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Missteps Under Oath

- October 22, 2015

False Statements And Unsettling Admissions During Hillary Clinton’s Testimony

CLINTON FALSELY BLAMED BUDGET WOES FOR BENGHAZI SECURITY FAILURE

Clinton Blamed Benghazi Attack On Budget Shortfalls

Clinton Testified That The State Department Did Not Have “The Amount Of Money That We Thought Would Be Necessary To Do What Was Required To Protect Everyone.” HILLARY CLINTON: “The State Department has historically and certainly before this terrible incident not had the amount of money that we thought would be necessary to do what was required to protect everyone. So, of course, there had to be priorities.” (Hillary Clinton, Select Committee On Benghazi, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 10/22/15)

Click To Watch

Claims Of Budget Shortfalls Influencing Security Decisions Are False

State Department Official Charlene Lamb Testified Before The House Oversight Committee That Budget Cuts Had Nothing To Do With Security Decisions In Benghazi. REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R-CA): “It has been suggested the budget cuts are responsible for lack of security in Benghazi, and I’d like to ask Ms. Lamb, you made this decision personally, was there any budget consideration and lack of budget that led you not to increase the number of people in the security force there?” CHARLENE LAMB: “No, sir.” (U.S. House Of Representatives, Oversight And Government Reform Committee, Hearing, 10/10/12)

The Department Of Defense Site Security Team (SST), Which Left Libya In August 2012 Because The State Department Failed To Request Its Renewal, Came At “No Cost” To The State Department. “There has been considerable public discussion about the DOD’s Site Security Team in Tripoli. The SST, which was provided by the DoD at no expense to the State Department, consisted of 16 special operations personnel detailed to the Chief of Mission in Libya, although its numbers fluctuated slightly due to rotations.” (“Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views,” Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 20)

Robert Baldre, The State Department’s Chief Financial Officer For Diplomatic Security, Wrote ThatI Do Not Feel That We Have Ever Been At A Point Where We Have Sacrificed Security Due To Lack Of Funding.” “Robert Baldre, your chief financial officer for diplomatic security, stated, and I quote, ‘I do not feel that we have ever been at a point where we have sacrificed security due to lack of funding,’ Rep. Steven Chabot, Ohio Republican, told Mrs. Clinton.” (Guy Taylor and Shaun Waterman, “Tears And Rage: Clinton Testily Defends Depiction Of Benghazi Events,” The Washington Times, 1/23/13)

Senate Homeland Security Report: Congress Has Been Responsive To Appropriating More Money To The State Department For Security-Driven Requests, But Neither The President Nor The State Department Requested Additional Funds For Libya. “At the same time, Congress has generally been responsive in providing supplemental and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds to the Department of State – more than $1.7 billion since 2007 – in response to emergent, security-driven funding requests, although primarily for facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, there was no supplemental or OCO request made by the President for additional diplomatic security enhancements in FY2010 or FY2011. Neither the Department of State nor Congress made a point of providing additional funds in a supplemental request for Libya, or more specifically, Benghazi.” (“Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi,” United States Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Government Affairs, 12/30/12, p. 17)

The Washington Post Fact Checker: “The Reality Is That Funding For Embassy Security Has Increased Significantly In Recent Years.” “Moreover, while Boxer claims that Republicans ‘cut’ the budget, she is only comparing it to what the Obama administration proposed. The reality is that funding for embassy security has increased significantly in recent years. The Department of State’s base requests for security funding have increased by 38 percent since Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, and base budget appropriations have increased by 27 percent in the same time period,’ said the bipartisan Senate Homeland Security report on the Benghazi attack.” (Glenn Kessler, “Barbara Boxer’s Claim That GOP Budgets Hampered Benghazi Security,” The Washington Post's Fact Checker, 5/16/13)

Clinton Has Even Admitted That The State Department Did Not Make Proper Spending Decisions

