Secretary Clinton Testifies on the Terrorist Attack in Benghazi

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 23, 2013
Secretary Clinton Testifies Before Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 23, 2013

More:Secretary Clinton's Letter to Congress Regarding the Accountability Review Board (ARB) Report | Accountability Review Board (ARB) Report (Unclassified) | Additional Documents

On January 23, 2013, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. In her remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary Clinton said:

"Today, I want briefly to offer some context for this challenge, share what we've learned, how we are protecting our people, and where we can work together to not only honor our fallen colleagues, but continue to champion America's interests and values.

"Any clear-eyed examination of this matter must begin with this sobering fact: Since 1988, there have been 19 Accountability Review Boards investigating attacks on American diplomats and their facilities. Benghazi joins a long list of tragedies for our Department, for other agencies, and for America: hostages taken in Tehran in 1979, our Embassy and Marine barracks bombed in Beirut in 1983, Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, our embassies in East Africa in 1998, consulate staff murdered in Jeddah in 2004, the Khost attack in 2009, and too many others. Since 1977, 65 American diplomatic personnel have been killed by terrorists.

"Now of course, the list of attacks foiled, crises averted, and lives saved is even longer. We should never forget that our security professionals get it right more than 99 percent of the time, against difficult odds all over the world. That's why, like my predecessors, I literally trust them with my life.

"Let's also remember that administrations of both parties, in partnership with Congress, have made concerted and good faith efforts to learn from these attacks and deaths to implement recommendations from the review boards, to seek the necessary resources, and to do better in protecting our people from what has become constantly evolving threats. That is the least that the men and women who serve our country deserve. It's what, again, we are doing now with your help. As Secretary, I have no higher priority and no greater responsibility.

"As I have said many times, I take responsibility, and nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure.

"Now, taking responsibility meant moving quickly in those first uncertain hours and days to respond to the immediate crisis, but also to further protect our people and posts in high-threat areas across the region and the world. It meant launching an independent investigation to determine exactly what happened in Benghazi and to recommend steps for improvement. And it meant intensifying our efforts to combat terrorism and figure out effective ways to support the emerging democracies in North Africa and beyond."

You can read the Secretary's full opening remarks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and her opening remarks before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Watch the video on YouTube.



Anne A.
California, USA
January 24, 2013

Anne A. in California writes:

I am so proud of you! My husband and I have followed your career ever since you were First Lady. We are proud to have you representing our country abroad. As to your heartfelt response to your questioners today, I say GOOD FOR YOU! Stand your ground!. This whole inquisition is a red herring. Respectfully yours . . .Anne A.

Linda C.
United States
January 24, 2013

Linda and Lee C. in the U.S.A. write:

Brava to you, Secretary Clinton. You were fabulous during your testimony today ~~~ brilliant, eloquent, passionate, sensitive and oh, so perfect for your post. We applauded you when you "suffered no fools" during the absurd questions asked of you by those congressmen who were trying to score political points. So very foolish of them. Thank you for being such an outstanding Secretary of State. You will be missed. Sincerely, Linda and Lee C. Saratoga CA

Daniel B.
Maryland, USA
January 24, 2013

Daniel B. in Maryland writes:

Dear Ms. Secretary:

I doubt you will read this given the amount of information you deal with daily. I wanted to encourage you and have become a big fan of you and the Clinton family over the years. The grilling you received was unprofessional in my opinion and reflected an opportunistic event manipulated by Republicans (hopefully not all) to polish their tarnished image. Congress is a terminally ill patient and I fear for what our children will inherit. The committee's interrogation was the most partison example yet of a self-serving mentality reflecting "them or us", clearly not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. I am neither a Democrat or a Republican, and feel the attitude has become that the People serve the government and not the other way around. This was not a fact finding mission, it was a crucifixion. But do not worry, the People know who you are, what you represent, and will stand by you. The country needs a new mechanism that would allow an impotent Congress to be impeached and a reappointment in mass. The People should select what criteria would be used to inactivate a nonfunctional Congress to prevent it from being to destructive to our nation as a whole.

