he would of put a more qualified women and this position? Or at least someone qualified? She is not by any means qualified, other then the fact its a political position and politicians are liars and she is a good liar.


by: mike Delano from: Slaton Tx
October 24, 2012 5:15 PM
The Obama administration claims they want to get to the bottom of this more than anyone but they don't seem to be doing anything.
If they were not sure of what the facts were why did they send Susan Rice out issueing statements to the press saying that they were sure that the vidio was the culpert

In Response

by: realneil from: USA, Virginia
October 25, 2012 10:38 AM
Everyone assumes that the administration is doing nothing. I respectfully disagree. There is probably a whole lot of professional and competent investigation happening as we wax poetic at our keyboards. Many people are figuring this attack out down to the tiniest details. Gathering information is quiet, but serious work. It's ongoing and will never stop until all is known.
In time, the United States will carry out an attack, or series of attacks that will kill those responsible for this atrocity.
It WILL be done.

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