During Previous Congressional Testimony, Clinton Stated That She Would “Be The First To Say” That The State Department’s Prioritization Of Funds Was “Imperfect.” HILLARY CLINTON: “And I – I would go back to something the chairman said, because this was a point made in the ARB: Consistent shortfalls have required the department to prioritize available funding out of security accounts. And I will be the first to say that the prioritization process was at times imperfect, but as the ARB said, the funds provided were inadequate. So we need to work together to overcome that.” (Secretary Hillary Clinton, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Testimony, 1/23/13)

Clinton Indicated That The State Department’s Designation Of The Benghazi Facility As Temporary Contributed To The State Department Not Allocating Additional Resources To Benghazi. HILLARY CLINTON: “That's why we have a huge workforce of people who are given responsibility and expected to carry forward that responsibility and I think designating it as ‘temporary’ in the ARB's findings did cause an extra level of uncertainty to some extent. You know, as the chairman said at the very beginning quoting from the ARB, the has been an enculturation in the State Department, the husband (ph) resources to, you know, try to be as -- as careful in spending money as possible and then I think adding to that the fact that it was quote, ‘temporary’ you know, probably did lead to some of the confusion that we later saw played out in the cables, but not the -- the status of it for the Libyan government.” (Secretary Hillary Clinton, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Testimony, 1/23/13)

The State Department Was “Hesitant To Allocate Money” On Security Upgrades On The Benghazi Facility, “A Post That May Be Closing In A Few Months.” “The RSO should be aware that the requests for expensive security upgrades may be difficult to obtain as headquarters is hesitant to allocate money to a post that may be closing in a few months.” (“Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views,” Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 17)

  • Four Months Before The Benghazi Attack, The State Department Spent $108,000 For An Electric Vehicle Charging Station At The Vienna Embassy. “In May 7, the State Department authorized the U.S. embassy in Vienna to purchase a $108,000 electric vehicle charging station for the embassy motor pool’s new Chevrolet Volts. The purchase was a part of the State Department’s ‘Energy Efficiency Sweep of Europe’ initiative, which included hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on green program expenditures at various U.S. Embassies.” (Representative Mike Kelly, “Libya Security Cut While Vienna Embassy Gained Chevy Volts,” The Washington Times, 10/10/12)
  • In 2009, The State Department Spent Nearly $300,000 On Alcohol.  “Last year alone, the State Department sent taxpayers tabs totaling nearly $300,000 for alcoholic beverages — about twice as much compared to the previous year, according to an analysis of spending records by The Washington Times.” (Jim McElhatton, “Taxpayers Foot State Department’s Stiff Liquor Bill,” The Washington Times, 4/15/10)

IG Report: Clinton’s State Department Failed To Prioritize Security Funding

The State Department’s Inspector General Conducted An Audit Of The Process Used By The Department To Request And Prioritize Security-Related Funding At Overseas Posts In FY 2012. “The Office of Inspector General (OIG) contracted with Kearney & Company, P.C., to conduct a performance audit of the processes used by overseas posts to request funds for physical security-related activities and the processes used by the Department of State (Department) to determine which requests for physical security-related activities to fund. Specifically, the objectives of this audit were to identify the FY 2012 funding mechanisms and amounts expended for physical security-related activities at Department-owned or -operated buildings overseas, determine whether the process for posts to request funds for physical security needs at Department-owned or -operated buildings was easy to use and was understood by post security officials, and determine to what extent the Department used physical security funds for high-priority physical security needs at overseas posts during FY 2012…” (“Audit Of The Process To Request And Prioritize Security-Related Activities At Overseas Posts,” State Department Office Of The Inspector General, 3/14, p. 41)

The State Department Did Not Have A Process To Prioritize Requests For Physical Security Funding. “In addition, neither DS nor OBO had formal processes to prioritize physical security needs; funding decisions were often made by one individual without documented standards and guidance.” (“Audit Of The Process To Request And Prioritize Security-Related Activities At Overseas Posts,” State Department Office Of The Inspector General, 3/14, p. 2)

