Gregory Hicks, former deputy chief of mission at Benghazi, answered then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s question, “What difference at this point does it make?” by explaining that the U.S. government’s claim that a YouTube video sparked the Benghazi attacked angered the Libyan government and delayed the Benghazi investigation.
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., played video from Clinton’s congressional testimony before Hicks replied, “I think the question is what difference did it make.”
Hicks continued: “President Magarief was insulted in front of his own people, in front of the world, his credibility was reduced, his ability to lead his own country was damaged, he was angry.”
He added that he “definitely believe[s] that it negatively affected our ability to get the FBI team quickly to Benghazi.” The FBI did not reach Benghazi until early October, three weeks after the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack.
Here’s the transcript of Clinton’s exchange with Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., courtesy of Politifact:
Johnson: No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that — an assault sprang out of that — and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.
Clinton: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.
Johnson: OK. Thank you, Madame Secretary.