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. Military vet

    What a bunch of politically driven garbage. He never accused Reagan, Bush Senior, or Bush W. of "getting away with murder," when troops, American civilians, or government employees were killed on their watch. This is the problem with Washington, political extremists on both sides destroying everyone or anyone who has the support of the American people. Lindsay should be hanging his head in shame; he is an embarrassment to the Republican Party.

    January 29, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Lynne Buchanan

    His remark was a cliche; not a literal comment - ya' know like "I've said it a million times."

    January 29, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. cincinnatidavid

    Graham has nothing.

    January 29, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. Geezer

    Is Graham going to play Monday morning quarterback in the SuperBowl? What about the 911 warnings months in advance unheeded by Condi Rice and GWB? Which incident was worse? Where was Graham, then?

    January 29, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. certifieddba

    Throw graham and mc cain into irag and let them spend their retirement in irag. Or maybe send them to libya as ambassador. they will get first hand information when they get greeted by the passerby.

    January 29, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Anthony

    honestly what is the point of wondering who said what and when? what does that accomplish? Will the Honorable Senator from South Carolina please tell me what legislation he put forth to correct the situation and prevent similar events like this from happening? O that is right no legislation was drafted. instead we have months of testemony and investigations as to what was said and who said it

    January 29, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. zugawang

    How come we are not having any hearing for former president Mr. Bush and his cronies who started a false war in Iraq. Not only did they spill blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, they have caused thousands of our sons and daughters (our soldiers) to loose their lives in vein. Republicans basically calling Ms. Clinton a murderer if that is the case then Mr, Bush and his cronies are mass murderers!!!

    January 29, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. MaryM

    Graham and et al the Extreme GOP/repubs will be the death of the once grand old republican party. This is just one of the many reasons why they lost this last election and will continue to lose election after election.

    January 29, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. JeanneLH

    But he rubberstamped W's giving away our surplus...2 wars...deregulation and he say Clinton got away with murder? Pathetic and pitiful...

    January 29, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. cal usa

    Graham and his fellow travelers can't let go of this because they have nothing to contribute of any value. They would have us believe that whatever Ambassador Rice said on TV shows days later is more relevant than the words of the President in the Rose Garden the very next day after the attack. Was he even listening when Candy Rice shot down Romney?

    January 29, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. tarura

    Got away with murder? Not the first time. Remember Vince Foster?

    January 29, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Lynne Buchanan

    I'm so glad for people like Lindsay Graham! He and others who are brave enough to speak out even knowing they will get trashed in the media and by others who have never learned to think critically!

    January 29, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. CoCoRico

    Sen Graham: As Gov Jindal said-- STOP BEING STUPID.

    So, please go back to work. If Sec Clinton would decide to run in 2016, then your party is doomed so you better not give her any reason.

    January 29, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. waheid

    The more Lindsey Graham opens his mouth, the worse he sounds. (No wonder he and McCain are such good pals: they both suffer from foot-in-mouth disease.) Hillary Clinton got away with nothing. Graham and his G.O.P. buddies have gotten away with damaging this country far more than any foreign enemy could have. That should be a matter of concern. But don't tell that to the voters in South Carolina; they wouldn't understand.

    January 29, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Nick

    "She said they had a clear-eyed view of the threats." If you had that, then why couldn't you address the security issues? Why did 4 Americans, and potentially many more, have to die if it was so obvious? Why did the administration go on to lie about it for days afterwards if it was so readily apparent?

    I know many think Obama walks on water and Hillary can do no wrong, but facts are facts – they lied and people died. Both should be thrown out of office in disgrace.

    January 29, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Mr. Graham! Well, I guess the republicans are guilty of murder for support the use of assault weapons. If you support the NRA and are affraid to take action fully knowing that assault type weapons are out there, then we have no chooice but to hold YOU responsible for several hundred murders right here in the U.S.

    January 29, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. oldowl

    Graham is not only lame; he is outright limp!

    January 29, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. Nodack

    Right, Bush intentionally kills hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq by his war based on lies and fabrications. We lost over 5000 Americans and spent trillions of dollars. The UN voted no as well. What was the Republicans response? "Mission Accomplished!" and the went on to re-elect him even after the all found out it was all lies and fabrications.

    On top of that there were nine terrorist attacks on US embassies around the world while Bush was President resulting in scores of Americans being killed. I don't recall any Republican outcry to investigate those breaches in security. Why is that? There wasn't even any Democrat investigations. We all knew that terrorists attacked us and as 9/11 proved, you can't stop them all, especially in a foriegn country in turmoil.

    This Republican witch hunt didn't land a Republican in the White House and it certainly isn't going to get me to vote for them in the future. Not one Republican blames the terrorists for the attack. The could care less about those guys. The only enemy Republicans care about is Democrats. I will never vote for another Republican again.

    January 29, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |

    Yes it was a very tragic event one that may have been prevented by better security. better security that congress continued to deny more requested funds for. the only reason her being called a murderer is to make sure if she does decide to run for office in 2016 it will be there in the record to use against her its all politics.
    i have never heard of anyone who took responsibility or was held accountable for the incompetent handling of prior intelligence gathering prior to 9/11.

    January 29, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. Kraig Derstler

    Jindal is correct. The GOP is currently the stupid party.

    January 29, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. adancewithshadows

    Why don’t we try and blame the ones who actually pulled the trigger and thank Hillary for the many people that were protected under her service to our country!

    January 29, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. amazed2

    Where was this idiot during the Bush years?

    January 29, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. ghostriter

    Ancient Texan, now you are seeing the game for what it really is.

    Instead of asking who indeed did receive the requests for more security and who denied the requests, instead of asking why was there no funding for additional security, instead of asking for details on the actionable items that are supposed to help keep us safe.....

    They asked why the administration blamed the attack on a video.....

    January 29, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. wo

    Just reminds me of what Jindal said of the clowns.

    January 29, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. Fr33th1nk3r

    Once Benghazi blows up in their faces, maybe the GOP will default back to their birth certificate conspiracies? I hope so– they had far more entertainment potential....

    January 29, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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