June 17th, 2014
08:40 PM ET
5 months ago

Ted Cruz responds to Hillary Clinton on Benghazi

Updated 12:15 p.m. ET, 6/18/2014

(CNN) – While Hillary Clinton said Tuesday “there are still some unanswered questions” on the deadly 2012 Benghazi attack, Sen. Ted Cruz argued the former secretary of state is blocking those questions from being answered.

“Secretary Clinton from the beginning has stonewalled on this rather than acting as a partner getting to the bottom of what happened,” the Texas Republican said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

Cruz was responding to Clinton’s interview during a CNN town hall, in which she said she was “very pleased” that a key suspect, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, had been captured by U.S. special forces this week, marking a major development in the aftermath of the attack nearly two years ago.

Four people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were killed in the terror assault against a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.

An independent review of the incident found "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department, which was run by Clinton at the time. Four employees were reassigned.

The former secretary of state has since said she ultimately takes responsibility for the safety of diplomatic personnel, but she has also argued there’s nothing she could have personally done to prevent the attack, saying she relied on experts to implement security protocol.

As Clinton weighs a presidential bid, the attack has also become a political flashpoint. Congressional Republicans have launched their own investigations, with the latest effort being the formation of a House select committee to focus on the issue.

Clinton agreed Tuesday “there are still some unanswered questions.”

“It was, after all, the fog of war. But I'm absolutely convinced that the United States and all of our various agencies with all of our professionals including the Congress is you know, piecing together the best information we can find,” she said.

In her new book, “Hard Choices,” she accused Republicans of exploiting the deadly attack and playing politics.

“The truth isn't partisan,” Cruz said Tuesday. “There are basic questions that haven't been answered, and she views it as criticism.”

“She's not trying to get answers,” he continued. “She's trying to block the answers from ever being answered.”

He also attacked her for arguing in a recent interview that the Taliban detainees who were released in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl last month aren't a threat to the United States.

On the growing violence in Iraq, Cruz hit Clinton for not totally ruling out the idea that the U.S. could team up with Iran to stop the advances by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

"I am not prepared to say that we go in with Iran right now until we have a better idea what we're getting ourselves into," Clinton said Tuesday on CNN. "What they want to do in Baghdad is basically to envelope (Prime Minister Nuri al-) Maliki in the Iranian embrace, maybe even use their own troops in Iraq as they did in Syria. That is a very difficult position to put the United States in."

While ISIS is an American enemy, Cruz said, the "regime in Iran is an enemy as well."

"That was the most surreal moment of Secretary Clinton's interview," he said, referring to her answer.

A spokesman for Correct the Record, the communications and rapid response arm of a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC, hit back against Cruz, saying the senator "should be ashamed to play politics on the backs of four Americans killed in the service of their country.”

“Secretary Clinton has taken responsibility, action, and been fully and publicly transparent as she answered questions before Congress and made the independent ARB investigation public, making it one of the most transparent internal reviews in State Department history," said Adrienne Elrod, the group's communications director.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iraq • Libya • Ted Cruz
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. rs

    carlos

    garnish the idiot's salary for the rest of his life........government shutdown.........We the People should not get stuck with paying for his farce.
    _________________________
    Unfortunately that would mean keeping him in office- probably for a couple of thousand years. Better- maybe he can vacation in his homeland- a one-way to Gitmo.

    June 18, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. drake mallard

    So if you're born in Hawaii, a US state, but to a foreign father, you need to prove your legitimacy by releasing your birth certificate to the world and your patriotism is constantly called into question.

    If you're born in a foreign country to a US citizen mother and a Communist revolutionary father, you're allowed to be president of the US and you're heralded as a true patriot.

    Makes sense.

    Um, Ted Cruz's father was not American at the time of his birth. He was Cuban. That's right... who happily fought alongside Fidel Castro as a teen TED CRUZ's FATHER IS A CUBAN. Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, who immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, told NPR that though he came to the country legally, he essentially bribed an official to get out of Cuba so he could come over.In an interview near his home outside Dallas, the elder Cruz says that as a teenager, he fought alongside Fidel Castro’s forces to overthrow Cuba’s U.S.-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista. He was caught by Batista’s forces, he says, and jailed and beaten before being released. It was 1957, and Cruz decided to get out of Cuba by applying to the University of Texas. Upon being admitted, he adds, he got a four-year student visa at the U.S. Consulate in Havana. And his mother was an American. And he was born in Calgary Alberta.

    June 18, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. drake mallard

    So if you're born in Hawaii, a US state, but to a foreign father, you need to prove your legitimacy by releasing your birth certificate to the world and your patriotism is constantly called into question.

    If you're born in a foreign country to a US citizen mother and a Communist revolutionary father, you're allowed to be president of the US and you're heralded as a true patriot.

    Makes sense.

    Um, Ted Cruz's father was not American at the time of his birth. He was Cuban. That's right... who happily fought alongside Fidel Castro as a teen TED CRUZ's FATHER IS A CUBAN. Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, who immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, told NPR that though he came to the country legally, he essentially bribed an official to get out of Cuba so he could come over.In an interview near his home outside Dallas, the elder Cruz says that as a teenager, he fought alongside Fidel Castro’s forces to overthrow Cuba’s U.S.-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista. He was caught by Batista’s forces, he says, and jailed and beaten before being released. It was 1957, and Cruz decided to get out of Cuba by applying to the University of Texas. Upon being admitted, he adds, he got a four-year student visa at the U.S. Consulate in Havana. And his mother was an American. And he was born in Calgary Alberta....

    June 18, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. airjackie

    Cruz is clueless on Foreign affairs and really is just attacking Obama and Hillary for donations just like his Cuban Father. Cruz the Canadian Senator using his Mother's American status is milking the Obama racist haters for money. Cruz joined the Tea Party seeing the number of stupid followers. He did well reading Green Eggs/Ham on the Senate Floor as Tea Party supporters understood the children's story and donated to Cruz. KKK Senator Paul used the same style and read Alice in Wonderland for his donations. Cruz has no clue even where Iraq is on the World Map.

    June 18, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. Gunderson

    Well,
    it takes at least 2 people to have a conversation. There's Ted Cruz and ????????

    June 18, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  6. blome Sarah blome

    I'm surprised Rafeal Cruz has the time, since he is on the Koch Bros. bags so much.

    June 18, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. Lisa P

    Senator Cruz [on the Senate floor]: I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them, Sam I. Am!

    Wash, rinse, repeat for all issues. Sen. Cruz isn't a leader, he's a joke - on the GOP for now, on the rest of America only if we let him be.

    June 18, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  8. Sniffit

    "“there are still some unanswered questions”"

    Translation: "We didn't get the answers we wanted so we're pretending none were given."

    June 18, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "it takes at least 2 people to have a conversation. There's Ted Cruz and ????????"

    ...and CNN acting as his free bullhorn. The conversation is between Cruz and CNN and they're really pretty much the only ones interested in it.

    June 18, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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