Clinton: ‘I Personally Was Not Focused on Talking Points’


Sec. Hillary Clinton said she “was not focused on talking points” and “was not involved in the talking points process” following the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Wednesday:

HILARY CLINTON: I recommend that all members and staff read the classified version of the ARB which goes into greater detail. I obviously can’t speak to it, but it does go into great detail because there was potential variety and causes of triggers for this attack. There’s evidence that the attacks were deliberate, opportunistic and pre-coordinated, but not necessarily indicative of extensive planning. And fourth, Senator, I would say that I personally was not focused on talking points. I was focused on keeping our people safe. Because as I said, I have a very serious threat environment in Yemen. It turned out we had people getting over that wall in Cairo, doing damage until we got them out. We had a serious threat against our embassy in Tunis. I had to call the president of Tunisia and beg him to send reinforcements, which he did, to finally save our embassy, which could have been a disaster. They burned and trashed our school. So I was pretty occupied about keeping our people safe, doing what needed to be done in the follow up to Benghazi. I really don’t think anybody in the administration was really focused on that, so much as trying to figure out, you know, what we should be doing, and, you know, I wasn’t involved in the talking points process. As I understand it, as I’ve been told, it was a typical interagency process where staff, including from the State Department, all participated to try to come up with whatever was going to be made publicly available and it wasn’t intelligence product and it’s my understanding that the intelligence community is working with appropriate committees to kind of explain the whole process.

Clinton later said she did not select U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice to speak for the administration in the days following the attacks.