Mitchell Reports | January 23, 2013
>>> clinton today put a lot of blame on congress for withholding aid.
>> we have to get our act together between the administration and congress. if this is a priority and if we are serious about trying it help this government stand up security and deal with what is a very dangerous environment, from east to west , then we have to work together. i also hope we're looking forward , because right now, libya is still dangerous, it is still in a very unstable status, and whatever we can do for them, we at least ought to agree we need to do and get out there and start delivering.
>> one of the members of the senate foreign relations committee , who is asking questions, is the new hampshire senator jean chacin, former governor, democratic member of the committee, who was in the hearing room. you're joining us right now from the russell building. senator shaheen ? and as we wait for senator shaheen to get all hooked up there and get the audio straightened out, we've been talking about hillary clinton 's testimony today in the senate. this afternoon she's going to be testifying in the house, the house foreign relations committee , which has been just as tough, if not more so than the senators have been, on the record of why susan rice was the person going out on the sunday talk shows, why the cia talking points focused less on terrorism and more on protests and what had happened in cairo. senator shaheen , thanks so much for rushing over. i know this is a very busy day, no time in between appointments, but the hearing today, as we've been discussing, focused a lot on the talking points , the immediate aftermath, not on the bigger strokes. what about hillary clinton 's responses, though, on security? there were plenty of warnings, we knew what happened with the british ambassador. this was an accident waiting to happen, it should not have been a surprise.
>> well, and i think the accountability review board headed by ambassador pickering and admiral mullen, in their report, pointed that out, that there were serious mistakes that were made. i think secretary clinton has taken responsibility for that. she has begun to implement those recommendations from the report and made moves to try and ensure first that our other personnel and other people working in high-risk areas are protected. and, second, that we address the conditions that led to benghazi .
>> senator, there were plenty of warnings, though, including the secretary was asked about a cable that came on the very day of that horrible attack, on 9/11, a cable from ambassador stevens to the secretary. i heard john mccain ask that question, secretary clinton didn't get a chance to or sidestepped answering it. have you gotten answers to that question?
>> i haven't. i have not seen the cable. i have not heard the secretary respond to that, as you point out, she did not have a chance to answer that this morning in the hearing. but, again, i think the important thing for us to do now is to make sure that what happened in the lead up to benghazi does not happen again. and one of the real challenges we have is making sure that we can provide the security that has been requested by state, now that it's clear that changes need to be made, and so we've got a job to do here in congress. we've got to make sure that those funds that have been requested to be transferred from what's already existing in our overseas contingency account, to make sure that those can go to provide the security, to address the personnel changes that are going to be needed, and to beef up the facilities in places where they are at risk.
>> hillary clinton has had, by all accounts, a stellar tenure as secretary of state, her polling is off the charts. what is your impression about benghazi and whether this incident will be a problem if she does decide down the road to run for president?
>> i think what we ask of our leaders in government is that they do the best job that they can, that when there are mistakes made, that they acknowledge the responsibility for those mistakes where they occur, and that they work to address the mistakes that have been made. i think secretary clinton has done that. that's what i would hope everybody would do in this kind of a situation, and sadly, we can't undo this tragedy. i know we would all like to do that, but what we've got to do is to learn from that, to go forward, and to make sure we take every precaution so that it doesn't happen again. and that's why congress needs to act, just as the state department needs to act, and the administration needs to act.
>> what did you think of your colleague, senator rand paul, saying that if he were president, he would have fired hillary clinton when this happened?
>> well, i don't think in the wake of this kind of tragedy, with the security of so many people at risk, that grandstanding is helpful. i think what's important is for all of us to work together. you know, one of the things you talked about, the grand strategy of our foreign policy . one of the things that has made this country great and made our foreign policy strong for such a long time has been the willingness of parties to work together, to put aside our partisan differences when it comes to these international issues and to act together when the security and the interests of the united states are threatened. and that's what we need to do now. we need to work together to address the situation that led up to benghazi , make sure it doesn't happen again, and go forward together in a way that the american people want.
>> senator jean shaheen , thank you very much.
>> thank you.