Graham: Clinton 'got away with murder' in Benghazi
January 29th, 2013
03:08 PM ET
9 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.

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"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. Rick McDaniel

    Well, you know, that's supposed to be, why Graham is in the see that people don't "get away" with stuff, but that they are held accountable.

    Guess that means he has failed in his responsibilities, as well.

    January 29, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. jim

    The GOP is in full slander mode

    January 29, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    Is this man one big sleep-fest, or what? I'm calling dibs on the Graham double dose yawn factor.

    January 29, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    There's really nothing that a Teatroll in a hole loves more than continuing to dig.

    January 29, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. Squigman

    I'm sure he feels the same way about the many casualties created by the Bush Administration, hunt for WMD's in Iraq. How many people died in this unwarranted attack?

    January 29, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. California Gary

    If this man had even a smidgen of credibility left, I might listen to him. He doesn't, and I don't. Let's get back to the important stuff, like who shoots skeet and who doesn't.........

    January 29, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Name VA865


    January 29, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Donnie the Lion

    OJ Simpson "got away with murder." Yet more of the GOP's vitriolic hyperbole. The worst you can say about Benghazi is that someone underneath Clinton was grossly negligent in responding to the request for more security at the facility. If you've worked in the federal arena, you know that the person at the very top is not informed of every issue or request from every office across the world. That task falls upon the lower level people. You want to fire someone over the four murders, fire those people. By Lindsey's "logic" Obama should be impeached because of that guy who went nuts in Afghanistan and killed 15 innocent citizens.

    January 29, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Duane Allen

    Evidently Graham, in his abject partisan zeal has forgotten about these murderous attacks under Powell/Rumsfeld: 6/14/02, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan bomber kills 12. 2/20/03, diplomatic compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia truck bomb kills 17. 7/30/4, U.S. embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan bomber kills 2. 12/6/04, U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia militants kill 5, wound 10. 3/2/06, U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan car bomber kills 4, including U.S. diplomat directly targeted by the assailants.Total 40 dead – Graham and the GOP need to get a clue! Apparently the 2002 attack on Karachi didn't teach the almighty holier-than-thou GOP security experts anything – like 9/11 they were unprepared. UNDER BUSH we saw ONE DOZEN ATTACKS on U.S. consular compounds, UNDER OBAMA just TWO ATTACKS.
    Let's not forget on 9/11, the GOP/BUSH allowed or enabled over 3000 Americans to be murdered on American soil.

    January 29, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Graham seems to have a problem with women of authority.

    January 29, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    Channelling Jesse Helms again?

    January 29, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    You might not like him,but he does bring up a couple interesting points. Look i wish Clinton,the best and as a republican i hope she dont run for President. because if she do,2016 will be a sad and blue year. I mean if we send Rand Paul, to battle against the the Clinton political machine,he will get crushed!

    January 29, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Facts don't Lie

    after the failed search for WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION that lead to losing the lives of thousands of Americans...I wouldn't be so smug in claiming SOS Clinton got away with murder. Look at your own house first Senator.

    January 29, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. FlotsamJetsam

    Absolutely hypocritical that GOP is making this into a huge deal when they declined to conduct hearings as to why the intelligence was so bad that the US just had to go to war in Iraq over weapons of Mass Destruction. That will never come to light.

    It is a shame that Ambassador and 3 Americans died, but Ambassador knew it was Sept 11 and also knew how bad Benghazi was from security standpoint.

    January 29, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. Dave shelly

    Have you no shame there Lindsay???

    January 29, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. kennylee

    funny, graham didn't cry when thousands were killed in iraq when make pretend weapons of mass destruction were being looked for ?

    January 29, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. MeapersoninUS


    January 29, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. Jane

    In my opinion, Lindsey Graham should be impeached. He does not have the country's welfare at heart, and he's an embarrassment even to SC.

    January 29, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. wishing us well

    KInda like Bush, Cheney and the Republican admin got away with lying us into invading and attacking Iraq???? Is that what you mean Senator???

    January 29, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. walleye46

    Yeh, and Bush got away with Murder in Iraq. How many good soldiers did we lose, not to mention our allies, because of a WMD lie that was never true.

    January 29, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. Boo

    Someone should remind this hypocrite that it was the Republican majority that VETOED extra funding for securing our embassies around the world. That said, every time I see this guy, I think of something large and gray scurrying along on the NYC subway tracks.

    January 29, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. The Dude

    Phil Graham is the consummate angry old white guy yelling for everyone to get off his lawn.

    January 29, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Elizabeth

    In that case Mr. Graham, so did your President Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Rice when they had clear intelligence on an imminent attack on US soil prior to 9/11.

    January 29, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. John

    Trying to deflect criticism of the GOB good 'ole boys that should be in jail for war crimes.

    January 29, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. steve

    "Got away with murder." No wonder the Republican Party is dying.

    January 29, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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