Graham: Clinton 'got away with murder' in Benghazi
January 29th, 2013
03:08 PM ET
2 years ago

Graham: Clinton 'got away with murder' in Benghazi

(CNN) - Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, had some biting words about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony last week on the U.S. consulate attack in Libya, saying she "got away with murder."

Asked during an interview about Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, Graham pivoted in his answer and said he won't vote on the nominee until questions are answered about another issue involving the State Department.

Before Hillary Clinton steps down as Secretary of State, her exit interview takes place in The Situation Room! Watch it today at 5 p.m. ET on CNN.


"I haven't forgotten about Benghazi," Graham said Monday night on Fox News. "Hillary Clinton got away with murder, in my view. She said they had a clear-eyed view of the threats. How could you have a clear-eyed view of the threats in Benghazi when you didn't know about the ambassador's cable coming back from Libya?"

Clinton sat before congressional committees last week to testify on her knowledge of the attack that left four Americans dead. While many senators on the Foreign Relations Committee carried a straight-forward tone, Republican Sen. Rand Paul and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson confronted Clinton about the lead-up to the attack and the aftermath of the violence.

Graham, who doesn't sit on the Foreign Relations Committee, said Clinton was "very good on her feet deflecting" the questions. Should Clinton decide to run for president in 2016, Graham's comments indicate a taste of what's to come as far as GOP opposition to her potential White House bid.

"But she said two things that will come back to haunt her: that they had a clear-eyed assessment of the threats in Libya, and that they had close contact with the Libyan government," he said. "I don't believe either one of them."

Asked in a CNN interview Tuesday why she didn't "connect the dots" about some of the security threats that existed in Libya before the attack, Clinton said those threats were considered "manageable" by the State Department's evaluation and security professionals.

"We have a lot of (threats) around the world. I mean there is a long list of attacks that have been foiled, assassination plots that have been prevented, so this is not some one-off event," she said. "This is considered in an atmosphere of a lot of threats and dangers, and at the end of the day, there was a decision made that this would be evaluated but (the Consulate) would not be closed, and, unfortunately, we know what happened."

Graham has been one of the leading senators in calling for more answers on the Libya attack. He played a major role in questioning U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice's comments explaining the attack as a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam film. The intelligence community later deemed the violence as a terrorist attack.

Rice ultimately withdrew her name from consideration as Clinton's successor to secretary of state, following repeated criticism from Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

An independent report, ordered by the State Department, said it did not find "that any individual U.S. Government employee engaged in misconduct or willfully ignored his or her responsibilities" leading up to the attack. However, one State Department official resigned and three others were placed on administrative leave after the report was released in December.

– CNN's Elise Labott and Jill Dougherty contributed to this report.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Libya • Lindsey Graham
soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. dx2718

    If Clinton is guilty of the murder of 4 people in Benghazi, then how many people did George W. Bush murder in 2001?

    January 29, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. shamgar50

    The Republicans and Baggers know that if Clinton runs in 2016, She'll win, and they'll face an additional eight years in the wilderness. That should finish off the Baggers and weaken the GOP considerably. That's what this is all about. They're scared to death for their future.

    January 29, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. M Dunphy

    More,more,more of the same from our friends in the GOP. The more they circle the bowl the more shrill they get. Keep on going until you've been flushed out of sight.

    January 29, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. W.

    Obviously Graham is trying to fill the void left by Sarah Palin. Ad hominem abuse to substantiate his case, all the while ignoring horrific criminal abuses that were committed during wars that he vehemently supports. This is utter hypocrisy to discredit another person in order to elevate and posture himself. In global conflicts there remains a given constant of fluid violence that will never be fully argued to the satisfaction of rivals. Maybe Lindsey needs a good water-boarding to cool off.

    January 29, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. dan

    They have been told the truth and it does not matter. Old white man just tryin to stay relevant.We didn't give a damn about about Benghazi before the election and we still don't. If the Repubs cared they would have approved the budget for additional security instead of just being an obstructionists. It is unfortunate that 4 people died but those are the risks of serving in the middle east. Ask Bush, he could give you a much larger number.

    January 29, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. Wallaceboy

    While I respect HC, her answers have not satisfied. We should not confuse deflection with an honest answer. She and the President hid behind Rice on this one and hoped the media would give them a pass. The media did but thankfully some lawmakers are still requiring a quality answer. There are two issues here: First, the failure to act on requests in Bengazi and second, the cover-up. As we have all learned (Watergate,et all) the cover-up will get you every time. Perhaps we should not be so quick to make her the next democratic candidate for President until we have some acceptable answers here. Would not hold my breath.....

    January 29, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. MRM

    So I guess George Bush got away with murder too. Did not act on 9/11, started a war without valid proof...

    January 29, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. gramma nance

    The SPIN continues...Lindsey is still flapping his gums. Funny how sitting behind a microphone causes all these great comments...what did HE do to support the extras that were requested? The GOP turned down the request! Shame on them.

    January 29, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. bigdrop

    "The GOP is trying their best to blame everyone they can but they keep forgetting they were the ones who denied more funds towards diplomatic excursions".

    Really? Like all the success you have had with "diplomatic exercusions" in Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, Libya, Yemen, Syria? Pardon me falling on the floor laughing, but you are hopelessly naive.

