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CNN Live Event/Special
Benghazi Hearings. Aired 6:30p-9:00p ET.
Aired October 22, 2015 - 18:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GOWDY: Welcome back, Madam Secretary. The chair will now recognize the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Roskam.
ROSKAM: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Madam Secretary, the other side of the aisle has admonished the Republicans for not having a theory. And let me tell you a little bit of a theory that I've developed from my reading and research and listening today.
And it's this: that you initiated a policy to put the United States into Libya as the secretary of state, and you overcame a number of obstacles within the administration to advocate for military action. And you were successful in doing that.
Ultimately, the decision was the president's, as you acknowledge. But you were the prime mover. You were the one that was driving, you were even contemplating something called the "Clinton doctrine".
And you were concerned about image. You were concerned about credit, which is not something that is unfamiliar to people in public life. But then I think something happened.
And my theory is that after Gadhafi's death, and essentially, a victory lap, then I think your interest waned, and I think your attention waned. And I think the -- the e-mails that Mrs. Brooks put forth, you had a -- you had an answer, and that was, "look, I got a lot of information from a lot of different places."
But I think you basically gave a victory lap -- sort of a "mission accomplished" quote in October 30th, 2011 in the Washington Post. This is what you said, and this is very declarative. "We set into motion a policy that was on the right side of history, on the right side of our values, on the right side of our strategic interests in the region."
It has all of the feel of a victory lap. But there was a problem. And the problem, Madam Secretary, was that there were storm clouds that were gathering. And the storm clouds that were gathering was a deteriorating security situation in Benghazi.
And you had a lot to lose if Benghazi unraveled. If Libya unraveled, you had a lot to lose, based on the -- the victory lap, based on the Sunday shows, based on the favorable accolades that were coming. If it went the wrong direction, it would be on you. And if it
was stable and it was the right direction, you -- you were the beneficiary of that.
So the question is, how is it possible that these urgent requests that came in -- how did they not break through to the very upper levels of your inner circle? People who are here today, people who served you?
How did those requests from two ambassadors, Ambassador Cretz and Ambassador Stevens, that came in on these dates, June 7th, June -- July 19th, August 2nd and March 28th, all of 2012 -- how is it possible that those didn't break through?
You told us that that wasn't your job, basically. You said, "I'm not responsible." But here's my theory. I think that this is what was going on: that to admit a need for more security was to admit that there was a deteriorating situation. And to admit a deteriorating situation didn't fit your narrative of a successful foreign policy. Where did I get that wrong?
CLINTON: Congressman, look, we knew that Libya's transition from the brutal dictatorship of Gadhafi, which basically destroyed or undermined every institution in the country, would be challenging, and we planned accordingly.
We worked closely with the Libyan people, with our allies in Europe, with partners in the region, to make sure that -- we tried to get positioned to help the Libyan people.
And yes, the volatile security environment in Libya complicated our efforts. But we absolutely -- and I will speak for myself, I absolutely did not forget about Libya after Gadhafi fell.
CLINTON: We worked closely with the interim government, and we offered a wide range of technical assistance. We were very much involved in helping them provide their first parliamentary elections. That was quite an accomplishment.
A lot of other countries that were post-conflict did not have anything like the positive elections Libya did. In July of 2012, the transitional government handed over power to a new General National Congress in August. We were doing everything we could think of to help Libya succeed. We tried to bolster the effectiveness of the interim government. We worked very hard to get rid of the chemical weapons, coordinating with the transition Libyan authorities with the U.N. and others. And by February 2014, we had assisted in destroying the last of Gadhafi's chemical weapons. We were combating the spread of shoulder -- anti-aircraft shoulder-fired missiles, because of the danger that they posed to commercial aircraft. And we were providing assistance, some of which I discussed earlier with Congresswoman Roby. We had humanitarian assistance. We brought people for help to Europe, and for -- and to the United States.
But much of what we offered, despite our best efforts, we had the prime minister come to Washington in the spring of 2012. Much of what we offered was difficult for the Libyans to understand how to accept.
I traveled, as you know, to Libya and met there. I stayed in close touch with Libya's leaders throughout the rest of my time as secretary. Both of my deputies went there. We talked with the Libyan leadership frequently by phone from Washington and communicated regularly, as I have said, with our team based in Tripoli, and all of this was focused on trying to help stand up a new interim government. And we were making progress on de-militarization, demobilization, trying to reintegrate militia fighters into something resembling a security force, and on securing loose weapons.
I think it's important to recognize. And of course I was ultimately responsibility for security. I took responsibility for what happened in Benghazi --
ROSKAM: What does that mean when you say, "I took responsibility?" When Mr. Westmoreland asked you that question you said, what, contracting and so forth. So when you say you are responsible for something, Madam Secretary, what does that mean? If you're responsible, what action would you have done differently. What do you own as a result of this? So far I've heard since we've been together today, I've heard one dismissive thing after another. It was this group. It was that group. I wasn't served by this. I wasn't served by that. What did you do? What do you own?
CLINTON: Well, I was just telling you some of the many related issues I was working on to try to help the Libyan people make...
ROSKAM: What's your responsibility to Benghazi? That's my question?
CLINTON: Well, my responsibility was to be briefed and to discuss with the security experts and the policy experts whether we would have a post in Benghazi, whether we would continue it, whether we would make it permanent. And as I've said repeatedly throughout the day, no one ever recommended closing the post in Benghazi.
ROSKAM: No one recommended closing, but you had two ambassadors that made several, several requests, and here's basically what happened to their requests. They were torn up. There were dismissed.
CLINTON: Well, that's just not true, Congressman. I know --
ROSKAM: Madam secretary, they didn't get through. It didn't help them. Were those responded to? Is that your testimony today?
CLINTON: Many were responded to. There were affirmative responses to a number of requests for additional security...
ROSKAM: And you laid this on Chris Stevens, didn't you?
CLINTON: And both...
ROSKAM: Because he said -- you said earlier, "He knows where to pull the levers," so aren't you implying that it's his responsibility to figure out how he is supposed to be secure, because Chris Stevens knows how to pull the levers? Is that your testimony?
CLINTON: Ambassadors are the ones who pass on security recommendations and requests. That's true throughout the world.
ROSKAM: And when he does, and they're not responded to what is his remedy if they're not responded to? What is his remedy if it's no?
CLINTON: As I testified earlier, he was in regular e-mail contact with some of my closest advisers.
ROSKAM: So hit resend, is that it?
CLINTON: He was in regular e-mail contact and cable contact with a...
ROSKAM: Cables didn't get through. You created an environment, Madam Secretary, where the cables couldn't get through, now --
CLINTON: Well, that is inaccurate, cables as we have testified -- ROSKAM: They didn't get through to you. They didn't break into your inner circle. That was your testimony earlier. You can't have it both ways, you can't say all this information came in to me, and I was able to process it. And yet, it all -- it all stops at the security professionals...
CLINTON: Well, that's not what I -- Congressman, that's not that's not what I was saying. I think we've tried to clarify that, you know, millions of cables come in, they're -- they're processed and sent to the appropriate offices and personnel with respect to specific...
ROSKAM: They didn't get through. They didn't make any difference. They couldn't break into the inner circle of decision- making.
Now, let me draw your attention, in closing, to testimony that you gave before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in January 2013. And you said some wonderful things about Ambassador Stevens, similar to what you said in your opening statement today. And they were words that were warm and inspirational, and reflecting on his bravery.
But I think in light of the facts that have come out since your testimony, and I think in light of things that the Committee has learned, he's even braver than you acknowledged.
In January 2013, this is what you said to Congress, "Nobody knew the dangers or the opportunities better than Chris. During the first revolution and then the transition, a weak Libyan government, marauding militias, even terrorist groups, a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel. He never wavered. He never asked to come home. He never said let's shut it down, quit, or go somewhere else. Because he understood that it was pivotal for America to be represented in that place at that time." Secretary Clinton, I think you should've added this: Chris
Stevens kept faith with the State Department that I headed even when we broke faith with him. He accepted my invitation to serve in Benghazi even though he was denied the security we implored us to give him. I and my colleagues were distracted by other matters, and opportunities, and ambitions, we breached our fundamental duty to mitigate his danger and secure his safety. And that of Glenn Doherty, Sean Smith, and Tyrone Woods. That would be more accurate, wouldn't you say, Secretary Clinton?
CLINTON: Of course, I would not say that.
And I think that it's a disservice for you to make that statement, Congressman. And it's a...
ROSKAM: Who does it disserve?
CLINTON: Well, it is a disservice of how hard the people who are given the responsibility of making these tough security decisions...
ROSKAM: The people that were disciplined? Did they keep faith with Chris Stevens? No.
CLINTON: Well, Chris Stevens was someone who had a commitment to our presence in Libya...
ROSKAM: There's no question.
CLINTON: ... And we want to honor that by continuing...
ROSKAM: There is no question.
CLINTON: ... To do what we can to support the Libyan people's transition. It is very much, in my view, in America's interest to continue to try to do so.
ROSKAM: I yield back.
GOWDY: The gentleman's time has expired. The chair will now recognize the general lady from Illinois, Ms. Duckworth.
DUCKWORTH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Madam Secretary, I just want to talk a little bit more about what has been done for Embassy Personnel Security, Diplomatic Personnel Security since then.
My understanding is in Benghazi, there were some security improvements that were made.
Could you talk about some of those? Both prior to the attacks as well as some other things that perhaps -- you -- sort of alluded to with more ventilation in the safe rooms, some of those things?
CLINTON: Yeah, there were a number of security improvements that were made to the facility. Again, there was emphasis on trying to buttress the outer walls, to try to, you know, create a more effective guard entrance. There was an effort to try to make sure that the facility itself
was hardened so that it could withstand attacks, if that came to pass.
It was in a series of decisions made by the security professionals in November of 2011, our people in Benghazi said they needed to hire additional local guards, money was approved that day.
In December of that year, they asked for money to buy jersey barriers. The funds were sent by the end the week.
In January of 2012, the RSO, meaning a Regional Security Officer requested that all personnel deploying to Tripoli and Benghazi for 30 days complete the Specialized Foreign Affairs Counter Threat training course, which was soon implemented.
Also, in January 2012, they asked for money for sandbags, security lights, steel door upgrades, Drop Arm (ph) reinforced car barriers. That was promptly sent.
Later that month, they were sent extra helmets, bullet proof vests, and a WMD Response equipment. In February of 2012, they requested support for a major renovation of the walls surrounding the complex, including making the walls higher, adding concertina wire, laying barbed wire.
That project was completed.
In March 2012, they asked to construct two extra guard positions.
That was completed.
In April 2012, they needed help from experts and technical security. And by May, a special team visited to enhance security equipment and security lighting.
In June 2012, following the IED incident, immediately a regional team was sent to enhance the perimeter, and additional funding was approved for more guards.
In July 2012, they said that they need a minimum of three American Security Officers in Benghazi. From then on through July, August and September they always had three, four or five American DS agents overseeing the expanded contingent of Libyan guards on site.
Those are just some of the requests and the affirmative responses, Congresswoman, that were provided specifically for Benghazi.
DUCKWORTH: Thank you.
We -- we know that short of putting people in bunkers and never allowing them outside of embassy compounds, and -- we're going to have some sort of threat to our Diplomatic Personnel Security.
I mean, obviously, it was not enough. What I'd like to know is, in light of that, what efforts have
been put in to -- to provide for Contingency Operations (ph), especially for known potentially volatile periods in the calendar year.
September 11th comes through every year. 2016, September 11th is probably going to be an especially volatile time period.
So, can you talk a little bit about would you have done, and what you put into place and any difficulties you may have come across in coordinating with the DoD, intelligence agencies, other -- across the Government. Is there a...
I know this is not a secure room, so we -- we can't talk about things that are rated secret, but, you know September 11th is coming. Part of that week are we moving aircraft carriers nearby, are we putting and air wing on a 6 hour leash, with, you know, one lift of aircraft on a 2 hour leash? What are we doing? Do we have FAST teams and FEST teams gearing up ready to go? What is going on, in light of the lessons learned at Benghazi, and what did -- what did you personally direct -- to happen, especially at your level of inter- agency cooperation?
CLINTON: An excellent question, and really at the heart of what I hope will come out of this and the prior investigations.
In December of 2014, Assistant Secretary Starr from the State Department testified before the select committee that 25 of the 29 recommendations made by the ARB had been completed. And a September 2013 Inspector General's Report noted that the ARB recommendations were made in a way that was quickly taken seriously, and that I took charge directly of oversight for the implementation process.
Here's some examples, more Diplomatic Security and DoD personnel are on the ground at our facilities today. We have increased the skills and competency for our Diplomatic Security agents by increasing the training time in the High Threat (ph) course. We've expanded the Foreign Affairs Counter Threat course so that the skills are shared by not just the Diplomatic Security agents but people like Chris Stevens and Sean Smith, as well. We've also been working hard to up the inter-agency cooperation.
The Inter-Agency Security (ph) teams that you asked about earlier, Congresswoman, that's a continuing commitment that we are working on.