Stand your ground Hillary - We The People support you.


Daniel B., Ph.D.

lisa w.
California, USA
January 24, 2013

Lisa W. in California writes:

You were fantastic inspiration to all...under the pressure from those idiots your Ilntelligence and grace shining thru. rest up and please be ready to run in 2016! thanks for your service.

Jeffrey F.
Texas, USA
January 24, 2013

Jeffrey F. in Texas writes:

Madame Secretary

Today, I watched with great interest your testimony and the questioning from members of the Senate Foriegn Relations Committee. First, I must say, you handled the questions and the numerous allegations with great class and distinction. I am sorry that a person of your stature and accomplishment would have to subject yourself to such incredibly political and mean spirited dialog from people who couldn't carry your lunchbox to work.

Secondly, I wanted to thank you for all you have done in your position as Secretary of State. You have accomplished more than anyone in the position in the last four decades.

Finally, if you ever have any desire to serve in a higher office in the future, you can count on my support.

Please take care of yourself, get some rest, and speak your mind.

Thank you,
Jeff F.
Argyle, Texas

Gerhard K.
United States
January 24, 2013

Gerhard K. in the U.S.A. writes:

Senator McCain stated during the hearings that he had been with the ambassador on July 7, 2012. At that time he stated the the ambassador had indicated that security was lacking. It wasn't clear to me whether the ambassador made a request through the senator for more security resources or not, but it seems to me that the Senator should have,or maybe did make a request. In any case it seems to be be a bit disingenuous of him to make the accusations he did about a lack of response from the state department, as he did today.

Texas, USA
January 24, 2013

J.R. in Texas writes:

Fully support the Secretary. Congressional grand standing on this subject is disgusting. Many of them have no understanding of the world outside of North America. Too bad it is all politics!! Stand strong Secretary Clinton!

South Korea
January 24, 2013

Palgye in South Korea writes:

i diappoint Senato, attended a hearing
really, sleeping at mid of a hearing
i think that a hearing is just.........

if someone purnish to them
i never prohibit.

i'm very shocked Sec Hillary Clinton so
that angry. A hearing is also very shocked to me.

i think, Sec revived Pride of USA and USA economy but
attended Senator was very rude to Sec Hillary Clinton.

If i have a power, attended Senator's lip

Sorry, i can't to do for Sec, Sorry.

irene s.
Maine, USA
January 24, 2013

Irene S. in Maine writes:

Congratulations for an oscar-like performance during the Benghazi Congressional hearing. Your diffusion of responsibility is amazing. The donning of spectacles reminds me of Sen. Kennedy's wearing a neck-collar support after the Chappaquiddick incident.

Nebraska, USA
January 24, 2013

BJ in Nebraska writes:

It doesn't matter!!!!!! Not when you sit for hours hearing what's going on and then refuse aid.

You didn't know!!!!! Why not? Aren't you the top dog? You SHOULD have known.

As far as I'm concerned, you may as well have pulled the trigger yourself. More added to that list of your dead.

L. C.
Pennsylvania, USA
January 24, 2013

L. Casey in Pennsylvania writes:

"What does it matter?" Really? that is the best you have? It matters a great deal. Knowing what is happening is one of the State Dept. jobs.

Not trusting and assisting the people that are serving you is disgraceful.

I am sure it matters to the families of those that died and it certainly matters to me.

The fact that you tried to play the sympathy card is pathetic.

Very disappointed and whether you want to admit it or not you are responsible and your Dept failed us.

James J.
Virginia, USA
January 24, 2013

James in Virginia writes:

I commend Secretary Clinton for a graceful yet masterly manner in responding to the so called Senators who seemed to divulge their unfathomable assininity.

You are appreciated by many having the acumen of such circumstances!

James L.H.

Karen S.
Massachusetts, USA
January 24, 2013

Karen S. in Massachusetts writes:

Thank you Hillary! Senator McCain is asking for justice but exactly what is that? As you state, let's make sure it does not happen again.

