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.”

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker'] [twitter-follow screen_name='KilloughCNN']

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. Brian

    Cruz, And your still stupid.

    June 18, 2014 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  2. tony

    I dont know what question she already answered to congress except what different does it make. It nay not be now but i think it will catch up to her in 2016

    June 18, 2014 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  3. kurtinco

    Shut up Cruz. We don't need no gosh darn Cuban-Canadians telling us American business.

    June 18, 2014 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  4. judith

    Ted Cruz should stop beating this dead horse, but he hasn't much else to talk about so he'll keep yakking and make himself look even more ridiculous. I'd love to see the GOP be dumb enough to nominate this Joe McCarthy clone. Hillary would win in a record landslide.

    June 18, 2014 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  5. Gyrgyl

    -does this Canadian kid know where is Benghazi, pathetic.

    June 18, 2014 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  6. Matt

    Sure cnn..."what difference does it make" is being outright and caring about what happened there. What a joke. This lady should be tried for treason. Nothing but crony government covering for crony government.

    June 18, 2014 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  7. RealTruth

    Cruz doesn't even know the time of day much less anything to do with foreign matters. Take a map of North Africa and see if Cruz can point where Libya is located without them being labeled.

    June 18, 2014 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  8. Babyfacemagee

    Cruz is correct. The same rebels that the Obama administration is arming in Syria are now part of ISIS and most likely using the same weapons. Which means by going against President Assad in Syria we've basically been taking the side of the radical extremists. If that's not a glaring foreign policy error I don't know what is.

    June 18, 2014 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  9. bp

    Ted Cruz is the modern incarnation of Joseph McCarthy.

    June 18, 2014 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  10. skyjord

    Hillary may still be stonewalling, but Ted (McCarthy) Cruz is still a twerp and should be put on a stool and forced to face the back corner of the room for the rest of his term

    June 18, 2014 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  11. PercyA

    What the hell doe's cruz have to say, he's not even an American.

    June 18, 2014 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  12. drtodp

    I really do not like lawyers as politicians. Here is the answer...we do not belong there. Hillary stated we need to be in all these places, I disagree. Cruz says that these terrorists want to murder Americans, do you blame them? We interfere so much in their affairs when we should sit back and let them fight, forget the oil for now. Let these people solve their societal problems because we did in our civil war and over a million died. They need to learn to get along over there in my opinion. We can provide ethical and moral support, but all countries should simply stay out. I realize that other countries such as Iran and Russia may sell them weapons, but people need to realize we are in a world economy and we can impose big sanctions.

    Sooner or later the world will have to come together and form a better world governmental power other than the UN or make the UN stronger to tackle these problems. This will only happen if a major common world crisis emerges such as an introduction to an Alien species(good or bad), a deadly plague that kills billions or a crisis escalating like the climate problem. I think it may take another century before the humans of this planet grow up enough to focus on improving themselves and growing their knowledge over the acquisition of money. This is my broad opinion, but I just do not see people changing until everyone on this planet is educated to some basic level like at least two years of college level knowledge. Religion needs to be secondary to basic math, science and world history.

    June 18, 2014 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  13. adlass

    how about the republicans answer questions on war crimes in Iraq and Gitmo first?

    June 18, 2014 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  14. Sandvichmancer

    More from the Canadian who wants to be president.

    June 18, 2014 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  15. wyattdixon99

    It doesn't matter what Hillary says or does.....the GOP will hound her forever.......just like they did her husband. Too bad they can't put all that energy into doing something constructive.

    June 18, 2014 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  16. brandi

    Sen. Ted Cruz is really really far from becoming president of the US.......But dreaminng is always Free!!!

    June 18, 2014 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  17. mike

    What exactly is Hilary stonewalling?

    June 18, 2014 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  18. Andrew

    Cruz .. please do the USA a favor. Go back to Canada and take as many Republicans with you

    June 18, 2014 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  19. Thomas

    How much did Ted Cruz make economically , directly or indirectly on the government shutdown ?

    Green Eggs and Ham .

    June 18, 2014 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  20. Hotdog

    The politics in this country is sickening! This guy is pathetic and is a classic example of why the county is not moving forward on issues. When people do not respond to questions the way others want them to respond them there will never be getting to the bottom with regards to Benghazi! In other words, the GOP would not believe the truth on this issue if they were hit over the head with it!

    June 18, 2014 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  21. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    This GOP lying LOSER and author of the 24 billion dollar loss off of GDP is a prime example of why the GOP is going to get the BEATDOWN of their lives in November. GOP fox DOPE channel watchers should TAKE A LOOK AT YOURSELVES and you will see WHY YOUR party is the GARBAGE and SEWAGE of America and a national JOKE

    June 18, 2014 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Ms Clinton in the Democratic primaries campaigned that she would be able to handle the middle of the night phone calls as contrasted by Mr Obama – she and he both failed!

    June 18, 2014 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  23. Paul J Margaritis

    Ms Clinton campaigned in the Democratic presidential primaries that she would be able to handle the middle of the night phone call implying her opponent Mr Obama would not. They both demonstrated an inability to handle this phone call.

    June 18, 2014 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  24. steve

    when cruz opens his mouth,he removes all doubt!

    June 18, 2014 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  25. bassman

    The parents of the four dead Americans have said they want answers. Much like Mr. Cruz and the Republicans have said. I wonder if Mrs. Clinton believes the parents are playing politics?

    June 18, 2014 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6