Hillary Clinton's Benghazi Report Response Shows She's Not Afraid To Hit Back
Hours after the House of Representative Select Committee released its Benghazi report, Hillary Clinton hit back against the investigation on Tuesday. She stressed the report found "nothing, nothing, to contradict the conclusions of the independent accountability board" according to the Associated Press. Clinton's political ambitions have been haunted by the 2012 attacks, which claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens.
The House Benghazi report, which was authored by a GOP-led committee, claims that the Obama administration and the Clinton-led State Department did not react quickly or urgently enough to the attacks. The report also criticized the military for its slow response. Noticeable, though, is the report found "no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing" by Clinton, as the New York Times wrote.
At a campaign rally in Denver on Tuesday, Clinton took a measured — though decisive — swing at the report, calling out the investigation's leaders for not finding additional incriminating evidence, despite "two years and $7 million ... out of taxpayer funds."
But rather than take too many potshots at the Republican-led report, Clinton brought her message back to her core message, saying that “while this unfortunately took on a partisan tinge, I want us to stay focused on what I’ve always wanted us to stay focused on and that is the important work of diplomacy and development. That’s especially true in dangerous places."
“We cannot withdraw from the world,” Clinton went on to say. “The best way to honor the commitment and sacrifice of those we lost is to redouble our efforts to provide the resources and support that our diplomats and our development experts deserve.”
Clinton concluded, saying “I’ll leave it to others to characterize this report but I think it is pretty clear that it is time to move on.”
In the aftermath of the attacks, which were carried out on the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, there have been eight separate investigations into what happened, including six House and two Senate committee investigations. Those reports cleared Clinton of any specific wrongdoing, but much like the one issued Tuesday, found plenty of things to criticize about the military's and Obama administration's response to the attacks.
The partisan rancor surrounding Benghazi has been impossible to escape. While Clinton's spoken response was somewhat restrained, her campaign hit back even harder. It charged that the House committee leaked portions of the report in the middle of the night “to avoid any fact-checking of their discredited, conspiracy theories,” as spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement.
It is likely that Americans will hear more (and more) about the Benghazi reports as we head towards November.