Chip B.
United States
January 24, 2013

Chip B. in the U.S.A. writes:


Is there anyone in this Administration who is interested in the truth?

Madam Secretary, are you part of the cover up?

CNN, FOX News, even the NY Times had reporters on the ground the next day. But William Holder took weeks to get FBI to Benghazi. A week later, Susan Rice, American Ambassador to the UN, got on all of the Sunday talk shows (apparently in your behalf) and flat out LIED, telling the American people it was a “spontaneous demonstration” not an “organized terrorist attack.” In the following weeks, Jay Carney, WH Press Secretary, perpetuated the same LIE, comments from Secretary of Defense are, at best, questionable, of course he is resigning, and the Director of the CIA has resigned. The President of the United States, who is a proven LIAR (or stupid – and I do not think he is stupid) said he would bring those responsible to justice… but Madam Secretary – you say it does not matter who killed the Ambassador and three staff? So, who does the President bring to justice? Is that another LIE? Madam Secretary, again I ask. Are you part of the cover up?

Madam Secretary, you refer to a "Classified Version" of the events... why is it classified? The American people... the world, knows what happen at Benghazi. Is it classified because it shows members of the Administration who are complacent, complacent on Benghazi and complacent in the war with al Qaeda... who's flag flies over our consulate.

Madam Secretary.... I accept your resignation. Don't let the door hit you on the way out ...

Bobbi F.
Minnesota, USA
January 24, 2013

Bobbi F. in Minnesota writes:

Secretary Clinton, you exemplify the positive, strong and bright American women who serve in all levels of our various levels of government. Thank you for your years of public service; thank you for standing firm in response to the unwarranted ill-informed statements at the hearings. Please continue to work for the good of all.

Massachusetts, USA
January 25, 2013

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

@ pundits

A reminder for those interested... may I site the passage below from an American citizen who has come forward with his own testimony of courage. Does he write for the fallen themselves in forewarning of the predictable backlash and INSULTS to the leadership of our country?

Eugene in North Carolina writes:

"I am Sean Smith's father-in-law. On behalf of our family, I would like to thank President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary Clinton, and the entire State Department team for the way you have responded. Sean was honored in a dignified and appropriate way without politics. Some day, I will post a drawing from my granddaughter of the American Flag, when she was inspired by the memorial ceremonies for her father. Thank you everyone for all that you have done. What a fine community you are at State with a wonderful leader in Hillary Clinton!!"

posted Monday SEPTEMBER 17, 2012

Budget increases to diplomatic security initiatives? Justice requires patience. Work together. Respect.

New Mexico, USA
January 25, 2013

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Seems to me there's a strait forward solution to solving the basic communications bottleneck that caused the good Ambassador to be vulnerable in the first place.

A "code blue" authorization given to all Ambassadors to directly contact the President directly 24/7, bypassing normal channels through State when an emergency security situation of this type (or any actually), is deemed imminent by the Ambassador to be able contact the one person who has the inherant executive authoization of his office to deploy combat troops in order to protect soverign US territory (IE any US embassy or mission) immediately.

No red tape, no delay, two phone calls later a rapid response team is recieving orders and airborn.

If I were ever appointed Ambassador to anywhere, I wouldn't want to leave home without it.


United States
January 25, 2013

Henry in the U.S.A. writes:

I was disappointed that there seemed to be a tacit agreement all around to skirt the real issue: going all the way back to the 1970s, there has been a misguided policy of trying to manipulate militant Islamicist groupings such as Al-Qaeda. When they attack people we don't like (Soviet Union, Libya, Syria,) we fund, arm, and promote them as "rebels"/"freedom fighters." When they attack us, such as at the World Trade Center or Benghazi, we rant about them and blow up Pakistani kids with drones. This policy needs to be reconsidered across the board. Otherwise, there will undoubtedly be more incidents where our own bought-and-paid-for mercenaries turn their weapons against our own people.


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