Clinton's stonewalling shows we'll never get answers to what happened in Benghazi

I sat stunned on Wednesday as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked a congressional panel "what difference, at this point, does it make?" who was at fault for the deaths of four Americans killed during the terrorist attack on our diplomats in Benghazi, Libya ("Clinton grilled on Benghazi," Jan. 24.

The reality is that it was known shortly after the attack that al-Qaeda militiamen had carried out the killings and that both before and during the attack the U.S. citizens in the consulate were calling for help. Their requests were either ignored or denied.


My information is that one member of a nearby unit did leave his post to help the Americans, who were surrounded by overwhelming forces, even though his unit had been directed to stay where it was. He was one of the four Americans killed by the al-Qaeda fighters.

We all care who was responsible for those deaths, but especially those who lost family members in the massacre. They have a right to know who carried out this nefarious action on members of our government. The have a right to hear answers that are truthful and forthright.


To cast this off as no more important than some "guys out for a walk last night who decided to kill some Americans" is the height of crassness. Had Secretary Clinton spoken those words to Ambassador Chris Stevens' wife at the airport as she awaited the return of her husband's remains, she would have received a slap she would remember for the rest of her life. No one with an ounce of feeling should say something like that.

While accomplishing her objective of squelching any direct examination from Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mrs. Clinton brought to mind a slightly similar squelching by her husband, President Bill Clinton, who memorably said, while pointing his finger at everyone who was watching television at the time, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky."

I would not be surprised if Mrs. Clinton had some expert coaching from that old pro. What works once might work again.

The sorry part is that since the secretary stated during her diatribe that "it is our job to figure out what happened," Senator Johnson missed the opportunity to say: "That is exactly why we are here. So far, you have not told us why the State Department didn't figure out what happened immediately and render help that was only minutes away."

Dictatorships and dictator-like governments have long stonewalled answering difficult questions, and Mrs. Clinton's behavior before the Senate and House inquiries smacked of the same. It's a near certainty we will never get a straight answer to the question of who failed to help those embattled Americans during that second Sept. 11 attack on the United States. Doesn't anyone see what our future holds?

John C. Haupt, Street