And I know because of this terrible tragedy, DoD is much more focused on what needs to be thought through with respect to planning and reaction.
You know, we had problems in the past with the pastor from Florida, Terry Jones, inciting riots and protests that resulted in the deaths of people, including UN and others who were stationed in Afghanistan.
And -- so we're trying to stay in very close touch between the State Department and DoD.
In that case, Secretary Gates actually called him and asked him, please, not to get involved in what he was doing because it was dangerous to our troops and our civilians. Unfortunately, you know, he has a mind apparently of his own.
So we are trying to have a closer, coordinated planning and response effort.
With respect to your specific questions that are really within the purview of the Department of Defense, like the deployment of certain Navy vessels, air wings and the like, I think that DoD is trying hard to think about how particularly in north Africa and the Middle East, they can respond. Because, you know, one of the claims that was made that was -- was proven to be untrue was that DOD withheld sending air support. And indeed, the closest air support that would have been in any way relevant was too far away.
So they're trying to think about how they better deploy and station various -- various assets so that they can have a quicker response time. I've not been involved intimately in this now for, you know, two years, more -- I guess more than two years. So I can't speak directly, but I know that this was part of the important work that was underway when I left.
DUCKWORTH: You spoke about -- thank you -- you spoke about you making personal phone calls to ask for help from the heads of local government. And you spoke a lot about the power of the chief of the mission, the trust that you put into these professionals that are there.
So when an embassy comes under attack, especially after this Benghazi attack, from this time forward, do ambassadors, do they need to call you to ask for help from other agencies of the U.S. government? Or do they have the ability if there's a DOD -- if there is a CIA or DOD force nearby, a Marine FAST team for example, can the ambassador -- does the ambassador have to come through security, or do they need to call you to have you call for that? How does that work?
CLINTON: No, and there's an example out of the Benghazi attack. There was a preexisting understanding between the diplomatic compound and the CIA annex. And there was no need for anybody at the compound to call Washington to alert the CIA annex. They immediately contacted the CIA annex. And, you know, they sprang into action to try to come to the assistance of our team at the compound.
So, there's -- we're trying to have more preexisting arrangements like that, and that goes to your question. If there are assets in the region, how do we plan for contingencies so that they can be immediately triggered and try to respond. You know, I obviously spoke to the White House. I spoke to General Petraeus. I spoke to, you know, lots of other people that evening trying to get whatever help we could get. We did get a surveillance plane above the location, but it took some time to get there. It had to be diverted.
DUCKWORTH: I'm sorry. It was an unarmed drone. Correct? CLINTON: Yes, it was unarmed. It was an unarmed...
CLINTON: ... yes, UAV. Right. So, we -- we asked for everything we could get, and everybody immediately tried to provide it. But I think now there's more awareness that maybe we should be doing these scenarios ahead of time to try to figure out what could be done without having to, you know, reinvent it every time.
DUCKWORTH: Thank you.
I'm out of time, Mr. Chairman.
GOWDY: I thank the gentlelady from Illinois.
The chair would now recognize the gentlewoman from Indiana.
BROOKS: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
I'm going to follow up on what the congresswoman from Illinois is discussing, which is facility -- and I appreciate the laundry list that you just listed with respect to the security improvements or whatever happened with respect to Benghazi.
But I have to ask you if you're familiar with the fact that in the wake of the 1998 bombing attacks in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Congress passed something referred to as SECCA -- the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act, which requires the secretary of state to issue a waiver if, under two conditions, if U.S. government personnel work in separate facilities; or if U.S. overseas facilities do not meet the security setback distances specified by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
The law specifies that only the secretary of state may sign these waivers and that requirement is not to be delegated. Was a waiver issued for the temporary mission in Benghazi and the CIA annex after the temporary mission compound was authorized through December of 2012? And did you sign that waiver, Madam Secretary?
CLINTON: I think that the CIA annex, I had no responsibility for. So I cannot speak to what the decisions were with respect to the CIA annex. That is something that I know other committees have...
BROOKS: But you acknowledge you were responsible for the temporary mission compound?
CLINTON: Yes, of course. But you put them together and I just wanted to clarify that I had no responsibility for the CIA annex, obviously.
The compound in Benghazi was neither an embassy nor a consulate. Those are the only two facilities for which we would obtain a formal diplomatic notification. And those were the only kinds of facilities that we would have sought waivers for at the time because we were trying to, as has been testified to earlier, understand whether we were going to have a permanent mission or not.
That means you have to survey available facilities, try to find a secure facility. And the standards that are set by the Interagency Overseas Security Policy Board are the goals we try to drive for. But it is -- it is very difficult, if not impossible, to do that in the immediate aftermath of a conflict situation.
The temporary mission in Benghazi was set up to try to find out what was going on in the area; to work with the CIA where appropriate; and to make a decision as to whether there would be a permanent facility. So, we could not have met the goals under the Overseas Security Policy Board, nor would we have issued a waiver because we had to set up operations in order to make the assessments as to whether or not we would have a permanent mission; whether that mission would remain open. And we made extensive and constant improvements to the physical security, some of which I've mentioned before.
BROOKS: Madam Secretary, thank you.
So it is obvious that a waiver was not signed and you've given a defense as to why a waiver was not signed. And it was temporary because it was made up. It was something different. The compound was -- had never become official. And so therefore, you did not sign a waiver, which when most of our people are stationed in such dangerous places, let me get into that with respect to the dangerous places.
We know that Libya, you've testified before, was incapable of providing host nation support. And that involves protecting our diplomats and other U.S. government officials who travel there. So if the Libyan people didn't have a government capable of providing security, and we didn't have U.S. military in Libya, then we have two options. We either leave when it gets too dangerous, or the State Department makes sure that they provide that protection.
And I want to just chat with you a little bit about the fact that when Ambassador Stevens returned there in late May, 2012 after being named the ambassador. Less than four months later, he was killed. But the number of violent attacks that occurred during that summer are off the charts. They're against westerners.
I'd like you to refer to tab six. It is a 51-page document prepared by your head security guy in Libya, for security incidents -- serious security incidents between June 2011 and July 2012; 51 pages long, 235 significant security incidents; 235 attacks in one year. In Benghazi, there were 77 serious attacks in one year; 64 in 2012.
Now, let me just tell you, as I flip through this, and I'm not talking Benghazi. As I showed earlier, it is a large city, about the size of D.C. or Boston. I'm talking about violent attacks like everyday robberies, burglaries, holdups. I'm talking about assassination attempts and assassinations, bombings, kidnappings, attacks on the Red Cross. The Red Cross gave up and pulled out -- the people who always go in when disaster strikes, they pulled out. That doesn't include 20 other major incidents -- bombings on police departments, the courts. Think about this. If you're in the city of Washington, D.C. or
Boston, and we're now over in Benghazi, and all of these types of bombings are happening and these security incidents are happening. There are hundreds more actually I could talk with you about, but frankly I don't have time.
I hope I've painted the picture because I'm baffled. You sent Chris Stevens to Libya and to Benghazi. And granted, he never raised the flag and said, "I want out." And granted, he never said, "Shut down Benghazi." And I understand and appreciate that you deferred to him, but you also, Madam Secretary -- we have no record of you ever talking to him, that -- you never talked to him personally after May of 2012 when you swore him in as our ambassador.
Am I wrong? Did you ever talk to Ambassador Stevens when all of this was going on in the hotbed of Libya?
BROOKS: That is a yes or no question, Madam Secretary. I'm sorry. Did you ever personally speak to Ambassador Stevens after -- we don't know the answer. Did you ever personally speak to him after you swore him in in May?
CLINTON: ...I believe...
BROOKS: Yes or no, please.
CLINTON: ...yes, I believe I did. But I...
BROOKS: And when was that?
CLINTON: ...I -- I don't recall. And I want to clarify for the record that this document is about all of Libya, not just Benghazi.
BROOKS: Absolutely (ph).
CLINTON: I don't want anybody to be...
BROOKS: No, 77 are about Benghazi.
CLINTON: ...misled, and -- you know, Congresswoman, look.
I appreciate -- and -- and I really do -- the -- the passion and the intensity of your feelings about this. We have diplomatic facilities in war zones. We have ambassadors that we send to places that have been bombed and attacked all the time.
BROOKS: And you're their boss.
CLINTON: I -- you're right.
BROOKS: Is that correct?
CLINTON: You're right, I am. And we...
BROOKS: And you're their leader. Is that correct?
And is there -- are there ever situations where you call them, where you bring them in, where you are personally caring and concerned, and are letting them know that? Are -- are there situations where you recall -- and I'd like to know what the conversation was with Ambassador Stevens, and what month it was, with Ambassador Stevens.
Because there are no call logs with him. There's nothing from the ops center with him that we have found. We have no record that you had any conversations with the ambassador after you swore him in and before he died, and you were his boss.
CLINTON: I was the boss of ambassadors in 270 countries. I was the boss of ambassadors in places like Afghanistan, where, shortly before I visited one time, the embassy had been under brutal assault by the Taliban for hours.
I am very well aware of the dangers that are faced by our diplomats and our development professionals. There was never a recommendation from Chris Stevens or anyone else to close Benghazi. Now, sitting here in the comfort of this large, beautiful hearing room, it's easy to say, "well, there should have been. Somebody should have stood up and said, do that."
But that was not the case. And it is a very difficult choice with respect to any of these facilities, given the level of threat and instability that we confront around the world today.
And it's deeply, deeply distressing when any of our facilities or our personnel are in danger. And we do, and have done, the best we can, and I think we can do better, which is why I implemented all of the ARB's recommendations, which we have barely talked about.
And -- but those were...
BROOKS: Madam Secretary.
CLINTON: ...those were essential in trying to improve and better position and prepare and respond. And that's what we tried to do.
And -- you know, I -- I find it -- you know, deeply -- you know, saddening, because obviously everyone -- everyone who knew him, everyone who worked with him, including Libyans, as I said at the very beginning, would have given anything to prevent this from happening. Our security professionals usually, in fact more than -- 99-plus percent of the time, get it right.
BROOKS: And Madam Secretary, if we would have given anything, had you talked to him in July, he would have told you that he had asked to keep the security in Libya that he had. He was told no by your State Department. We didn't give hem everything.
Thank you. I yield back.
GOWDY: The gentlelady is out of time. The witness may answer the question if she'd like to.
CLINTON: Well, it's the same answer I've been giving all day. Chris Stevens had an opportunity to reach me directly any time he thought there was something of importance.
The people with whom he worked -- the people who were around him and with him -- they very well understood the dangers that they were confronting, and they did the best they could under the circumstances and many of the security requests, as I just detailed, were agreed to. Others weren't.
GOWDY: Gentlelady from California is recognized.
SANCHEZ: Thank you.
Madam Secretary, I want to begin by thanking you for your patience and your endurance during today's hearing. It's been quite a long day.
And I also want to begin by apologizing for my Republican colleagues, who apparently either want to write your answers for you or testify for you, because I think it fits in better with their outlandish narratives of what happened.
And since they insist on criticizing you for not doing anything right, I want to talk to you a little bit more about a line of questioning that we pursued in the first round of questions.
I asked you a little bit about what you were doing the night of the attacks in Benghazi, and I want to just continue that a little bit more. Now, you said previously that you had spoken with the White House that evening, with the CIA, the Defense Department and the State Department.
You also spoke directly with people on the ground at the embassy in Tripoli that night at around 7 p.m, and I can tell from the documents that we've seen that you've asked -- you asked to speak with deputy chief of mission in tripoli.
Can you explain the purpose of that call and why you felt that was important?
CLINTON: Well, for a number of reasons. They were a source of information. They had their own sources on the ground that they were reaching out to, trying to gather additional insight into what happened, what provoked it, who was behind it.
But much more importantly even than that, they were in a great state of dismay and grief. And I thought it was important to speak with our team in Tripoli directly so that they knew that we were trying as best we could from so far away to help them and to help their colleagues.
We also had pushed to have a -- an additional team of security officers fly from Tripoli, and really, the embassy in Tripoli just took that on. They, in fact, probably came up with the idea and put it together and got the plane and sent more help on the way to Benghazi.
But it was a very personal conversation between me and those who were in our embassy. This is a place that I had spent a lot of time and paid a lot of attention to, as I said earlier. We had to evacuate the embassy before, while Gadhafi was still in power.
I talked to those people in our embassy family as they were on the ferry going from Tripoli back to Malta. So we tried to -- you know, engage with, listen to and support our teams when they were facing these very difficult circumstances.
SANCHEZ: Now this committee has interviewed your staff that was with you that evening of the attacks. Your chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and your deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan.
And they explained that you personally participated in a secure video teleconference with senior officials from the intelligence community, the White House and the Department of Defense. Your chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, told the committee that your attendance at the deputy's (ph) level meeting broke with protocol and surprised other attendees, but that you simply said, quote, "these are our people on the ground; where else would I be?"
Why did did you think that it was important for you to participate personally in that deputy's committee meeting?
CLINTON: The people who were on that civets (ph) were part of the operational decision-making, and I wanted to know firsthand from them what they were trying to do to help us, particularly DOD.
