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. jinx88

    If he Graham thinks Clinton got away with murder, I wonder what he thinks Rumsfield, Bush and Cheney got away with. Thats what is wrong the Repub party, the are quick to accuse everyone else but fails to look into the mirror. The are garbage and it amazes me how people can vote for these loser's. I hope Clinton runs for president and shoves it in their face. She has my vote for sure.

    January 29, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Ed

    Graham's tired rhetoric doesn't anyone.
    Who cares what Republicans think anymore?

    January 29, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. Mark

    Mr. Graham! Since the republican party fully supports the NRA and fail to take responsible action to prevent mass shootings from happening, then we can hold YOU responsible for hundreds of deaths right here in the U.S.

    January 29, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    -Ancient Texan

    The Democrats just spent their time in slobbering adoration and the Republicans spent all of their time making a speech and forgot to ask the questions. The questions that did presented to the SOS were for the most part ignored and waltzed around. When she got the chance she would go on offense and dazzle with her doubletalk. In short we learned NOTHING!
    On the contrary, it was most informative. The GOP is incapable of accepting any truth other than the one they want to believe. They had no evidence. no new points to make, nothing. What thye did reveal is that they will stand on the bodies of 4 people and use it to their purposes rather than admit they never appropriated the funding needed for security. As far as slobbering adoration is concerned, i've seen enough GOPers over the last 4 years attempt to make stars out of such idiots as Palin, Perry, Akin and Bachmann, people who are certifiable, so please don't bother to attack somoen who has restored our credibility overseas in a way the GOP could never achieve. WE've acheived our goals under this president and SOS, and no one in the GOP ranks comes close.

    January 29, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Logic N LA

    More nonsense from Republican elected officials. When will they stop with these kinds of statements? Lindsey Graham must have that famous Southern in-breeding in his back ground that allows for a bit of stupid to affect his speech.

    January 29, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. Rino

    Really Lindsey? This is what you are paid to do? Really?

    January 29, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. Trey Mck

    The man is an embarrassment.

    January 29, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Scott

    Got away with murder?! Really, Sen. Graham? Wow.

    How in the WORLD do A.** Clowns like Lindsay Graham continue to be elected to congress?! It boggles the mind that such blatantly biased, narrow-minded, hate-filled, foolish people continue to serve in congress, and like-minded people continue to vote them in. My God.

    Wow..... All I can say is wow. I guess the next most mind-boggling thing to me, is that people don't see anything wrong with this viperous language from someone who is supposed to be a level-headed legislater for the most powerful nation on earth.

    The only excuse I can possibly think of, is that he MUST be mentally ill.

    January 29, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. freedom

    He's absolutely right. "What difference does it make?" An indefensible outburst.

    January 29, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. samsjmail

    " he is an embarrassment to the Republican Party."

    Is it even possible to embarrass the Republican Party?

    January 29, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. Nick

    This board is informative. Hillary has clearly lied, and at best could be described as incompetent, yet most of the posts are about Bush. You people are missing the point: THEY LIED. Yes, embassies were attacked on Bush's watch – but they didn't run around to the talk shows and LIE about it. Everyone here seems to be okay with government deception – those of you that constantly deride the Bush administration for being deceptive evidently think it's okay for liberals to lie and deceive. Hypocrites!

    January 29, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Damien

    Can't wait for THE Colbert to follow Franken into the Senate are replace this self loather.

    January 29, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. bottengubbe

    Graham is one sorry GOP'er–sour grapes and nothing to show for it. As has been heard, read, reported and described by the CIA, State Department and an independent agency–no conspiracy, no lies, no coverups–just bad execution of policy. Get over it!

    January 29, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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