May 18th, 2014
10:37 AM ET
8 years ago

Dianne Feinstein on Benghazi panel: ‘It’s a hunting mission for a lynch mob’

(CNN) – Sen. Dianne Feinstein had some biting words Sunday about the newly formed House select committee to investigate the deadly 2012 terror attack against a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

“I think it's ridiculous,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think it's a hunting mission for a lynch mob.”

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The Republican-controlled House approved the committee earlier this month. Despite several investigations into the attack, which left four Americans dead, Republicans argue there are still unanswered questions about the assault.

The issue is also being used as political ammunition against Hillary Clinton, who’s considering a 2016 presidential bid and was running the State Department at the time of the terror attack.

Feinstein on Sunday pointed to multiple reports, including one released by her own committee — the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — earlier this year. The report found that the attack was "likely preventable" based on known security shortfalls and prior warnings that the security situation there was deteriorating.

“We spent a year and a half on a report. We held hearings. Thousands of pages were reviewed. The staff spent hours and weeks on it,” Feinstein told CNN’s chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.

She also noted the 2013 independent review by an Accountability Review Board, which found "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" in the lead-up to the attack. Four State Department officials were immediately disciplined.

Asked whether she thinks all the questions about Benghazi have been answered, Feinstein said, “I believe they have.”

“Our report was bipartisan,” she said. “They were certainly answered to the satisfaction of the intelligence committee.”

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, said Sunday that Clinton needs to be held accountable for the attack.

“I think she clearly bears responsibility for whatever the State Department did or didn't do with respect to that crisis,” the Republican said Sunday on Fox News. “I do think it's a major issue. I don't think we've heard the last of it yet. And I would expect that she will be held accountable during the course of the campaign.”

For her part, Clinton has said that as secretary of state, she was responsible for diplomats’ security and that Benghazi was her “biggest regret” at the State Department.

Benghazi, she said in January, "illustrated one of the biggest problems that I faced as secretary of state: We have a lot of dangerous locations where we send not our military, but our civilians. And they go in, they have language skills often, they try to assess what is going on in the area, but they are vulnerable."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Congress • Dianne Feinstein • Libya • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. don in albuquerque

    How many more of these hearings do we have to have? How many more millions have to be spent? To discover the truth for which side? The GOTP have made it very clear that the only truth here is the one that suits them. And Cheney, how ridiculous. The man responsible for outing a CIA agent has the nerve to open his mouth on anything? Why was he not tried?

    May 18, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. stingerhp

    Tell the truth the first time around and save America a lot of wasted TV time.. Politics need a total and complete revamp..

    May 18, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. 2_indy1600

    When we add IRS, VA, Boko Haram to Benghazi it still won't matter, because the crook named Holder will not go after any answers. He did the same thing when Bill Clinton's Pardon Gate came up. Long, long line of people who want a RICO type investigation of the DOJ. Boko Haram and the Clinton's genuine war on women will make Benghazi look like a walk in the park.

    May 18, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. True Patriot

    What did or did not happen in Benghazi, or in the aftermath of it, is of very little interest to the average American. Why can't the Republicans in Congress concentrate on doing something constructive for a change?

    May 18, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. SethADrekin

    What the Democrats have forgotten is that 4 Americans were murdered in an area deemed USA Soil by terrorist due to the fact that this area was not secured. Other foreign ambassadors were removed due to the fact that Al-Queda was on the move, fact that this administration would not acknowledge.

    And what ill informed people like you have forgotten is that the place that was attacked was not an embassy, the Ambassador refused to leave Benghazi, Lybia and the Administration never denied the presence of Al Qaeda in the region or kpet that from the Ambassador.

    Mistakes were made, people were punished and policies have been changed. There are no other repercussions to be had for this situation. There is no conspiracy to cover up the fact that it was a terrorist attack. It is openly acknowledged as a terrorist attack.

    Even, in the very unlikely chance, the President said to his chief of staff, the secretary of state, the head of the FBI, the head of the CIA, the head of the pentagon, and every other person in the room to make sure this was seen as a Surprise Terrorist Attack sparked by a video and not a a Surprise Terrorist Attack not sparked by a video. Even if, despite somehow not being leaked through ten or twelve previous congressional hearing, they find out the President told them that, it would not mean anything. It would not be against the law. It would not be a violation of his oath of office. It would not get him impeached. It wouldn't mean anything because every president before him has done far worse.

    May 18, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. 2_indy1600

    Someone needs to tell lady Di that it's not a hunting mission for a lynch mob, it's a hunt for who killed the first American ambassador to be killed in 33 years and who missed the call, or was AWOL on 9-11. Get it? Whine about all the other embassy bombings all you like, NO American ambassador had been killed for 33 years until Hillarity. And which dimworld genius was asleep on 9-11 to begin with? Keep it up, and we'll push for a RICO, Conspiracy trial like Canada suggested last Summer for anyone within 6 degrees of separation to the Clinton Mob.

