Hillary Clinton rejected that she misled the American people about the 2012 Benghazi terror attack during an interview with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, saying any confusion arose from fast-moving events rather than dishonesty.
Clinton reaffirmed her position despite claims made by family members of the victims of Benghazi that she lied to them about what caused the assault and emails Clinton sent immediately after the incident that differed from what she and the rest of the Obama administration subsequently told the public triggered the attack.
Stephanopoulos asked Clinton on ABC's This Week about this apparent contradiction, first reading to her parts of two emails she sent in the immediate aftermath of the attack, both of which say the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was a "planned attack" by an "al Qaeda-like group."
Clinton, however, stated along with President Obama and the rest of his administration after the assault that a controversial internet video had caused it by inspiring protesters to spontaneously target the American diplomatic compound. Then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on several Sunday news shows following the Benghazi attack to further this claim.
Host Stephanopoulos then played two clips, each showing a parent of one of the victims saying that Clinton lied directly to them about the cause of the attack, including Charles Woods, father of retired Navy Seal Tyrone Woods, before asking, "Did you tell them it was about a film? And what's your response?"
Clinton responded that she has already answered all of these questions and "can't help it that people think there has to be something else there," referring to Republicans who have been investigating the Benghazi attack.
She continued, "I said very clearly, there had been a terrorist group, uh, that had taken responsibility on Facebook, um, between the time that, uh, I – you know, when I talked to my daughter, that was the latest information; we were, uh, giving it credibility. And then we learned the next day it wasn’t true. In fact, they retracted it. This was a fast-moving series of events in the fog of war and I think most Americans understand that."
Stephanopoulos did not ask a follow-up question before moving the interview to Clinton's unfavorable poll numbers amongst voters regarding her trustworthiness.
The first email Stephanopoulos cited to Clinton was one she sent her daughter, Chelsea, the night of September 11, 2012, when the attack took place, and the second one was sent the following day to the Egyptian prime minister. Clinton described the attack to both of them as planned and resembling an al Qaeda-like offensive.
Clinton also spoke to the Egyptian prime minister on the phone on September 12 to make the same point to him as in her email.
The Democratic presidential candidate testified before the congressional Benghazi Select Committee in October about the 2012 incident, where Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) showed these communications to her and the public and confronted the former secretary of state about what she said had caused the attack.
The Benghazi assault resulted in the death of four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, who had been requesting extra security from the State Department for months.
Judicial Watch revealed a new email this week showing that the Department of Defense offered the State Department forces to aid those defending the U.S. consulate, yet no action was taken.