Transcript: Hillary Clinton on why Chris Stevens was in Benghazi on 9/11

Transcribed and edited by Jenny Jiang

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on why Chris Stevens was in Benghazi on 9/11. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the attacks against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was held on Jan. 23, 2013:

[Question: Was there anything on his itinerary on the 10th or 11th that actually specifically required his personal presence?]

Well, [Chris Stevens] certainly thought so, Congressman, and he did of course discuss this with his own security people for we do have Regional Security Officers in these posts. They are the ones that an Ambassador will turn to. He believed that it was important for him to go to Benghazi. There were a number of meetings that he was holding and some public events that he had on his schedule, and he was someone who really believed strongly he had to get out there. And I think as the ARB has pointed out he was given great deference by the rest of the government.

DOD took every action it could take starting from the time that the President directed Secretary Panetta and Chairman Dempsey to do so. Again, I turn to the ARB because that’s to me a much more factually-based finding: “The board found no evidence of any undue delays in decision-making or denial of support from Washington or from military combatant commanders. Quite contrary, the safe evacuation of all U.S. government personnel from Benghazi 12 hours after the initial attack and subsequently to Ramstein was the result of exceptional U.S. government coordination and military response and helped save the lives of two severely wounded Americans.”

Now, having said that, I think it’s very important we do more to coordinate with DOD along the lines of what you’re talking about because who knows what’s going to be facing us in the next months and years?


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