June 17th, 2014
08:40 PM ET
6 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. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Criticize, criticize, criticize is all they can do. How long did it take Bush to get OBL? Oh yeah, he didn't.

    June 18, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  2. Dirk

    A fundamentalist nut vs. a compulsive liar. Winner? There is none...

    June 18, 2014 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  3. Winston5

    This is getting sad, Teddy. Lemme guess, "Obamacare's a (rather well run) trainwreck!"

    June 18, 2014 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  4. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    This Cruz guy LOVES to make a FOOZl of himself on NATIONAL TV, I think you should just keep fleecing old ladies over the phone by telling them YOUR GOING TO REPEAL OBAMACARE , EVERY WORD OF IT, and pocketing the money. I think you belong in JAIL !!!!!!

    June 18, 2014 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  5. mbuvia

    Ted Cruz owes the US taxpayers $24 billion for his govt shutdown over his Obamacare hubris

    June 18, 2014 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  6. it must be said

    “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.
    -–

    You mean the sham ARB that she hand selected the people for and that never even interviewed Hillary Clinton or other State Dept. higher ups on their involvement? Yes, the most transparent pile of horse manure ever foisted on the American people. Hillary Clinton was also the source of the bogus internet video story.

    Hillary Clinton played politics with the deaths of those 4 Americans even as their death was in progress. She was desperately trying to figure out how to cover her tracks and incompetence instead of answering the call for action. Both Hillary Clinton and Obama failed miserably as "leaders" when it comes to Benghazi. Obama never missed a campaign fund raiser the next day, just as he doesn't miss one even as Al Quada threatens to take over Iraq under his watch.

    June 18, 2014 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  7. rla

    Clinton and the progressives lie like rugs and are about the most mean sprited bunch out there!

    June 18, 2014 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  8. wayne lanford

    Ted Cruz conman

    June 18, 2014 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  9. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Rafeal Cruz can forget about it. Really can't wait to see Kevin McCarthy,Thom Tillis,Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Karl Rove,Haley Barbour,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed romney down. Straight no chaser.

    June 18, 2014 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    “The truth isn't partisan,” Cruz said Tuesday.
    -------------------------------–
    If that were true, republicans wouldn't be fundraising off of it. All of a sudden yesterday, The Drudge Report headlines didn't mention anything about Benghazi. Why is that right wing????

    June 18, 2014 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  11. Rob

    "Nothing she could have done personally"? How about closing the embassy like the other western countries did. But that would have looked bad for Obama after his "Terrorism is on the run" remark during his campaign. 4 dead Americans are ok I guess to keep these incompetent liars in power. At least they seem to think so anyway

    June 18, 2014 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  12. MaryM

    Rafeal is just another TP crazy. Go read some more Dr Suess Cruz. And this time try to understand what you are reading

    June 18, 2014 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  13. Timekeeper

    Who really cares about what this nut job thinks. Personally I think he should go back to Canada or Mexico. Oh I forgot Canada got rid of him and Mexico don't want him so we get the reject.

    June 18, 2014 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  14. AmericansRights

    clinton has lied and dodged this issue from day one, conveniently got sick right after it happened and stayed out of the picture for several months and "oscumba" backed her up. Bunch of liars.

    June 18, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  15. salty dog

    Must be said, you remember who used this to raise funds, of course that's not politicising it, no, you lefties just don't understand, it just really really seems like we're politicising it.

    June 18, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  16. salty dog

    Rob, there was a covert op going on remember, but he should inform you of any such thing right, man, having a hard time believing there are that many idiots out there to keep them in power, but here they are.

    June 18, 2014 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  17. Tampa Tim

    Republicans have perfected the art of lying, government shutdowns, credit downgrades, unnecessary wars, record job loss, and war against : women, workers, seniors, students and veterans.

    June 18, 2014 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  18. guest

    the military industrial complex is mad that this wasnt the vaulting point to ratchet up the war on terror again with ground forces being pushed into libya and iran, like they had planned with the attackers.

    June 18, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  19. ruducky2

    The problem Mr. Cruz is that you do not want to get to the bottom of the issue. You only want to get to the part where you can lay blame on a political opponent.

    June 18, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  20. SeanZ

    Erin Burnett is so Liberal, and Dem. its so obvious..... CNN the Non-bias Cable News station..... Laughable. CNN is the Obama Network, and Candy Crowley, Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper already have their "Ready For Hillary 2016" T'shirts on. Just like MSNBC, ..... Just lower ratings.

    June 18, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  21. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    SeanZ says:
    June 18, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am
    Erin Burnett is so Liberal, and Dem. its so obvious….. CNN the Non-bias Cable News station….. Laughable. CNN is the Obama Network, and Candy Crowley, Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper already have their “Ready For Hillary 2016″ T’shirts on. Just like MSNBC, ….. Just lower ratings.

    CNN is far from left leaning. Have you checked out any of the stories above the stories? But I know a place that will never speak positive of Hillary or President Obama. It's called Faux Noise.

    June 18, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  22. Tampa Tim

    Sean – Hillary did quite well in her interviews on the Fox Taliban news network last night.

    June 18, 2014 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  23. Dead Bear

    Anybody who thinks this man, or any other Tea Party Republican, is some patriot out to save this country from tyranny has got to be the most gullible and idiotic type of voter our country has to offer. Their claims that they will defend the Constitution is such a load of bull because it's clear to see by the rhetoric that they're only interested in defending the parts of it they agree with. Face it, morons. All you have done is elect more corporate lap dogs to Congress.

    June 18, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    Since nothing would ever meet his standard of the truth ( whatever that may be) why is anyone even bothering to interview this ambulance-chaser? I guess that nothing is ever good enough for the Right until they have remade this country into some hideous parody of our ideals, complete with a virtuous new aristocracy of people who think inequality is a sign that God and Ayn Rand is smiling on them.

    June 18, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

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

    No doubt Ted Cruz et al will get their chance to defend Ahmed Abu Khattala's upcoming testimony in federal court.

    June 18, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
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