WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2015 – Hillary Clinton’s testimony Thursday before the House Select Committee on Benghazi was an interesting display of partisan investigation. The Democrats accused the Republicans of political motives while the Republicans accused the Democrats of stonewalling to avoid the truth. One thing clearly emerged however: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama deceived the American people.
To her supporters, Hillary did quite well during her appearance. She withstood the constant attacks on her decision-making and leadership abilities. She stood strong as, one after another, Republicans looked for any inconsistency in her prior correspondence with a number of people involved with Libya during 2012.
Supporters will also say that her testimony was genuine and sincere and should restore much of the trust that that has eroded during the past six months. According to these supporters, there was no smoking gun found in anything she said, while she emphasized that the fog of war often results in conflicting statements immediately and in the days following an attack.
Those who don’t support Hillary’s explanation of events say that there are a number of statements indicating that the American public was again deceived by the Obama administration.
In truth, this administration has a history of being less than truthful with Americans. There was the fast and furious scandal, the creation of jobs that were not quite shovel ready, the promise to degrade and destroy ISIS, the Veterans Administration fiasco, the deceptions associated with Obamacare about keeping our health care plans, keeping our doctor and reducing the cost, and, finally, the deception about a video causing the attack in Benghazi.
According to recently released emails, Secretary Clinton started the video deception while the attack was still going on. About an hour and a half before the eight-hour attack ended, she released a statement saying, “Some have sought to justify the vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.”
She knew that wasn’t true, but it was consistent with President Obama’s statement that Al-Qaeda was on the run. This, Obama claimed, should be a reason for the American people to re-elect him in 56 days. He did not want us to know that Al-Qaeda was not on the run, but rather they were able and willing to attack U.S. interests.
The president continued to tell Americans that the video was responsible for the attack in the days and weeks following the incident. He sent national security advisor Susan Rice to appear on five national Sunday morning television shows and again confirm that the video caused the attack. The creator of the video was later arrested.
Obama made an infomercial with Hillary that was played in many Muslim countries and said, “we had nothing to do with the video that caused the Benghazi attack.” The president gave a speech at the United Nations and again emphasized that the video caused the attack.
It was a deception because Hillary knew that the video was not the cause of the attack. And she knew it at the time she issued the statement about the video. Copies of emails show that Hillary contacted a family member less than an hour after issuing the statement blaming the attack on the Internet video, which said, “Two officers were killed today in Benghazi by an Al-Qaeda like group.”
The next day, Hillary emailed the Prime Minister of Egypt and said, “We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest.”
It is no wonder that Americans do not trust their elected officials. In a representative democracy, as we have here in the U.S., it is critically important that the government is completely honest and open with the American public. Americans are very understanding, very compassionate and forgiving, providing the truth is accurately presented.
Regardless of how Hillary looked during the hearing, regardless of who claimed or didn’t claim responsibility for the attack, regardless of which political party is leading the investigation, Americans know they were deceived by the secretary of state and then by the president.
That deception is just plain disgraceful. Hillary and the president should be held accountable.