Conservative Republicans yesterday expressed their outrage at the death of Hillary Clinton's colleague and friend, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and three others. At separate times, they accused her of indifference, neglect, and of generating false information about the death of her friend.
"Had I been president at the time ... I would have relieved you of your post. I think it was inexcusable," said Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who has proposed cutting the Department of State Budget, including security measures, by 71%. Rand Paul is hoping to be in the position of firing more future security administrators, having said he is interested in running for President in 2016.
He was especially disturbed that Clinton had not reviewed memos recommending increased security at the American Embassy in Libya. The American Embassy in question is located in Tripoli. The attack happened in Benghazi, 400 miles away from the requested security.
Secretary Clinton may also have delegated details of security arrangements at 400 other embassies and consulates, as well as thousands of diplomatic installations, to various military specialists, rather than making personal security decisions on each one.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), who voted on November 17, 2011 to cut back security and intelligence at US Embassies around the world, was critical of the lack of accurate information. "We were misled that there were supposedly protests and something sprang out of that, an assault sprang out of that and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact."
The heated exchange between Senator Johnson and Secretary Clinton provoked headlines. Clinton repeated previous testimony by intelligence leaders that information revealed to the public was consistent with what was known at the time. She said she was less concerned with the motivations of the attackers than the fact that they were able to conduct a lethal attack at all. "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator."
Earlier in the day, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who had voted on Sept 25, 2010 to cut back funding for embassy security, attacked Clinton for not being better prepared for possible violence at US embassies.
Later, after the Senate hearing, Representative Jeff Duncan, who had voted for a total elimination of $296 million from embassy security in the last two years accused Secretary Clinton of what he called "national security malpractice." He said she personally had let the consulate in Benghazi "become a death trap." Representative Duncan had also voted to de-fund other embassy security accounts.
A year before the attack, Secretary Clinton had warned Congress that proposed cuts in security by Republicans would be "detrimental to America’s national security." Republicans rejected those warnings as unjustifiable.
Others joined in the attacks on Secretary Clinton, accusing her of ignoring security shortfalls that were clearly evident.
It is obvious she should have known. After all, her critics did.
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Who ordered nearby security forces to "stand down" at a point in time when it still would have been possible to get the Ambassador and the other Americans out of the compound without harm?
The "what difference does it make" comment might apply to everything else, but it does not apply to the order to "stand down".
The order was given. It was very poor judgment. It does matter. Who gave the order Mrs. Clinton?
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