Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared, “I believe to this day the video played a role” in the Benghazi attack in testimony before the Benghazi Select Committee on Thursday.
Clinton was asked by Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) about one statement from then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney that “it wasn’t pre-planned attack, that’s Jay Carney talking publicly. The other one says, from your experts in Libya, says it was a well-planned attack. Now, they could not be further apart. They could not be. That’s what I’m having a hard time figuring out. And you know what’s interesting, the date of this? 9/14/12 9/14/12 you know what else happened on the 14th, September 14th? There’s another document that’s kind of important, that’s the same day that Ben Rhodes drafted his talking points memo, bullet point #2 to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, not a broader failure of policy, because we couldn’t have Libya…we couldn’t have that fail, can’t have that. So, the same day you’ve got Jay Carney saying, this was in no way a pre-planned attack,’ and the experts in Libya, talking Greg Hicks and the Near Eastern Affairs people are saying it was a well-planned attack. That same day, the talking points that gets Susan Rice ready for Sunday shows. make sure you focus on the video. Make sure you focus on the video, not the broader policy failure, after all we’ve got an election coming in 50-something days.”
Hillary responded, “I believe to this day the video played a role. I believe the person we have. — There were many experts. If you look, you probably haven’t had an opportunity to read the excellent report issued by the Democrats, but on September 13th the intelligence community issued the first thorough fully coordinated assessment of what happened in Benghazi. It said, ‘We assess the attacks on Tuesday against the US consulate in Benghazi began spontaneously.’ ‘The attacks began spontaneously following the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo.’ ‘Extremists with ties to al Qaeda’ were involved in the attacks. There is no contradiction.”
Pressed further on the conflict between Libya experts and Carney, Clinton answered, “The experts in Libya were among the experts looking at this and analyzing it. We went on the basis of the intelligence community, and they were scrambling to get all the that information they could. And yes, the intelligence community assessment served as basis for what Ambassador Rice said when she appeared on the Sunday show. And on September 18th, when the video footage arrived, from the security cameras, the deputy CIA director has testified it was not until September 18 when the CIA received the Libyan government’s assessment of video footage that showed the front of the facility, with no sign of protesters that it became clear we needed to revisit our analysis, and then, after they looked at the video footage, and FBI reporting from interviews of personnel on the ground in Benghazi during the attacks, the CIA changed its assessment, and that was explained thoroughly in the bipartisan report issued by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which did a very thorough job, Congressman.”
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