May 16th, 2013
06:45 PM ET
10 years ago

Rand Paul: Hillary’s 'fingerprints' all over talking points

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul continued his blitz against Hillary Clinton, arguing Thursday the former secretary of state was involved in changing the Benghazi talking points, despite recently-released e-mails indicating she did not have a direct role in the matter.

The Republican senator of Kentucky–who’s considering a 2016 presidential bid–said that because her spokeswoman at the time, Victoria Nuland, was engaged in the editing process for the talking points, then Clinton must be implicated, as well.

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“This is Hillary Clinton's spokesman. Unless Hillary Clinton's spokesman doesn't speak for her, this really does draw Hillary Clinton into this. And it puts her fingerprints all over these talking points,” Paul said on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

The White House released more than 100 pages of e-mails on Wednesday in an attempt to quiet critics of the president for his handling of last year’s deadly terror attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

The e-mails detail the complex exchanges between the CIA, State Department, and the White House in developing the set of unclassified talking points that were used to explain the events just days after the September 11 attack.

U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice used those talking points–which erroneously stated the attacks originated from a spontaneous protest–on several television news talk shows.

Following months of questions from Republican lawmakers over how the talking points were drafted, the White House released the e-mails.

The documents showed Nuland had questioned information originally in the talking points about extremist threats linked to al Qaeda in Benghazi and eastern Libya.

"The penultimate point could be abused by members (of Congress) to beat the State Department for not paying attention to agency warnings so why do we want to feed that either? Concerned..." she wrote.

While Clinton herself was not part of the e-mail exchanges and was not found at fault in an independent investigation of the Benghazi attack, Paul reiterated that the buck stops at her desk.

“I just find it stretches credulity to think Hillary Clinton wasn't involved with the talking points,” he said.

Paul has been going after Clinton, who’s also considered a potential 2016 White House contender, for months.

During her testimony before Congress on Benghazi, Paul told Clinton he would have fired her if he were president at the time, and last week he said she should never be able to hold higher office again.

He also blasted the former secretary of state during a stop in the presidential battleground state of Iowa on Friday.

- CNN's Kevin Liptak and Sherisse Pham contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Libya • Rand Paul • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. clarke

    For Paul this is all politics and setting himself up for 2016. His new job is to run around and discredit anyone who gets in his way.

    May 17, 2013 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  2. Marie MD

    At least Hillary leaves fingerprints. You can't even cast a shadow of decency and truth.
    Not that I care much about polls but you rank about 14% in a pool of fools. There's about six of you pretending you can lead our country in 2016. Even the Cuban anchor baby ranks 16%. The only one to break the 15% mark!!
    Let's not forget the other hopefuls like bachman who has been screeching about her traitor friends or tea trolls in front of the Capitol building where she has been voted to work fo the whole country not just the right wing crazies we hate the black man but don't touch my social security, Medicare, roads, etc., etc., federal government money crowd!
    Almost forgot, I believe Hilary has a ranking of over 60%.

    May 17, 2013 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  3. GI Joe

    I wAnt the fingerprints, Show us her signature on official emails. Show us or shut up.

    I'm sick of he said/she said and "an anonymous source" told me.

    May 17, 2013 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
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