State Dept. admits weaknesses in security in Benghazi
New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte weighs in
- Duration 6:43
- Date Dec 20, 2012
New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte weighs in
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Very hard and painful lessons have been constant we are already acting on them we have to do better.
We owe it to our colleagues who -- their lives in bin -- We owe it to the security professionals who acted with such extraordinary heroism that awful night to try to protect them.
And we owe it to thousands of our colleagues serving America with great dedication every day and diplomatic posts around the world.
While that is one of secretary Clinton's top deputies testifying to the senate earlier today that Ben Ghazi -- they're having hearings today member Secretary Clinton was supposed to be there today.
But she postponed her testimony after she fainted.
And suffered a concussion.
Late last week.
Saying that concussion late last week would prevent her from showing up today.
And today -- protect the deputy secretary of state Nicholas Burns admitted that there were witness weaknesses in security.
Related to the deadly assault on the US diplomatic mission in Libya -- mean of course he admitted that because that's a fact and and nobody knows that by now.
All of this on the heels of the scathing report this week that was highly critical of the State Department in the terror attack that killed four Americans.
Senator Kelly Ayotte is a Republican from New Hampshire she sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee she's been outspoken in recent weeks in -- call for answers honest answers.
On Libya and what happened to our ambassador senator welcome back to the program.
Thanks thing and it's entity -- you are assessed no big surprises I say admitting that there were security lapses and we knew that you know there's not -- and that's not why we're having hearings on Capitol Hill to talk about you know.
Were their security -- of course there were so so what have we learned what's jumped out -- you.
-- what's jumped out at me is what I think we suspected from the beginning the accountability review board found that there are systematic failures -- leadership.
That there were at the deteriorating security situation based on the prior attacks on the consulate our allies.
The intelligence leading up to it that they should have secured this consulate that the security was grossly inadequate.
But it's made clear from the report with three State Department officials resigning that we do -- to hear from Secretary Clinton.
Because obviously we need to understand fully.
What she was aware of we have to assume that she was aware of this deteriorating security situation.
Why after work actions taken and also.
The president what was he told about the situation Libya and why wasn't he -- -- it.
-- he -- in conjunction with her to make sure that the consulate was secure so those are questions that have been answered.
As well as -- serve on the armed services committee.
And I do think we have to understand why we didn't have military assets in place given the volatility in Libya in that area of the world they could've helped.
Of those four brave Americans during let's not forget it with the two faced attack that occurred over seven hour period in particular.
The last two that were killed could we have stopped or help them preventative.
Writings at that have been several hours after the initial attack ask this question about whether we could have sent some reinforcements there to help those guys they were fighting the battle.
I want to ask you at this there was lot of discussion today that may have sounded foreign to our viewers -- they were watching it.
About what went to the sixth floor at the sit -- and what went to the seventh floor.
-- my understanding is that the seven Florida Hillary Clinton basically and sixth floor means her deputies.
And that's what I inning by -- by Marco Rubio rube rubio senator from Florida was OK yes mister burns so.
Was there an awareness beyond it sort of that's six floor level yet of the deteriorating security situation and the answer was.
Yes yes yes there wasn't -- so.
Now is that the first time we've heard that Hillary Clinton is what I -- he's trying to tell us knew about the deteriorating security situation in Gaza right -- I took from that testimony that it indicated -- seventh floor is where secretary Clinton's offices.
And that that indicated that she was aware but think about this.
Given our activity in Libya I would be shocked if she wasn't aware of this deteriorating security situation and so that's why her testimony and so important.
Why wasn't action taken.
And in addition to that understanding.
What briefings were made to the president as well because let's not forget I think the other thing -- clear from this report.
This story that was told by the administration for two weeks of course was -- we knew that but this was also confirmed by this report did.
And and -- of years -- it would it was false.
And there's a real question about whether what do remain Paulson and Paulson and on and on disgusting guy you know -- state under the radar if folks hadn't pushed and in other lawmakers like yourself on Capitol Hill there were news or they act like our own.
That kept guessing -- is asking questions and finally we got answers from the State Department itself.
This week saying.
You you know there was no protest it was a terrorist attack the situation the security situation was terrible.
And people know now the other thing about the sixth in the seventh that's actually one of the things that's troubled me from the beginning about this -- -- my background before this I was a prosecutor.
And every time I asked -- question we asked multiple questions couldn't get straightforward answers on something that they should be able to answer.
And so I'm glad that the economy you know ability review report has come out there are still additional information that we need following up on that why you're you're accused of playing politics which is coming -- status right agrees with the politics you were playing apparently back.
The second line of questioning was OK so the seventh floor knew about the deteriorating.
Security situation but -- the question was asked.
Or any officials on the seventh level made aware of the requests for additional security that we know -- -- not where were denied.
And the answer by mr.
I'm not aware of any specific memo.
That went above the sixth floor has that resolve questions you have about what the seventh floor knew about the -- for additional meg.
And it doesn't because if you will listen about answers to very careful answer.
So the question is out word that request for security add additional security did it go to Secretary Clinton.
And obviously you can be verbally -- of what's going on you can receive briefings and so I think those questions have to be -- directly to her.
And if she wasn't informed about I think that's a very important question for those deputies as well given the deteriorating security situation in Libya.
So she's coming Hillary Clinton's coming to worry does in in January's that the current plan.
-- and I've heard that she's gonna come in January this is obviously very important.
And I think in the armed services committee it's also very important that we hear from secretary Panetta on the military assets and why.
They weren't in place to -- -- respond in the course of almost seven hour attack.
Senator thanks so much for being here Merry Christmas union family Merry Christmas to you tonight and things have.