NewBostonPost, October 24, 2015

151022154557-hillary-clinton-benghazi-committee-yes-or-no-pompeo-00003221-full-169So what did we learn Thursday from the House Benghazi Committee’s 11-hour question-and-answer session with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?

Did the Committee unearth any significant information about what actually happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, when terrorists killed four Americans (including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and Winchester native Glen Doherty)?

It certainly did.

Congressional investigators have for years asked Clinton when she first learned that the attack on our Benghazi consulate was the work of terrorists. At Thursday’s hearing, we learned that she knew this almost immediately.

In fact, we learned that, within hours of the attack, Clinton used her private server to email her daughter Chelsea — who did not work for the government and does not have a top secret security clearance — to tell her that the attack on American personnel was pre-planned and carried out by Al Qaeda.

Why is this important?

05-151807080_10Because it contradicts what Clinton told the American people and State Department employees both before and after she contacted her daughter: that the incident was the spontaneous response of Islamic youth to “inflammatory material posted on the internet.”

This was, of course, a boldfaced lie. The attack, which occurred on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, was not (as Clinton suggested) committed by an angry mob that had gathered to protest a random YouTube video. In fact, there was no angry mob.

And Clinton knew it. That’s why in a Sept. 12 conversation with the Egyptian Prime Minister, Clinton admitted, “We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest.”

Nevertheless, on Sept. 14, as the bodies were unloaded at Andrews Air Force base, Clinton continued to perpetuate the YouTube myth — blaming the “tyranny of a mob” enraged by “an awful internet video.”

Why did she do this? Only she knows for sure, but it is reasonable to assume that she did this in order to shield her boss, President Obama, from potential political fallout from a 9/11 terrorist-led attack on American personnel just weeks before the 2012 presidential election.

Clinton now blames her contradictory statements on confusion caused by the “fog of war.” But, as we learned Thursday, she wasn’t at all confused when she spoke with her daughter or with the Egyptian Prime Minister. Nor was she confused when she crafted her oh-so lawyerly public statements about the incident. Yet, she continues to claim confusion when asked about her contradictory statements.

Although Clinton’s testimony did not shed light on what Ambassador Stevens was doing in Benghazi the night he was killed — or whether, as CNN and other news outlets have suggested, he was part of a covert American attempt to arm the Syrian rebels — her demeanor during this line of questioning raises important questions.

When confronted by Kansas Republican Mike Pompeo (my law school classmate), with an email from a state department aide suggesting that the U.S. government use “private contractors” to arm the rebels, Clinton seemed uncharacteristically nervous and paused uncomfortably before claiming the idea was never considered “seriously.”

Hillary ClintonThursday’s hearing confirmed not only that Hillary Clinton is willing to lie to the American people for political expediency, but also that she is contemptuous of Republicans and disrespectful of Congress.

Despite attempts to look presidential and above the fray, Clinton came across as disdainful and impatient. She rolled her eyes, let out exasperated sighs, and often looked visibly bored or annoyed.

In one response that was simultaneously self-promoting and condescending, Clinton snapped, “I wrote a whole chapter about this in my book, Hard Choices. I’d be glad to send it to you, Congressman.”

But most importantly, we learned that Clintonism works: that if you hedge and stonewall and withhold relevant documents for years on end, then when the truth finally emerges (as it began to on Thursday), the public will write it off as “old news” or some sort of partisan witch hunt.

Thursday’s hearing made clear: obstruction works. Hillary lied, and (to date) she has gotten away with it.

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