Former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton stood her ground on Thursday through a grueling day of questioning over the 2012 Benghazi attacks, at a high-stakes US congressional hearing that could affect her bid for the White House.
Partisan fireworks exploded repeatedly between Republican and Democrat members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, but the Democratic frontrunner for president was relentlessly composed as she accused her rivals of exploiting the deadly attacks in Libya for political gain.
In more than six hours of highly anticipated testimony, broadcast live across US television networks, Clinton accepted — as she has done in the past — her share of the blame for the attack which cost the lives of four Americans, including then-US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
“I take responsibility for what happened in Benghazi,” she said. “I’m here to honor the service of those four men.”
However, Clinton firmly rebutted charges she failed to boost security at the US diplomatic compound overrun by extremists on Sept. 11, 2012, saying she was never consulted directly about requests for additional measures.
Clinton also stressed the need for the US to accept risks as it pursues its vital interests in a dangerous world and to acknowledge that it can “never prevent every act of terrorism or achieve perfect security.”
The Benghazi tragedy has hovered over Clinton for three years, threatening to upend her White House candidacy, especially after the inquiry launched 17 months ago led to revelations that she used a home e-mail account and server while she was the US’ top diplomat.
A strong performance at the Benghazi hearing could help Clinton convince skeptical voters that it is time to move on from the controversy that has dogged her campaign.
US President Barack Obama’s top diplomat from 2009 to 2013 warned against the “partisan agendas” that Democrats say are driving the Benghazi probe.
“Let’s be worthy of the trust the American people have bestowed upon us. They expect us to lead, to learn the right lessons, to rise above partisanship and to reach for statesmanship,” she said in opening remarks.
Appealing for “leadership that puts national security ahead of ideology,” Clinton recalled how US officials had found a “partner” in the US Congress following previous attacks on diplomatic facilities as Washington united to examine what went wrong.
There were several sharp exchanges with Republicans, including over the way the administration first publicly characterized the attack — which came weeks before the 2012 presidential election — as a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video.
“Libya was supposed to be ... this great success story for the Obama White House and the Clinton State Department,” Republican US Representative Jim Jordan said in a fiery critique. “You can live with the protest about a video. That won’t hurt you, but a terrorist attack will. Where did the false narrative start? It started with you, Madam Secretary.”
Clinton rejected the accusation, shooting back at Jordan: “I’m sorry that it doesn’t fit your narrative, congressman.”
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around