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. Lily

    Dear Canadian boy, why not go to the floor for another green eggs & ham talk? If you will do it one more time, you will win Hillary on Benghazi.

    June 18, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  2. SeanZ

    CNN, is well, Just Like MSNBC..... Just Lower ratings. And Erin Burnett, Candy Cowley, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper are, Liberal Democrates, just like the owners of CNN. The ratings are low, they get Rachel Maddows left overs.

    June 18, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  3. Lizzie

    We need a mormon leader to save us from the wrath !
    -- we have him, Harry Reid

    June 18, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Cruz and company are so depressed over the capture of the Benghazi attack mastermind. It reminds me of how completely despondent right-wingers were when Obama killed Bin Ladin. Compare that with right-winger elation over the deaths of the four Americans in Benghazi so that they wanted an "investigation' while the buildings were still literally burning.

    June 18, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. Tony Torres

    Cruz lucked out when he won the senate seat in a fluke ans now thinks he is God's gift to all of us. What a waste of a senate seat but go ahead Texas keep voting in IDIOTS like Cruz. Enough said!

    June 18, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  6. Anonymous

    When The current President's term is up Faux news will go out of business unless they find another Democrat to throw all their hate mongering toward.

    June 18, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    SeanZ – Does the Z stand for Hannity, as you are clueless?

    June 18, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. RWB1956

    In response to "ria": HAHAHAHAHAHA! What country are you living in?

    June 18, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. Phytoist

    It's great to have Ted Cruz et al like elements aligning with GOPers forcing them to axe their own feet & dig graveyards for short sighted power gains. Congress in India & GOPers in US,charting their future for a possible quick retirements as they are cataract sufferers with blinded vision. BRAVO to voters in both nations.

    June 18, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  10. Luc

    who cares what Cruz has to say. He was born on Canada and will have know relevance in the 2016 election. If you listen to Cruz we will be under a dictatorship in this country. What a moron. He is at the bottom of all GOP contenders.

    June 18, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. scarf

    “The truth isn't partisan,” Cruz said Tuesday.

    In that case, Cruz isn't looking for the truth.

    June 18, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  12. Glenn NM

    Good old soundbite Ted, he can never resist commenting on anything to keep his face in the news. There are 535 members of Congress yet we always only hear from the same handful, none of whom ever have anything useful to say.

    Let me ask you this, Ted: how is it that you and your ilk expect the U.S. to be able to respond to a sudden crisis half a world away, one that was spawned from sudden, violent protests all across the region in the days leading up to it that these criminals saw as their perfect opportunity, in a very hostile area that Ambassador Stevens was cautioned against visiting, and which respected military leaders like Robert Gates and Gen. Stanley McChrystal unequivocally stated was outside of the reach of any U.S. rapid response force that would have been able to help those four Americans, when we couldn't even prevent an attack on our own country on 9/11/01 when we had DOZENS of warnings in the MONTHS leading up to it? You and your ilk are trying to lay blame for Benghazi on someone here when the TRUE crime was perpetrated by those pieces of garbage that stormed the compound, yet you and your ilk held NO ONE in W's administration accountable for 9/11.


    June 18, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. Malory Archer

    "Nothing she could have done personally"? How about closing the embassy like the other western countries did. But that would have looked bad for Obama after his "Terrorism is on the run" remark during his campaign.


    There have been a few instances of embassies closing in the past, and never once did it make any president look bad. Honestly, you need to get over your hatred of all things Obama before it consumes you.

    June 18, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  14. Drake

    Erin tried to do her usual dull questions meant to incite the drooling liberals and it was humorous. It looked like her frontal lobe had never formed.

    June 18, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. mwelsh1977

    This man is irrelevant. Please go look for the basement of the Alamo.

    June 18, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  16. Iab

    Cruz is a child who has frequent temper tantrums. I have no clue as to why he gets so much attention, he NEVER presents both sides of the coin. Why does the media give this CHILD so much attention.

    I remember reading SOS Clinton did ask Congress for more funds in order to provide more protection for our embassies/ambassadors on foreign soil. The House under the leadership of Boehner voted NO, just like they agreed to to do that night Jan, 09 when Obama was sworn into office. The GOP/TP and company are the ones we should look at. If anyone wants to place blame then thy should BRING OUT all of the facts.

    Cruz just wants attention, will do or say anything to get it regardless to whether it is factual, balanced or true. Why doesn't he mention the 25B it cost our country due to his stupid ideal of shutting down the US Govt. Cruz is a spoiled child whose only way of getting attention is by being obnoxious. Please someone put a muzzle on him until he grows up. I did hear he is a Harvard Grad. however I have heard of educated fools. How many American tax dollars have been spent on these useless investigations, the emphases should be on HOW TO AVOID THEM IN THE FUTURE. The GOP and company will do nothing but have investigations from now on until the 2014-2016 elections. This keeps them from dealing with the problems that affect working/middle class Americans. The GOP has NO constructive ideals or suggestions. All I hear from them is lowering tax rate, more tax loop holes for the wealthy. I DO NOT see that the GOP has any interest in 98% of the American Population. It appears to me they are owned, are puppets for the 2% wealthy Americans.

    June 18, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  17. bobo

    I'm Glad Hillary stated that she really didn't believe the Video was to blame! I guess she really doesn't believe herself!!!

    June 18, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. carlos

    rafael eduardo cruz....talks like a Texan but he is still a Calgary boy, phew and a big UGH.

    June 18, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  19. ART

    Oh please Cruz I would of traded you and four other Rethuglicans, for Bergdahl. you guys are the enemies of the state trying to ruin our economy and country every chance you get. You are a foreign agent sent here to bring us down.

    June 18, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. PGC

    and again why is CNN interviewing this quack?????

    June 18, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. enuff

    And Ted Cruz knows everything about Clinton because? He is a mind reader, so he knows everything she knows? I hate it when politicians act like they are omnipotent and make statements saying they are.

    June 18, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  22. NamePeter

    Cruz is nothing but a running dog lackey for the extreme right and doesn't deserve a public forum to vent his foolish hate filled lies,

    June 18, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. Malory Archer

    I'm Glad Hillary stated that she really didn't believe the Video was to blame! I guess she really doesn't believe herself!!!


    Which is interesting, considering the guy they got on Sunday said the video WAS the reason for the attack. But hey, what does the terrorist who committed the act know, right?

    June 18, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. Ol' Yeller

    "In the 13 months that I've been in the Senate, it has become apparent to me that the single thing that Republicans fear the most - and that is when they're forced to tell the truth. It makes their heads explode," Cruz told conservative radio host Mark Levin in a remarkable interview posted on Thursday night.

    cruz is a republicant.
    cruz says, “Secretary Clinton from the beginning has stonewalled on this rather than acting as a partner getting to the bottom of what happened,”
    cruz's head did not explode.
    Therefore, cruz is lying.
    Given this hypothesis, the truth would be... Secretary Clinton from the beginning has cooperated on this and acted as a partner in getting to the bottom of what happened.
    It is simple when you break it down.

    I anxiously await the republicant talking points on the capture of this criminal who perpetrated this heinous crime against our American citizens serving our country overseas. I, as a Patriotic American, was quite pleased President Obama remained focussed on the task at hand and ignored the incessant and treasonous noise from the right. The usual suspects on the board are over at Drudge right now finding out what they are supposed to say in response to this new development.
    They suck....

    June 18, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  25. carlos

    garnish the idiot's salary for the rest of his life........government shutdown.........We the People should not get stuck with paying for his farce.

    June 18, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
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