Clinton Recounts the Events from the Night of Benghazi; Doesn’t Mention the Video
SANCHEZ: “Those appear to be based on the testimony of witnesses and the documentation that we have obtained in this committee and other previous committees, they seem to run counter to the truth, because the testimony we have received states pretty much that you were deeply engaged the night of the attack. So can you describe for us what the initial hours of that night were like for you, and how you learned about the attacks and what your initial thoughts and actions were?”
CLINTON: “Congresswoman, I learned about the attacks from a State Department official rushing into my office shortly after or around 4:00 to tell me that our compound in Benghazi had been attacked. We immediately summoned all of the top officials in the State Department for them to begin reaching out. The most important quick call was to try to reach Chris himself. That was not possible, then to have the diplomatic security people try to reach their agents. That was not possible. They were obviously defending themselves along with the ambassador and Sean Smith. We reached the second in command in Tripoli. He had heard shortly before we reached him from Chris Stevens, telling him that they were under attack. We began to reach out to everyone we could possibly think who could help with this terrible incident. During the course of the following hours, obviously I spoke to the White House, I spoke to CIA Director Petraeus, I spoke to the Libyan officials because I hoped that there was some way that they could gather up and deploy those who had been part of the insurgency to defend our compound. I had conference calls with our team in Tripoli. I was on what's called [indecipherable] on a video conference with officials who had operational responsibilities in the Defense Department, in the CIA at the national Security Council. It was just a swirl and whirl of constant effort to try to figure out what we could do and it was deeply — it was deeply distressing when we heard that the efforts by our CIA colleagues were not successful, that they had had to evacuate the security officers, our diplomatic security officers, that they had recovered-- Sean Smith’s body and they could not find the ambassador. We didn’t know whether he had escaped and was still alive, or not.”
SANCHEZ: “If I may, because my time is running short, I just want to point out that you spoke with folks on the ground, you spoke with folks in the White House, the CIA, the Libyan president of the general national Congress ... Now, interestingly enough, former director of the CIA David Petraeus has not been before this committee and has not spoken with this committee, but he did testify before the house intelligence committee in 2012 and he said that you personally called him and asked him for help that night, and I just want to end on this quote. Quote, 'when Secretary Clinton called me later that afternoon to indicate that Ambassador Stevens was missing and asked for help, I directed our folks to ensure that we were doing everything possible and that is of course, what they were doing that night'. Is that correct?”
CLINTON: “That is, and also the Defense Department was doing everything it could possibly do. We had a plane bringing additional security from Tripoli to Benghazi. There was an enormous amount of activity. It was all hands on deck. Everyone jumped in to try to figure out what they could do. The attack on the compound was very fast.
SANCHEZ: “Would it be safe to say you were fully engaged that evening?”
CLINTON: “That is certainly safe to say., congresswomen.”
SANCHEZ:”Thank you. I yield back."