The State Department Did Not Have A Comprehensive Long-Range Physical Security Plan, Which Prevented The Department From Ensuring That The Highest Priority Issues Were Addressed. “Nor had DS and OBO prepared a comprehensive long-range physical security plan that would help focus attention on critical needs. As a result, the Department could not ensure that the highest priority physical security-related needs at overseas posts were corrected and that posts’ vulnerability to threats had been sufficiently reduced.” (“Audit Of The Process To Request And Prioritize Security-Related Activities At Overseas Posts,” State Department Office Of The Inspector General, 3/14, p. 2)

The Report Found That There Was Confusion As To What State Department Agency Was Responsible For Physical Security-Related Issues. “The lack of coordination between DS and OBO may also create confusion about which bureau is responsible for addressing physical security deficiencies outside of OSPB standards, what risk factors should be considered when determining which projects to fund, and how to handle physical security deficiencies at posts where future work is planned.” (“Audit Of The Process To Request And Prioritize Security-Related Activities At Overseas Posts,” State Department Office Of The Inspector General, 3/21, p. 34)

A “Significant Number” Of State Department Officials Believed The Process To Request Security Related Funding Was “Unclear And Difficult.” “Kearney found that the majority of post security officials responding to an OIG questionnaire believed that the processes to request funds for physical security-related needs were clear and easy to use. However, a significant number of post security officials believed the processes were unclear and difficult and expressed dissatisfaction with the timeliness or sufficiency of the responses received to their formal requests for physical security funding.” (“Audit Of The Process To Request And Prioritize Security-Related Activities At Overseas Posts,” State Department Office Of The Inspector General, 3/14, p. 1)

The Difficulty Of Requesting Funds Caused Security Officials To Not Submit Their Requests, Which Could Result In “Destruction Of Property, Injury, Or Loss Of Life.” “In fact, two respondents to the OIG questionnaire indicated that they did not formally request funding for all of their physical security needs because their posts considered the process to be confusing or difficult. If even one post does not request funds for a significant security need, that post may become more vulnerable to an attack that could result in destruction of property, injury, or loss of life.” (“Audit Of The Process To Request And Prioritize Security-Related Activities At Overseas Posts,” State Department Office Of The Inspector General, 3/14, p. 21)

CLINTON FALSELY CLAIMED MARINES ARE NOT STATIONED AT POSTS FOR PERSONNEL PROTECTION

Clinton Testified That Marines Were Stationed At U.S. Diplomatic Facilities “Not For The Purpose Of Personnel Protection.” HILLARY CLINTON: “Certainly it was useful for our security professionals and our diplomats to be partnered in that way with the Defense Department. You know, historically the only presence at some of our facilities has been Marines. And as you know well, Marines were there not for the purpose of personnel protection; they were there to destroy classified material and equipment.” (Hillary Clinton, Select Committee On Benghazi, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 10/22/15)

Click To Watch

One Of The Purposes Of Marine Security Guards At U.S. Embassies Is To “Provide Protection For U.S. Citizens And U.S. Government Property Located Within Designated U.S. Diplomatic And Consular Premises During Exigent Circumstances (Urgent Temporary Circumstances Which Require Immediate Aid Or Action).” “The secondary mission of the MSG is to provide protection for U.S. citizens and U.S government property located within designated U.S. diplomatic and consular premises during exigent circumstances (urgent temporary circumstances which require immediate aid or action).” (United States Marine Corps Embassy Security Group Website, Accessed 10/22/15)

CIA BOLSTERED SECURITY IN BENGHAZI, UNDERMINING CLINTON’S EXPLANATION FOR WHY THE STATE DEPARTMENT KEPT ITS FACILITY OPEN

