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. Aaron Lebovitz

    What a tool Lindsey Graham is. Republicans are such hypocritical trash.

    January 29, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. BROOKLYNsurf

    Lindsey Graham... Your a tool.

    January 29, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. Bill

    This is EXACTLY the kind of rhetoric that undermines our country. "Murder"? Did he NOT listen to the testimony? The focus was on what was happening in Cairo, Tunisia, etc. – she SAID THAT. Beghazi was taken as one more of the same (it's sensible to take a look at what wasbhappening in the region, and apply it across the board – that's what they did, that's what the talking points were). OK, they were wrong, admitted it and invited an investigation and took the suggestions and implemented same. These kind of issues will ALWAYS happen. It's the nature of the beast. These words by Graham are unnecessary, unneeded and politically motivated.

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

    The sidekick of the old fool McCain already trying to put Hillary Clinton down. Shameful. She has done a wonderful job as Secretary of State and will do better than any republican as president in 2016.

    January 29, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. Arthur A Roberts

    Lindsey Graham has cemented his role as loathsome piece of trash with this commentary. So if Hillary is a murderer for Bengazi is he a mass murderer for voting to go to war with Iraq when he knew there were no WMD's or Terrorist there? Piece of garbage...

    January 29, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  6. Ted Wyglinski

    Graham is usually mild-mannered. Imagine if he got really angry.

    January 29, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. thefatuglytroll

    MORE proof that Graham and all his ilk are IRRELEVANT GOOFS that pander to FREAKS on the far right edge of the known universe.

    January 29, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Guess it's time to "Circle the Wagons"..hee hee

    January 29, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Bill Fowler

    It is time for you to get our of politics. You should join forces with Rush Limbaugh and Hannity. Maybe become a news anchor with Fox news and become a Murdoch enterprise puppet.

    January 29, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. Hans Stuk

    We also had a clear picture of the US when the twin towers were hit by two planes. Not everything goes as planned in this world. But honestly if Graham accuses Hilary Clinton of getting away with murder does this mean Bush/Mccain got away with genocide in Iraq?

    January 29, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. rl

    This guy is one real nut job. This is exactly how the republicon/TBs want to work to help our nation.

    January 29, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. Jeff in Virginia

    So- South Carolina brought us the first shots of the Civil War, and Lindsey Graham, R-Garbage.

    Get rid of these liars already.

    January 29, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. Rev Dr Felix Nwosu

    I Dont agree with that that she left with bloods in her hands. but for the presidential ambition she is not even interested she wants to rest she has serve America government in different capacity even as the first Lady of the United States of America.what is more?.Rest ma.

    January 29, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. Lola

    Graham is angry because after months of going on and on about Benghazi it ended with a thud and the Republicans looked foolish. So now he makes even more foolish remarks, the terrorists were responsible for murdering those men no one else.

    January 29, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    Did Sen. Grahama mention that his party were the ones who voted against increased security spending for our embassies and consulates?

    Didn't think so ...

    January 29, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. Chedar

    Graham the gay Chsrlatan.

    January 29, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  17. Chuckme

    Hey Lindsey,

    What about the 50 people killed in embassy attacks during the Bush administration. Is George W. Bush guilty of murder and the senate that didn't make a big deal out of it – you are guilty also!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    @dx2718: Excellent point!

    January 29, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  19. j

    yep that was murder!!! That's why the republicans lost so bad. They spout off shear nonsense,like we are stupid!

    January 29, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. Kilroy

    Graham is a tool ...

    January 29, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. Gabbo

    NO DOUBT. She is a serial liar – I'm sure the liberals out there are very proud of her.

    January 29, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. rs


    Really?? Ms. Clinton pulled the trigger? Are you that freakin' crazy? You Hate the President, and the Secretary of State so much that you blame them for the tragic deaths in Benghazi, and not, say, the actual terrorists?
    I would think that after sleeping through the CIA report warning of 9/11; the attack on U.S. Marines in Lebanon; all the innocent blood on Bush's hands after the WMD disaster in Iraq, that Republicans would be bright enough to not politicize that which cannot be controlled.
    You my friend are the "Stupid" in the Stupid Party, and the reason why no one trusts the GOP on foreign affairs anymore.

    January 29, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. mysimru

    Hillary Clinton should never be president but the democratic sheep will follow just like they have Obama.

    January 29, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. t.marino

    What is pathetic is the fact that Republicans had "nothing" to say whatsoever when our former president murdered thousands of our own soldiers and many more Iraqi innocents over a war based on lies (WMD). Where was the outrage then? I didn't see any at all. Hypocrites and liars starting with the nut job named Lindsey Graham.

    January 29, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. jonloete

    It's all politics. They're scared of Hilary running for POTUS in 2016.

    It certainly is hypocritical to say she's a murderer. There were similar incidents under the Bush admin and don't forget we fought an unnecessary and costly war, ie Iraq. Like I said before, it's all politics.

    January 29, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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