Also the intelligence community, because at that time, as I recall, the CIA annex had not yet come under attack, and we were trying to get all Americans out of Benghazi. We were trying to provide planes for evacuation.
So there was a lot of detail that was being worked out, and I wanted to be as hands-on as I could be to know, number one, what all the other agencies were doing to help us, and what we could do to try to assist them in their efforts to get to Benghazi and do whatever was possible.
SANCHEZ: Were the participants surprised by your visit on the -- on the (inaudible)?
CLINTON: Apparently they were, because they weren't expecting me to walk into the -- into the room and sit down at the table.
SANCHEZ: Do you think that your appearance on that teleconference conveyed to them how seriously you were taking the attacks and the response to the attacks?
CLINTON: I'm sure it did, Congresswoman. But we'd been sounding the alarm and reaching out for several hours by then. And we were getting a very positive response from everyone. I knew...
SANCHEZ: From the Defense Department? CLINTON: Yes, the Defense Department. The CIA. Obviously the
White House was deeply involved in if reaching out and coordinating with us. So we knew people were trying to help. There was never, ever any doubt about that.
I just wanted to hear firsthand about their assessments of what they could do. Could anybody get there in time? How were we going to evacuate the Americans? And we were also still unsure of where our ambassador was, which made all of this be incredibly difficult for everybody in the State Department. We didn't know where he was. We didn't know whether he was alive. And it was shortly after that in the evening when we found out that he was not.
SANCHEZ: Your chief of staff also explained to this committee that you were concerned the night of the attacks, not only form the safety of your team in Benghazi, but also about your teams in Tripoli and elsewhere. She said this about you. Quote: "She was very concerned. She was also very determined that whatever needed to be done was done and she was worried. She was worried not only about our team on the ground in Benghazi, but worried about our teams that were on the ground in Libya and our teams on the ground in a number of places given what we had seen unfold in Egypt."
Can you explain some of the context of the evening and why you were concerned, not just about what was happening in Benghazi, but the risks that Americans were in elsewhere?
CLINTON: Well, that's exactly right. I was quite concerned about Tripoli because we didn't know if there would be coordinated attacks. We were still trying to gather information about who was behind what happened in Benghazi. We -- in the course of the conversations with our team on the ground in Tripoli began to explore whether they should move from where they were in the place that was operating as our embassy at that time to a more secure location. There were lots of considerations about what to do to keep our team in Tripoli safe.
And then as I've testified earlier, we were very concerned about the impact of the video sparking unrest, attacks, violence in a wide swathe of countries. It turned out that that was well-founded concern, as we saw the attacks and protests across the region, all the way to India and Indonesia.
So there was a lot of effort being put into not only doing the immediate tasks before us in Benghazi, and doing whatever we needed to do to keep our people in Tripoli safe, but beginning to talk through and prepare for what might happen elsewhere.
SANCHEZ: I want to switch line of questioning for just a second. I've got a couple minutes left. Following the attacks on Benghazi, but before the Accountability Review Board completed its work, you did a number of things to evaluate and improve security at overseas posted. And this is even before the ARB had finished its investigation and issued its finding and recommendations. I know you've mentioned them multiple times today, but some of my colleagues appear to have amnesia about what you really accomplished. So can you tell me about some of the steps that you took to
implement in the State Department even before the the ARB completed its work?
CLINTON: Well, although the ARB had not completed its own investigation, clearly in the aftermath of Benghazi, we were doing our own evaluation of what had happened, what we knew about these circumstances and what we needed to do to try to get ahead of any other potential problems.
One of the decisions that I made and discussed with General Dempsey and Secretary Panetta was how we could get more assistance from the Department of Defense, and in particular we sent out teams to the high-threat posts that we had to get evaluations from those on the ground so that we would have a better idea of where there might be necessary upgrades to security that we could immediately try to act upon. So we did begin a conversation with the department of defense which -- I think it's fair to say, and as Admiral Mullen himself testified -- sees the scope of the American diplomatic presence as beyond the capacity of the Defense Department to be responsive to.
CLINTON: So we had to begin to, first, look at the high-threat posts. Then we had to take the second layer about those that we think could be come more dangerous going forward, and really begin this process. Which, as I told Congresswoman Duckworth, I'm confident is still continuing because, you know, we -- we can't get behind the curve in being able to predict where there might be problems in the future.
We had a perfect example of that in -- in Yemen. You know, we kept the embassy open in Sanaa under some very difficult and dangerous circumstances for a very long time. We even moved it physically to a more well-defensed position. Thankfully, we have not had incidents resulting in American diplomats being killed, but it was a constant challenge to us. And there are many other examples, like the one that Congressman Smith has raised twice, Peshawar, which is an incredibly dangerous high-threat post.
So, what we tried to do is to close as best we could the relationship between State and DOD, so wherever DOD could help us, they would be prepared to factor that into their planning. I was very grateful for their responsiveness.
SANCHEZ: We're grateful for yours. Thank you very much.
I yield back.
GOWDY: The gentlelady yields back.
The chair would now recognize the gentlelady from Alabama, Ms. Roby.
ROBY: Secretary Clinton, I want to follow up on the questions about the night of the attack and decisions made then. You wrote in your book,"Hard Choices," that you were directing the State Department response the night of September 11th, 2012, but you also stated that you left your office on the night of the attack and went to your home in northwest Washington because you said you knew the next few days were going to be taxing and the department was going to be looking to you.
I want to talk about a few things. Do you have a skiff (ph) in your home?
CLINTON: Yes, I did.
ROBY: OK. And who else was at your home? Were you alone?
CLINTON: I was alone, yes.
ROBY: The whole night?
CLINTON: Yes, the whole night.
ROBY: I don't know why that's funny. I mean, did you have any in-person briefings? I don't find it funny at all.
CLINTON: I'm sorry -- a little note of levity at 7:15, noted for the record.
ROBY: Well, I mean, the reason I say it's not funny is because it well into the night when our folks on the ground were still in danger. So I don't think it's funny to ask you if you were alone the whole night.
CLINTON: Well, Congresswoman, you asked if I had a skiff. I had secure phones. I had other equipment that kept me in touch with the State Department at all times. I did not sleep all night. I was very much focused on what we were doing.
ROBY: Who was at your office when you left? Was Cheryl Mills, your chief of staff, still at the office when you left?
CLINTON: I don't remember. I know that a lot of my staff were there.
ROBY: I'm going to go through and name them. We'll see if you remember.
Jake Sullivan, was he still there?
CLINTON: When -- yes, they were all there when I left. They were all there.
ROBY: OK. Victoria Nuland was there when you left?
CLINTON: When I -- when I left, everyone was there.
ROBY: Philip Ranas (ph) was there?
CLINTON: I can -- all I -- I can give you a blanket answer. When I left...
ROBY: No, I'm going to ask specifics.
Was Patrick Kennedy there?
CLINTON: I'm sure he was.
ROBY: Was Philip Ranas (ph) there?
CLINTON: I don't know. I don't know whether he was.
ROBY: How about Stephen Mull?
CLINTON: I'm sure that the core team at the State Department was still there.
ROBY: Beth Jones? CLINTON: I'm sure she was.
ROBY: And Bill Burns and Thomas Nides?
CLINTON: I have no specific recollection of any of the names you've given me, because when I left, I knew I would stay in touch and I do not know how long anybody else stayed at the State Department.
ROBY: What -- what time did you learn that Sean Smith had died?
CLINTON: That was earlier in the evening.
ROBY: So that was before you left.
ROBY: OK. And then what about Ambassador Stevens? Was that before?
CLINTON: It was before I left.
ROBY: OK. And then what about his confirmation of his death -- before or after you left?
CLINTON: We -- we knew that, yes.
ROBY: OK. And what about the recovery of his body? Was that before or after you left?
CLINTON: We -- we got word that we had a sighting of...
CLINTON: Well, I'm trying to tell you what we -- what we knew and how we found out, because it -- it was something that we were trying to determine and we had mixed signals about what we learned. And it was our understanding, and certainly by the time I left, that he was most likely not alive. But I'm not sure exactly when we were able to confirm that because it -- it depended upon getting first-hand information from a Libyan contact. ROBY: OK. Where were you when you learned of the second attack?
Were you at home or at the office?
CLINTON: I was at home.
ROBY: And did you go back to the State Department when you learned about the second attack? Or did you stay home?
CLINTON: I stayed home. I went to the State Department early in the morning. The CIA annex attack, as I recall, was, you know, late in the evening, early the next morning by our time, around five a.m. or so in Benghazi.
ROBY: Did you meet with the president that night?
CLINTON: I talked with the president. I did not meet with him.
ROBY: How many times did you talk to the president?
CLINTON: I talked to the president that evening. That was the only time I talked with him on the 11th. And then I went over to the White House the next morning.
ROBY: So, once. And do you recall what time you spoke to the president? You said that evening. Do you recall more specifically what time?
CLINTON: I think it was late in the evening. I don't know exactly when.
ROBY: What did you discuss?
CLINTON: I'm sorry? What?
ROBY: What specifically did you discuss with the president?
CLINTON: Well, I don't usually talk about my discussions with the president, but I can tell you we talked about what had happened during the day. I thanked him for his very strong support because he made it absolutely clear that everyone was supposed to be doing all they could, particularly DOD, to assist us wherever possible. And I'm sure I thanked him for that.
ROBY: What did he say to you?
CLINTON: Again, I don't talk about the conversations I have with the president. We talked about the events of the day and his determination to do everything he could to try to help our people in Benghazi.
ROBY: Did you meet with Secretary Panetta?
CLINTON: No, I did not.
ROBY: Did you speak to Secretary Panetta?
CLINTON: The next day.
ROBY: Not on the 11th?
ROBY: OK. Did you talk with General Dempsey?
CLINTON: The next morning, I did.
ROBY: So you did not meet with him or talk with him on the 11th?
CLINTON: Congresswoman, it wasn't necessary. Everybody was doing everything they could think of to do. It's one of the reasons I sat in on the civets (ph).
ROBY: I'm just trying to figure out if you did or you didn't.
CLINTON: Well, I'm telling you. I sat in the civets (ph) that Congresswoman Sanchez was asking me about because I wanted to talk to the operational people and they were represented on that civets (ph). They were the ones who were carrying out the orders that they received from the president on down.
ROBY: What about Petraeus? When did you speak to him?
CLINTON: I spoke to Petraeus that afternoon, because I knew that we had an agreement with the CIA annex, and I spoke with him about an hour after finding out about the attack and after gathering information about what we thought was happening in Benghazi.
ROBY: Did you -- your surviving agents were evacuated to Tripoli the morning of the 12th. Did you talk to the survivors either that night or once they arrived in Tripoli?
CLINTON: We did not speak to them directly. We obviously made arrangements for them to be safely evacuated, and then to be transported to a hospital facility that we thought was safe from any potential attacks.
ROBY: Did you talk to them the next day?
ROBY: Did you talk to them later that week?
CLINTON: No, I did not.
ROBY: Did you talk to them when they first got back to the United States?
CLINTON: I did not talk to them until they had had an opportunity to be debriefed and to provide information that would help us understand what happened; help the intelligence community and help the FBI as they were trying to build their case.
ROBY: How would it have harmed the case that they were trying to build for you, secretary of state, just to check in on their well being?
CLINTON: I did check on their well being.
ROBY: No, personally.
CLINTON: Well, I did personally talk with the people who were taking care of them, transporting them...
ROBY: Again, the survivors -- when did you talk to the survivors?
CLINTON: I talked to the survivors when they came back to the United States. And one who was for many months in Walter Reed on the telephone. ROBY: OK.
ROBY: (inaudible) Panetta and Dempsey, you have stated that they were the decision-makers. But you never spoke to them while your people were on the ground.
CLINTON: I'm sorry...
ROBY: I want to make sure this is clear. Panetta and Dempsey were the decision-makers when it came to response. We've already talked about the FEST. So I'm not going to get back into that. But what I'm trying to clarify is that they were the decision-makers. Your people were on the ground in harm's way and you never had a conversation with them.
CLINTON: I did not need to. During the turmoil of that afternoon and into the evening, we knew the president had personally told them both in the Oval Office that he expected them to do everything they possibly could do.
And I knew that they would then turn to those officers responsible for carrying out that order. They were represented on that SVTS. That's why I sat in it.
And remember, too, Congresswoman, we had a lot of other threats coming in. We were still worried about Cairo. We had...
ROBY: Well, I understand. But you had your people on the ground that were being attacked.
I want to get back to the survivors in the little time I have left. Did you talk to the survivors directly at all at any point?
CLINTON: Yes, I did.
ROBY: Can you tell us when?
CLINTON: It was kind of a rolling series of conversations. When they came back to the State Department, I met with and talked with them, as you know, their names have never been made public. I don't intend to today. ROBY: Can you give me a month?
CLINTON: I'm sorry, what?
ROBY: A month?
CLINTON: It was -- for some of them it was less time than that. And for one of them, I did not -- I talked with him on the phone, I did not get to physically see him until he had been released from the hospital, and that was early in 2013.
