As the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee begins its hearings on the latest Benghazi revelations, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is receiving well-deserved criticism over the role she may have played in what increasingly appears to be a cover-up.
During a hearing earlier this year, Clinton, who is seen as the early frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2016, erupted at Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) over his questions about the State Department’s post-attack talking points. The State Department had originally claimed that the incident at the American consulate was a protest in response to anti-Muslim video that had been posted on YouTube. It was revealed a few days later that it was a terrorist attack.
“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” Clinton said angrily at Johnson. “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk last night who decided to 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, Senator,” she added.
With new revelations of the State Department’s involvement in removing references to terrorism and al-Qaeda from administration talking points on the attack, the claim that military could have saved lives, and allegations that she tried to cut her own counterterrorism officials out of the loop; Clinton has a lot of explaining to do.
Those revelations are on top of the already existing evidence that the State Departmentdenied requests for additional security at the consulate.
In an interview with Jake Tapper, Susan Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, one of the Americans who died in the attack, directly blamed Clinton for her son’s death:
Tapper played a portion of former Sec. Clinton’s testimony before Congress in which she asked “what difference, at this point, does it make” what the impetus behind the attack on the consulate was.
“Well, that’s what I want to know,” Smith shot back. “Why did it happen? And she is in charge. Why couldn’t she do something about it? I blame her.”
“That’s her department. She’s supposed to be on top of it, and yet she claims that she knows nothing – it wasn’t told to her,” Smith said. “Who’s running the place?”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said last week that Clinton’s apparent negligence on Benghazi, both before and after the attack, should keep her out of public office. He’s right. American lives could have been saved and Americans deserved transparency about what transpired. Instead, there was a concerted effort to keep Congress and Americans in the dark.
Unfortunately, there is no way to hold Clinton accountable for what happened in Benghazi, other than ensuring that she is never, ever in a position of power again.