Responsibility for the September 11 Benghazi assault and the deaths of four U.S. citizens — including Libyan ambassador Chris Stevens — lies personally at the feet of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa.
“The investigation really is now not about what we know, but about how we can prevent abuse of security before the fact, how we respond during the fact, and how we hold people accountable after the fact for deliberate misinformation — if you want to be kind — [and] outright lies, if not,” said Issa, who serves as head of the Oversight and Government reform committee.
Clinton recklessly pursued an ill-advised policy of “normalization” meant to make the U.S. look like it was winning the war on terror, dividing the State and Defense Departments. The rift between the two weakened cooperation — the full weight of assets that the U.S. could have deployed to help the Americans stranded in the consulate were not dispatched, since the State department did not want to involve military forces for the sake of appearances, Issa said.
“We know from Hillary Clinton on down there was a policy of normalization to make it appear as though we had won the war on terror,” Issa said. “I was in Libya just the other day, and one thing that I came back with was a strong opinion that that ‘stand down’ had everything to do with the fight between Department of State headed Hillary Clinton and the Defense Department, and that ultimately, State was willing to put their assets in, and did not want any military assets in, because they did not want to escalate what ultimately should have been escalated to a real rescue mission.”
Issa harshly criticized Clinton’s role in the U.S. response to the attack and took a dim view of her congressional testimony.
“Secretary Clinton famously said, ‘What difference does it make?’ It makes a difference whether or not you were leading an organization that cared about the people beforehand, did everything it could during the attack, and whether you told the truth afterwards. [I]n this case, she fails all three tests.”