WASHINGTON – Top Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills says Clinton did not immediately give any instructions to anyone when she learned about the Benghazi attack, according to her newly released testimony before the House Benghazi Committee.
Mills’ testimony makes clear the confusion at the State Department on the night of September 11, 2012, as Clinton and other officials struggled to figure out what was going on.
Mills testified that Clinton was in her office when assistants and other officials started coming in to tell them that an attack had occurred on the embassy in Benghazi. Mills DID NOT KNOW if Clinton had already heard the news by the time Mills heard it, so it’s possible that Clinton was just sitting there not doing anything in Mills’ office after already learning the news.
“I don’t believe I was in a meeting, but I do know that kind of it was—we learned because there were a couple of people around— and I can’t even tell you who that was now, but I can remember being surprised that there was an attack on our compound and asking what was going on,” Mills said.
“I don’t know if she had heard before me and was hearing it again. I just know that at the time I was learning it, she was also there,” Mills said of Clinton.
Clinton did not give any directions, according to Mills.
“I don’t recall her necessarily having to give me any specific instructions. I don’t know that that would have been something that she would or wouldn’t have done. If there was, I would have done what she would have asked. In other words, if she said…”
“Do you recall her giving anybody else any instructions?” a Committee questioner asked.
“I know she had said, ‘Look, we have got to get more information. We need to get more information. We need to find out what we can do and what support we have.’ I know that she obviously placed a call to General Petraeus to learn what they might be learning. Sorry, I’m just trying to make sure I’m being thoughtful,” Mills said.
“And also reaching out to make sure that the White House was aware this had happened. I think I might have also reached out to then the National Security Council at that time around that too, if I’m remembering right,” Mills added.
Emails previously released from that night show Clinton and State Department officials struggling to figure out when and how to release a statement about the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and others.
Clinton testifies before the House Benghazi Committee Thursday.