Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was pressed on whether she violated the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act by Representative Susan Brooks (R-IN) during Clinton’s testimony before the Benghazi Select Committee on Thursday.
Brooks asked, “Congress passed something referred to as SECA, the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act, which requires the secretary of state to issue a waiver if under two conditions if US government personnel work in separate facilities, or if US overseas facilities do not meet security setback distances specified by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. the law specifies that only the secretary of state may sign these waivers, and that requirement is not to be delegated. Was a waiver issued for the temporary mission in Benghazi, and the cia annex after the temporary mission compound was authorized through December of 2012? And did you sign that waiver, Madame Secretary?”
Hillary answered, “T think that the CIA annex, I had no responsibility for, so I cannot speak to what the decisions were with respect to the CIA annex.” She did acknowledge she was responsible for the temporary mission compound before continuing, “I had no responsibility for the CIA annex, obviously. The compound in Benghazi was neither an embassy nor a consulate. those are the only two facilities for which we would obtain a formal diplomatic notification, and those were the only kinds of facilities that we would have sought waivers for at the time, because we were trying to, as has been testified to earlier, understand whether we were going to have a permanent mission or not. That means you have to survey available facilities, try to find a secure facility, and the standards that are set by the inter-agency Overseas Security Policy Board are the goals we try to drive for. But it is very difficult, if not impossible to do that in the immediate aftermath of a conflict situation. The temporary mission in Benghazi was set up to try to find out what was going on in the area, to work with the CIA, where appropriate, and to make a decision as to whether there would be a permanent facility. So, we could not have met the goals under the Overseas Security Policy Board, nor could we have issued a waiver, because we had to set up operations in order to make the assessments as to whether or not we would have a permanent mission, whether that mission would remain open, and we made extensive and constant improvements to the physical security, some of which I mentioned before.”
Brooks responded, “So, it is obvious that a waiver was not signed, and you’ve given a defense as to why a waiver was not signed, and it was temporary because it was made up. It was something different. The compound was — had never become official, and so therefore, you did not sign a waiver.”
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