Will Hillary Testify and Provide Forthright Answers? “What Difference Does it Make?”

Will Hillary Testify and Provide Forthright Answers? “What Difference Does it Make?”
by JBS President John F. McManus

A Select Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has been tasked to investigate the Benghazi incident that cost the lives of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. It will be chaired by Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy, a former prosecuting attorney.

On September 11, 2012 (the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon), Ambassador Christopher Stevens met with Turkey’s Consul General in the Eastern city of Benghazi. The two seem to have been planning ways to get arms into the hands of rebels in Syria who were – and still are – seeking to topple the Bashar al-Assad Syrian government. The weapons were obviously going to enter Syria from Turkey. But some heavily armed individuals in Benghazi, probably comrades of one of the other anti-Assad factions, didn’t want those arms delivered to the favored recipient.

There has been plenty of discussion about what happened on that fateful date but little attention has been given to why Stevens was in Libya’s easternmost big city. It seems likely that at least one of the three factions seeking to oust Syria’s Assad became angered about the plan to get the arms into the hands of a rival anti-Assad faction. Stevens was the chief arranger of the deal and that’s likely why he was targeted.

Immediately after the four Americans had been killed, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice (now President Obama’s National Security Adviser) stated during five separate television appearances in the U.S. that the attack had been prompted because of the showing of sloppy, privately-made video in Los Angeles portraying the Prophet Mohammed unfavorably. Rice had obviously been given that implausible reason by State Department personnel. This completely false scenario has since been discredited and retracted. Did Rice hold back on better information and will it come out when the Select Committee conducts its investigation? Who told her to point to the video as the reason for the attack? Why was there an obvious attempt to cover up what Stevens was doing?

The Secretary of State at the time, of course, was Hillary Clinton, now a front-running presidential hopeful. In her about-to-be-released new book entitled “Hard Choices,” she heaps praise on the four deceased Americans and accepts full responsibility for their deaths. But will the book explain why Stevens was in Benghazi? When questioned in January 2013 about the incident during an appearance before a different congressional committee, she seemed annoyed and stated loudly with arms flailing, “What difference – at this point – what difference does it make?” In other words, those men are dead and please don’t bother me any more about this incident.

If Stevens was indeed working quietly to get arms into Syria, laws were being broken. And the Secretary of State sits at the top of the chain of putative lawbreakers. Already, top Clinton advisers are hard at work seeking to protect their boss whose book has 34 pages devoted to Benghazi. Yes, we know that the attack started at 9:40 PM and included mortar rounds fired into the building where Stevens was holed up. And we know also that by 5:00 the next morning, the four men were dead. But we still have no explanation about why the ambassador journeyed all the way across Libya from Tripoli to be with an official from Turkey.

Hillary Clinton has a lot riding on how she responds to a tough prosecutor like Trey Gowdy. It will be more than a little interesting to see how she handles what we expect will be tough questions.

For more JBS perspective on foreign policy, visit our Issues page.

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