Noah started off the Hard Choices review this morning with his inaugural Hot Air post, but Hillary Clinton didn’t just struggle on her claim to have “struggled” in the aftermath of the Clinton White House years. In her exclusive interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, she also struggled to come up with an answer on Benghazi, too. Claiming that she gave “very direct instructions” on security for the Benghazi consulate, Hillary then dismissed any further personal responsibility for the severe lack of security that led to the attack. When Sawyer says that Americans are looking for a more introspective statement on how Hillary should have acted to prevent the security failure, she looks momentarily flummoxed (transcript via Daniel Halper):
Sawyer asked, “Is there anything you personally should have been doing to make it safer in Benghazi?”
“Well,” Clinton responded, “what I did was give very direct instructions that the people who have the expertise and experience in security —
“But personally you –”
“Well that is personal, though, Diane. I mean, I am not — I’m not equipped to sit and look at blueprints to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be. That’s why we hire people who have that expertise,” Clinton responded.
“I wonder if people are looking for a sentence that begins from you, ‘I should have, I should have,'” Sawyer responded.
Let’s remind people that the security of the Benghazi facility had been a matter of urgent debate, not just in the State Department but also in the Department of Defense, which had been supplying some protection of the facility. Security did not meet the standard for diplomatic facilities, and waivers supposedly required the signature of the Secretary of State. That decision did get made by her lieutenant, Patrick Kennedy, whom the Accountability Review Board decline to even depose in their investigation. The facility had been attacked earlier in the summer, and every other Western agency had packed up and left Benghazi due to rising terrorist activity in and around the city — including the Red Cross.
Does Hillary seriously plan to argue that she should be trusted with the highest executive office in the US government while at the same time argue that she couldn’t be bothered with the “details” of security of her outpost in what had turned into Terrorist Central, in the middle of the failed state her Libyan policy created? That she’s ready to answer the 3 AM phone call when she couldn’t have predicted that al-Qaeda affiliates would plan an attack on the anniversary of 9/11, and failed to prepare a response with AFRICOM for that possibility?
Shoulda, woulda coulda — what difference at this point does it make, anyway? If that’s her argument for executive authority and safeguarding national security, it’s not going to convince many people, especially if her only response to being challenged on it is to make faces at Diane Sawyer.
Mika Brzezinski isn’t terribly impressed, especially with Joe Klein’s argument that Hillary can run on her foreign policy experience.
Welcome to the jungle …