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. TM

    Senator Cruz should stick to topics he knows something about, like Green Eggs and Ham. He should leave discussions of more serious subjects to the grown-ups.

    June 17, 2014 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  2. UmpireSam

    so when is cruz going to run for the only high Political office he is entitled to run for ?

    Prime Minister Of Canada

    June 17, 2014 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  3. K.Jenkins

    Shameful that you have turned a tragedy into your distraction. The Monday Morning Quarterbacking makes my head explode. Please make this a society based on education and stop showing the majority how petty it all comes off. Good American's died that day. Honor them .. find who did that (whole nother post) but don't turn it into a blame game. We are all American's and honor what those killed in Benghazi risked by taking the dangerous assignments they did. We seem to have lost that thought in all your blame. Move forward .. it's the only way. There have been a lot of great people in history that had to make hard decisions ... but you have to move forward .. it's inevitable ... Education .. Educate the children. What civilization in history has ever continued to be a great civilization without education. Do you people not have children? Can't we quit throwing stones coz Lord knows there's been enough thrown each way .. but work for the children.. and education.. and clean air .. Someone told me once.. that if a person alone was given the choice, they would pick the right one ... So I have to think that you know.

    June 17, 2014 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  4. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Never mind Hillary, Ted, were you born in this country or not? And, if not, please stop running for an office you can't have. And stop campaigning against an opponenet you can't have. By the way Ted, please comment on Dubya's decision to cut funding to reinforce the embassies in the Med/Middle East region.

    June 17, 2014 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  5. reader123

    So it takes Obama admin 2 years to get the culprit, and they're not happy? It took 10 years to get bin Laden...and that was the Obama admin - not Bush - that succeeded.

    June 17, 2014 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  6. Steve

    This is not much of a story. It's about as predictable as "local dog barks at mailman". Of course Cruz is going to be critical. And the sun will come up tomorrow.

    June 17, 2014 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  7. greybees

    It would startling if Cruz would ever agree with anything done or said by someone of the other politcal party. He is closest thing we have seen to a Joe McCarthy in sixty years.

    June 17, 2014 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  8. oldfolkie

    Is it really National News that Cruz disagrees with Clinton on anything? Stop giving this Texas Tea Party fool a National Stage. The great majority of Americans don't care what he or Mike Lee has to say about anything. We are more interested in finding ways to better this country, put people to work, compromise when needed, and give our young people an honest future. Benghazi is in the past like so many tragedies under both Parties watch. Learn what we can and move on.

    June 17, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  9. S. B. Stein

    I hear and understand that Cruz has some criticism of Clinton, but he hasn't offered what he would do now or have done if he were the Sec of State.

    June 17, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  10. TomGI

    Cruz's commentary and opinions aren't worth a pile of manure.

    June 17, 2014 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  11. Omar

    Ted Cruz us just angling to run for POTUS and he knows he won't stand a chance against Mrs. Clinton, he and all the other GOP Presidential 'wannabes'. Go back to Canada you loser!

    June 17, 2014 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  12. John

    Cruz is all about playing partisan politics, not the least bit about putting America's best foot forward...

    June 17, 2014 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  13. Garner Foley

    Cruz is a self-proclaimed expert on any topic. Plus shameless with politics. One termer I think.

    June 17, 2014 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  14. Daniel Michael

    Ted Cruz is a fanatical right winger who has ZERO credibility. Besides that, he is Canadian!

    June 17, 2014 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  15. Skip Glanz

    Johny one note is now Teddy one topic. Hey Ted time to help the struggling American people, enough of the bitterness.

    June 17, 2014 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  16. Dave

    Still waiting for Cruz's evidence of "stonewalling", or a coverup. I realize he claims to have the psychic powers to read the mind of Ms. Clinton, whom he barely knows, and discover bad motives, but perhaps he could give contact information for these Spirit Guides of his.

    June 17, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  17. jimmy

    Ted Cruz is only about Ted Cruz. The man's a complete liar who has decided to make big money in the U.S. because that wasn't possible in Canada. The Real kick here is he got elected a House Rep in of all places possible, TEXAS. Somebody needs to let those idiots in Texas know that they have a jerk from Canada representing them in Congress. If this doesn't prove how stupid parts of the state of texas is, then look at its Gov!

    June 17, 2014 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  18. Bren

    Shut up Cruz. You aren't equipped to think. Every time you open your mouth, you prove once again just how ignorant you really are. No one cares what you say!

    June 17, 2014 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  19. Bob

    The REAL scandal on Benghazi is the GOP (particularly the Tea Party bozos like Cruz) who SLASHED the embassy's security budget over the protests of the staff, the White House, and security experts. THAT led to the embassy being unsafe and allowed it to be breached. Why isn't anyone talking about that? Whether Obama or Clinton or anybody used the word "terrorist" the next day or the day after that wouldn't have changed the fact that people were killed because the GOP would rather give tax breaks to oil companies that are making record profits that pay to keep our embassies secure. This SHOW the GOP keep putting on is a pathetic attempt to deflect the blame that is rightly theirs.

    June 17, 2014 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  20. Mike

    Cruz gets paid to make some ridiculous comments.... Not sure how anyone could vote for this freaking moran.

    June 17, 2014 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  21. Realistic Person

    Ted Cruz can't seem to grasp the concept that the world is a complicated place with few clear-cut answers and lots of gray areas. He has an inability to grasp the idea of nuance, and this is a characteristic that he shares with his fellow Texan George W. Bush. It is a serious liability that should disqualify a person from being the leader of the free world in this very complicated world. We do not need simplistic presidents with inadequate answers.

    June 17, 2014 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  22. Gary

    Hmmmmm, I wonder how they would of handled this in Canada or Cuba?

    June 17, 2014 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  23. strangerq@aol.com

    And you're still stupid.

    But in a couple years she will be President.

    June 17, 2014 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  24. nobikiniatoll

    Someone should pinch TC's head off before it gets any bigger. What a maroon.

    June 18, 2014 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  25. One Blunt Mom

    Ted Cruz is a tool who is desperately trying to hang on tho his fleeting 15 minutes of fame. I am ashamed to say that he's from my home state.

    June 18, 2014 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
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