Clinton Less Than 24 Hours Later: 'We Know the Attack in Libya Had Nothing to Do With the Film'

By Susan Jones | October 22, 2015 | 1:54pm EDT
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( - "There was never a video-inspired protest in Benghazi," and three newly revealed communications from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton--all sent within 24 hours of the attack--indicate she knew the truth all along, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told the House Select Committee on Benghazi Thursday.

One hour after releasing a statement that suggested that "inflammatory material posted on the Internet" might have some role in the attack that was then still in progress, Clinton told her family that two Americans had been killed in Benghazi by an al-Qaeda-like group. 

That same night, she told the president of Libya that Ansar al Sharia was claiming responsibility.

The next day, she told the Egyptian prime minister: "We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest."

Yet five days after the attack that killed four Americans, Susan Rice, who was then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, went on five Sunday talk shows and gave the nation a different explanation.

"Based on the best information we have to date," Rice said on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sept. 16, 2012, "what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what--it began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video."

"But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we be believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort taht are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution," said Rice. "And that it spun from there into something much more violent."


Jordan noted that at 10:08 on the night of the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Clinton released a statement saying, "Some have sought to justify the vicious behavior (in Benghazi) as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet."

"At 10:08...the official statement of the State Department blames a video. Why?" Jordan asked Clinton.

Clinton responded that there had been a very large protest at the U.S Embassy in Cairo earlier that day. "And it was of great concern to us, because the inflammatory video had been shown on Egyptian television, which has a broader reach than just inside Egypt. And if you look at what I said, I referred to that video that night in a very specific way.

"I said 'some have sought to justify' the attack because of a video. I used those words a warning to those across the region, that there was no justification for further attacks," she said.

"I want to show you a few things here," Jordan told Clinton. "You're looking at an email you sent to your family. Here's what you said. At 11 o’clock that night, approximately one hour after you told the American people it was a video, you say to your family, 'Two officers were killed today in Benghazi by an al-Qaeda-like group.' You tell the American people one thing, you tell your family an entirely different story.

"Also, on the night of the attack, you had a call with the president of Libya. Here's what you said to him: 'Ansar al Sharia's claiming responsibility....And finally, most significantly, the next day, within 24 hours, you had a conversation with the Egyptian prime minister. You told him this: 'We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest.'

"Let me read that one more time," Jordan said: "'We know' -- not we think, not it might be -- 'we know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest.'

"State Department experts knew the truth; you knew the truth," Jordan said. "That's not what the American people got. And again, the American people want to know why. Why didn't you tell the American people exactly what you told the Egyptian prime minister?"

Clinton responded: "Well, I think if you look at the statement that I made, I clearly said it was an attack, and I also said that there were some who tried to justify it on the basis of the video, Congressman, and I think it's--"

"But, real quick, calling it an attack is like saying the sky is blue. Of course if was an attack!" Jordan interrupted.

Clinton told him, "There was a lot of conflicting information we were trying to make sense of. The situation was very fluid, it was fast-moving. There was also a claim of responsibility by Ansar al Sharia. And when I talked to the Egyptian prime minister, I said this was a claim of responsibility by Ansar al Sharia...Sometime after that, the next day, early the next morning after that, on the 12th or 13th, they retracted their claim of responsibility..."

'Your top people are talking politics'

Jordan noted that Clinton's own press secretary said on the night of the attack, "If pressed, there's no connection between Cairo and Benghazi."

"It was clear!" Jordan exclaimed. "You're the ones who muddied it up."

"Here's what I think's going on," Jordan said.

"Let me show you one more slide. Again, this is from Victoria Newland, your press person." Jordan read the subject line of the email, addressed to Jake Sullivan, one of Clinton's top State Department aides:  "Subject line reads this: 'Romney's statement on Libya.'

"This email's at 10:35, 27 minutes after your 10:08 statement -- 27 minutes after you told everyone it's a video, while Americans are still fighting, while the attack's going on, your top people are talking politics.

"It seems to me that night you had three options, Secretary: you could tell the truth, like you did with your family, like you did with the Libyan president, like you did with the Egyptian prime minister, tell them it was a terrorist attack.

"You could say, you know what, we're not quite sure....but you picked a third option. You picked the video narrative. You picked the one with no evidence, and you did it because Libya was supposed to be...this great success story for the Obama white House and the Clinton State Department.

Jordan noted that a "key campaign theme" in 2012 was "bin Laden's dead and al Qaeda is on the run."

"And now you have a terrorist attack. It's a terrorist attack in Libya. And it's just 56 days before an election. You can live with the protest about a video. That won't hurt you. But a terrorist attack will. So you can't be square with the American people.

"You can tell your family it's a terrorist attack, but not the American people. You can tell the president of Libya it's a terrorist attack, but not the American people. And you can tell the Egyptian prime minister it's a terrorist attack, but you can't tell your own people the truth."

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