June 17th, 2014
08:40 PM ET
9 years ago

Ted Cruz responds to Hillary Clinton on Benghazi

Updated 12:15 p.m. ET, 6/18/2014

(CNN) - While Hillary Clinton said Tuesday “there are still some unanswered questions” on the deadly 2012 Benghazi attack, Sen. Ted Cruz argued the former secretary of state is blocking those questions from being answered.

“Secretary Clinton from the beginning has stonewalled on this rather than acting as a partner getting to the bottom of what happened,” the Texas Republican said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

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Cruz was responding to Clinton’s interview during a CNN town hall, in which she said she was “very pleased” that a key suspect, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, had been captured by U.S. special forces this week, marking a major development in the aftermath of the attack nearly two years ago.

Four people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were killed in the terror assault against a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.

An independent review of the incident found "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department, which was run by Clinton at the time. Four employees were reassigned.

The former secretary of state has since said she ultimately takes responsibility for the safety of diplomatic personnel, but she has also argued there’s nothing she could have personally done to prevent the attack, saying she relied on experts to implement security protocol.

As Clinton weighs a presidential bid, the attack has also become a political flashpoint. Congressional Republicans have launched their own investigations, with the latest effort being the formation of a House select committee to focus on the issue.

Clinton agreed Tuesday “there are still some unanswered questions.”

“It was, after all, the fog of war. But I'm absolutely convinced that the United States and all of our various agencies with all of our professionals including the Congress is you know, piecing together the best information we can find,” she said.

In her new book, “Hard Choices,” she accused Republicans of exploiting the deadly attack and playing politics.

“The truth isn't partisan,” Cruz said Tuesday. “There are basic questions that haven't been answered, and she views it as criticism.”

“She's not trying to get answers,” he continued. “She's trying to block the answers from ever being answered.”

He also attacked her for arguing in a recent interview that the Taliban detainees who were released in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl last month aren't a threat to the United States.

On the growing violence in Iraq, Cruz hit Clinton for not totally ruling out the idea that the U.S. could team up with Iran to stop the advances by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

"I am not prepared to say that we go in with Iran right now until we have a better idea what we're getting ourselves into," Clinton said Tuesday on CNN. "What they want to do in Baghdad is basically to envelope (Prime Minister Nuri al-) Maliki in the Iranian embrace, maybe even use their own troops in Iraq as they did in Syria. That is a very difficult position to put the United States in."

While ISIS is an American enemy, Cruz said, the "regime in Iran is an enemy as well."

"That was the most surreal moment of Secretary Clinton's interview," he said, referring to her answer.

A spokesman for Correct the Record, the communications and rapid response arm of a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC, hit back against Cruz, saying the senator "should be ashamed to play politics on the backs of four Americans killed in the service of their country.”

“Secretary Clinton has taken responsibility, action, and been fully and publicly transparent as she answered questions before Congress and made the independent ARB investigation public, making it one of the most transparent internal reviews in State Department history," said Adrienne Elrod, the group's communications director.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iraq • Libya • Ted Cruz
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. Smitty

    Every day another failure by this admin.

    June 17, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  2. Warren

    if you listen to the entire interview, there can be no doubt that this man is nut job... and a threat to the United States.

    June 17, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Anchor babies who shut down government should keep their terrorist mouth shut.

    June 17, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  4. ynotblue

    You can only suspect someone of stonewalling if you have a clue what's being stonewalled. Cruz has no clue, only rumors and innuendoes that are being spun out of the GOP and Tea Party back offices.

    June 17, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  5. emskadittle

    so was that all obama had to do? renounce his kenyan citizenship and he would have been good to go?

    June 17, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  6. Jack

    Cruz's is only fooling himself! She eat you alive and spit you out!

    June 17, 2014 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  7. Stu Steinberg

    Ted Cruz is the worst of everything this country is supposed to stand for. His whole shtick since being elected is to gin up hatred. He is a guy who claims to be a constitutional scholar, yet, did not have the guts to take the oath to defend that document with his life, as many of us did. In this regard, he is like the rest of the cowards in the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, virtually none of whom served. They wave the flag, rant about the Constitution, claim they support the troops and veterans–and their voting record belies any truth to that claim–and are now screaming to have more Americans killed in Iraq to support one of the most corrupt, violent governments in the world. To be sure, none of them will have children in that fight, if it ensues, just as they didn't serve in, or have kids in, the last Iraq War, or the current Afghanistan conflict. Ted–if you're reading this–you're a punk and have no chance of ever being president.

