Hillary: Benghazi security 'not my ball to carry'
Being a Clinton means never having to say "it's my fault."
In a "Sixty Minutes" interview broadcast last night, Hillary Clinton said that she never saw the reports about the danger to the Benghazi facility and that the security of the compound was "not my ball to carry."
In her first joint interview with running mate Tim Kaine on "60 Minutes" Sunday, Clinton said while she took responsibility for the attacks because she was secretary of State when it happened, none of the nine separate investigations found her culpable.
"So when this happened in Benghazi, I immediately stood up an independent committee -- distinguished Americans, military and civilian experts. They came out and they said, "You know, the ball was dropped -- in security. And, you know, some of the decisions that were made, probably should have been rethought."
Clinton went on to say concerns about security at the American Diplomatic Compound in Benghazi never reached her.
It was not my ball to carry. … Those [security reports] never reached me. Those never came to my attention,” she said.
She said the U.S. had horrible losses in Beirut under Ronald Reagan and the Democratic Congress didn't politicize it the way Republicans have done with her.
"This has all been investigated over and over again. But as Tim was just saying, it didn't get the result that some of the Republicans wanted, so they kept at it. And I feel very sorry that they have politicized it unlike any prior example."
The "independent" board that she says exonerated her was a joke. It laid the blame for the security problems at the compound on 4 mid level state department bureaucrats, whitewashing the culpabability of senior officials for the disaster. The Clinton loyalist who chaired the Administrative Review Board, Thomas Pickering, made sure neither Hillary Clinton or President Obama came in for even a hint of criticism.
If the alarming reports from Libya about the lack of security at the diplomatic compound never reached her desk, her top aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills should have been fired. Someone, somewhere, higher than a mid level functionary must have seen those requests for additional security help. And the failure to pass the requests on to Clinton - if there was a failure - constitutes gross negligence.
Note that Clinton appears to take responsibility for what happened at Benghazi, and then promptly disavows any responsibility. This is a familiar Clinton tactic going back to the nineties. She then raises the distraction of Republicans investigating the attacks when Democrats didn't make the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut a partisan issue. Politifact checked that claim earlier this year:
Clinton said that when terrorists killed more than 250 Americans in Lebanon under Ronald Reagan, "the Democrats didn’t make that a partisan issue."
Clinton has a strong point that the Democrat-held House did not react as forcefully to the 1983 Beirut bombings as the Republican-held House reacted to the 2012 Benghazi attack, which killed four. The House conducted a single investigation into the Beirut bombings, which killed more than 250 Americans, while it has conducted six inquiries into Benghazi, which killed four.
But it’s not totally accurate to say the Democrats didn’t make it a partisan issue. Mondale, running against Reagan in 1984, and some congressional Democrats repeatedly said Reagan had failed personally regarding Lebanon.
We rate Clinton’s partially accurate claim Half True.
What Politifact doesn't mention is that this is a far different Congress than the one that sat in 1983. Rather than judge the Democrats for what they did to Reagan, more recent history is a far better example. How many committees investigated President George Bush for one thing or another? At least "3 dozen" according to this Politico survey from 2007.
The idea that the "Buck Stops Here" no longer applies in Obama/Clinton's Washington.