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. BlkPwr817

    That's the reason the GOP will continue to lose. Even when they attempt to change the rules, they stll lose. GTFOH!

    January 29, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. bill

    Okay, this fool did not just say that Clinton "got away with murder" did he?? I mean how many American and Coalition troops died in Iraq for a war based on evidence fabricated by the Repulicans just so they could give Halliburton a multi-billion dollar non-compete government contract in Iraq?? How many Americans died on 9/11 while dubya was president?? How many of our children have died as a result of the GOP/NRA's support of assault weapons?? If anyone is guilty of murder it is the Republicans and it really is time to vote these terrorists out in 2014 and 2016, there is just no excuse for these right wing nut jobs

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

    Wow, the teabaggers really have Grahams by the small cookies!

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

    The GOPers like Lindsy Graham just don't understand that by them attacking her at the Bengahzi hearings it has encouraged her to run in 2016, when will they ever stop stepping in it.

    January 29, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. JIm

    Lindsey you shold resign! That comment in insane.

    January 29, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. kimberly

    I think when he comes out of the closet, he will be a MUCH happier man...

    January 29, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Michigan patriot

    She lied just like the rest of the White House. I hope Senator Graham stands his ground and keep his word. Don't vote for Hagel until we get some answers. He is right, Hillary got away with murder, just like Obama, but they will pay for all the harm they have caused.

    January 29, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Arch

    right, graham – how many thousands were killed or maimed due directly to the illegal conduct of bush and the republicans. yet here, where much of the fault again lies at the hands of the tea bagging party for their failure to adequately fund these outposts, and now the fake outrage. listen graham, perhaps a little less craven behavior and a little more thought placed on your responsibility in this mess. quit trying to blame others senator.

    January 29, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Alina77

    What ? Is Graham is out for reelection again? You know it when he sounds scared...and stupid.

    January 29, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. don in albuquerque

    Undeserving of any respect whatsoever. VOTE this very little man out of office and take his sidekick Songbird with him.

    January 29, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. FM

    Lindsey Graham is rapidly losing his rep as one of the few sane Republicans in Congress. You sound like a moron, Lindsey, pandering for wingnut votes. Of course it's horrible to lose ANY lives in this sort of situation but the reality is that Benghazi was one of the SMALLEST incidents of this type in the last 30 years. Compared to other embassy incidents and yes, 9/11, this was on a much smaller scale, which you're trying desperately to blow up into a much bigger deal. You will fail.

    January 29, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. jake

    Dear Anonymous You want to know" Why does ever criticism of a demoract always illicit response like" such and such republican" The answer is simple my friend. IF THE SHOE FITS, WEAR IT

    January 29, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Sn0wjob

    Graham is a worthless, knuckle-dragging mouthbreather & a pathetic excuse for a human being, much less a senator. The fact that Secretary Clinton has to tolerate his vile, lying slander is a shame. This is a perfect example of why the GOP are wallowing at the very bottom of the cesspool these days.

    January 29, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. ThomasamohT

    Congress cut their budget. If your gonna pass blame take your share of it.

    January 29, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. FoolKiller

    There you are!

    I had wondered where all the paid liberal posters had gone...
    I was afraid you had all been fired and were out of work again.

    Good to see you back and hard at, er, work.
    You're more fun to read than the comics.

    January 29, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. john reuter

    He is a an embarrassment to our nation and political system.

    January 29, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. GINA

    THIS GUY IS A JOKE! ARE YOU SERIOUS? Hillary Clinton did a stellar job as Secretary of State!

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

    Good God. This right-wing obsession with a completely imagnary conspiracy is so pathetic.

    January 29, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. Anthony in California

    So WHAT did GW BUSH get away with Lindsey?

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

    @ Josh: at the exact same logic, should the executive and judicial branchs be accountable for the illegals in the US, whether during Reagan, Clinton, both Bush's, or Obama, being it is their responsibility to enact and enforce the laws? 2nd offense is a felony, so 11 mil... or further, should the "51%" who voted for this administration be to blame (and appropriate percentages of Americans for other administrations)?

    January 29, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. Brian

    Republicans cut funding for an agency and then blame the agency for being ineffective.

    January 29, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. JWN in SC

    Senator Graham's stupidity is appallingly obvious........this is exactly what Gov. bobby Jindal is talking about!
    Senator check your popularity polls and check Secretary Clinton's popularity poll numbers. Chaps, doesn't it?

    January 29, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. longtooth

    Someone should inform Graham and his team of desperados that the American collective IQ is not as close to the bottom as he seems to believe. Would you buy a used car from this guy?

    January 29, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. CarolinaGirl

    Why oh why does my state keep electing these idiots.

    January 29, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. baljeet

    Hillary, we love you.!

    January 29, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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