Clinton’s Road to the White House Is Not Clear Following Benghazi Hearing


Bradley Dick

By Bradley Dick ’16, Perspectives Editor

After nearly 11 hours of testimony, Hillary Clinton escaped Thursday’s Benghazi hearing largely unscathed. Clinton sat quietly as the committee members argued over her alleged involvement in the Obama administration’s cover-up of the 2012 Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead.

Clinton carefully avoided Republican attempts to uncover her involvement. The former Secretary of State’s 2016 presidential election chances largely hung in the balance early Thursday morning. While Clinton may have successfully overcome one of the biggest challenges standing in her path to the White House, the path is not clear yet.

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan hammered Clinton on an email sent to her daughter, Chelsea, just a few hours after the attack. This email was sent approximately 45 minutes after Clinton’s statement blaming the attack on an apparent YouTube video insulting Islam. Her emails clearly state that the attacks were in direct relation to the anniversary of 9/11. There was absolutely no sign in Clinton’s email that she believed the attacks were in direct relation to the YouTube video.

In order to understand the importance of this week’s hearings, it is vital to first understand the basis of the attack. On the evening of September 11th, 2012, between 125 and 150 armed Islamic militants surrounded a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. At 9:40 pm, the first attack began as masses of armed terrorist stormed the compound, reportedly yelling “Allah-u Akbar.” U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith were killed in the first attack on the main compound. A few hours later, in a second attack on a separate compound in Benghazi, CIA Contractor Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed.

U.S. security in northern Africa and the Middle East was immediately bumped up. In the weeks that followed the attack, a U.S. Senate Select Committee was assigned to investigate the facts given by the Obama administration to the public. The Committee found that the attacks were preventable and furthermore the Obama administration had manipulated the information regarding the attack to cover-up its involvement.

In recent emails uncovered by the Senate Select Committee, numerous aides clearly warned Clinton that there was a serious threat to the U.S. embassy in Libya. There were also a series of terrorist attacks in and around Benghazi prior to the September 11th attack that clearly indicated a destabilization of the area. However, Clinton disregarded these warnings and opted to keep security at the normal level.

Clinton also showed no sign of hesitancy as the then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on talk shows claiming that the attacks were a “spontaneous” response to the YouTube video and in no direct relation with the anniversary of the single deadliest terrorist attack in American history.

As Secretary of State, Clinton must have had direct knowledge of the facts behind the attacks. All indications suggest that the video narrative was purely a cover-up for political reasons. Just months before an important re-election, top aides were more concerned with defeating Mitt Romney than admitting to a destabilized Libya: “This e-mail’s at 10:35, 27 minutes after your 10:08 – 27 minutes after you’ve told everyone it’s a video, while Americans are still fighting because the attack’s still going on, your top people are talking politics.”

Even if Clinton had no involvement in the cover-up for political reasons, all signals have clearly shown that she had knowledge that the attacks were in direct relation with 9/11. As the 2016 election approaches, Clinton will continue to face scrutiny on her failed decisions in Benghazi that cost American lives.



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