msnbc | January 27, 2013
>>> hillary clinton stepping down as secretary of state after days of contentious appearance on capitol hill . she testified on them bbenghazi attack. what answers were you hoping to get from secretary clinton or did she answer everything?
>> there are many more unanswered questions than there should have been. the take away was the refusal to take responsibility on the part of the secretary of state for what happened prior to the actual storming of our benghazi consulate. she didn't read the cables and had no idea there was an unbelievable emergency, conveyed by the mission there and by our ambassador about the inability to defend benghazi should it come under attack. i have read those cables. the fact the secretary of state didn't suggests a cole loss sal failure of diplomatic security .
>> a couple of things. a lot of people will say she did, in fact, saying the buck stops with me. i'm the secretary of state .
>> you have to look at what she said. i read her testimony carefully.
>> she said from the day it was happening, from the hour it was happening onward but nothing before. she refused to take responsibility for everything that led up to it. she is walking point. she's the captain of the ship so to speak. for the secretary of state not to be on the job focused like a laser beam on embassy security , i wrote the law in '99 after we got hit in nairobi. we put huge amounts of diplomate security enhancements and important including personnel. we were getting unbelievably frightening statements from our embassy, from the ambassador about this worsening situation. secretary of state hillary clinton didn't even read the cables. that's the take away.
>> on that point she did talk about how many cables they received and she talked about 1.5 million. they might come in and she didn't read every single one. that was her defense.
>> that's her answer. i think that was flawed, t.j.
>> let let's both and let the viewers listen to shg she eluded to and pointed to as part of the problem with security that has to do with funding. let's listen.
>> since march 2011 , congressional holds have been placed on programs for many months for aid to libya . we have had frequent congressional complaints. why are we doing anything for libya . it's a wealthy country. it has oil, disagreement from some sources that we should have never been part of any u.n. mission in libya . currently, the house has holds on bilateral security assistance, on other kinds of support for anti-terrorism assistance.
>> what she mentions there, and it's accurate. we can look at the record and go back there are times when the administration would request a certain amount of money for security around the world and the republican house wanted to slash some of that money. now, how can you go about -- aren't we all -- aren't you all i should say, responsible if you have the state department requesting a certain amount of money and then you are taking -- you are slashing the money they want for the security and then you want to come out and criticize her for lack of funding or lack of security .
>> t.j., this the art of misdirection on the part of the secretary. she was talking about a lack of funding in the aggregate. we provided significant enhancements to security funding over the many years. i wrote the law that started it in '99 that gave us a major push forward. this was a matter of lack of leadership. even the administration officials have said, very clearly, that it wasn't that we didn't have ten or 15 or 20 more diplomatic security personnel or the availability of our military to step in, should things go awry, as they did, it was a matter of not deploying them properly, not having advance notice which is as plain as the nose on my face through those cables that we had an ever-worsening deteriorating situation. and bilateral security . we are talking about giving money to the government. i and others asked specific questions over the last several months including to administration personnel, who vetted the host country assets, security assets, the people guarding our own people? there has to be i think a much gritter focus -- and this is about leadership, not resources. the money was there to take care of libya and benghazi itself, but we didn't deploy it properly.
>> the last thing here and i think i heard your answer there, you said the money was there.
>> it was there we can do a better job and always do a better job providing additional resources. we have been doing that. the number of diplomatic security personnel and i started with my legislation, my law went from 1,000 to over 3,100. they were just not deployed properly. that's a failure of leadership.
>> all right. congress smith from new jersey. appreciate your time.
>> thank you.
>> this is an important one for us all to get to the bottom of. appreciate you sharing your views today.
>> thank you. and t.j., can i add quickly.
>> yes, sir.
>> secretary of state hillary clinton was not interviewed by the accountability review board. there's nothing in the 1986 statute that says she should havent have been because she should have been. she is the captain of the trip.
>> they were hoping the board would be something independent and not -- are you criticizing them or her?
>> i'm saying they should have asked her the tough questions.
>> congressman, again, thank you so much.