    June 17, 2014 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  8. Ron L

    Senator Cruz does not exercise "the truth" in over half the statements I have read. He is a tremendous opportunist and frankly a blowhard that would be very dangerous with REAL POWER. Fortunately most Americans realize this and he will never be more than a Senator. You can bet on this....

    June 17, 2014 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  9. Ed

    Hillary continues to try and reinvent herself over the past months Benghazi is just another page of distorted facts. Her playbook is pathetic; just lie about it and smile. Sorry, I've seen too much of that with Obama.

    June 17, 2014 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I am not a big fan of the lady, especially given some of her recent pronouncement in her non-candidate’s national tour, but “acting as a partner”…”The truth isn’t partisan”…really Ted, like you expect someone dragged into a kangaroo court to the cooperate in the subsequent lynching?

    June 17, 2014 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    “She's not trying to get answers,” he continued. “She's trying to block the answers from ever being answered.”

    Well, Ted. We've got the culprit in custody. No doubt he'll be talking soon enough. I wonder though if the answers he gives will satisfy you; and whether you and your ilk will accept what he has to say as truth without spinning your all knowing truth as the only truth. So far, it really hasn't mattered has it? Truth, that is. You've taken this episode and reinvented it days after it occurred to satisfy your own meme. It remains doubtful you folks on the right actually care about truth and justice at all. Not too long ago, Kelly Ayotte demanded President Obama bring those who killed four Americans to justice. Today? Meh. She's already complaining. As, it seems, are you.

    June 17, 2014 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  12. 1776usa2016

    Crazy Canadian Cruz is frothing again.


    June 17, 2014 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. Mark P

    Why are news readers asking this ex-Canadian freshman senator anything at all?

    June 17, 2014 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  14. Justin Cider

    Rafael Eduardo Cruz, you make Hillary look sane!

    June 17, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  15. Robert N. constant

    Ted Cruz ran for the Senate claiming that his father escaped from Communist Cuba. Ted Cruz's father is on record admitting that he fought FOR Fidel Castro, then deserted, then BRIBED his way out of Cuba under Batista.
    Green Eggs and Ham Ted Cruz is among those responsible for shutting down the government . His father is associated with Halliburton and big Texas Oil Money. Ted Cruz, until this month a Canadian citizen, has repeatedly opposed Immigration Reform, which is amazing considering his "back door" American Citizenship. Ted Cruz should not be eligible for any office of profit or trust in these United States.

    June 17, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  16. Tell214

    What do we have to do to get rid of this Cruz moron and stop this guy from polluting the Internet with his garbage

    June 17, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  17. George

    Ted Cruz will always be irrelevant.

    June 17, 2014 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  18. amazed2

    Ted Cruz is an idiot.

    June 17, 2014 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  19. Winston Smith

    I'll bet there are many people in Canada, breathing a sigh of relief that this nut job is no longer a citizen of their beautiful country. Now we have to suffer the fact that he's among us. What a damn shame.

    June 17, 2014 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  20. Doug J.

    Cruz is so intellectually inferior to Clinton that I'm embarassed for him.

    June 17, 2014 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  21. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Since when have the GOP cared about what happened? They didn't. They got Romney's wish. He said he hoped something happened and it did and they used it just like planned. Pathetic.

    June 17, 2014 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  22. Clear and Present Thinker

    Why is Cruz news on this page? I thought the first "N" in CNN stood for "News."

    June 17, 2014 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  23. Chris-E...al

    What would'nt a broke dim say or do to get a poor woman or mans money or vote ? They mite not take the shirt off your back at this point but wake up . What have they dims done for you ? Higher cost 4 goods and services less security more division this that and all and more an more ? And remember to tell your kids not 2 take candy from a stranger and dont let others teach them right fr wrong . thxjeusam .

    June 17, 2014 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  24. BErnard

    THey republican dont want clinton in the whitehouse . Because of benghazi mess also that monica and bill clinton mess so hillary will have to fine the vote somewhere else.

    June 17, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  25. barb'sbarb

    Cruz is a poor excuse for a senator - if you call his office (as I did) to voice your opinion and it's contrary to his opinion they hang up on you!

    Cruz wants to be prez soooo bad - maybe his oil connected mommy and daddy (you know the daddy who once supported Castro) will help him get enough money from the oil industry to make that run for president.....

    June 17, 2014 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
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