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. sgs

    Why is it that no one mentions the Army officer who killed all those people in Texas – you know the one – he is never mentioned with the other tragedies – I wonder why – is he a Democrat? Or worse?

    January 29, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. martinoshea

    Sheer naked hypocrisy, coming from a man who voted to invade a sovereign nation based on falsehoods and supported an administration that is responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and innocent people in Iraq, yet this grandstanding creep has the gall to call someone a "killer" because an attack happened on one of our outposts. Is George Bush a "killer" for missing or ignoring information prior to 9/11? This vile cretin makes me want to throw up.

    January 29, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Larry

    Why print this trash. Graham is a publicity seeking irrational loud mouth that carried no creditability.

    January 29, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. ed the fed

    Graham's a warmongering toad.

    January 29, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. mona19595

    Graham must be trying to make a name for himself, I'll just say this, attacking Hillary Clinton is NOT the way to go about it. Not only that but let's remember the GOP had cut the military budget.........The attack occurred on Sept 11th how could any American think that the attack WAS NOT a terrorist attack!

    January 29, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Bart

    7 Embassies/consulates attacked, 31 people killed in these attacks. Under the Bush Jr administration.

    January 29, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. nitromays

    Lindsey take your ball and go homebecause we don't want to play with you any more.

    January 29, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. R H

    I thought the GOP was told to "stop being stupid" Ron White is right. You can't fix stupid.

    January 29, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. chilly g

    this guy is from a state that is at the bottom or near the bottom of just about everything and the only thing he does to stay in office is BS the peoples who vote for him.if hillary run for president she will get my vote and everyone who voted
    for the president will vote for her,what senator graham said only matter to the peoples in his states and hiliary do not
    need to win south carolina to win the white house, plus senator graham you need to come out the closet or stop being
    mean toward minorities.

    January 29, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. martinoshea

    "Before Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham went after Susan Rice for claiming that the attack in Benghazi was the result of an anti-Islamic video, the pair defended then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from charges that she was a "liar" over her testimony claiming there were WMDs in Iraq."

    January 29, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. Jay

    Lindsey, when you shout at every single solitary rain drop, people just stop listening.

    January 29, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. John Stredkal

    Clinton is a piker compared to the amount of people killed through the policies of this war mongering reactionary.

    January 29, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Jim Hahn

    Senator Graham's threats are empty. The GOP may be threatening Hillary in case she decides to run for President in 2016, but their threats are meaningless because she will be President if she so chooses and there is nothing the Old White Men can do to stop it.

    January 29, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. Todd

    Jim, GOP in full slander mode? I don't know what cave you've been in but that's politics in general. Set term limits and oust career politicians (or should I say career liars!) and maybe we can fix the problem...

    January 29, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. Alex

    Is Graham's rhetoric any different than those conspiracy theorists who claim GW Bush and his government knew 9/11 was going to happen?

    January 29, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Moose

    How can any believe Hilly?? Her husband cheated on her, let it go. 4 dead in ben ghazi and its a movies fault ???
    the Clintstones need to go away.

    January 29, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Josh

    Does Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) really want to go there?

    By the same logic, he is personally responsible for the consequences of every action, or lack of action, made by the US Senate. For example, Sen. Lindsey Graham committed the murder of the 1st graders in Connecticut because he failed to enact laws that might have prevented such, and we need to punish him for such.

    January 29, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. TomGI

    I actually feel sorry for the people of South Carolina they have Lindsey as their leader.

    January 29, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. tom hughes

    And why is he relevant ? From the same state that Newton G, won the rethug primary . Enough said ,

    January 29, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. knklhead

    Wingnuts: That's all you got? Hanging your hat on Benghazi? Clinton's response was exactly what the majority of American's feel: "What is the difference what happened at this time?" The goal is to figure out WHAT HAPPENED (yes, it was a terrorist act) and HOW to fix it from happening again. Very mature way of looking at it.

    Those the dwell on Benghazi are grasping at straws. And this compared to War on IRAQ based on proven LIES?

    January 29, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. bill elliott

    awaiting moderation?????? what does that mean?

    January 29, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. mcwreiole

    Your venomous posts and continued attempts to deflect any responsibility for anything on the part of this administration is actually comedic. But not all that intelligent.

    January 29, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. realitybite

    I bet you Graham is looking at 2016. If/when Sec. Clinton runs, this is the only ammo GOP will have against her.
    GOP is pathetic!

    January 29, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    We all know the GOP authorized and funded the Benghazi attacks the same way they authorized and funded the attack on the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago to make the President's job difficult.

    January 29, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. PNW jim

    How many diplomats were killed on Bushs watch? I did not hear peep out of you then. Facts? If you are driving home and see an car wreck you may be able to put together, in your mind what happen to cause it. All of it may sense but in the end, when all facts are in, it could have happened totolly different than what you thought.

    January 29, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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