Hillary Clinton Holds Firm, Fends Off Tough Questions On Benghazi Attack

An 11-hour congressional hearing of her response to the Benghazi attacks and her use of a private email is not enough to mar former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

On Thursday, Republican lawmakers grilled Clinton in a congressional hearing that would establish a case that the former secretary of state had been negligent in her duty to ensure the safety of Benghazi-based American diplomats in Libya in 2012.

The congressional hearing, held at the House Ways and Means Committee, failed to get new information on what happened in Benghazi at the night of the attack, but the Republican lawmakers did find a chance to investigate some issues surrounding the tragic event.

Clinton was questioned on how she took responsibility for the deaths of the diplomats in the Benghazi terrorist attack on September 11, 2012. The lawmakers also investigated her contact with U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, one of the four victims, after his deployment to Libya.

Republican Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois was disappointed to hear the same old answers from Clinton.

“I have heard one dismissive thing after another. What did you do? What did you own?” Roskam asked, obviously losing patience.

Roskam believed that requests for security from Stevens were denied.

“You laid this on Chris Stevens, didn’t you? They didn’t get through to you. They didn’t get through to your inner circle,” Roskam accused Clinton.

Clinton said she took responsibility for the tragic event in Benghazi, however, she pointed out that U.S. envoys and security forces in the U.S. Department are responsible for the security arrangements. She insisted that she neither approved nor denied requests for extra security needed by their representatives in Libya.

Clinton admitted that although she had spoken with Stevens, she could not recall having talked to him after he was appointed as the ambassador to the North African country. She said blaming her for the death of a friend is “personally painful.”

Republican representatives tried to avoid the issue on Clinton’s use of a private server to disprove that investigating her emails is fueled by political motives. However, during the latter part of the hearing, Ohio representative Jim Jordan touched on the issue by asking Clinton why she had used a private email account. Clinton acknowledged that it was a mistake to use a private account but claimed that there was nothing classified on the emails she sent and received.

Clinton was also asked about her relationship with Sidney Blumenthal, who worked in the White House during Bill Clinton’s administration but was disqualified by the Obama administration from working for her in the State Department.

Republicans claim that Clinton had exchanged emails with Blumenthal but failed to respond to more than 600 requests for additional security forces from Benghazi-based American diplomats. However, Clinton insisted that Stevens “raised security with the security professionals,” not with the members of her staff.

“If he had raised it with me,” she told Republican Chairman Trey Gowdy, according to the New York Times, “I would be here telling you he had.”

Although the inquiring party claimed the hearing was not meant to investigate her email or email system, Republicans seemed to highlight the political points of the content of the emails.

All throughout the inquiry, Democrats thought the trial was a strategy to damage their presidential candidate’s image. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, accused Republicans of wasting taxpayers’ money in a hearing that tries to “destroy a presidential campaign” by way of “marathon grilling.”

On the other hand, Republicans argued that Democrats were trying to obstruct an investigation that could shed light to possible security issues and loopholes that led to the death of the American diplomats.

[Image by Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images]