Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shot back at a Republican senator during today’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Benghazi terror attacks, arguing that the Republicans’ focus on whether there was a protest against an anti-Muslim video at the time of the attack is irrelevant.
Much of the politicization surrounding the Benghazi affair centered on Republicans attackingthe Obama administration’s initial assessment that the Benghazi attacks may have been sparked by the video protest, a determination that the administration later backed away from.
When Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) asked Clinton why she didn’t make “a simple phone call” to the evacuees to find out, the Secretary of State shot back: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans!” she said, “What difference does it make?”:
JOHNSON: Madam Secretary, do you disagree that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determined what happened would have ascertained immediately there was no protest? That was a piece of information that could have been easily, easily obtained. within hours if not days.
CLINTON: Senator, you know, when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process.
JOHNSON: I realize that. I realize it’s a good excuse.
CLINTON: No it’s a fact. [...]
JOHNSON: Again, we were mislead there was supposedly protests and something spraying out of that, assault spraying out of that. That was easily ascertained that was not the fact and the american people could have known that within days and didn’t know that.
CLINTON: 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 to 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.