Benghazi May Not Ruin Hillary Clinton's Chances of Becoming President

Libyan military guards check one of the U.S. Consulate's burnt out buildings in September 2012. Libyan military guards check one of the U.S. Consulate's burnt out buildings in September 2012. Mohammad Hannon/AP file photo

If Hillary Clinton runs for president, the furor over the Benghazi attack will not ruin her chances of winning, 90 percent of National Journal's National Security Insiders said.

The former secretary of State is already girding against jabs from Republicans over her handling of the 2012 attack in Libya, insisting that the investigations are "even more of a reason to run" for president. 

"Worst-case scenario, [Benghazi] becomes a nagging open wound," one Insider said, "but not big enough to derail her."

Multiple investigations of the attack, which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, found "no conspiracy to hide facts from the American people," one Insider said, "and no reason to believe the attack could have been thwarted once it emerged."

Republicans have begun to downplay Obamacare as a key element in their quiver of issues for the 2016 election, the Insider continued, "and they will eventually do the same with Benghazi. Its political salience is diminishing."

What's more, another Insider notes, Clinton "has already accepted her share of responsibility in speeches and her book. Beyond that, the GOP may continue to move right with the loss of Eric Cantor, placing Clinton in an even stronger position [on] national security issues versus a current potential GOP presidential candidate."

A slim 10 percent minority of Insiders said the Benghazi scandal will quash Clinton's chances if she decides to run. "An examination of her inattention to the business of administering the Department of State will be damaging," one said. 

Separately, the release of five Taliban detainees for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will have no impact on the threat of terrorism against the U.S., 60 percent of the pool of national security experts said. "We flatter and embolden the notorious five by believing they alone can sway the battle so significantly," one Insider said. "They are 15 years older and may influence Taliban policies, but do so at own personal risk. The threat will exist with or without them involved." 

"Those old guys are so last-decade," another Insider said. "The U.S. faces new terrorism threats quite apart from the Pushtun Taliban."

A vocal 39 percent minority said the swap will increase the threat of terrorism. "The Obama prisoner deal is a huge strategic win for the Taliban and a morale-builder for radical Islamic terrorists, and at a tactical level returns dangerous Taliban leaders to the battlefield," one Insider said. 

A recent CBS News poll found that 49 percent of Americans thought the exchange would increase the threat of terrorism against the U.S. Forty percent, that poll found, said the swap would have no effect. 

Read more on National Journal. 

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