Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came under fire during and after her Jan. 23 congressional testimony on the scandal that has become known as Benghazigate, with Republican lawmakers asking some tough questions but getting little in the way of real answers. Indeed, the most serious concerns about the deadly attack on U.S. personnel in Libya remain as unaddressed today as they were before Clinton’s testimony, which was supposed to come last month but was delayed due to illness that many pundits noted was suspiciously well timed.
Instead of telling Congress why the administration lied about the terror attack for days, falsely claiming that it was a “protest” gone awry, for example, Clinton claimed it did not matter anymore, urging everyone to just move on. Analysts and officials have also suggested the administration was running guns and heavy weapons to Islamic terrorists in Syria out of Benghazi, too, but despite the opportunity to get answers during the House and Senate committee hearings, it remains unclear what was going on at the U.S. mission there.
While accepting responsibility for the deadly attacks that claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, Clinton was continually trying to deflect attention from the real scandals — the days of official lies after the assault, the allegations of Obama gun-running to Islamist “rebels” in Syria, support for al-Qaeda forces during the Libyan “revolution,” and more. Even with the establishment press running cover for Clinton and the administration, however, criticism about her testimony and Benghazigate more broadly continues to boil.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was among the few who sought serious answers from Clinton, but he made little progress. “Is the U.S. involved in any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, any how transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?" the liberty-minded senator asked her, echoing well-founded suspicions that have been raised by top American military officials, analysts, journalists, Middle Eastern security officials, and others.
Clinton acted surprised — almost as if she did not realize Sen. Paul was referring to the administration’s well-known and well-documented scheme to arm Islamist “rebels” in Syria via the Islamist Turkish government, similar to Obama’s lawless schemes in Libya. “To Turkey?” asked Clinton incredulously, face contorted. “I will have to take that question for the record; nobody’s ever raised that with me.” She later backtracked slightly, saying the question would have to be raised with “the agency” that ran the annex in Benghazi — presumably she was referring to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
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Photo of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Jan. 23: AP Images