Clinton Justified The State Department’s Continued Presence In Benghazi By Saying The CIA Also Kept Its Facility Open. HILLARY CLINTON: “With Benghazi the CIA did not have any plans to close their facility. On the opinion of those with the greatest understanding of our mission, our diplomatic mission in Benghazi was exactly the same, that we should not close down and should not leave Benghazi.” (Hillary Clinton, Select Committee On Benghazi, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 10/22/15)

Click To Watch

In Contrast To The State Department, The CIA Responded To The Same Threat Reports By Quickly Upgrading Its Security. “In contrast, the CIA, in response to the same deteriorating security situation and IC threat reporting, consistently upgraded its security posture over the same time period...As a result, CIA quickly implemented additional security measures due to the threat of continued attacks against Western personnel in Benghazi.” (“Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views,” Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 17)

CIA Personnel Working In Benghazi Knew The 9/11 Anniversary Could Be A Flashpoint And Posted A Warning At The Annex Alerting Staff To Increased Hostilities. “Personnel working at the CIA annex in Benghazi were well aware that the 9/11 anniversary last year could be a flashpoint, according to recent testimony, and a notice was even posted on a bulletin board at the annex warning of potentially increased hostilities against western targets during that period.” (Catherine Herridge, “CIA Personnel Testify Agency Was On Alert Over 9/11 Anniversary In Benghazi, Before Attack, Fox News, 11/25/13)

The CIA Personnel Were Puzzled By Ambassador Stevens’ Presence In Benghazi On September 10th Without Additional Security. “Given an understanding between the local CIA personnel and the nearby State Department operation that they would come to each other’s aid, the CIA on the ground in Benghazi was aware of Stevens’ arrival in Benghazi on Sept. 10, according to the witnesses. But they told lawmakers they were puzzled as to why Stevens was there during a period of heightened threat without significant additional security.” (Catherine Herridge, “CIA Personnel Testify Agency Was On Alert Over 9/11 Anniversary In Benghazi, Before Attack, Fox News, 11/25/13)

CIA Contractor On Benghazi Security: I Bluntly Warned That If The State Department Facility Was Attacked, They Were Going To Die. CIA CONTRACTOR 1: “They were their own security, yeah. Diplomatic security. They didn’t have like an American force, like a marine detachment, they did it themselves.” BRET BAIER: “So what did you tell them?” CIA CONTRACTOR 1: “Me in my bluntness, I said, ‘you know if you guys get attacked, you guys are going to die. You know that right?’ And I remember I said, ‘if you ever need us, you just call us, we’ll come get you.’” (Fox News’ ”13 Hours At Benghazi,” 9/5/14)

CLINTON LAUGHED OFF THE LACK OF PHYSICAL SECURITY IN BENGHAZI

Clinton Joked About The “Entrepreneurial Spirit” Ambassador Stevens Had To Inquire About A “Fire Sale” Of Items For More Security From Abandoned British Diplomatic Facility. HILLARY CLINTON: “Well, Congresswoman, one of the great attributes that Chris Stevens had was a really good sense of humor. And I just see him smiling as he’s typing this, because it is clearly in response to the email down below talking about picking up a few, quote, fire sale items from the Brits.” REP. SUSAN BROOKS: “Sure. Those fire sale items, by the way, fire sale items are barricades—” CLINTON: “That’s right.”  BROOKS: “They are additional—” CLINTON: “That’s right.”  BROOKS: “--requests for security—” CLINTON: “That’s right.”  BROOKS: “--for the compound. That’s what that fire sale was because we weren’t providing enough physical security for the compound, isn’t that right? So they’re picking up a fire sale because other consulates are putting out, other countries are pulling out.” CLINTON: “Well, I thought it showed their entrepreneurial spirit, Congresswoman, and I applaud them for doing so.” (Hillary Clinton, Select Committee On Benghazi, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 10/22/15)

Click To Watch

CIA BOLSTERED SECURITY IN BENGHAZI, UNDERMINING CLINTON’S EXPLANATION FOR WHY THE STATE DEPARTMENT KEPT ITS FACILITY OPEN