ROBY: I think, Mr. Chairman, there's two messages here. I think the first message is that -- is the message that you sent to your personnel the night of the attack that you went home. They all stayed there and you didn't go back until the next morning.
I think the second message that is sent is that you used the FBI's inquiry as an excuse not to check in with your agents who were on the ground who survived that horrible night just to ask them how they were.
And I yield back.
CLINTON: Well, if I could respond, Congresswoman, I think that again is part of a theory that you and your colleagues are attempting to weave.
It was made very clear that the FBI wanted a fresh and clean opportunity to speak with the survivors, which I totally understand. And in fact their investigation has led to the charging of at least one person, and I hope we find all of them and bring them to justice.
GOWDY: Gentlelady yields back.
The gentleman from Washington is recognized.
SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to start by pointing out that at this point Secretary Clinton has testified here for longer than she did in the previous two testimonies on this subject combined. We've been here now for nine- and-a-half-hours, and the questions are increasingly badgering, I would even go on to say increasingly vicious.
And again, we're hoping to elicit information that will help us, you know, learn what happened and learn how to prevent future attacks. And it seems to me that really what the majority is doing, that they simply wish to wear you down.
And, you know, hopefully get you to say something that they can then later use. I just -- I don't see the utility of that. When the chairman returns, I'd be curious as to if we just plan on going all night, continuing to badger the witness, or if there is in fact and end point to this. Because I don't think it is fair to the witness to, you know,
have to sit there for that long and go over intimate details. I mean, I guess we learned whether or not you had a fax machine. So I guess that was useful.
But, you know, did you talk to this person, did you talk to that person, was this person there, was the other person there. And let me just say, I'm very impressed by the number of answers you have and by the memory you have of all the details of this event, but I hope we will consider how much longer we're going to continue to do this.
And as to the last line of questioning, I mean, to imply that you didn't care about your personnel, how many countries -- how many different embassies, different consulates did you visit during your time as secretary of state, roughly? I know you don't know that off the top of your head.
CLINTON: Well, at least 112. And I think more than that because I sometimes visited the embassy itself plus a consulate in a country that I was in.
SMITH: And can you give us a flavor -- I know you went at one point to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo because I have an interest in that area, which is a very dangerous place to be. Can you give us a flavor for some of the places where you visited your personnel?
CLINTON: Well, Congressman, I did go to the Democratic Republic of Congo. I went to eastern Congo because of the horrific violence there and the particularly unstable situation in that region.
I obviously went to Yemen. And I have made many trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan. And had the opportunity to visit our diplomats and our development experts in dangerous places.
One of the places that is particularly hard now is Iraq. And it was hard then. Egypt during the revolution was very challenging. And there I came under giant protests against the United States, against me personally.
On a visit to the consulate in Alexandria, my team was pelted with tomatoes and shoes and other insults hurled at us, which put a lot of pressure on the Diplomatic Security.
I obviously went to Tunis and worked hard to help support Tunisia. And they, as of now, seem as though they are working toward some kind of resolution. I visited Beirut. I was in Jordan and in Turkey numerous times during the uprising against Syria.
So I think that it's a long list and it's, by no means, a complete one.
SMITH: Thank you.
And let me just say that the line of questioning recently has been basically implying that you don't care. OK? There's no other way to interpret what we just heard, is to say, oh, you didn't make this phone call, you didn't talk -- well, what month, what day, what time? You know, did you really care? Did you visit them three times or just two? OK?
The line of questioning is implying that you don't care. And there are two things that are troubling about that. First of all, you do or you wouldn't be doing this. Or you wouldn't be representing the people that you do and doing the jobs that you did.
But second of all, whether or not you care has nothing to do with learning what happened in Benghazi and how to solve the problem. So all the while -- and I was chastised last time for claiming that the majority was trying to be partisan, you know, then we got a recitation of your political back and forth about how to talk about, you know, who should get credit for Libya, you know, being chastised for that.
But it is clear that they are trying to attack you personally. And I really wish that we could focus on the issues instead of that. But to get into that level of questioning, I think is not helpful to this committee. It's not even helpful to the Republicans, for that matter.
It's clear that you care. And I'll simply go back to where we've been a couple of times. Tell us again how many embassies do we have in the world?
CLINTON: More than 270 countries we're represented in.
SMITH: Right. And on some level, the secretary of state, Secretary Kerry now, you before, is responsible for all of them.
CLINTON: That's right.
SMITH: And how many personnel roughly?
CLINTON: Seventy thousand, between the State Department and USAID.
SMITH: And you're responsible for all of them as well.
CLINTON: That's true, Congressman.
SMITH: Can any human being on face of the planet protect every single one of them every second of every day?
SMITH: That's a rhetorical question.
CLINTON: We can try. We can try.
And, Congressman, we have, as I just said, 270 consulates and embassies. We are represented in 194 countries. Some of them are very friendly to us, some of them are our adversaries.
But I do want to pick up on the point you're making because I really appreciate it very much, Congressman.
I care very deeply about the people who serve our country. I worked with them. I knew them. I saw them in action. On my last full day as secretary of state, we were able to hold a ceremony awarding the five Diplomatic Security agents the highest award for heroism that the State Department has to offer.
We held it then because we wanted to be sure that the fifth man could be there because he had been in the hospital for so long. And he was able to be there. I got a chance to meet their families. I got a chance all at once, not just individually, but all together to thank them and commend them for their heroism.
And I'll tell you, the agent who had been in the hospital all those months, as I was leaving he called me over and he said, Secretary, please do everything you can to make sure I get to go back in the field.
And I told him I would. And it was one of the requests I made on the way out the door. He was determined to go back to do what he could to protect our diplomats, to protect you when you travel. And I was so struck then, as I had been so many times before, about the quality and the integrity and the courage of those Americans who serve us, whether in uniform or out. I care very deeply about each and every one of them.
SMITH: Thank you. And one other point to make. Do -- do you happen to know where the CIA Director, General Petraeus, was when the second attack happened on the CIA and where he went?
CLINTON: No, I do not. I don't know where he was when I reached him and spoke with him.
SMITH: He was home operating out of a skiff. And after the attack he continued to operate out of that skiff.
Which again, is why this would be a far more productive investigation if we actually had the CIA Director and DoD instead of trying to pick apart every single solitary thing you've said or did during the course of this -- sometimes even going before and after that.
If we actually were trying to get to the truth of this, we would have a broader array of people to talk to, so that we could get there, instead of picking you apart at every -- every conceivable turn.
You know, we've -- we've gone back and forth. I just want to make -- make one other point.
Congressman Jordan, you know, I like you, I have a great deal of respect for you, but this whole going back twice now to the some have implied that this was because of a video, somehow you just substitute the word "some" for "I," and think that there's no difference, whatsoever, in that sentence. And that's -- that's mind boggling.
I mean, and to badger over, and over, and over again. Why did you say it was because of the video? Well, I didn't.
Why did you say it was because of the video? Well, I didn't.
Why did you say it was because of the video? You know?
I guess this could go on for another six or seven hours, but I think we all understand the English language. And when you say some have implied, that means -- well, I guess that means that some have implied. Some others have implied.
So, you know, it's just -- very frustrating.
I served on the Armed Services Committee with Mac Thornberry (ph), who's the Chairman of that committee, and we disagree about a heck of a lot, but, you know, we have great arguments in that committee. But it never, ever comes close to descending to this level.
Congress can, in fact, function. The House Armed Services Committee, under Buck McKeon's (ph) leadership before him, under Mac Thornberry's leadership now, and all of the members of that committee. They aggressively question administrative witnesses. And I've seen it. And we've gone back and forth and done it.
But there is always an element of respect for the fact that we are all doing a very difficult job. You know? And anyone across this dais who's been in a tough campaign knows what it's like to have every single thing you say, every single thing you do, every look that is on your face, everything that you wear picked apart.
It's not helpful. It's not helpful to the American public, and it's not helpful to the political process and it is damn sure not helpful to the people who died in Benghazi. Or to their families.
So I hope we can do better, and I hope that we can be done with the repetitive badgering after nine and a half hours. And I thank you for putting up with it for that long and for your service.
GOWDY: Gentleman yields back. The Chairman now recognizes the gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Jordan.
JORDAN: Secretary Clinton, to get to the truth about Benghazi we need the complete record. Your e-mails are part of the record, and we believe the record might be incomplete. In part, because your version of events surrounding your e-mail situation keeps changing.
Last month, on September 20th you said, "I'm being as transparent as possible, more transparent than anybody else ever has been."
You didn't say more transparent than anybody. You said, more transparent than anybody else ever.
Now, my definition of transparency includes being honest and straight forward. And being honest and straight forward right from the start, right from the get-go. So let's look at a few things that you said here in the last few months. On March 10th, you said this -- you provided all work related e-
mails, erring on the side of anything that might be a federal record. In September, you revised that statement, and you said Mr. Blumenthal had some e-mails that you didn't.
Of course, the revised statement was after we interviewed Mr. Blumenthal about Benghazi and found out that we didn't receive from you and the State Department the same information we received from him.
In March, you said it was your practice to e-mail government officials on their .gov accounts. Later, you revised that statement and you said there was a fraction of e-mails with work-related information sent to government officials on their personal accounts.
SMITH: I'm sorry, what does this have to do with what happened in Benghazi?
JORDAN: Of course...
SMITH: When are we going to get there?
GOWDY: The gentleman is not recognized. The gentleman from Ohio controls the time.
JORDAN: This is -- and it has everything to do, because we want the record, so we can get to the truth, and maybe if the gentleman -- if the gentleman from Washington would have shown up for more than just one hour of one interview, he might know a little more about the situation as well, and the lack of getting the record.
Of course, this second statement, the revised statement, was after this committee had contacted Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan, Philippe Reines, asking for their personal accounts, which of course you knew would mean we would get their e-mails.
And that first statement in March was not accurate. In March, you said no classified information was sent or received on your personal accounts. You later revised your statement and said no information marked classified was sent or received on your personal account.
And once again, your revised statement was after the inspector general for the intelligence community had examined your e-mails and determined that, yes, some indeed were classified.
Secretary Clinton, seems like there's a pattern, pattern of changing your story. In March you say one thing, the truth comes out, weeks and months later, you say something else.
That's not being the most transparent person ever. That's not even being transparent.
So if your story about your e-mails keeps changing, then how can we accept your statement that you've turned over all work related e- mails and all e-mails about Libya? CLINTON: Well, Congressman, I have said repeatedly that I take
responsibility for my use of personal e-mail. I've said it was a mistake. I've said that it was allowed, but it was not a good choice.
When I got to the department, we were faced with a global financial crisis, major troop decisions on Afghanistan, the imperative to rebuild our alliances in Europe and Asia, an ongoing war in Iraq, and so much else.
E-mail was not my primary means of communication, as I have said earlier. I did not have a computer on my desk. I've described how I did work: in meetings, secure and unsecured phone calls, reviewing many, many pages of materials every day, attending...
JORDAN: I -- I -- I appreciate (inaudible).
HILLARY: ...a great deal of meetings, and I provided the department, which has been providing you, with all of my work-related e-mails, all that I had. Approximately 55,000 pages. And they are being publicly released. JORDAN: I appreciate -- let -- and let's get into that.
Those 55,000 pages, there were 62,00 e-mails -- total e-mails, on your system. You have stated that you used a multi-step process to determine which ones were private, which ones were public, which ones belonged to you and your family, which ones belonged to the taxpayer.
Who oversaw this multi-step process in making that determination which ones we might get and which ones that were personal?
CLINTON: That was overseen by my attorneys and they conducted a rigorous review of my e-mails and...
JORDAN: These are the folks sitting behind you there, Mr. Kendall, Ms. Mills...
CLINTON: Yes, that's right.
JORDAN: ...Ms. Danielsen (ph)? All right.
And you said rigorous. What does that mean?
CLINTON: It means that they were asked to provide anything that could be possibly construed as work related. In fact, in my opinion -- and that's been confirmed by both the State Department...
JORDAN: But I'm asking how -- I'm asking how it was done. Was -- did someone physically look at the 62,000 e-mails, or did you use search terms, date parameters? I want to know the specifics.
CLINTON: They did all of that, and I did not look over their shoulders, because I thought it would be appropriate for them to conduct that search, and they did.
JORDAN: Will you provide this committee -- or can you answer today, what were the search terms? CLINTON: The search terms were everything you could imagine that
might be related to anything, but they also went through every single e-mail.
JORDAN: That's not answering the question. Search terms means "terms". What terms did you use...
CLINTON: I did -- I did not...
JORDAN: And what were the date parameters? What -- what date did you start, what was the end date, and the e-mails in between that we're going to look at?
CLINTON: Well, Congressman, I asked my attorneys to oversee the process. I did not look over their shoulder. I did not dictate how they would do it. I did not ask what they were doing and how they made their determinations (ph).
JORDAN: So you don't know? You don't know what terms they used to determine which ones were your e-mails and which ones the State Department got, and therefore we might get?
