Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her long-awaited appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning to testify on Benghazi. In her prepared remarks, Clinton said: “As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility.” But this is responsibility in its unique Washington sense of responsibility without consequences. Clinton remains in her cabinet position and, while four underlings have been reassigned, she herself has suffered no consequences as a result of the disaster for which she says she is responsible.
Senator Rand Paul criticized Clinton for her alleged ignorance of the security concerns that were repeatedly expressed by Ambassador Chris Stevens and other diplomats in Libya. Clinton says she never read their emails and didn’t know about the security issues they described. Paul said that if he had been president, he would have fired her:
In another widely-reported exchange, Clinton blew up at Senator Ron Johnson, who asked her about the administration’s false but oft-repeated claim that the Benghazi attack was part of a protest against an anti-Islamic YouTube video. “What difference would it make?” Hillary shouted:
This is utterly disingenuous. While Clinton says that she was not the source for the infamous talking points, she is well aware that the Obama administration tried to cover up its malfeasance with respect to security by pretending that the Benghazi murders were part of a spontaneous–and therefore, implicitly, unpredictable–uprising over a YouTube video. In fact, Clinton herself participated in this deception. Has Clinton forgotten that some days after the event–not in “real time,” the term she used this morning–she told the family of one of the Benghazi victims that “We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video?” For whatever reasons, she certainly thought at the time that it was significant to blame the massacre, falsely, on a video.
All in all, it sounds like a tough morning for Mrs. Clinton. If she is serious about running for president in 2016, she can only hope that by then, memories of her service as Secretary of State will have faded. And that Joe Biden is her most formidable opponent.