Hillary Clinton was confronted with her conflicting accounts regarding the reasons for the attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, Libya, and answered by throwing the victims' families under the bus. She suggested they were being untruthful, they got caught up in "the fog of war." The questioning was part of an interview with the editorial board of New Hampshire newspaper The Conway Daily Sun.
Sun Columnist Tom McLaughlin asked the video-vs.-planned-terrorist-attack question. He reminded Clinton that she “told an Egyptian diplomat the Benghazi attack was planned and not a protest but that she told family members of the deceased that the attack was the result of a demonstration. He said she then told George Stephanopoulos that she didn't tell the families the attack was a demonstration about a film.”
"Somebody is lying," said McLaughlin."Who is it?
Clinton replied, "Not me, that's all I can tell you."
At the time, Clinton said, everyone was emotionally distraught. She said some families didn't know their sons were working for the CIA or were in Benghazi. Clinton said the information she had about the attack was from the intelligence community.
"What happened is people were doing the best they could with information that was changing," said Clinton. "The CIA wrote and approved the talking points that were used. It was also true that from Egypt to Tunisia to Pakistan, the video was the primary spark that was sending people into protesting against our facilities. All of this was happening simultaneously."
Continuing to press, McLaughlin said three family members of victims said that Clinton told him that the attack was the result of the video and or that the filmmaker should be arrested.
Clinton replied that other family members believe differently and stressed she had sympathy for all involved. "I can't recite for you everything that was in a conversation where people were sobbing, where people were distraught, the president and the vice president, we were all making the rounds talking to people, listening to people," said Clinton. "I was in a very difficult position because we have not yet said two of the four dead were CIA ... This was a part of the fog of war."
The night of the attack, Mrs. Clinton:
- Told the Libyan President at 6:49 PM ET on the night of the attacks that “Ansar as-Sharia [sic] is claiming responsibility.” She did not reference a video. (Note: Ansar al-Sharia’s senior leader in Benghazi, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, is the only person who has been arrested for the attacks.)
- Emailed her daughter Chelsea at 11:12 PM ET on the night of the attacks that “an Al Queda-like group” was responsible. She did not reference a video (note the email is addressed to Diane Reynolds, which was a pseudonym Chelsea adopted when using the private Clinton email server.
- Told the Egyptian Prime Minister at 3:04 PM ET the day after the attacks that they “had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack – not a protest. … Based on the information we saw today we believe the group that claimed responsibility for this was affiliated with al Qaeda.”
But in when she informed the America people she didn't mention terror.
- The night of the attacks, at 10:08 PM ET: “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”
- The day after the attacks, at 9:57 AM ET: “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.” Approximately five hours after this statement, she said something totally different to the Egyptian premier.
At least four of family members who met with Clinton at Andrews Air Force Base on Sept 14, 2012, say she talked to them about the video: Patricia Smith (Sean Smith’s mother), Michael Ingmire (Sean Smith’s uncle), Kate Quigley (Glen Doherty’s sister), and Charles Woods (Tyrone Woods’ father). Mr. Woods even kept written notes from the meeting.
And when she told George Stephanopoulos that she didn't tell the families the attack was a demonstration about a film, Glen Doherty's sister told Fox News, "She knows that she knew what happened that day and she wasn’t truthful. I know what she said to me.”
Michael Morell, the former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, wrote in his May 2015 book "The Great War of Our Time" that CIA intelligence “analysts never said the video was a factor in the Benghazi attacks” (p. 205-206). And, on page 219, Morell says, “the analysts thought Benghazi was terrorism from the beginning” (p. 219).
This raises some interesting questions. If the CIA and intelligence analysts never even mentioned the YouTube video, why did Ms. Clinton tell different people different things? Or, if Hillary Clinton never told them about the video, did the victim’s families have some clandestine meeting to invent the video story? And, if this was the case, when did the families meet with, and convince President Obama and Susan Rice their video tale was the real one?
If Mike Morell told the truth that intelligence analysts and Secretary Clinton believed from the beginning Benghazi was a terrorist attack, what kept Ms. Clinton from saying so the day of, and the day after, the attack?
And. if the information was changing as she claimed, how does that explain the fact that Clinton was simultaneously saying one thing in private and something entirely different in public?