CLINTON: You know, The State Department had between 90 and 95 percent of all the ones that were work related. They were already on the system. In fact, this committee got e-mails...
JORDAN: I'm not asking about those. I'm asking about the 62,000 that were exclusively on your system.
CLINTON: ...90 to 95 percent of all work-related e-mails were already in the State Department's system.
JORDAN: We -- we know the National Archive has -- Secretary Clinton, we know the National Archive has said 1,250 were clearly personal. No way we should have -- no way you should have sent them to the State Department.
And then we also know that 15, you missed, because we got those from Mr. Blumenthal when he came in -- was -- was -- for his deposition.
CLINTON: Thank you.
JORDAN: So if you -- you missed 15 you should have given us, and you gave us 1,250 that -- not we say, but the national archivist says -- you never should have turned over. You erred on both sides. So again, that's why we want to know the terms. Because if you've made a mistake both ways, you may to made -- might have made more mistakes. We don't know.
CLINTON: Well, first of all, you had nine hours with one of my attorneys. And since I think the Democrats just finally released the transcript, I haven't had a chance...
JORDAN: And I -- and I specifically asked Ms. Mills. I did.
JORDAN: I did. I asked her about this and she gave me the -- basically the same kind of answer you're giving me.
CLINTON: Well, she'll be happy to supplement the record if (inaudible).
JORDAN: But she's not on the witness stand today. You are, and I'm asking you.
CLINTON: Well, but I -- I asked my attorneys to do it. I thought that was the appropriate way to proceed.
JORDAN: Let me do one other statement. Let me do one other statement, because it sounds like we're -- I -- I hope you'll turn those -- I hope we'll know the terms.
I think the American people would like to know what terms you used to determine what we might get so that we could get all information on Libya and find out what happened, where these four Americans gave their lives. I think that's -- that's critical.
In March, you also said this: your server was physically located on your property, which is protected by the Secret Service. I'm having a hard time figuring this out, because this story's been all over the place.
But -- there was one server on your property in New York, and a second server hosted by a Colorado company in -- housed in New Jersey. Is that right? There were two servers?
CLINTON: There was a -- there was a server...
JORDAN: Just one?
CLINTON: ...that was already being used by my husband's team. An existing system in our home that I used, and then later, again, my husband's office decided that they wanted to change their arrangements, and that's when they contracted with the company in Colorado.
JORDAN: And so there's only one server? Is that what you're telling me? And it's the one server that the FBI has?
CLINTON: The FBI has the server that was used during the tenure of my State Department service.
JORDAN: OK. In your statement, you said, "which is protected by the Secret Service." Why did you mention the Secret Service?
CLINTON: Well, because... JORDAN: And -- here's what -- could a Secret Service agent
standing at the back door of your house protect someone in Russia or China from hacking into your system? Why did you mention the Secret Service agent?
CLINTON: Out of just an abundance of being transparent.
JORDAN: Transparent. I -- how -- what's the relevance to protecting from (ph) classified information?
CLINTON: There was nothing marked classified on my e-mails, either sent or received. And I want to respond...
JORDAN: You used the write term there. Used "marked". That's the one -- that's what you -- you used the revised statement there.
CLINTON: ...well -- but that's -- well, Congressman, there was a lot of confusion because many -- many Americans have no idea how the classification process works. And therefore I wanted to make it clear that there is a system within our government, certainly within the State Department... JORDAN: (inaudible) one more question (inaudible).
CLINTON: ...where material that is thought to be classified is marked such, so that people have the opportunity to know how they are supposed to be handling those materials...
JORDAN: I got -- I got one second.
CLINTON: ...and that's why it became clearer, I believe, to say that nothing was marked classified at the time I sent or received it.
JORDAN: All right. All I -- all I know is that's different than what you said in March.
I got one last question. The FBI's got your server, they're doing a forensic review of your server. They may -- they may -- recover e-mails that you deleted from your system.
So, I didn't say this, you said it. And you just said it a little bit ago, too, transparency. You said you were the -- more transparent than anybody else ever. So I'm going to ask you just one simple question.
If the FBI finds some of these e-mails that might be deleted, as they're reviewing your server, will you agree to allow a neutral third party -- like a retired federal judge -- to review any e-mails deleted to determine if any of them are relevant to our investigation?
CLINTON: Congressman, as you point out, there is a security inquiry being conducted by the Department of Justice and I trust that they will do whatever is appropriate to reach their conclusions.
JORDAN: But you would, as the most transparent person ever, would you commit to saying whatever they find, I want a retired federal judge to evaluate that and look and see if we need some of that information to get to the truth?
CLINTON: I have been releasing my e-mails to the public. That is transparency. And as I stand by my statement, so far as I know in the modern era, I am the only government official who's ever done that.
JORDAN: Thank you.
Thank you, Madam Secretary.
GOWDY: The gentleman's time is expired.
The chair will now recognize the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Westmoreland.
WESTMORELAND: Thank you.
Madam Secretary, so far today I've said good morning, good afternoon and good evening...
CLINTON: You all serving breakfast, Congressman?
WESTMORELAND: Well, let me go ahead and say good-night.
You know, I may be the only person on this side that doesn't really care about your personal e-mail because I know that I think you said Colin Powell had one. The thing the bothers me is that it was a personal server. I think that's the difference. Because Mr. Powell's e-mails all went through the State Department server.
So just to clarify it, I think the problem is that you had the full control of your e-mails because they were on a private server and not the government server.
The other thing I'd like to say is to Ms. Duckworth, if you would read the testimony of the number of diplomatic security agents that served in Benghazi, most of them were temporary duty of 45-, 60-day people that served. If you'll read that, I think you'll find that a lot of these things that the secretary said as far as enhancements was paid for by petty cash out of their own money and not really fulfilled or completed.
The other thing I want to ask you, Madam Secretary...
DUCKWORTH: Will the gentleman yield for just 20 seconds?
DUCKWORTH: I think that's why it behooves us as members of Congress to increase the security budget for the State Department. They routinely get less than they need, and I think that Americans in general would not begrudge more money for security to safeguard our diplomats. But I agree with you that the report does say that.
WESTMORELAND: Well, reclaiming my time, there was $20 million that she was going to send to Libya for their security upgrades.
You mentioned the sixth man, that you had to wait on the sixth man.
CLINTON: The fifth man. I'm sorry.
WESTMORELAND: OK. All right. I was going to say there must have been somebody hiding in the closet or something that we didn't know about.
You also said in one of the last things, that the State Department sent more security from Tripoli to Benghazi during the attack.
WESTMORELAND: There was not a State Department person on that plane. There were four GRS agents and two TDY DOD people and an interpreter.
CLINTON: Well, that -- that is exactly right. And that's why the cooperation and coordination that I've been talking about with Congress...
WESTMORELAND: From all the information we've got, Mr. Glen Doherty is the one that said, "We are going down to help our brothers." And he got permission from the chief of station to go down there, and he took three other GRS agents and then he got the two DOD guys that wanted to go, volunteered to go. They took an interpreter. They chartered the plane and they went down there. It was not a State Department deal.
And in fact, if you want to know the truth, the only option that the State Department had was the FEST team, as we -- you and I talked about before. Now, you've mentioned that it was for rebuilding. And I've got the State Department thing here about the FEST, and I would read it, but it's going to take up too much of my time, but there's no anything in -- it doesn't say anything about rebuilding anything. It says that it's for crisis management expertise; time-sensitive information; planning for contingency operations; hostage negotiating expertise, which we thought at one time that the ambassador may have been kidnapped; reach-back to Washington, D.C. agencies; and specialized communications capabilities.
Now, that's what it says on the State Department website. And you know, that would have been the one thing that you could have done to get people on the way over there to help those folks that were still in an ongoing battle that was ready to go, sitting there. But you know what? It never got -- that plane never got out of the hangar. Those people never got assembled. And we've got a chain of e-mails that the first recommendation came back is the FEST, from your own people. Then the FBI told your employees that the best way to handle the situation was to send the FEST team, and that was the way it had always been done.
So did you make the decision not to send the FEST team?
CLINTON: Well, Congressman, first let me say that it's important to recognize that our deputy chief of mission, Greg Hicks, was fully engaged in helping to put together the team that flew from Tripoli to Benghazi. And we were very grateful that the CIA station chief and his colleagues were behind that. And we were, you know, very appreciative.
They, as you know, didn't get there in time because the attack on the compound was very swift. It was over in less than an hour. But they -- they did help eventually to evacuate and it was just an additional tragedy that Mr. Doherty lost his life in attempting to stave off the attack on the CIA annex.
With regard to the FEST recommendation, everything you read was no longer applicable to our compound in Benghazi. Unlike the FEST team responding in Nairobi, where we were going to have an ongoing embassy presence -- that was our embassy -- the FEST team was very much involved in helping to stand up the communications and literally begin to get the embassy function again despite the fact that Americans and many of the locally employed staff had been murdered in the terrorist attack.
So it was our judgment that the FEST team was not needed, was not appropriate for Benghazi.
WESTMORELAND: But you really didn't know what was going on at that point, when you could have pulled the trigger...
CLINTON: Well, we did know. We knew -- we knew from the reports we were getting back from our diplomatic security officers that they had had to abandon the facility; that it had been set on fire. And it was -- they were forced to take refuge with our CIA colleagues at the CIA annex. And remember, the FEST team is not an armed reaction force. That is not what a FEST team does.
WESTMORELAND: Ma'am, I know that.
CLINTON: And so we had an armed reinforcements coming from Tripoli.
WESTMORELAND: But that was the only tool that you had to get people over there yourself, not the DOD. This was...
CLINTON: But what would be -- I'm sorry, Congressman, I mean, look...
(CROSSTALK) WESTMORELAND: Well, evidently, it has been -- it has served its
purpose from being put in into different places it has responded to.
But I want to talk to you just a little bit about your e-mails. And that is that I think you said it was October that you received a letter that asked you and former secretary of states (sic) to present all their e-mails. Is that correct?
CLINTON: That's my memory, yes.
WESTMORELAND: OK. Now, in August, the State Department met with your attorneys to talk about the lack of the e-mails that they had. Did you know that?
CLINTON: I didn't at the time, no.
WESTMORELAND: You didn't know that they were meeting -- that the State Department was meeting with your attorneys?
CLINTON: Not -- not at that time. And as you also recall, the State Department was beginning to turn over to this committee my e- mails because they had between 90 and 95 percent of all my work- related e-mails in the State Department system.
WESTMORELAND: But ma'am, they met with your attorney, and your attorney that they met with happened to be Cheryl Mills, which was your chief of staff.
CLINTON: That's correct. That's correct.
WESTMORELAND: Now, is that weird, that your attorney was your chief of staff, so that attorney/client (ph) privilege may have kicked in there somewhere?
CLINTON: She was -- she was my counsel before she was my Chief of Staff. She became my counsel again after she was my Chief of Staff.
WESTMORELAND: Well, I know that when the e-mail went out that night, it called everybody under Secretary, Director, Spokesman, and it said Ms. Mills was counselor. It didn't say Chief of Staff. And that was the night of the attack.
But let me just go a little bit further. You said, that you found out in October, but your attorneys met with the State Department -- I believe it was in August.
Now, from that time you said you turned over everything and that your lawyers went through this, and I believe it was in November after finding out in October that they had reviewed all these e-mails. Now, the State Department hadn't been able to give us all those e-mails in two years. But your attorneys -- how many -- you must have some of the fastest-reading attorneys in the world to go through that.
I know you've got a group of them there sitting behind you, but how many attorneys does it take to go through 65,000 e-mails in two months?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, the process to provide information to the Congress with respect to Benghazi started before I left the State Department. There was a concerted effort to gather up any information that might be responsive...
WESTMORELAND: Did you tell him you had a private server at that time?
CLINTON: You know, I don't -- I know that...
WESTMORELAND: If they were gathering e-mails, you had to tell them that you had a private server when you were there.
CLINTON: Well, the -- the server is not the point, it's the account. And I made it a practice to send e-mails that were work- related to people on their government accounts. In fact, you know, Secretary Kerry is the first Secretary of State to rely primarily on a government account. So...
WESTMORELAND: I'm not talking about the account, I'm talking about the server. But -- one -- one last point. Let me just -- I'll close with this and then the Chairman can give you time to answer.
Let me tell you what I thought. I think that your attorneys sat down with the State Department and they said, we got a problem. And so, we got to come up with something that this is not just the Secretary having these e-mails in a private server.
So I tell you what let's do. Let's go back and ask Madeleine Albright, who was Secretary of State in 1997, that never even had an e-mail account. Or let's go back and ask, you know, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and me to find -- to find all this information. I'm just telling you, it smells -- it doesn't smell right, and so I yield back.
CLINTON: Well, if I could respond, I think in the course of trying to answer and archive information, the State Department determined that they did have gaps in their recordkeeping, and it was much more than about me.
They had gaps with respect to others, both other secretaries and others within the State Department, and the technology in the State Department, indeed, throughout our entire Government, is notoriously difficult and often unreliable. And I think it was the State Department's efforts to try to fill some of those gaps.
