Rand Paul fulfills promise to grill Clinton concerning Libya attack


by Joe Arnold and Chelsea Rabideau


Posted on January 23, 2013 at 9:26 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 24 at 12:56 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's debut on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has America talking after Paul followed through on a promise to grill Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Paul suggested Clinton should have been fired after the Sept. 11 attack, blaming her for the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans because she had not read dispatches from diplomats in Libya that had requested better security.

"I think by anybody's estimation, Libya had to be one of the hottest of the hot spots around the world," Paul said to Clinton.  "Not to know of the requests for securities, really I think cost these people their lives."

Paul questioned Clinton's judgment and fitness for a position of such responsibility.

"It was a failure of leadership not to be involved.  It was a failure of leadership not to know these things," Paul said.

Paul spoke about his line of questioning to WHAS11 by telephone Wednesday night, calling it "sharp" but appropriate. 

"Really what this is about is choosing people to be in charge of embassy security and in charge of the state department who make good decisions. And when you make bad decisions, it does disqualify you. It makes you someone who is no longer a benefit, but a risk for the country," Paul said

In her opening remarks to the much anticipated hearing, the Secretary of State said she accepted responsibility for the terrorist attack.

"I'm glad that you're accepting responsibility," Paul said.  "I think ultimately with your leaving that you accept the culpability for the worst tragedy since 9/11. And I really mean that."

Paul goes on to say the following.

"Had I been president and found you did not read the cables from Benghazi," Paul continued, "you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post. I think it's inexcusable."

After Paul's tongue-lashing, Clinton made clear the review of the Benghazi attack did not personally implicate her.

"I am the Secretary of State," Clinton said, "And the ARB (Accountability Review Board) made very clear that the level of responsibility for the failures that they outlined was set at the Assistant Secretary level and below."

Clinton said her appearance was about transparency -- and in what may have been a reference to Paul's comments - not about politics.