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. Name lynn

    well are you mad, because hillary is a great,speaker an whats next.

    January 29, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. BlueDem1

    You got away with murder as well Lindsey, as did George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and every other right-wing buffoon who dragged our country into a useless war in Iraq based on false pretences. Thousands of American soliders are dead because of your "lack of good judgment."

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

    Really Graham ? Then what did GWBush get away with ?

    January 29, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. jnpa

    This senator or whatever he is should be immediately removed from office. The audacity to say something like that. I would love to see her have some biting words for him – when she becomes President of the United States and he is still a senator from SC. But she probably has more class than that!

    January 29, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. chemack56

    Wow, the GOP seems like they're NEVER going to be cured of foot in mouth disease.

    January 29, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. saintex

    Murder? The necromancers will know Lindsey far-and-wide for his douchbaggery. (thanks, Patton Oswalt)

    January 29, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. Walter Freeman

    South Carolina, the state which glories in being first at being last, will always elect representatives like Lindsey Graham. They can't help it. Jingoism and simpleton populism are all they know.

    January 29, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. regertz

    I guess given your party's recent miserable history in such things, you oughta know, LG.

    January 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. mark

    You never knew anything about It to start except that you and you drones in the rebup party wouldn't give up the money to help them out

    January 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. Danno

    Imagine how different our country would be today if the GOP spent this much and effort on every American killed overseas during the Bush administration. They make me physically ill.

    January 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  11. ER

    There is a nice article on Fox News . com that basically whines about everyone thinking they are not a legitamate news agency. Pretty funny be cause either 'everyone is out to get you' Fox News, or maybe you should listen up?

    January 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. Realist

    "ol red eyes is starting to sound a little desperate

    January 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. Joe (Houston, Texas)

    What does this guy do? All he does is complain about what other people are doing. Does he do anything that he screw up and be worth this much publicity?

    January 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. Jean

    I for one am sick and tired of Graham's hysteria...wish he would shut up and go back to Georgia. All part of the GOP conspiracy nut case plan of action, using inflamatory ..and ridiculous ..accusations agianst any Democrat that might possibly run for president next time. It was a terrible thing that happened in Benghazi, just like the six or seven similar incidents that happened during the Bush adminstration.

    January 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. tepeters

    What an inconsequential piece of work he is.

    January 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. Sunflower52

    What is this man's problem? They've beaten this horse to death. Duh, what am I thinking? He's from South Carolina and even here in the South we look at those people as "slow" relatives.

    January 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    56 State Department Employees died during the Bush Administration at several embassies and consulates worldwide. More than four US Servicemen died in OIF and OEF in the week after Bengahzi. While Bengahzi had failures it is not unreasonable to think people will die while serving the State Department in countries like Libya. How about some consistency and we line up all the Congressmen who voted for the wars.

    January 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. Zenmeister

    Lindsey: Move on and actually do something for the poor souls in SC that have you as a senator. Stop name calling and actually govern. Pass laws that make things better for citizens in Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Greenville. You started your political with so much promise, but you are ending very badly.

    January 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. alyxlili4health

    Graham is a loser. Easy for him to say when he doesn't even sit on the Foreign Relations Committee. Anyone serving in public office and has people die on their watch feels haunted forever. Shame on you Graham.

    January 29, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. FubarObama

    All Demonuts have hidden agendas. They are all hypocrites in sheep clothing.

    January 29, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. just-a-guy

    So if Clinton got away with murder, what did George W. get away with when he invaded Iraq claiming falsely that they had WMD? I am sure that the thousands of Americans and other foriegn nationals that died in that war along with the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that died would like an answer to that question. The Republicans are shameless, gutless, clueless knuckleheads.

    January 29, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. W2R

    This guy is a twit! I tought he would be out picking up Mitch McConnell's dry cleaning!

    January 29, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  23. sgs

    Yep, no surprise that Hillary got away with it – no one has the guts to confront her! And, look at old Teddy Kennedy – no different! Liberals still have him on a pedestal!

    January 29, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    You haven't forgotten Benghazi senator??? O" and by the way senator, we haven't forgotten the WMDs either. Please go drink some Kool-Aid or play with your assault rifles. Pathetic right wing piece of crap.

    January 29, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. andrew

    This reminds me of listening to Rand Paul last week in the hearing calling this the worst tragedy sice 9/11. Apparently he forgot about Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and what happens every day in most inner cities. (but that is just gun violence – we dont call that terror because we ont want to offend the precious NRA).

    January 29, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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