WASHINGTON — President Obama has problems with credibility, as the world well knows after he disingenuously insisted, “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan” about two dozen times in public.
Now, it turns out, the Democrat most political observers believe will try to replace Obama as president apparently also has problems telling the truth.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied to the American people about Benghazi, a congressman who recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Libya told WND.
He said she also lied to Congress.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, was unequivocal when WND asked him, “What makes you so certain that Hillary Clinton lied?”
“Because,” King replied, “I heard her with my own ears.”
And, what contradicted her?
King also had a blistering response to a famous question posed by Clinton.
During a Senate committee hearing Jan. 23, 2013, when asked what caused the death of four Americans in Benghazi, Clinton responded indignantly, “At this point, what difference does it make?”
WND asked King if he had an answer for her.
“The reason it makes a difference, Hillary Clinton, is because this administration lied to the American people. Her voice was one of those voices that lied to the American people.”
The congressman related how Clinton and other administration officials were dishonest when they briefed Congress within a week of the terrorist attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, computer specialist Sean Smith and CIA security contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed.
King said he could not divulge what was said during a classified briefing he attended, but, “I will just tell you that the administration’s officials told the same lies to members of Congress in a classified setting that they told the public five times on Sunday.”
He was referring to appearances on five political talk shows by then-Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on Sept. 16, 2012, during which she claimed the attack was a spontaneous protest inspired by anger over an obscure anti-Muslim video on the Internet.
“We know that’s false,” King told WND. “On top of that, we know they knew it was false. They knew within three hours that it was a calculated, strategized attack by an organized enemy on that compound and that annex in Benghazi.”
Strong confirmation of King’s version of events has just come to light, as newly declassified documents show top defense officials briefed Obama that a terrorist attack was underway in Benghazi not long after it began.
During a classified, closed-door hearing last year, Gen. Carter Ham, who was responsible for U.S. forces in North Africa, testified that he very quickly got to the point and told then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that it was a terrorist attack and not a protest.
Panetta and Dempsey then met immediately with Obama.
Last February, Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he told Obama “there was an apparent attack going on in Benghazi.”
Panetta said, “There was no question in my mind that this was a terrorist attack.”
And yet, for the next few weeks, as the 2012 presidential election reached the crucial home stretch, a number of aides to both Clinton and Obama repeatedly insisted there was no evidence the attack on Benghazi was planned, but it appeared to be protest that turned violent.
That was contradicted by testimony on May 8, 2013, by U.S. diplomat Gregory Hicks, who was in Libya at the time of the Benghazi terrorist attack.
He, and two other key witnesses agreed, there was no basis for Rice to claim the attack began as a protest of an anti-Islamic film. And yet, Obama and Clinton repeatedly made that claim in the hours and days after the incident.
Hicks pointedly said he was “stunned” by Rice’s response to the Benghazi attack.
“My jaw dropped, and I was embarrassed,” he said.
Hicks was asked if there was any indication of a protest in Benghazi in response to the Internet video.
“The YouTube video was a non-event in Libya,” he said.
“We know from the testimony,” King told WND. “We know it wasn’t the movie. It is a fact that it wasn’t the movie.”
He also pointed out that people who worked in the intelligence community as well as the State Department have testified under oath that they knew the movie did not trigger the attack.
“And they (administration officials) have not retracted them. They were dishonest,” King flatly stated.
The congressman made the blunt assertions to WND in his first published remarks following a recent trip he organized to hotspots in North Africa and the Middle East, with Reps. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
The Iowan had more answers to Clinton’s question, “What difference does it make?”
He said, of course, the loss of Ambassador Stevens and the three other Americans “who stood there bravely to defend that compound” was a “significant tragedy.”
But, he called the truth an even bigger casualty.
“[T]he biggest tragedy of this is this administration came forward within days and began to misinform the American people on what took place in Benghazi.”
That’s because, King insisted, “It’s a tragedy when the integrity of the presidency and the administration of President Obama, or any president of the United States, can be sacrificed for a political agenda.”
The congressman noted that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates described in his new book how then-senator and presidential candidate Clinton took a position against the surge in Iraq in the presidential primary contests in 2008 for political reasons.
“If political decisions are made on war policy in Iraq when you’re campaigning for office, and if political conditions were part of the decision as to whether there would be a surge in Afghanistan, that’s also part of Gate’s book, then those two things all but confirm that the story that the administration promoted coming out of Benghazi was a political story, designed to cover,” charged King.
And why did they need cover? Because they were in the peak of the president’s re-election campaign, said the congressman.
He said the administration “should have told the American people the straight-up truth as soon as they knew it,” but instead, “they continue to cover-up Benghazi and the only reason they’ve been allowed to do it is a media that is, for a large part, complicit.”
Judge Andrew Napolitano says the former secretary of state could be prosecuted if she did, in fact, lie.
“Lying to Congress carries the same criminal liability and the same punishment as lying under oath to Congress. I’m not suggesting that Mrs. Clinton lied, but I’m saying that a case could be made out, either legally in a courtroom if a prosecutor wanted to, and certainly politically in a public sphere should she decide to seek higher office,” Napolitano said, the day after Hicks testified to Congress that the video played absolutely no role in the Benghazi attack.
When WND asked King if those he spoke with in Libya share his observations about the attack on Benghazi, he said it depends on who you talk to.
He had nothing but praise for U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones, calling her “excellent” and “terrific.”
“She’s in a very dangerous place, and she has a very difficult task. She’s upbeat, she’s knowledgeable,” and King said all of their discussions encouraged him that “we’ve got a good State Department operating in Libya.”
Follow Garth Kant on Twitter @DCgarth