Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was likely under budget constraints when she reduced security at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, despite being told by the CIA director of prior attacks on U.S. interests there, Judith Miller, Newsmax contributor and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, tells Newsmax TV.
The report released by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and four other House GOP committee chairmen said newly released emails prove Clinton participated in the security reduction at the consulate.
“Beyond that, it’s very interesting to me that when you think back to her testimony on the Hill, she managed to pull off an amazing kind of hat trick, which was she accepted responsibility for what happened, which was probably her reference to her participating in the budget cutting exercise, but not blame,” Miller tells Newsmax. “I don’t know how exactly you dice that onion, but she managed to and the press let her do it. So, so far I would say she’s still in the political plus column.”
Both the news of her knowledge before the attack and her response afterward are potentially damaging to Clinton, Miller tells Newsmax – especially if she runs for president in 2016 as expected.
Still, Miller said, Clinton stands out for being an assertive secretary of state. She had an agenda and managed to get things done that she cared about.
“I’m not sure what being a member of the Million Mile Club did for her or for us,” Miller said. “I know it tired her out, and I’m not certain that it advances national security or foreign policy interest simply by getting up out of your desk and going there.”
But Miller admits that many people disagree with her and think that Clinton’s trips were helpful in re-establishing American credibility overseas.
Still, she believes the White House stonewalled during the initial Benghazi investigation to push it past the presidential election. And the media provided a lot cover, she said.
“Other than Fox News and a couple of individual reporters at mainstream broadcast networks, there was very little interest in exploring what happened in Benghazi,” she told Newsmax.
Despite the new report, Miller doubts the public will ever fully understand what happened during the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attack. “These lessons are very important because we have tens of thousands of people stationed all over, Americans stationed throughout the Middle East.”
Democrats and the White House are already blasting the Issa report, saying it was partisan. Miller said she doubts the report will change any minds in the current highly partisan environment.
“I’m very sad about the fact that this wasn’t on the Hill a bipartisan, congressional inquiry into what happened in Benghazi,” she said. “We did have the Pickering report, which was damning enough in terms of the weaknesses in the system that it identified, but then it had this very strange disconnect, a very odd conclusion that even though there were ‘systemic problems’ that resulted in the Benghazi losses, there were no senior people who should be held responsible.”
No one has lost his job over Benghazi, she said. “I mean, the people who were ‘suspended’ in the wake of the Pickering report are now, I am told … almost all of them are back … in the jobs that they were doing, or not doing, before.”
Until there is accountability and transparency, she said no lessons can be learned from the attack.
Moving on to the Boston bombings, Miller noted that the Obama administration has been “loathe” to use the word “terrorism” in connection with the case.
“It doesn’t fit well with what I call its extrication narrative from the Middle East,” Miller said. That narrative would provide a legacy for Obama ending the war in Iraq and withdrawing forces from Afghanistan.
“These are inconvenient facts and inconvenient problems for an American president who wants to see his legacy as a pivot to Asia rather than dealing with terrorism that emanates from the Middle East.”
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