    January 29, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Keep reaching GOTP. That's it, keep reaching. Keep on.
    Keep on, so that the voters will realize that your hands and arms need to be tied.

    January 29, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. lance

    Graham is playacting for the Fascist vote (aka Tea Party), but in reality he's only disgracing himself in public. But then, south carolina, you know, the state that started 4 years of bloodshed.

    January 29, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    He' s STUPID!! :(

    January 29, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. efsullyjr

    I just Graham and the other Republicans had been equally outraged over the multiple foreign policy screwups and intelligence failures of the Bush Administration regarding 9/11 and Iraq.

    January 29, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. DsoundGuy

    I used to be a die-hard Republican. People like Lindsey Graham have sent me running as fast as I can away from the party. The only thing I can associate with being a Republican anymore, is being a nut-bag! Some of the things coming out of people's mouths these days just dumbfound me by the scope of their stupidity! And people actually cast votes for these incompetent morons! I am sickened by the whole political mess we live in! The Dems are spineless wusses, and the Republicans are bat-s%*t crazy!

    January 29, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Mark

    We just got out of Iraq looking for phantom weapons of mass destruction. Over 3,000 American soldiers died and 10's of thousands injured. Countless 100's of billions of dollars spent and countless more to spend treating our wounded hero's. Have we already forgotten the folly of that war? If Graham want's to be critical, try looking at the Bush administration, they lied before, during and after the war.

    January 29, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  16. blake

    Holding someone accountable for negligence aresulting in four deaths, followed up by repeated lying, followed up by a coverup, followed up by lying to Congress is not using a situation politically. Using a situation politically is what Obama and the far left media did following the shootings in Connecticut.

    January 29, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. Schmoogalicious

    If Clinton is a murderer because of Benghazi then Reagan is a genocidal maniac from all the US embassy bombing deaths during his tenure. Every time we think the Republicans couldn't possible say anything more laughable the next time, they always prove us wrong.

    January 29, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. efsullyjr

    I just wish Graham and the other Republicans had be equally outraged about the multiple foreign policy screw ups and intelligence failures of the Bush Administration regarding 9/11 and Iraq.

    January 29, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. TAKEANOTHERLOOK

    ERIC BOSWELLl, director of DIPLOMAT SECURITY A republican and his ASST secretary at STATE dept and 2 assistants are RESPONSIBLE FOR READING ALL THE cables a requests for SECURITY AND IMPROVEMENTS IN LIBYA and everywhere else for the state department. YOU REPUBLICANS CANNOT HAVE LESS GOVT and then work everyone to death; doing the jobs of 3 people. It just don't work. YOU HAVE TRIED TO DO THAT WITH THE GOVT- DEPT OF OIL INSPECTORS, WE GOT BP OIL SPILL, YOU DID IT WITH MINE REGULATORS WE GOT MINE CAVE INS AND MINE SAFETY ABYSMAL. YOU DID IT WITH bank regulators [CUT THEIR STAFF] WE HAVE BANK FAILURES, YOU CUT THE STAFF OF SEC WE HAVE FAILURES IN THE SECURITIES INDUSTRIES AND WALL ST. THE ONLY PLACE THEY DON'T CUT THE STAFF IS AT CONGRESS... YOU CONGRESSPEOPLE ARE MORE DEFICIENT THEN ANY OTHER BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT. THE PARTY OF NO NEEDS TO BE CUT- TO THE BONE... I DON'T FAULT THE SECURITY OF STATE I FAULT ERIC BOSWELL AND THE OP SHOULD TOO.. HE IS THE MID MANAGER IN CHARGE OF THIS AND HAS BEEN FOR 8 YEARS INCLUDING UNDER GWB.. HE WAS RE APPOINTED BY BHO. QUIT TRYING TO HIDE HIS NAME IN CLASSIFIED AND CLOSED DOOR SESSIONS.. IT AINT GONNA WORK..

    January 29, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. PtBarnumBoy

    He's been hanging around with McCain too long.

    January 29, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  21. peterz

    Benghazi, a battle with no front line, I thought he picked the wrong fight and never happy.

    January 29, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. JT

    Oh, Lindsey....how many times do you want to lose to someone named Clinton? Also, I think the murder charge is pretty close to slander and strains the bounds of legality.

    January 29, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Reagan was President when 243 Marines were blown up while sleeping in their barracks in Beirut. I do not remember any Senate hearings condemning President Reagan and accusing him of murder. John McCain's girlfriend, little Lindsay Graham, doesn't know his head from second base but is trying to sound Republicon crazy so the Teabag Party in his home state will reelect him. His ignorance and arrogance and filthy lies about Ms Clinton is sickening. He and McCain have acted like insane attack dogs over something Clinton had no control. If the terrorists could fly airplanes into the Pentagon with no one knowing they were coming, why is it so difficult to understand a spontaneous attack by a handful of terrorists doing the same in their own territory?

    January 29, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. thefatuglytroll

    MORE proof that Graham and all his ilk are IRRELEVANT OBSTRUCTIONISTS that pander to FREAKS on the far right edge of the universe.

    January 29, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    Bottom line is that the GOP refused to fund security at an appropriate level, and 4 people died. Should we hold them accountable for their failures, or will they comfort themselves with the knowlege that they saved a few dollars for tax cuts for people like Sheldon Adelson and Mitt Romney? When will Graham and others be forced to admit the consequences of their choices?

    January 29, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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