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. F_v_c_k_Jesus

    Maybe she did. But republicans , under Bush, got away and is still getting away with MASS murder.

    January 29, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. cptpooppants

    Can we the people just decide to put this guy on a raft and push him out to sea? How did these lunatics get elected?!

    January 29, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. Merle McClung

    How DARE he say that after sending troops to Iraq when there were no wmds! Over 300 people, not to mention 9-11, were picked off during Bush's administration, but he says nothing about that.

    January 29, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Larry Hoover

    he should resign, he is one of those angry white men that the GOP needs to get rid of.

    January 29, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Proud Canadian

    The problem with GOP.Old white men like Graham.If Clinton was to run in 2016.GOP will be in the cold for another 8 years.Forget about President Obama's 2012 high margin of victory,with Hillary it will be even higher.Keep pushing a non starter issue like Beghazi!

    January 29, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. Matutina

    Oh, gawd. Senator Graham. Give it up. There's no cover-up.

    Go back to what you're suppose to be doing - to serve the people who elected you.

    The GOP is really becoming irrelevant. I wish there was another better opposition party.

    January 29, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Greg in Arkansas

    Intelligence failure in Bengazi...4 dead.......murder?
    Intelligence failure in Iraq.....4000 dead.......murder too???

    January 29, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. DWT

    I think the GOP is concerned about her running for POTUS.

    January 29, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. bcrunner

    If Hillary Clinton got away with murder, then what did Bush and Cheney get away with? Mass murder??

    January 29, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. freedom

    "Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference - at this point - does it make?" This chilling outburst resounds – and says it all about not only Clinton – but about this administration.

    January 29, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. mark geiger

    What about Rumsfeld and Cheney getting away with false WMD ??????????? In my opinion, false WMD is still worse than Benghazi !!!! No doubt !!!

    January 29, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. carla ledford

    I am calling this man an idiot! The GOP is a joke!

    January 29, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Johnny 5

    Graham is correct. Hillary "The Murderer" Clinton will somehow get a presidency out of this in 2016. She can count on Charles Manson's vote.

    January 29, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Larry L

    A United States Senator called the Secretary of State a murderer? I can't believe the Senate will allow such unprofessional behavior from it's members – especially a bigoted POS like Graham. Do modern Republicans EVER behave honorably?

    January 29, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. winston smith

    Then the blood of 9/11 is on Bush and Cheney's hands. Yeah, this street goes both ways. And all the blood in Iraq is on their hands. Yeah, the street still goes both ways.

    What this moron LG is doing is using the real murder of American citizens for personal, political gain. He's turning it into political theater. He must be a sociopath. He should be elected out. The only people who have ANY right to criticize Clinton are those who had been screaming about the Iraq war from the beginning and people who questioned 9/11 and didn't use it as an excuse to keep Bush in office "in case we get attacked again". Absolutely amazing how low these slimeballs will sink.

    January 29, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. Arun

    This guy is such a fool. Why didn't he talk like this when the W. administration lied its way into the Iraq war? To me W. and Chaney killed over 5000 US soldiers with their lies!!!! Lindsey get lost you loser!!!

    January 29, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. cnnife

    "Hillary Clinton got away with murder"? Is he serious, so what is he going to do about it, send her to life imprisonment? The GOP are jesters, they never seize amusing me!

    January 29, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Jim

    Every time I see Graham on the TV I think of Liberace, but without the talent.

    January 29, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Jay

    Hillary did not get away with murder. GEORGE BUSH, Dick and Donald GOT AWAY WITH MURDER.

    January 29, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |

    ...and inquiring minds want to know when Graham will come out.

    January 29, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. George Washington

    Graham will happily spend millions of tax payer dollars pursuing dirt on Clinton to help the teabaggs to defeat her in her next election run. Talk about abusing one's position and power.

    January 29, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. dfz

    I had t read the article; the headline:, "Clinton got away with murder," had me thinking of Vince Foster.

    January 29, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. alyxlili4health

    It's so pathetic when someone of Graham's status stoops this low. Never in history have politicians behaved in this disgusting fashion. Graham will never achieve a high enough position to make calls of this serious nature. He doesn't even sit on the Foreign Relations Committee. Anyone serving in public office who has people die on their watch will say they will be haunted forever by it. Shame on you Graham.

    January 29, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Franco

    Stop being stupid.

    January 29, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. thrushjz

    Hillary's Slogan in the run up to 2016 will be..."What difference does it make?"

    January 29, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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