Parsing Words

ABC News:

Clinton: ‘To This Day We Do Not Have A Complete Picture’

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended the early response from the Obama administration regarding the terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that claimed the lives of four Americans, including Amb. Chris Stevens.

But she would not weigh in on the growing controversy about when exactly members of the Obama administration knew the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate was carried out by terrorists or whether senior administration members knew that State Department security officials were concerned about the situation at the embassy in the months leading up to the attack.

Clinton took questions from reporters following a bilateral meeting with the Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, and was asked about Vice President Joe Biden’s assertion during Thursday night’s debate that the administration was unaware of requests for increased security at the consulate.

Biden’s comment would seem to be contradicted by testimony a day earlier on Capitol Hill from a State Department security official that he had repeatedly requested more security.

Clinton said there is still an internal investigation, and an FBI investigation going on, and that she is cooperating with both.

“There is much we still don’t know, and I am the first to say that,” she said.

“There is nobody in the administration motivated by anything other than trying to understand what happened,” said Clinton. “We are doing all we can to prevent it from ever happening again anywhere.”

But Clinton said the circumstances surrounding the attack are still, more than a month later, not completely clear.

“To this day we do not have a complete picture, we do not have all the answers,” she said. “No one in this administration has ever claimed otherwise. Every one of us have made clear that we are providing the best information we have at that time. And that information continues to be updated. It also continues to be put into context and more deeply understood.”


Today Clinton defended Rice.

“Ambassador Rice had the same information from the intelligence community that every other senior official did,” said Clinton. “We can only tell you what we know based on our most current understanding of the attack and what led up to it.”

There is more than one legal eagle around this dump and I’m sure they will all back me up when I say that part of legal training is learning how to parse words carefully. It applies to things like writing contracts, understanding statutes and nailing down witness testimony. Lawyers focus on precise language more than any other profession.

Lets ignore the characterizations made by ABC and see what Hillary Clinton really said:

MS. NULAND: We’ll take one from each side today. Let’s start with CNN, Jill Doherty.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Madam Secretary, in the debate – the Vice Presidential Debate last night, there was one thing that the Vice President said, which was, “That is what intelligence told us.” And there’s just one issue that seems so very basic that I’m finding it difficult to understand why it’s not clear, and that is whether or not there actually was a demonstration that night. Is there any clarity that you have at this moment about that?

And then also, could you tell us a little bit about what you were doing when that attack actually happened? I know Charlene Lamb, who as the State Department official, was mentioning that she back here in Washington was monitoring electronically from that post what was happening in real time. Could you tell us what you were doing? Were you watching? Were you talking with the President? Any details about that, please.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, before I answer your question, I want to underscore what an invaluable partner Italy has been in our efforts to support a democratic Libya. Italy played a crucial role in NATO’s Operation Unified Protector to protect the civilian population from Qadhafi’s violence. More than 4,000 air missions were flown from Sigonella alone. And in the wake of the Benghazi tragedy, the support of Italy has been absolutely essential. In ways large and small, our Italian friends and partners helped us evacuate our people on September 11th. They helped us get the FBI team in and in so many other ways. So I personally want to thank you, Giulio, and thank you, through you, your government for everything that you have done. And as you said, we will continue to work together to try to stabilize Libya and give the Libyan people the kind of future that they have so clearly stated they want.

With respect to your questions, Jill, I think that it is very important to recognize that we have an investigation going on. We have an Accountability Review Board that is just beginning its work. There is much we still don’t know. And I am the first to say that. But as someone who has been at the center of this tragedy from the beginning, I do know this: There is nobody in the Administration motivated by anything other than trying to understand what happened. And we are doing all we can to prevent it from ever happening again – anywhere. And of course, we are, as a government, doing what it takes to track down those who were responsible.

To this day – to this day, we do not have a complete picture. We do not have all the answers. No one in this Administration has ever claimed otherwise. Every one of us has made clear that we are providing the best information we have at that time. And that information continues to be updated. It also continues to be put into context and more deeply understood through the process we are engaged in. Ambassador Rice had the same information from the intelligence community as every other senior official did.

And that’s the very way that I’m answering your question today, because we can only tell you what we know based on our most current understanding of the attack and what led up to it. Obviously, we know more as time goes by and we will know even more than we did hours and days after the attack.

So that’s what an investigative process is designed to do: to try to sort through all of the information, some of it contradictory and conflicting. And I want us to keep in mind that four Americans were killed, four men who served our country. Dozens of Americans fought for their lives that night, and to honor them we all have to get to the bottom of every question and answer it to the best of our ability. And then we’ve got to be sure that we apply the lessons we learned to make sure that we protect everybody in harm’s way.

So I’m going to be, as I have been from the very beginning, cooperating fully with the investigations that are ongoing, because nobody wants to know more about what happened and why than I do. And I think I’ll leave it at that.

QUESTION: Mrs. Secretary, if you could, the question was —

SECRETARY CLINTON: I know, but I’m going to leave it at that.

