A top aide to Hillary Clinton defended the former secretary of state Friday after a damaging Senate Intelligence Committee report released this week said the 2012 Benghazi attacks could have been prevented.
Appearing on CNN’s “New Day” on Friday, longtime Clinton adviser Philippe Reines also made the argument that Benghazi should not be an issue in the 2016 presidential race. Clinton is expected to run.
“In terms of the politics of it, it’s very — even sitting here — very difficult to shift to talking about people losing their lives in the politics of 2016,” Reines said Friday. “For as much as people want to make the two the same and to use one in that context, we don’t see it that way.”
“I know that sounds canned,” Reines added, “but we just don’t, and we’re not going to help those who want to. And I would think that, again, in the context of trying to be constructive to prevent this from happening again, which is the most important thing, is not to make it a political football.”
Reines appeared on CNN to address a Senate Intelligence Committee report that said the 2012 Benghazi attacks that left four Americans dead — including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens — could have been stopped.
The report said there was “extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya” that hinted that an attack was possible on the anniversary of 9/11. Conservatives have argued that this means Clinton — who led the Department of State during the attacks — deserves blame for not doing more to keep one of her ambassador’s alive.
But Reines argued Friday that there was “no specific warning” for the Americans in Libya that day.
“With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, there are many things that could have been done differently,” he said. “And the report that the Senate Intelligence Committee released this week echoes previous reports, which is to say that there was no specific warning. There was no specific intercept or any kind of classified information to say this is going to happen here, anything that was what they call actionable.”