Policy: National Security

Angus King: Hillary Clinton blame for Benghazi a 'political question'

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Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, on Sunday said that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's responsibility for the Benghazi attack is a “political question” for voters, but that he was dismayed no one had been held accountable for the deaths of four Americans.

“I've thought a lot about that ... and it's a hard question,” said King on CNN's “State of the Union,” when asked about Clinton's role in overseeing security for the consulate.

“Ultimately it's a political question. Yes, she was secretary of State. Was she the person making decisions about security at U.S. facilities -- by the way there are over a hundred around the world -- that have security? Did somebody come to her and say 'we need more security at Benghazi' and she said ‘no don't bother?'

There’s no evidence that I’ve seen that she was directly involved in that decision,” said King.

“On the other hand, she’s the CEO, she’s the boss and I’ve gone back and looked at the law and how you hold CEOs accountable for lapses down the line and generally the standard is there has to be some knowledge or participation in the decision,” he added.

King's comments come after the release of a House Armed Services Committee report last week which faulted the State Department for not providing the U.S. consulate with adequate security before the deadly September 2012 attack which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The report said officials had failed to take prior terror threats and violence in Libya into account and that the attack could have been prevented.

The panel’s report also found that the intelligence community failed to quickly determine who was responsible for the attack and correct wrong talking points used by administration officials which initially blamed the violence on a spontaneous protest.

“The American people are going to have to make this decision. I’m not being a partisan of Hillary here,” King added.

Following an audit by the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, four officials at State were reassigned, but critics say no one has lost their job over the deadly attack. That State report also provided recommendations for preventing such incidents in the future.

King said that there had been no accountability for Benghazi.

“There is no question the State department screwed up here and there should be accountability here,” he said. “I’m surprised and disappointed. I know some people have been shifted around and if accountability means anything, it means somebody paying a price for making a disastrous decision.”

“I haven’t seen any real accountability and that has been a failure in this whole process,” said King.

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