Transcript: Hillary Clinton on her actions on Sept. 11, 2012

Transcribed and edited by Jenny Jiang

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on how she responded to the Benghazi attack on Sept. 11, 2013. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the attacks against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was held on Jan. 23, 2013:

I talked to the President at the end of the day but I had been in constant communication with the National Security Advisor. I’ve been on secure video conferences with high-level officials in the White House and in the Defense Department.

First of all, I said the very next morning that it was an attack by heavily-armed militants. The President said that morning that it was an act of terror. At the same time, however, I was dealing with protests against our facilities that were clearly connected to that video. So we were managing a number of such event.

There was no monitor. There was no real-time. We got the surveillance videos some weeks later. That was the first time we saw any video of the attack. I think there was a misunderstanding. I think that perhaps – I’m just trying to clarify this – I may be going beyond my brief here – but I think perhaps what [Charlene Lamb] meant she was talking to DS people who were trying to understand what was going on.

I think the surveillance video, which some of you may have seen in a classified setting, does demonstrate what happened that night.

We can certainly give you greater detail but the Op Center is, as you have described, the place where communication goes in and out. They were placing calls; they were receiving calls. They were deeply engaged in trying to help us. They don’t reach out on their own but to help us acquire information so that we could respond in real-time.

Our op center does not do instant messaging. So the reason you haven’t gotten instant messaging is we don’t do instant messaging.

With respect to the video, I did not say it was video for Libya. It certainly was for many of the other places where we were watching these disturbances.

Now, with respect to Predator feed or video of the attack, we could not see that at the State Department. There was no access to that. At no time did I have a live feed of the attack – not from any system in our compound and not from the Annex nor from any UAV.

There’s been confusion, understandably, because we did talk a lot about the surveillance camera video that eventually got to us. I would give you more information about that because I think it is important to understand how this happened.

And as you know, Congressman, the Annex was not under our – my authority so information was flowing to another agency – more than one other agency. And those people were incredibly brave but overwhelmed as well.


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