Hillary Clinton was forced to make several damning gardlessvelations during hours of sworn testimony at the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Thursday.
The media declared that she “won” because she largely retained a placid demeanor. The Democrats declared that she won because they had already decided her political survival mattered more than the truth.
Yet there were nine key revelations that emerged from the Benghazi committee.
1. Hillary Clinton told the prime minister of Egypt on Sep. 12, 2012 that a video was not responsible. It is now clear beyond any doubt that Clinton knew the Benghazi attack was carried out by a terror organization, not because of a spontaneous demonstration. As Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) stressed repeatedly, we now know that what Clinton told foreign governments and what she told her daughter were different from what she told the American people.
2. Ambassador Chris Stevens did not have Clinton’s personal email address, but Sid Blumenthal did. After stressing how deeply Clinton cared about her friend, and mourned his loss, it was striking to hear her admit that he did not have her private email address, but that Blumenthal–who had been denied a post at the State Department–did, and was her most frequent email correspondent. The contrast struck even some liberal observers as important.
3. Clinton and the State Department broke the law in failing to sign a waiver for security at Benghazi. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), who was outstanding throughout, forced Clinton to admit that she had not complied with the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999 (SECCA), passed after the embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Clinton’s extremely weak defense is that the consulate at Benghazi was “temporary.”
4. Clinton believes that Chris Stevens was joking when he asked about security at the Benghazi compound. It was certainly the hearing’s most bizarre moment: “Well, Congresswoman, one of the great attributes that Chris Stevens had was a really good sense of humor and I just see him smiling as he’s typing this because it’s clearly in response to the e-mail down below talking about picking up a few ‘fire sale items from the Brits’,” she told Brooks. The “fire sale items” were barricades left behind by the British, who were leaving Benghazi because it was unsafe.
5. Contrary to her claims to have done “everything” possible, Clinton decided not to send help to Benghazi. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)’s gentle manner was disarming, his questions exemplary. And he forced Clinton to admit that she decided not to send the FES [Foreign Emergency Support] team to rescue Americans in Benghazi.
6. Clinton solicited intelligence from Blumenthal but claims not to know where he was getting it. After he dismantled her claim that emails from Blumenthal had been “unsolicited,” committee chair Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) asked Clinton whether she knew Blumenthal’s sources. She says she did not, but had to admit she was careful to remove his name from emails sent on to the White House. If Blumenthal’s source was the late CIA official Tyler Drumheller, as Eli Lake and Josh Rogin suggest, Clinton may have broken the Espionage Act, as Ace explains.
7. Clinton has no explanation for why she installed a private server, and failed to reveal its existence. At first, Westmoreland appeared to go easy on Clinton, saying that her private e-mails were not a problem–her server was. Then he asked her whether she had revealed the server to her own attorneys before they met in August with the State Department: “Did you tell them you had a private server at that time?” Clinton could not answer clearly.
8. Clinton believes that “90 to 95 percent” of her emails were on the State Department email system. Even if that were true, it leaves out hundreds of emails. Regardless, Gowdy countered that the State Department could not verify that claim when he checked it with them, and that less than one percent of her emails were on the system. Clinton later said that she had turned over every email she had–but of course the problem is that she had them.
9. After all this time, Clinton still blames a YouTube video for the Benghazi attacks. “Congressman, I believe to this day the video played a role,” she told Jordan. She and the Democrats repeatedly stressed the video’s role in demonstrations elsewhere, such as Tunisia (which happened Sep. 14, three days later). She did not want to admit what the evidence clearly showed–namely, that she lied–so she tried to spin a context in which the lie made sense.