Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was interrogated by ABC’s Diane Sawyer on Benghazi Monday night, offering vague platitudes and shifting responsibility in one of the widest-ranging interviews she’s given on the September 11, 2012 attacks.
Sawyer sent the secretary through the paces over what she called a “systemic failure” in State’s ability to provide security for high-risk diplomatic outposts, such as the one that came under attack in Benghazi, Libya, and resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
“I wonder if people are looking for a sentence that begins from you,” Sawyer said. “‘I should have, I should have.’ We saw your face on that tarmac. Something that said, ‘I should have done this differently. I would give anything on the earth to — personally, if I could have done this differently.’”
“Well, I certainly would give anything on Earth if this had not happened,” Clinton replied cautiously, “and I certainly would wish that we had made some of the changes that came to our attention to make as a result of the investigation. But I also am clear this my own mind that we had a system and that system, of course, ended with me.”
“But I — I take responsibility, but I was not making security decisions,” she continued, her voice rising. “I think it would be a mistake for a Secretary of State to sit and say, okay, let’s go through all 270 posts and let me decide what should be done. That, to me, is inappropriate where the experience and the expertise lies elsewhere.”
Unsurprisingly, Clinton also took the opportunity to hit her Republicans critics and weigh in on how she believes Benghazi will affect her potential 2016 presidential campaign.
“Are you going to testify?” Sawyer asked, referencing the House Select Committee on Benghazi which seeks to hear from the former secretary.
“Well, that’s going to be up to the people running the hearings,” Clinton replied.
“If they ask you?” Sawyer pressed.
“We’ll see what they decide to do, how they conduct themselves,” Clinton demurred. “But what I do not appreciate is politicizing this at the expense of four dead Americans. That’s not what we used to do in this country.”
“Is [Benghazi] another reason not to run, just too much?” Sawyer continued.
“No,” Clinton responded with a smile. “Actually, it’s more of a reason to run. Because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor-league ball. We ought to be in the majors. And I view this as apart from, even a diversion from, the hard work that the Congress should be doing about the problems facing our country and the world.”