    May 18, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Dick Cheney , how I found Osama bin Laden , the real commander of seal team #6 ?

    Dick Cheney / Rick Perry 2016
    Real Men don't wear Pink .

    May 18, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. jerryball

    So Indy 1600, One Ambassador is worse than 200+ marines killed by Acting President Ronald Reagan's negligence, or in other words "Take 200 for the Gipper?" I don't think so....

    May 18, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. don in albuquerque

    It was a CIA covert action site. Do you really believe in all your infinite wisdom that the CIA is going to answer to the likes of you and your ilk. And just what was our Ambassador doing hanging out with the CIA? Possibly working for them? Could it be the CIA told the president and Hillary what to say? Ever since Cheney outed one of their agents, they probably don't work to closely with the Executive Branch. And besides that here a real blast for you-most people in world, especially that part of the word are not particularly enamored with the CIA.

    May 18, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. Imagine That

    Why do they keep harping about talking points?
    There are real questions that should be answered but never will because this event centers around ongoing CIA operations.
    There are also questions nobody wants to ask because they would damage the Republican concept that Stevens was a martyr and because nobody wants to be seen placing even one scintilla of blame on the ambassador himself.
    Doesn't anyone find it more than a little odd that two of the four men killed were CIA contractors? Why hasn't the answer to the question "What was Stevens even doing in Benghazi that day?" ever been pursued?
    It's pretty obvious to anyone actually paying a little attention to this that it was the CIA that dictated the infamous talking points in order to draw people's attention away from the fact that the "consulate annex" that was attacked was in truth a CIA station.

    May 18, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  11. Teresa Smith

    The real Issue here is.. Was there intentional, or Negligent decisions made by The SOS that resulted in the death's ? The answer has clearly been shown to be **NO** Nobody has said Mistakes were not made at certain level's.. Even Mistakes By Stevens Himself when he repeatedly turned down more security.
    Is the real issue here that Dept Sec Rice came out and spoke of Hostilities regarding a Video being looked at and investigated so Terrible?? The truth is the WH will not make a definate statement regarding blame and reasons, and Facts they dont have.. The Whitehouse has ALWAYS had a Policy of deflection and assurance of Investigation until Facts are known.. I dont understand for One Minute why the GOP's interest on *WHERE* the POTUS was during the eve of 9/11 or where Hillary Clinton was that same night make some important difference. And whats more I find it ludicrous to think that the GOP are implying that the President and SOS sat by and denied aid and help after they knew it was needed.. "For what purpose" ??
    Or why Trey the BULLDOG seems to think its so important for him to know why Amb Stevens was in Benghazi.. When frankly he had visited many places in Libya while he was there. Plus .. The answers are all there Those we know of and those we dont because they are Classified.. Its basically a Hunt for a Lie or for Blame. Who knows how many Investigations it will take. All I know is They are running of fumes of fear and Desperation. Because even if mistakes had been made.. Such things are not unheard of, The ME countries were ALL Hotspots during that time, There would be no logical reason to Lie.. Bur frankly if they are so anxious to investigate Mistakes.. I have some doozies.. The NON WMD factor that caused 2 wars, and cost countless of THOUSANDS of lives . and Billions of Dollars. And How about That Friendly Fire killing and Cover Up?? What about Those Torture issues in Abu Ghraib ? Good Heavens there are so many things to Investigate, Including Embassy Killings during BOTH Bush Administrations.. And Frankly I think it would be Money well spent.

    May 18, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. anthony78

    How many Benghazi's occurred under GWB's watch? At ACTUAL embassies? (you realize this wasn't even an embassy, right) I'll wait...

    May 18, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  13. Marie MD

    Folks, the teaklans couldn't stop the ACA now they will waste our taxpayer money on Benghazi x 100 failed tries.

    May 18, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  14. Stevie D

    America has real issues. This is a waste of a lot time and money.... I thought the GOP was fiscally responsible?

    May 18, 2014 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  15. Stevie D

    Obama chose not to go after Bush and Cheney for war crimes and instead move the country forward. Too bad the GOP doesn't do the same.

    May 18, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  16. S. B. Stein

    Part of my thinking makes me ask the question as to why the ambassador was allowed to go when there were threats to him and other allied countries. The other question is why did they go to a location that was clearly no secure? It is something that points to the questionable thinking of the ambassador. He is partly to blame.

    May 18, 2014 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  17. BeenThereDoneThat

    Benghazi...Brain Damage...Who Shot John? I've never seen this many Jock Straps so afraid of one Bra before in my life!

    May 19, 2014 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  18. Dar

    This wouldn't have taken so long had the administration just told the truth and then let the card fall where they should.
    BUT that wouldn't be the political way now would it. Nope, lets protect our political party to the end and spend God knows how much of our tax payers money to do it.

    May 19, 2014 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  19. Name. willard

    Keep out of hillary clinton 2016
    Clinton hillary make 50 percent of lied story what happened about benghizina

    May 19, 2014 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
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