Transcript: Hillary Clinton on why SST wasn’t deployed to Benghazi

Transcribed and edited by Jenny Jiang

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on why SST wasn’t deployed to Benghazi. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the attacks against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was held on Jan. 23, 2013:

The ARB looked into this as it looked into everything. It does not even discuss the SST [Security Support Team] or recommend that our personnel on the ground should have asked for its continued deployment and I think that’s in part because the SST was based in Tripoli.

It hardly ever – less than 2% of the entire time it was in Libya did it even go to Benghazi. Its responsibilities, which were about the siting of and security of the Embassy, were focused on Tripoli, and it was not an open-ended arrangement as it has been understood. It was intended as an interim measure and the experts who were there played vital roles.

They were communications specialists, airfield specialists, trained medics. They help to staff up our Embassy in Tripoli when we re-opened it. And I think it’s important – they were very helpful with the Embassy but at the end of the day, they really were not focused on nor did they pay much attention to Benghazi. And I think since their primary mission was at the Embassy, the Embassy did acquire a lot of assets and that was the decision that they should not be extended for a third time.

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