May 30, 2014
A 34-page chapter of Hillary Clinton's upcoming book, Hard Choices, is all about the Benghazi attacks. According to a copy of the chapter obtained by Politico, a substantial portion is clearly meant to address ongoing committee hearings convened by the GOP-led House of Representatives, who believe that Clinton was part of a conspiracy to cover up government knowledge of the attack. There's been a "regrettable amount of misinformation, speculation, and flat-out deceit by some in politics and the media,” Clinton writes.
The former Secretary of State goes on to say that she "will not be part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans," adding, "it's just plain wrong, and it's unworthy of our great country. Those who insist of politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me." Clinton has already given testimony at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Benghazi in 2013, but that line is probably directed at the next step in the Republican investigation into the attacks: a big special committee, announced earlier this spring, that could keep the show going through the fall and into the final stretch of the midterm season. That committee is already working to establish their timeline of the events leading up to the attack, which the Republican leadership believes is incomplete, even after a Senate report and a State Department review.
Politico's Maggie Haberman explains that the book is already being used to help Democrats to address Clinton's participation in the government response to the attacks. She writes:
The section was obtained and reviewed by POLITICO on the eve of a meeting in which members of Democratic-leaning groups will be briefed by Clinton’s team about how she addresses the attacks in the book.
And in a sign of the concerted effort to rebut the ongoing controversy in a cohesive way, Clinton’s camp has brought on former National Security Council spokesman and longtime President Barack Obama hand Tommy Vietor to assist in the response to the book, a source familiar with the plan said.
And, Clinton herself will sit down with Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren for a lengthy interview to air June 17. The interview is part of her book tour, but the network's history of being very, very interested in Benghazi conspiracy theories (along with Clinton devoting an entire chapter to it) suggests that the attacks will be a topic of focus.
The chapter will address a number of specific points about the attacks:
On the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in the attack:Stevens's death was “a punch in the gut,” Clinton writes, adding, that the death of "fearless public servants in the line of duty was a crushing blow... as Secretary I was the one ultimately responsible for my people’s safety, and I never felt that responsibility more deeply than I did that day.”
The role of an anti-Islamic video in the Benghazi attacks: Citing "later investigation and reporting" (see: here) on the attacks, Clinton writes that the video was "indeed a factor." She adds that those at the consulate on that night had "different motives": "“It is inaccurate to state that every single one of them was influenced by this hateful video. It is equally inaccurate to state that none of them were. Both assertions defy not only the evidence but logic as well.”
How Obama and the military responded to the attacks: “[Obama] gave the order to do whatever was necessary to support our people in Libya. It was imperative that all possible resources be mobilized immediately. … When Americans are under fire, that is not an order the Commander in Chief has to give twice. Our military does everything humanly possible to save American lives — and would do more if they could. That anyone has ever suggested otherwise is something I will never understand.”
Whether she personally saw cables before the attacks requiring additional security:"That’s not how it works. It shouldn’t. And it didn’t," Clinton writes, noting that the cables bore her name as a "procedural quirk” and not because they went directly to her.
Why she wasn't interviewed for the Accountability Review Board investigation, and whether that's proof that she rigged the entire investigation as part of the massive cover-up for Obama: "[the board] had unfettered access to anyone and anything they thought relevant to their investigation, including me if they had chosen to do so.”
On Susan Rice's early statements to the press after the attacks: “Susan stated what the intelligence community believed, rightly or wrongly, at the time...That was the best she or anyone could do. Every step of the way, whenever something new was learned, it was quickly shared with Congress and the American people. There is a difference between getting something wrong, and committing wrong. A big difference that some have blurred to the point of casting those who made a mistake as intentionally deceitful.”
Why she didn't go on the Sunday morning shows herself: Some, she writes, "fixate on the question of why I didn’t go on TV that morning, as if appearing on a talk show is the equivalent of jury duty, where one has to have a compelling reason to get out of it. I don’t see appearing on Sunday-morning television as any more of a responsibility than appearing on late-night TV. Only in Washington is the definition of talking to Americans confined to 9 A.M. on Sunday mornings.”
On why she said "what difference at this point does it make?” about the motivations behind the attacks: "In yet another example of the terrible politicization of this tragedy, many have conveniently chosen to interpret [it] to mean that I was somehow minimizing the tragedy of Benghazi. Of course that’s not what I said...My point was simple: If someone breaks into your home and takes your family hostage, how much time are you going to spend focused on how the intruder spent his day as opposed to how best to rescue your loved ones and then prevent it from happening again?”
Hard Choices comes out on June 10. Read more on the Benghazi chapter at Politico.
May 30, 2014