Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered long-awaited congressional testimony on Wednesday about the September terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, but far too many important questions remain unanswered.
That’s the assessment of South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which questioned Clinton about the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Wilson’s greatest frustrations center on Clinton’s insistence that she never knew of repeated requests for additional security in Benghazi, Obama administration assertions that Republican denial of additional security funds contributed to the vulnerability of our consulate and Clinton’s noticeable absence from the Sunday morning shows following the attacks.
Wilson told WND one of the successes of Wednesday’s House hearing was his ability to get Clinton to admit that funding issues had nothing to do with the lack of security in Benghazi.
“The Democrats were claiming that the Republicans had not properly funded security, but I was able to point out, and the secretary acknowledged that it was an accurate email, that the chief financial officer of diplomatic security indicated that never at any time was security sacrificed due to lack of funding,” said Wilson.
“That was such a false issue, and it comes after Ambassador Susan Rice and the false information she provided to the American people about a protest over an American video when, in fact, it had nothing to do with an American video,” he said. “These were jihadists who have every intent to provide death to America and death to Israel.”
Wilson was also not impressed with Clinton saying she never saw the cables from Ambassador Stevens requesting more security, noting that she’s received more than one million pages worth of diplomatic cables.
“Of course she gets hundreds of thousands of cables, but how many do you get from the ambassadors?” asked Wilson. “When an ambassador asks for security, it should be given.”
Wilson also mentioned during the hearing that the State Department has an operations center with the specific purpose of receiving threats to the U.S. and forwarding them on to the White House and top Pentagon and CIA brass.
“Whatever reports were provided, for seven hours there was no response,” he said. “There was no military response. There were no security teams provided. This is inexcusable, and four great Americans were killed due to the inaction of this administration.”
The most intense moments of Clinton’s testimony came in the Senate hearings, when Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson repeatedly pressed Clinton to explain why the administration insisted on blaming the attack on spontaneous protests when the truth could have easily been verified.
“The fact is we had four dead Americans,” said a defiant Clinton. “Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided to go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Wilson finds Clinton’s attitude appalling.
“That quote, I think, is going to come back and haunt her,” he said. “My goodness, it’s the death of four Americans. It was on her watch. It was on the watch of President Obama. It does make a difference, and the difference it makes is that we should be making every effort to have avoided it. We had multiple opportunities to have provided the security where this couldn’t occur.
“I’m very proud of Sen. Johnson. He persisted and, sadly, the secretary of state responded, maybe very revealing, that they may just want to brush this under the rug,” Wilson said. “We know the extraordinary efforts to misinform the American people over and over and over again on the Sunday talk shows, before the United Nations, all around the world.”
Wilson wants to see a select committee formed in Congress to dig deeper until answers are found for some of the most troubling and lingering questions.