Clinton Justified The State Department’s Continued Presence In Benghazi By Saying The CIA Also Kept Its Facility Open. HILLARY CLINTON: “With Benghazi the CIA did not have any plans to close their facility. On the opinion of those with the greatest understanding of our mission, our diplomatic mission in Benghazi was exactly the same, that we should not close down and should not leave Benghazi.” (Hillary Clinton, Select Committee On Benghazi, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 10/22/15)

Click To Watch

In Contrast To The State Department, The CIA Responded To The Same Threat Reports By Quickly Upgrading Its Security. “In contrast, the CIA, in response to the same deteriorating security situation and IC threat reporting, consistently upgraded its security posture over the same time period...As a result, CIA quickly implemented additional security measures due to the threat of continued attacks against Western personnel in Benghazi.” (“Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views,” Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 17)

CIA Personnel Working In Benghazi Knew The 9/11 Anniversary Could Be A Flashpoint And Posted A Warning At The Annex Alerting Staff To Increased Hostilities. “Personnel working at the CIA annex in Benghazi were well aware that the 9/11 anniversary last year could be a flashpoint, according to recent testimony, and a notice was even posted on a bulletin board at the annex warning of potentially increased hostilities against western targets during that period.” (Catherine Herridge, “CIA Personnel Testify Agency Was On Alert Over 9/11 Anniversary In Benghazi, Before Attack, Fox News, 11/25/13)

The CIA Personnel Were Puzzled By Ambassador Stevens’ Presence In Benghazi On September 10th Without Additional Security. “Given an understanding between the local CIA personnel and the nearby State Department operation that they would come to each other’s aid, the CIA on the ground in Benghazi was aware of Stevens’ arrival in Benghazi on Sept. 10, according to the witnesses. But they told lawmakers they were puzzled as to why Stevens was there during a period of heightened threat without significant additional security.” (Catherine Herridge, “CIA Personnel Testify Agency Was On Alert Over 9/11 Anniversary In Benghazi, Before Attack, Fox News, 11/25/13)

CIA Contractor On Benghazi Security: I Bluntly Warned That If The State Department Facility Was Attacked, They Were Going To Die. CIA CONTRACTOR 1: “They were their own security, yeah. Diplomatic security. They didn’t have like an American force, like a marine detachment, they did it themselves.” BRET BAIER: “So what did you tell them?” CIA CONTRACTOR 1: “Me in my bluntness, I said, ‘you know if you guys get attacked, you guys are going to die. You know that right?’ And I remember I said, ‘if you ever need us, you just call us, we’ll come get you.’” (Fox News’ ”13 Hours At Benghazi,” 9/5/14)

CLINTON FALSELY CLAIMED MARINES ARE NOT STATIONED AT POSTS FOR PERSONNEL PROTECTION

Clinton Testified That Marines Were Stationed At U.S. Diplomatic Facilities “Not For The Purpose Of Personnel Protection.” CLINTON: “Certainly it was useful for our security professionals and our diplomats to be partnered in that way with the Defense Department. You know, historically the only presence at some of our facilities has been Marines. And as you know well, Marines were there not for the purpose of personnel protection; they were there to destroy classified material and equipment.” (Hillary Clinton, Select Committee On Benghazi, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 10/22/15)

Click To Watch

One Of The Purposes Of Marine Security Guards At U.S. Embassies Is To “Provide Protection For U.S. Citizens And U.S. Government Property Located Within Designated U.S. Diplomatic And Consular Premises During Exigent Circumstances (Urgent Temporary Circumstances Which Require Immediate Aid Or Action).” “The secondary mission of the MSG is to provide protection for U.S. citizens and U.S government property located within designated U.S. diplomatic and consular premises during exigent circumstances (urgent temporary circumstances which require immediate aid or action).” (United States Marine Corps Embassy Security Group Website, Accessed 10/22/15)


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