Clinton on initial reports after Benghazi attack: “This was the fog of war”
Hillary Clinton joined FOX News’ Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren Tuesday evening for a much anticipated interview, where the former Secretary of State answered questions on a number of topics – Benghazi, the controversial swap of Sgt. Bergdahl for the Taliban five, the IRS scandal, and a wide range of other issues.
Clinton is out with a new book, “Hard Choices,” and she indicated on numerous occasions as she answered some of the questions, “I write about this in my book.” That said, I’m not sure there was much to come out of the FOX interview that couldn’t be found in the pages of Clinton’s book.
As is often the case with most interviews with any subject, there seemed to be a few missed opportunities for further pressing on some of her answers, as several noted in comments on Twitter. There were a couple instances however where Bair or Van Susteren tried to politely prod Clinton to expand upon an answer.
Here was one exchange between Van Susteren and Clinton on the topic of the Bergdahl swap.
GRETA: Afghanistan. Would you have made that swap for Sgt. Bergdahl? Five Taliban for Sgt. Bergdahl?
CLINTON: Well, as I write in the book, and at the time, I was trying to put together a bigger deal, a deal that would create a negotiation between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to try to move the Taliban to renounce violence, renounce al Qaeda, and agree to support the constitution and the laws.
GRETA: Isn’t that part of their ideology though, violence? I mean look at the violence towards women. Aren’t we abandoning the women to the Taliban?
CLINTON: Well, those are two different issues and they’re both really important, Greta. What I did on my watch was to see whether we could do such a deal and I write about it in my book, and part of that deal was making some concessions on getting Bergdahl back because that was very important to the Defense department, to the State Department and the rest of the government. And of course the Taliban in return wanted to get some of their people back. So sequencing it, getting a bigger deal was part of what I was trying to achieve. Today however, I think what you’ve heard from Secretary Hagel as well as the White House, Secretary Kerry and others, is that it appeared to be imperative to try to get Bergdahl out. I have not seen the video that people talk about, I cannot offer an independent judgment but I rely on the judgment of medical professionals from Defense and others. So, I think the important points to make here, we never leave anybody behind, I think that’s to our credit. Secondly, there is an agreement, I don’t know the details but I know what I was trying to negotiate with Qatar to keep these people under very strict vigilance, and to prevent them from traveling. And, number three, to debrief Bergdahl to get as much information from him when he’s ready to talk.
GRETA: You’ve been quoted as saying these five guys are not a threat to the USA, I think when people heard that, they were quite surprised.
CLINTON: Well, as long as they’re in Qatar. As long as they’re in Qatar they’re not a threat to the United States.
GRETA: Well, bin Laden was never in the United States.
CLINTON: No, no, but in Qatar with an agreement that has been entered into, they are supposed to be constrained from what they can do, and certainly they are not supposed to be permitted to travel. That is, as my understanding tells me, what the deal is, and in that situation, they are not a threat. Now, I agree with you, that when the new president, whoever that turns out to be, is sworn in in Afghanistan, there is no doubt given the current atmosphere that the Taliban is going to try to attack and take back territory. I worry particularly about the gains that have been made, the sacrifice that Americans made to enable those gains, particularly for women and girls. So this is a situation that is dangerous, that we have to keep watching. Those five men, they are right now not a danger if they are kept where they are supposed to be kept, but we still have to worry about the Taliban and everything that they could be doing.
Unfortunately, there was no specific discussion about what might happen after the Taliban Five are no longer under the aforementioned constraints under the agreement with Qatar.
Bret Baier addressed the topic of the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, including the subsequent talking points that have since become the subject of criticism.
From FOX News Insider:
Baier asked Clinton if she stands by her statement that she didn’t know of any reports that contradicted Ambassador Susan Rice’s talking points on TV shows following the Benghazi attack.
“I do, Bret,” she said. “This was the fog of war.” Clinton said that her assessment of the situation “careened” from whether a YouTube video had something to do with the attack or nothing to do with it.
“Do you know where the president was through the attack?” Baier asked.
Clinton went on to answer that she spoke to Obama on the night of the attack when he was in the Oval Office, and she elaborated on some of those details in the clip below.
You can read more about the interview and view additional video clips at this FOX News Insider post.
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