So I didn't know at the time that there had been such a meeting. I learned of it subsequently. And when I received a copy of the letter that was sent by the State Department to me and the other three preceding Secretaries of State, I immediately said, well, let's help them fill the gaps, even though I believed that the vast majority of my e-mails were already in their system. And we did.
We conducted the investigation. The survey that I have described to you, and turned over more than 30,000 work-related e-mails, 55,000 pages to the State Department. 90 to 95 percent were already there.
We sent so many that some were going to be returned because they were clearly not work related. We did our best. I did my best to make sure that if there were gaps in recordkeeping, at least my materials would be there to help fill any gaps above and beyond the 90 to 95 percent of e-mails that were already in the system.
WESTMORELAND: I'm not an attorney but I think Ms. Mills is a good attorney...
(UNKNOWN): Regular order, Mr. Chairman. At this late hour, four minutes after regular 10 (ph) minute time should be cut out off with questioning.
GOWDY: The gentleman is out of time. Just like almost every other member has been out of time throughout the day.
(UNKNOWN): Not four minutes out of time, Mr. Chairman. GOWDY: Oh, you'd be surprised.
(UNKNOWN): Well, it's a late hour and our witness has been here more than nine hours. I think in the interest of brevity...
GOWDY: And as soon as the gentlelady finishes I'll recognize our next member.
(UNKNOWN): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate that courtesy.
GOWDY: The gentleman from California is recognized.
SCHIFF: Well, madam secretary, I don't know how you're doing, but I'm exhausted. If we stay here much longer, you're going to have to take that 3M phone call from the committee room.
In fact, your testimony has not only gone on longer than both your prior testimonies to the House and Senate combined, but -- I don't know if pleased is the right word, but I'm able to inform you now that your testimony has gone on longer than all the other hearings we have held combined.
But in the interest of full disclosure, we haven't done very much. So we've only had three hearings in the last year and a half, but still, that's pretty impressive because some of those hearings we were multiple witnesses, and you have now outlasted all of them.
But I do think you can tell when you're getting to the point of diminishing returns when you have a panel who are inventing testimony for you or imagining conversations you're having meetings with your lawyer as well.
As for your e-mails, I feel like channeling Bernie Sanders here tonight. (LAUGHTER)
SCHIFF: But I'm no Larry David and I know I wouldn't do it right. So instead I'll tell you about the other person I agree with on your e-mails, and that's our chairman, who was asked on Fox News by Chris Wallace, what your e-mail use has to do with investigating what happened in Benghazi, and Chairman Gowdy's response was, "Well, probably not much of anything."
As we, you know, I hope wind up tonight, I want to just make one observation about your e-mails. Because I think it's true of the investigation generally. For all the talk about your e-mails, what's interesting to me is not a member here, either on the news or in leaked (ph) form or whatever, has said anything about the content of your e-mails that add any insight to what we already know.
So it's fascinating to me that for all this talk, they have not pointed to a single thing in those e-mails of substance that alters our understanding of what happened in Benghazi, that alters the conclusions of those seven or eight other investigations.
And what's true of your e-mails is true of this broader investigation, which is, here we are, 17 months later, $4.5 million later, and we have nothing new to tell the American people.
I have struggled to find something to ask you tonight that hasn't already been asked an infinite number of times, an infinite number of ways, and I'm not going to go through the exercise of searching for a question to be asked again. It's too late for that.
But having, I guess, started by pondering what the core theory was of my colleagues -- and I'd appreciate at least one of them taking a stab at it -- I do feel it's my responsibility now as I wind up to tell you my theory of what's happening is. Speaker Boehner did not want to form this committee. He said so, not to me, but he said so on national TV. He said, what is to be gained by having yet another committee after all the other committees we've had investigate? What is to be gained by this. This is a bad idea.
At some point, something changed the speaker's mind. Now, I'm not in the room when the speaker makes the decision to reverse course. In reading a profile of our chairman, he wasn't in the room, either. He got a call from the speaker when he was back in his district saying, I've decided to form a select committee. How would you like to be the chairman? I'll bet Mr. Chairman wishes he had never gotten that call.
So who was in the room? Well, Kevin McCarthy was in the room. There is nobody better situated to know why this committee was formed, or why the speaker changed his mind than the speaker's No. 2 Kevin McCarthy. So with all due respect to our chairman who says, shut up, other members, you don't know what you're talking about, I'd have to say, actually one person who does know what he's talking about was Kevin McCarthy. So that's why I think we're here. And it would be one thing if it was that common an isolation. It'd be another if we didn't have one of their own team, a GOP investigator who is going to vote for whoever the Republican nominee is, he tells us proudly, saying the same thing.
But it's the way we've conducted ourselves, that is the most compelling evidence that that's the only object here. I mean, I think we've seen amply tonight in the questions, there's very little interest in what actually happened. There's not much interest in how we can prevent it in the future, but there is a lot of interest in trying to score points against you tonight.
Everybody, I think, on this side of the podium is hoping they're the one that does the gotcha that makes the news. Well, it's terrible abuse of our responsibility and our power, and -- and I think we'll rue the day that we did this. I have no questions, Madam Secretary, and I appreciate your patience and I yield back.
I'm -- I'm happy to yield to my colleague, Mr. Cummings.
CUMMINGS: Madam secretary, I want to associate myself with the voice of my colleague, but I want to go back to the ARB. In my 20 years on the Oversight Committee, one of the things that I've tried to do, is try to make sure that I protect the reputations of the people who come before our Committee. Be they Republican witnesses, be they Democrat or independent.
The reason being, that I realize there is life after the hearing. And so often, Madam Secretary, what happens is people come before these hearings, the families watching, colleagues watching. They are torn apart, and then in many instances we -- things are corrected later on instead of it appearing on the front page of the newspaper, it's on page 33 at the bottom in a little paragraph.
And you were talking a little bit earlier about the night of the tragedy. And I've done a lot of depositions in my life as a lawyer, but I can tell you -- and I think you should be very proud of this. When I listened to Cheryl Mills (ph), to Mr. Sullivan (ph), and Ms. Abedine (ph) -- when they talked about this night and what you did that night in their transcribed interviews, all of them were basically bored to tears.
And I -- I remember sitting there saying to myself, you know, if you can create a culture in an organization where people, in talking about their boss, and how she reacted, and what she felt that would bring them to tears, it -- it -- it says a lot. And I realize that you've gone through a lot, but the fact still remains -- and it bothers me when I hear people even imply that you didn't care about your people. That's not right.
And then I sit here and I watch you. And I saw how you kind of struggled when you were talking about that night. And I just for one want to thank you, and I appreciate what you've done. It has not been easy. You're right, it's easy to sit up here under these lights, and Monday morning quarter backing about what could have been, what should have been.
You have laid it out. I think -- you've said -- this has not been done perfectly. You wish you could do it another way, and then the statement you made a few minutes ago when you said, you know, I have given more thought to this than all of you combined. So I don't know what we want from you. Do we want to badger you over and over again until you get tired, until we do get the gotcha moment he's talking about?
CUMMINGS: We're better than that. We are so much better. We are a better country. And we are better than using taxpayer dollars to try to destroy a campaign. That's not what America is all about.
So you can comment if you like; I just had to get that off my chest.
CUMMINGS: Madam secretary?
CLINTON: Thank you, Congressman. I came here because I said I would. And I've done everything I know to do, as have the people with whom I worked to try to answer your questions. I cannot do any more than that.
The answers have changed not at all since I appeared two years ago before the House and the Senate. And I recognize that there are many currents at work in this committee, but I can only hope that the statesmanship overcomes the partisanship. At some point we have to do this. It is deeply unfortunate that something as serious as what happened in Benghazi could ever be used for partisan political purposes. And I'm hoping that we can move forward together, we can start working together, we can start listening to each other, and I appreciate greatly what you said, Ranking Member Cummings.
CUMMINGS: Thank you very much.
GOWDY: Madam secretary, before we go to Mr. Pompeo, Mr. Schiff from California made reference to a phone call that I received from Speaker Boehner, which he's correct, I did. And Speaker Boehner never mentioned your name in the phone call. And then my friend from California suggested that maybe I wished I had not received that phone call, and I'd like to assure him that he could not be further from the truth.
Learning about the four people, two of whom you worked with and all four of whom we count as fellow Americans, is worth whatever amount of political badgering that may come my way. I have seen the personification of courage and public service. And so I -- Adam, to answer to your question, no, I don't regret it. I'm a better person having learned more about the four people we lost in Benghazi, and that's why we signed up for it.
And with that I'll go to Mr. Pompeo. POMPEO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Schiff, also suggested that you had to be in the room with the speaker. You're right He was originally against the formation of this committee, but you don't have to guess why he formed it. He made it clear when he announced this committee. It was because the State Department turned over information in a FOIA request that had not been turned over to the previous committees. He was concerned about that. And he realized the State Department and other government agencies may not have provided those other committees the information they need to do complete their task.
So you don't need to speculate. One more administrative item. Mr. Westmoreland said there was a meeting between your counsel, Miss Mills, and the State Department regarding your e-mails. He said the meeting was in August. It was actually in July. It was a little bit earlier, and I just wanted to make sure the record reflected that.
Secretary Clinton, I have a few questions to ask you. We saved them for the end of the day because it may be that you can't provide answers to me to these questions in an open setting. So it's been a long day. I wanted to give you that heads up. These are questions that I would like to get answered, but it may be that an open hearing is not a place in which you'll be permitted to provide those answers because of the nature of the answers you'll provide. These are yes and no questions.
Were you aware, or are you aware of any efforts by the U.S. government in Libya to provide any weapons, either directly or indirectly, or through a cutout to my militias or opposition to Gadhafi's forces?
CLINTON: That was a very long question, and I think the answer is no.
POMPEO: Were you aware or are you aware of any U.S. efforts by the U.S. government in Libya to provide any weapons, directly or indirectly, or through a cutout, to any Syrian rebels or militias or opposition to Syrian forces?
POMPEO: Were you aware or are you aware of any efforts by the U.S. government in Libya to facilitate or support the provision of weapons to any opposition of Gadhafi's forces, Libyan rebels or militias through a third party or country?
POMPEO: Did you ever consider the idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition?
CLINTON: Private security?
POMPEO: Yes, ma'am. Did -- I'll ask the question again. Did you ever at any time consider the idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition in Libya? CLINTON: Not seriously, no.
POMPEO: What does "not seriously" mean, ma'am?
CLINTON: Well, I think you're referring to a reference in one of Sid Blumenthal's e-mails.
POMPEO: No, ma'am, I'm referring to a reference in your e-mail.
CLINTON: Well, the answer is no. POMPEO: Ma'am, I'll read you the e-mail. It says, "FYI" -- this
is to Mr. Sullivan seated behind you, it says, "FYI, the idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered."
Were you just not serious?
CLINTON: It was not considered seriously.
POMPEO: But you thought about it. You thought it might be both appropriate and lawful when you send that note to Mr. Sullivan.
CLINTON: I'm open to ideas, but that doesn't mean that they're either considered seriously or acted upon.
POMPEO: Was there any further e-mails or discussion with respect to that issue of potentially arming private experts or having private experts arm the Libyans?
CLINTON: Not that I'm aware of.
POMPEO: Another series of yes or no questions, Madam Secretary. Did you ask the Department of Defense how you were going to get your people out the evening that the incident occurred?
CLINTON: That was one of the matters that was discussed with the Department of Defense, yes.
POMPEO: Did you ask about what assets were positioned in place that they might be able to help?
CLINTON: Of course. That was part of the conversation from the very beginning.
POMPEO: Did you ask about how long it might take them to arrive either in Tripoli or Benghazi?
CLINTON: Yes, we did.
POMPEO: You earlier said today, a couple of hours back, that there were no military resources that could have arrived in Benghazi in a reasonable time. That's your testimony from today. What was a "reasonable" time?
CLINTON: According to what we were told by the Defense Department, within a number of hours, there was not any way to get assets deployed in time to get to Benghazi. Of course, it was too late for our compound. And the idea of evacuating from the CIA annex was seriously addressed before the attack, but then obviously implemented after.
POMPEO: Yes, ma'am. But when the initial attack occurred, you had no idea how long the incidence would continue, did you?
CLINTON: It was over within an hour.
POMPEO: Yes, ma'am. There was a subsequent attack and could have been a third and a fourth. So when the initial attack occurred, did you have any idea what the magnitude and the duration of the events of that night would be?
CLINTON: Congressman, I don't understand your question. We knew that the attack was over. We knew that our diplomatic security team had to evacuate from the compound to the CIA annex, and we were in a frantic search to find Ambassador Stevens.
POMPEO: Yes, ma'am. But several hours elapsed and there was a subsequent attack, and you didn't know that that subsequent attack would take place, I'll concede that. My question is: Why was heaven and earth not moved at the initial sound of the guns, maybe even putting tankers in the air from McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas? You simply didn't know how long this series of events was going to continue, nor did you know how long the risk to the people that worked for you was going to remain.
