TRANSCRIPT: Jordan comments during Benghazi Select Committee press conference
During today’s press conference following the release of the Benghazi Select Committee’s report on the incidents surrounding the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on American facilities in Benghazi, Libya, Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) made the following comments:
The chairman mentioned that before the attack ended, no military assets were headed towards Benghazi. But what did start before the attack was over was the political spin. At 10:08 that night with Tyrone Woods still on the room of the annex fighting for his life, Secretary Clinton issues this statement, the official statement on Benghazi, the official statement of our government that evening:
“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material on the internet.”
We know that statement was misleading because an hour later she told her daughter, “Terrorists killed two of our people today.”
The next day she tells the Egyptian Prime Minister, “We know the film had nothing to do with it. It was a planned attack, not a protest.” And this public/private contrast continues for days. Publically telling the American people it was a video inspired protest, privately telling the truth that it was a terrorist attack.
Maybe the best example is from the 14th. Same day Mr. Roads issues his talking points. But that day we have Mr. Karney at a press briefing saying this, “No information to suggest Benghazi was a pre-planned attack.” No information to suggest a pre-planned attack. That same day, a State Department official in Libya says this, “Benghazi was a well-planned attack.” You couldn’t have a starker contrast than those two statements.
And I think it’s important to remember this: don’t forget the context. Libya was supposed to be the crowning jewel of the Clinton State Department foreign policy and the Obama administration foreign policy. This was their example of how it works. No boots on the ground, oust the dictator, help the Arab Spring. This was supposed to be how it works. In fact, Jake Sullivan sent an email to – one of the things we discovered in our investigation when he talks about leadership, stewardship, ownership of this policy from start to finish, this was something Hillary Clinton pushed for and got done.
But maybe the better one is the email from Sidney Blumenthal. A few days after Gaddafi has been removed, he sends an email to the Secretary and he said, “This is a big moment, you should do a press event even if it’s in the driveway of your vacation home.” And he finishes the email with this statement: “This is a big moment, you were vindicated, don’t wait, help Cleo now.” Cleo of course is the goddess of history. So they were committed to this. They were invested in this. This was it. This is how it’s supposed to work in their administration, in their State Department.
And they were so committed it didn’t matter that there were 200 security incidences between the time Blumenthal sent the email and when the terrorist attack happens. It didn’t matter that one diplomatic security agent went to Benghazi, did his service and came back, and when he came back, he said this, “It’s a suicide mission. Everybody there is going to die.”
It didn’t matter that on August 17th of 2012, 3 ½ weeks before the attack, Beth Jones sends a memo to Secretary Clinton and she uses terms, she talks about the uptick in violence in Eastern Libya and talks about “urgency,” “lawlessness,” “widespread violence.” It didn’t matter because they were committed to this policy. And then it happens. Then it happens. A terrorist attack and it’s a terrorist attack on September 11th, 2012.
Days before, Vice President Biden had said GM’s alive, bin Laden’s dead, the President had this narrative that al Qaeda’s on the run. But now they’ve got a terrorist attack and they have to mislead the American people because it’s 56 days before an election, their legacy’s on the line, and she has the goddess of history looking over her shoulder. So they mislead the American people.
And Mr. Pompeo and I put together a report that we think supplements the good work in the full report. And we did that because we felt it’s important to know what happened but also the why. Why did it happen? And you look at every step of this and I am convinced just as sure as I’m standing here, it happened because of political concerns this administration had. Why did we stay in Benghazi when almost everyone else was leaving? Why did we stay when the security posture and the security position was so dangerous? Why did they mislead the American people? And why did it take so long – why were they talking about making sure the military went in civilian clothes and not uniforms?
In the end it was political concerns that drove this. The evidence strongly shows that and that’s what we outline in our report. And as the Chairman said, I would encourage you all to read both because I think it tells that story and that’s something that shouldn’t happen in a country as great as ours, where political concerns dominate instead of telling people the truth in a straight forward fashion.
VIDEO of Rep. Jordan’s press conference comments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yz192z345R4
In today’s Benghazi Select Committee report, Congressmen Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) included an additional views section. This joint section highlights the conclusions they consider to be most important to a full understanding of what happened on the night of September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya.
To read their summary conclusions, click here: /uploadedfiles/19_jordan_and_pompeo_additional_views.pdf
To view a series of relevant summary slides, click here: /UploadedFiles/Jordan_-_Pompeo_Release_Day_Slides_6-27-16.pdf