2012 Benghazi attack, in brief
On the night of Sept. 11, 2012, members of the Ansar al-Sharia militia attacked the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing 4 Americans: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, State Department officer Sean Smith and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. In the weeks after the attack, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took responsibility for the lapse in diplomatic security.
"I was the one who asked Chris to go to Libya as our envoy. I was the one who recommended him to be our ambassador to the president,” Clinton said at Thursday’s congressional hearing on the matter. “After the attacks, I stood next to President Obama as Marines carried his casket and those of the other three Americans off the plane at Andrews Air Force Base. I took responsibility."
Clinton told the panel that they did the best they could do at the time and that Ambassador Stevens knew that this was a dangerous assignment.
House Republicans say Clinton's infamous emails show she had exponentially more correspondence about Libya in the year before the attacks and implied she lost interest.
"There's 795 emails in this pile. We've counted them,” said Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Indiana). There's 67 in this pile in 2012 and I'm troubled by what I see here."
“"Well, Congresswoman, I did not conduct most of the business that I did on behalf of our country on email,” Clinton replied.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina) started Thursday’s congressional hearing with a list of questions he said remained unanswered:
Why was the U.S. in Libya?
Why were security requests denied?
Why was the military not ready to respond quickly on the 11th anniversary of 9/11?
Why did the Obama administration change its story about the nature of the attacks in the weeks afterward?
At least two Republicans in recent weeks have let it slip that this is all about bringing down Clinton's polling numbers as she runs for president. Clinton herself made the accusation in the presidential debates. But the committee chairman vigorously disputed it as he gaveled in this morning.
"Madame Secretary, I understand there are people in both parties who have suggested that this investigation is about you,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina). “Let me assure you it is not and let me assure you why it is not.”