CLINTON: Congressman, you will have to ask the Defense Department these questions. We certainly asked that all effort be made to deploy any assets that could be of use in Benghazi. I know that they put a number of assets in the United States, in Europe, on alert. But we were advised that it would take a number of hours to get there. And with respect to the CIA annex, you should talk with the intelligence community about that.
POMPEO: Yes, ma'am, we will do that. And in some cases, we have asked those questions.
One -- you talked earlier about Mr. Katala (ph), who is sitting in a prison cell not too far from where you and I are sitting here this evening. I, too, share your view that I'm glad that we've pulled one of the terrorists who murdered -- was involved in the murder of U.S. government people on that night.
When that attack took place, Mr. Katala (ph), according to the indictment from the Justice Department, Mr. Katala (ph) and his folks removed documents from the temporary mission facility. Were you aware of that?
CLINTON: Yes, we later became aware that documents had been removed, but there was no classified documents at Benghazi.
POMPEO: And how do you know that?
CLINTON: We know it through our own investigation about what documents were at Benghazi, and there were no classified materials, to the best of our information.
POMPEO: Yes, ma'am. Do you know if there was sensitive information?
CLINTON: I suppose it depends on what one thinks of as sensitive information. There was information there and some of it was burnt, either wholly or partially. Some of it was looted. And some of it was recovered eventually. POMPEO: Madam Secretary, do you know where that material that
was looted went? Do you know into whose hands it fell? And do you know the nature and contents of that material? You seem very confident it wasn't classified. I don't share your confidence. But nonetheless, do you know where that material went?
CLINTON: I think that it -- it is very difficult to know where it ended up. But I want to just reiterate the point that I made. This was not a facility that had the capacity to handle classified material. And there was, to the best of our information, Congressman, no classified material at the Benghazi facility.
POMPEO: Ma'am, the fact that it wasn't capable of handling classified material doesn't mean that there wasn't any classified material there. Is that correct?
CLINTON: Well, the procedure is not to have classified material at such a facility. And again, to the best of our knowledge, there was not any there.
POMPEO: Yes, ma'am. You're not supposed to have classified e- mail on your private server either.
CLINTON: And I did not, Congressman.
POMPEO: We're -- we're aware that sometimes classified material ends up in places where it ought not be.
I want to go back to your statement that you said you didn't ever seriously consider arming private security experts. Tell me why you ever considered it at all?
CLINTON: We considered a whole range of issues. We knew that the insurgents fighting Gadhafi needed support and what they were provided was air support, facilitated by the United States. The United States did not provide any private contractors to assist them.
POMPEO: There was an e-mail that was from Mr. Blumenthal and (inaudible) before that, also discussing the same situation. Do you know who Mark Turrey (ph) is?
CLINTON: No, I don't recall that I know who that is.
POMPEO: He was a private trafficker in weapons. He was working with Mr. Stevens and attempting to develop an authorization with the State Department so that he could in fact deliver those weapons into Libya. Does that -- any of that ring a bell to you?
CLINTON: No, it does not.
POMPEO: So you never saw the e-mail that was from Mr. Stevens to -- I think it went to Mr. Sullivan, where he says to Mr. Turrey (ph), this is Mr. Stevens now, says to Mr. Turrey (ph): "Thank you for this information" -- this information about his attempts to get authority to ship arms into Libya. He says, "Thank you for this information. I'll keep it in mind and share it with my colleagues in Washington. Regards, Chris." Actually, "regards, Chris Stevens."
CLINTON: I -- I don't know anything about that specifically. I do know that you're referring to a document, and if you are, could you tell us what tab it's at?
POMPEO: Yes, ma'am. I'm not certain it's in there as a tab, but I'm happy to provide it to you.
CLINTON: Well, it's a little difficult to answer questions about documents we don't have. But I can -- I can answer you. Whatever was considered either out of politeness or out of interest, there was not any action taken so far as I know.
SANCHEZ: Mr. Chairman, regular order.
POMPEO: Mr. Chairman, may I have just 60 more seconds?
SANCHEZ: Mr. Chairman, the last Republican questioner went over by four minutes. And given that we're allowed 10 minutes of questioning each and the late hour and the fact that we're a minute beyond testimony already, I think that it's appropriate to ask for regular order and that questioning be closed for this particular member of the panel.
GOWDY: The gentleman is recognized for 60 seconds.
POMPEO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to come back to one issue we talked about a couple hours back about accountability. You said that you didn't have the authority -- lawful authority to terminate any employees. Is that correct?
CLINTON: That is correct. And it is because of the laws and the regulations of our government, Congressman.
POMPEO: Did you have the authority to provide a counseling statement to any employee?
CLINTON: I do not know what you're referring to. POMPEO: In other words, you couldn't fire them, but you could put a letter in their employment file saying, "Hey, you didn't do your job well." Did you undertake that?
CLINTON: I think it was pretty well known that the ARB did not think they did their job. And the ARB specifically said, and some of this has been declassified, as you know, about personnel matters, that they could not find breach of duty, but they were as firm in saying that there were failures in the performance of the people that they named.
(UNKNOWN): Chairman regular order. POMPEO: Just two yes or no questions.
(UNKNOWN): Sixty seconds has already elapsed. I believe the chairman granted 60 additional seconds.
POMPEO: I'll wait for the next round. I yield back.
CUMMINGS: Mr. Chairman, before my time starts, he just said something that I want to make clear. He just said he's going to wait for his next round. I thought we were kind of closing down here.
(UNKNOWN): Parliamentary inquiry. How late are we going tonight?
GOWDY: The gentleman is recognized to ask two yes or no questions.
POMPEO: Madam secretary, did you ask someone or did you prepare a counseling statement or letter of reprimand for any employees at the State Department connected with the incident of September 11, 2012?
CLINTON: There was a process that is the appropriate process for dealing with issues concerning performance, and that was followed. It continued into my successor's term and the secretary of state, Secretary Kerry, made whatever the final determinations were.
POMPEO: Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
GOWDY: The chair will now recognize the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Cummings.
CUMMINGS: Thank you very much. I know the hour is late.
But Madam Secretary, I need to go back to something. ARB. You know, maybe it's because I'm getting older and I care about legacy, reputation, that kind of thing, but there is an 83-year-old gentleman named Ambassador Pickering.
And I've heard a lot of testimony. I was there for his deposition. There was also a transcribed interview. I don't remember which it was, and then his testimony before the Oversight Committee.
And when he talked about his appointment to the ARB, he talks about what an honor it was. I think the thing that bothers me about a lot of this that has gone on is that when there have been attacks on the ARB, it's as if -- I mean, it's like attacking him. And at 83 years old, I refuse to sit here and let that go by.
And I remember listening to him, and I said to myself, you know, this is the kind of guy that we all ought to honor, serving under presidents for 40 years, Democrat and Republican, high up on the chain with regard to integrity. I mean, I don't even say I how you even attack this guy, all right. And one of the things he said in his testimony, he said -- and this was -- you appointed him, and he talked about the appointment, and I quote from a June 4th testimony. He said, Chris Stevens worked for me as my special assistant for two years when I was under secretary of state. This was not any kind of vendetta, but I felt Chris gave me two wonderful years of his life in supporting me in very difficult circumstances. And that I owed him, his family and the families of the other people who died the best possible report we could put together.
And he went on to say some other things that were so powerful. And then when I hear the implications of people attacking the report, talking about he wasn't independent or they weren't independent, it's like an attack against him. And I could say the same thing about Admiral Mullen.
And I just want you to tell us about why you picked the folk that you picked.
And by the way, it's done by law. I mean, that's what you're supposed to do. The law says you're supposed to pick these people.
CLINTON: That's right.
CUMMINGS: And so why don't you tell us how you picked them? Were you looking for yes people? I mean, what were you looking for?
CLINTON: Well, Congressman, I greatly appreciate your strong words of commendation on behalf of both Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen, you're right, the statute is very clear. The secretary of state picks four of the five members of the Accountability Review Board. As I said earlier today, there have been 19 Accountability Review Board reports, and I think myself and prior secretaries have been very fortunate that they could call on distinguished Americans with long records of service to perform this very important task.
When I was thinking about who has the integrity, the independence, the experience to give us an unvarnished look at what happened, the first person I thought of was Ambassador Tom Pickering.
He has, as you rightly say, served our nation for more than four decades. He holds the rank of career ambassador. That's the highest position in the foreign service.
He served as under secretary of state for political affairs, he served as our U.S. ambassador to Russia, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria and Jordan. And he also served as the U.S. ambassador and representative to the United Nations, where he led the U.S. effort under the first Bush administration to build a coalition in the U.N. Security council during and after the first Gulf War.
He's a man who had served in high posts and dangerous posts. He understood what was to be expected, and I counted on him in giving me the most comprehensive report possible.
I also wanted to find somebody with military experience, because these questions that have been raised about, you know, could we have gotten assets there, what actually happened with the diplomatic security agents, and Admiral Mike Mullen, who had just recently retired as the chairman of the joint chiefs was, again, I thought, the perfect choice to work with Ambassador Pickering.
As you know, he was nominated by President George W. Bush to be chairman of the joint chiefs. He served as chief of naval operations. He led NATO's joint force command, U.S. naval forces in Europe. Commanded a missile cruiser, a missile destroyer, a tanker. He served in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.
CUMMINGS: You need some water, Madam? Secretary?
GOWDY: Would you like to take -- would you like us to take a 60- second -- two-minute break?
CLINTON: No. Just let me grab -- a lozenge.
So, Congressman, I have the utmost confidence in both of them.
CUMMINGS: Thank you.
Let me say this. You know, this hearing began with the chairman reading a list of questions that he claimed were unanswered. In fact, those questions had been asked and answered many times.
As a matter of fact, when we go back to the last questioner, you know, it was Speaker Boehner who -- as a matter of fact, last Tuesday, Madam Secretary, Speaker Boehner acknowledged to Fox News the allegation that the U.S. government was involved in an illegal weapons program in Libya has been -- and this is according to him -- investigated by the House Intelligence Committee and debunked.
That's what Speaker Boehner said about this illicit weapons transfer situation. Do you want us to hold up, Madam? Okay.
So going back, today -- so these questions again were many -- asked and answered. The new documents we obtained and the interviews we conducted don't contradict the conclusions from the previous investigations, they simply confirm them.
Even after this marathon grilling, the select committee has found no evidence of any nefarious activity on the part of the secretary. She did not order the military to stand down. And there is still no indication that she approved or denied requests for security in Benghazi.
As the day has dragged on, the Select Committee's cost has raised up to $4.8 million. That's taxpayer dollars, by the way.
Two weeks ago, the State Department informed the Select Committee that it has spent $14 million responding to requests relating to Benghazi over the past three years. This does not include the costs incurred over the past three years by other federal agencies such as the Department of Defense.
In a letter to Congress on March 11, 2014, the Defense Department estimated that the total cost it has expended during previous Congressional Reviews ran into, quote, the millions of dollars.
So that's at least $20 million right there. And that's a conservative estimate because it does not include the costs of the seven previous investigations by congressional committees.
When I think about that amount, $20 million, $20 million, it pains me to imagine what that money could have done. I don't want anyone to mistake what I am saying. Of course, we needed to know what happened in Benghazi so we could take action to help prevent it in the future. And I have personally investigated this.
We compiled an entire database of information on our website about a year ago. We put together 133 page compendium. We released a new report this week with the results of 54 interviews, and I want all of those transcripts to be made public to the American people after the appropriate redactions. They ought to be released. I want them to see -- I want the American people to see every word, of course, with appropriate redactions. I don't want anybody accusing me of saying otherwise.
But finally, my point is this. Instead of spending this entire $20 million on these eight investigations, we could have dedicated at least some part of those funds to actually increasing security for our diplomats overseas. Even if it were just a fraction of that amount, I can't help but wonder how many consulates could have been improved, how many embassies could have been better protected, and how many more of our patriotic American Diplomats (ph) would be safer today.
So with that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
GOWDY: The gentleman yields back.
Madam Secretary, I couldn't help but think when he was using the $20 million figure, that's -- that's two more ISIS fires that we could have paid for. I -- I refuse to put a price tag on the lives of four Americans.
I -- I don't -- your figure of 20 million is wrong, Mr. Cummings, and that's not what the State Department told us, but I don't care what the figure is. There is no price tag when it comes to justice for four people who gave their lives for this country.
Madam Secretary, with respect to the ARB, I want to ask you this. If you were investigating Benghazi or what happened in Benghazi and there was an author of an e-mail three months to the day -- three months to the day from when our four fellow Americans were killed. The author of the e-mail says anti-American demonstration, looking for Americans to attack, game changer, soft target, no continuity, the cost to continue to do business there may become challenging.
Would you want to talk to the author of that e-mail if you were investigating Benghazi?
CLINTON: The Accountability Review Board had full run of the State Department to talk to anyone they chose to talk to. It's my understanding they conducted more than 100 interviews, and they were well aware, as their report reflects, of the dangerous situation in Libya.
GOWDY: I don't want to interrupt you. That actually was not my question.
My question is, would you want to talk to that person? Not whether or not the ARB did, because the ARB actually did talk to that person.
My question is, wouldn't you want to talk to that person if you were investigating Benghazi?
I promise it is not a trick question. The answer is yes. You would want to talk to the person who authored that e-mail.
CLINTON: As you just said, Mr. Chairman, the ARB did.
GOWDY: Yes. And the co-Chair of the ARB called your Chief of Staff and told the author of that e-mail not to go to Congress. That's my point.
My point is the ARB did some good things, that's why are first two hearing were on making sure the recommendations by the ARB were actually implemented.
But when the author of that e-mail is gonna be brought before Congress and one of the co-chairs calls your chief of staff and says, "I don't think that that witness is going to be a good witness," Madam Secretary, with all due respect, she's a fact witness. Whether she's good or bad, the author of that e-mail has a right for Congress to -- to -- to question them.
I mean, that's not even a close question. So somebody can be a good person -- and I have no doubt that Mr. Mullen and Mr. Pickering both are. But this is also what I don't doubt: I don't doubt that that phone call was made to Miss Mills saying, "don't send Charlene Lamb before Congress, she's not going to make a good witness," and I don't doubt that there's not a transcript from any of the ARB interviews.
And you may say, "well, why does that matter?" If you're going to write a report, and you want to write a report with specificity and particularity, you have to cite the transcript. And I can't tell you a single question that was asked of a single ARB witness, because there is no transcript.
So -- so my point is not that the ARB did a bad job or a good job. My point is from the -- from the standpoint of a serious investigation, it was an inadequate job. And -- and -- and I want to hopefully prove that to you.
There used to be a stack up there, when Mr. Smith was with us, about all the previous investigations that Congress and the ARB had done. Did any of those previous congressional investigations or the ARB have access to your e-mails?
CLINTON: Mr. Chairman, first of all, the witness you are referring to did appear before Congress...
GOWDY: That was not my point. My point...
CLINTON: Well, but you -- you -- your implication was that that witness was stopped from going to Congress and, in fact...
GOWDY: No, she...
CLINTON: ...that did not happen, Mr. Chairman.
GOWDY: ...no -- no -- no, she definitely came. No, that was -- that's not my implication.
My implication is the co-chair of what you call an independent Accountability Review Board was calling someone he was supposed to be investigating to say, "please don't send that witness to Congress, they're not going to show up well." That's my point.
My point is, how can you consider that to -- I mean...
CLINTON: Well, look...
GOWDY: ...have you ever heard of a -- have you ever heard of a judge calling the -- the D.A. or the defense attorney and say, "don't -- don't call that witness?
CLINTON: ...you know, Mr. Chairman -- Mr. Chairman, I really don't care what you all say about me. It doesn't bother me a bit. I do care about what you're implying about Admiral Mullen, and I will not sit here and hear that.
GOWDY: Well -- ma'am...
CLINTON: Admiral Mullen served this country with great distinction. He served the State Department with great distinction in being the co-chair of the Accountability Review Board, and I think his work speaks for itself.
GOWDY: ...well -- let me ask you about his work.
CLINTON: And I'm -- I'm sorry that -- I'm sorry that the important work that was done by that board is held in such low regard by some members of this committee, and I deeply regret it.
GOWDY: Are -- are you doubting that he placed the phone call? Is that -- is that the purpose of what you're saying?
CLINTON: I know nothing about the phone call.
GOWDY: Well, I do, because he testified before another congressional committee. He admits it was a mistake, Madam Secretary. I don't know why you can't.
GOWDY: He admits it was a mistake to call and say, don't send a fact witness before a congressional committee.
CLINTON: ...well, I think that showed...
GOWDY: That doesn't mean he's a bad person. It just means that when you hold up the ARB as -- as independent and -- and your chief of staff picked most of the folks on it -- Patrick Kennedy had a role in picking some of the folks on the ARB, despite the fact that some people think Patrick Kennedy may have also been involved in approving or not approving -- if you need to read a note from your lawyer, you're welcome to, Madam Secretary.
CLINTON: No. It's -- it's just hard to sit here listening to the comments you're making about someone that I consider to be a great American. If he said he made a mistake, that's even more proof of what a fine gentleman he is, and what a great public servant he's been.
It doesn't, in any way, what you're saying, impugn his service for 40 years, and certainly not his service on the Accountability Review Board. I can't help it, Mr. Chairman, that you all don't like the findings of the Accountability Review Board.
GOWDY: Ma'am, we had two hearings.
CLINTON: I can't help it that you don't like the findings of all...
GOWDY: We -- we had -- we had two hearings.
CLINTON: ...the other congressional committees.
GOWDY: We had two hearings where we did nothing but discuss the implementation of the ARB findings, Madam Secretary. So with all due respect, we've had more hearings about the ARB findings than we have with you.
So -- so -- so don't tell me that we don't care about the ARB. We had two hearings. My point is this. The ARB, nor the previous congressional investigations, had access to your e-mails. Did they?
CLINTON: I don't know what they had access to. I know that, during the time I was at the State Department, there was certainly a great effort to respond to your predecessor, Congressman Issa's inquiries.
And many thousands of pages of information was conveyed to the Congress. And I know that the State Department has worked diligently and persistently to try to respond to the many requests that it has received.
And I think that given the pressure and stress of business they have been under, they have performed as well as they could. So, you will be getting, and in fact, the entire world will be getting, all of my emails, because they are all going to be public. And you will be able to read them along with everybody else. GOWDY: Madam Secretary, that actually was not my question. My
question was, whether or not the previous congressional committees and ARB had access to your emails. That was of my question.
CLINTON: Ninety to 95 percent of my work related emails were in the State's system, if they wanted to see them, they would certainly have been able to do so.
GOWDY: You know what, that is maybe the tenth time you have cited that figure today.
CLINTON: It is.
GOWDY: And I have not heard anyone other than you ever cite that figure. Who told you that 90 to 95 percent of your emails were in the State Department system? Who told you that?
CLINTON: We learned that from the State Department and their analysis of the emails that were already on the system. We were trying to help them close some gaps that they had. But they already...
GOWDY: Can you provide me with a name? Because when I asked the State Department about 10 days ago what is the source of that figure, they shrugged their shoulders.
CLINTON: Well, you can look for the state.gov addresses and they certainly pop up. And it's where...
GOWDY: Right. In the inspector general report, Madam Secretary, the inspector general report, which you can't argue by perfect analogy, but you can certainly extrapolate, the inspector general report found that less than 1 percent, less than 1 percent of State Department emails, record emails were captured.
So they give a number of less than 1 percent and you give a number of 90 percent.
CLINTON: Well, I don't know what you are referring to. I can only speak about my emails, my work related emails and...
GOWDY: Well, let's talk about your work related emails. We asked for them last year and the State Department gave us eight. If they had 90 percent of yours, why did we only get eight?
CLINTON: Well, I don't know initially what you asked for, but I know that they tried to be responsive. Ninety to 95 percent of them were on state.gov. I understand that the committee broadened the scope of their request.
And I think that in response, the State Department has been trying to provide what you have requested. In the meantime, they're going through the process of making all of my emails public.
GOWDY: You think our first request, there were only eight emails responsive to our first request? CLINTON: I can't speak to it. I believe your first request was
for Benghazi. And I believe that the State Department did a diligent search. Then I believe you expanded it to Libya and weapons and maybe a few other terms. And I believe they conducted a diligent...
GOWDY: Well, our jurisdiction hasn't grown, Madam Secretary. Our jurisdiction is the same thing it was.
Let me ask you this. You say that you turned over everything. I don't get a chance to watch you a lot on television, but when I see you are interviewed, you make a point of saying, I turned over everything.
CLINTON: All my work related emails, yes.
GOWDY: How do you know that?
CLINTON: I know that because there was an exhaustive search done under the supervision of my attorneys, and that is exactly the outcome. We turned over every work related email, in fact, as somebody referred to earlier, we turned over too many.
The State Department and the National Archives said there are 1,246 out of the 30,000-plus that they have already determined did not need to be turned over.
GOWDY: And you have a really...
SANCHEZ: Regular order, Mr. Chairman.
GOWDY: ... good group of attorneys, which makes me wonder...
SANCHEZ: Chairman, regular order.
GOWDY: ... how they missed 15 of them.
CLINTON: Well if you are talking about Mr. Blumenthal, which I assume you are, he had some that I didn't have, and I had some that he didn't have. And he -- I was under no obligation to make any of his emails available unless I decided they were work related.
And the ones that I decided that were work related I forwarded to the state.gov accounts of the people with whom I worked.
GOWDY: Madam Secretary, is there any question that the 15 that James Cole turned over to us were work related? There's no ambiguity about that. They were work related.
CLINTON: No. They were from a personal friend, not any official government -- not any government official. And they were, I determined on the basis of looking at them, what I thought was work related and what wasn't. And some I didn't even have time to read, Mr. Chairman.
GOWDY: So are you telling me the 15...
SANCHEZ: Mr. Chairman, regular order.
GOWDY: Are you saying that the 15...
SANCHEZ: Mr. Chairman...
GOWDY: I will tell the gentlelady from California that I'm going to take a little extra time, just like everybody else has, and that we can either do it this round, or we can do it next round.
SANCHEZ: May I make a simple inquiry about how many more minutes the chairman plans?
GOWDY: The fewer the interruptions, the quicker I can get done. I'll put it to you that way. How's that?
SANCHEZ: OK, just be mindful of the time.
GOWDY: The 15 -- my question to you, on the 15, did your lawyers find them and decide that they were not work related or did they not find them?
CLINTON: Well, I don't know why he had emails I didn't. And I don't know why, apparently, I had emails he didn't. And all I can tell you is that I turned over every work related email in my possession.
GOWDY: All right. I'm going to make two more observations and then we are going to call it a night.
The first observation that I would make is that when you speak to the public, you say, I turned over everything. That's for the most part a direct quote. When you talk to the public, you say, I turned over everything.
When you talk to the court, you say, while I do not know what information may be responsive for purposes of this lawsuit, I have directed that all my emails on clintonemail.com (ph) in my custody that were -- or potentially were federal records be provided to the Department of State and on information and belief that was done.
Why the different explanation depending on who you're talking to?
CLINTON: Well, one is a shorthand, Mr. Chairman.
GOWDY: Well, why not just tell the court, I turned over everything?
CLINTON: Well, you know how lawyers are, they use more words perhaps than they need.
GOWDY: Trust me, I know that.
CLINTON: I thought you might.
GOWDY: And they charge you for every one of them.
CLINTON: Yes, I'm well aware of that, Mr. Chairman. And the clock is ticking.
GOWDY: Well, one more, one more and I will pay Mr. Kendall's fee for the last question. How's that?
CLINTON: Oh, I don't think you want to do that, Mr. Chairman.
GOWDY: I probably can't do it.
You see my point, though, you are very definitive when you're talking to the American people, that you turned over everything.
CLINTON: That's right.
GOWDY: But those kind of lawyerly fudge words when you are talking to court on information and belief, and the reality is even tonight, you cannot tell us that you turned over everything, because you didn't think you missed the 15.
CLINTON: Well, I didn't have them, I turned over everything I had. Everything I had has been turned over to the State Department.
GOWDY: Which means the system you had somehow missed those 15.
GOWDY: Last question on your system. Mr. Cummings said that your email arrangement was inappropriate. I think the president may have said it was a mistake. You have said that it was a mistake.
My question to you, Madam Secretary, is, was it a mistake -- for the four years that you had that email arrangement, was it a mistake for the almost two years that you kept the public record to yourself, or has it manifested itself as a mistake in just the last six months?
CLINTON: Well, since I believed that all of my work related emails to dot-gov accounts were being captured and preserved, it wasn't until I was asked to help the State Department to fill in what they saw as some record-keeping gaps, not just with me, but with others, I did the best I could during those four years and thought that everything that I was emailing that was work related was being preserved.
GOWDY: If you can find a source for the 90 to 95 percent, I would be grateful for it and we would probably have fewer questions. If there is a source that you can provide that 90 to 95 percent were on the State Department's system, then I will know that I need to ask the State Department what took them so long, because I'm just telling you, Madam Secretary, I got eight emails the first time I asked, and now I have got over 1,500. So there's some disconnect there.
CLINTON: Well, Mr. Chairman, I think that is a fair question. And I'm not at the State Department any longer, but I do want to defend them. They are under the most extraordinary pressure to answer congressional inquiries.
I saw a figure recently that FOIA requests have jumped something like 300 percent. They don't have the resources. They don't have the personnel. They take their responsibility of reading every single line.
And as Ranking Member Cummings reminded us, having to redact personal information, personnel information, obviously they take it very seriously, I think they're doing the best they can.
And I know that they've tried to be responsive to you and to the many other requests that have come their way.
GOWDY: Madam Secretary, on behalf of all of us, we want to thank you for your patience and for your willingness to come. And you have been willing to come in the past, as I noted in my opening. And we appreciate it.
And with that, we will be adjourned.
CLINTON: Thank you.