If you parse Hillary’s words you will see she didn’t say very much at all. She didn’t describe what she knows or when she learned it. The stuff about the investigation is a non sequitur. Yeah, there is an investigation going on but they will never know everything. Is there some reason they can’t tell us what they do know?

She didn’t really defend Susan Rice. She just said that Rice knew what every senior official knew. But was Rice telling the truth? Hillary didn’t say.

From a professional standpoint I have to give Hillary an A+ for her answer. She gave what kinda seems like a substantive answer but isn’t. There is nothing in there that can be called a lie or used against her.

I have mad respect and admiration for Hillary Clinton but she has to be held accountable just like anyone else. At some point she is going to have to provide better answers than she has provided so far.

But I recognize that she has to walk a fine line. She has a duty of loyalty to her boss. But she is also a Cabinet officer who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. Many of the things she knows are classified as state secrets. She has her own career and legacy to think of. Obviously some of those are more important than others.

It is possible that Hillary is working hard to cover-up the truth about what happened in Benghazi. It is equally possible that she is working hard behind the scenes to ensure that the truth comes out and the people responsible are held accountable.

I am willing to be patient and to withhold judgment for the time being. But my patience isn’t endless.

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53 Responses to Parsing Words

  1. 49erDweet says:

    Wow. Just wow. It’s that or the bus.

    • myiq2xu says:

      The White House would love to dump all of this on Hillary.

      • mcnorman says:

        Zero can’t dump her lest he wishes the wrath of Bill to rain on him. And it will.

      • DM says:

        I want Hillary to clear her name. The State Department is responsible for the security of her department’s assets. So Obama wants people to believe Hillary dropped the ball, but I think I know what happened. It’s been reported that the consulate in Benghazi also housed the “other government agency”, hence the security was probably the responsibility of that other agency, or at least, the responsibility for the security wasn’t clear cut. I think, that the agency, not wanting to call attention, dropped the ball with not enough protection.

        I’d like Hillary to at least clear her name. That can happen if the Republicans force the issue. Though because the other government agency is involved, I doubt that the Republicans will make more noise.

  2. myiq2xu says:

    As somebody said recently, “If we don’t hold Hillary accountable then we’re no better than Obots.”

    • mcnorman says:

      She’s a big girl as her A+ answer indicates. Surely she knew going into this that she might have to own whatever obamanation served.

      Klein says that there’s a lot of consulting going on right now to insure that she is able to sever the ties as best as can be done. Her four years are up soon, and I daresay that she would not want another four with Bam.

    • yttik says:

      I don’t have a problem with holding Hillary accountable is she is found to have done something to be held accountable for, but so far all I’ve really heard is implications that she is somehow responsible for the behavior of Susan Rice and President Obama. Neither one of them work underneath her, so she is not in charge of supervising them. She’s not responsible for their behavior. Also, Hillary wasn’t the one on all the talk shows and news programs telling Americans that a you tube video provoked some protesters.

  3. kanaughty says:

    there were a couple of statements that stand out to me in this “There is much we still don’t know. And I am the first to say that…” what does that mean? i am the first to say that?

    and ” because nobody wants to know more about what happened and why than I do”

    basically, it sounds like she is floored. like she can’t believe she got duped into this positiion that a movie caused all of this… that’s what i see here. she wants to know the truth because then she can learn how all this misinformation started and happened and how she had to toe this fake information in a speech when ob never even said a speech as quickly as she did. it was like they gave her bad information on purpose. that is what i am seeing here. tinfoil hat, but i feel like they are against her, that she was just doing her job and told to say something by someone higher up in the administration because that is her job and now she regrets it.

    i can’t wait for the truth to come out and i really don’t want to se ob and biden get away with placing all this blame on hillary when this was not her policy in the middle east, it was his!

    • myiq2xu says:

      Those statements are basically semantically null. They prove nothing. Everybody in the administration is saying the same thing.

    • Constance says:

      The fact that Hillary wasn’t the one on the 5 weekend political shows spouting the official Obama line says a lot. She was never on board, she drew the line early on about what part she would take in this fiasco. That won’t stop them from trying to dump it on her but she has had her guard up from the start. Saying that Rice had the same information as all other Senior officials at the time she made the misleading statements sets Rice up for a fall. I’d say Hillary’s ass is covered.

  4. HELENK says:

    Is this the tape that Issa was talking about. not only from compound but from drone overhead?

  5. HELENK says:

    I am surprised that Hillary has lasted this long without being thrown under the bus. Look at the backtrack record, everyone he comes in contact with never comes out ahead. It is like he is some kind of virus.

  6. HELENK says:

    do not know if anyone posted this yet

  7. HELENK says:

    Sources confirm to @NBCNews that feds have launched a new investigation into @RepJJJr

  8. lyn5 says:

    After the 2012 election, “the sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing,” and everyone will know the truth about Benghazi. Before then, I hope Hillary puts her country before her boss and her party. The lies and the cover-up should kill this administration now.

  9. carol haka says:

    Let me make this simple as to what Hillary said, “Blah Blah Blah Blah …..” I grew up in a family of 6 kids and no matter the offense, we knew full well “don’t even think about lying”. My parents could smell a lie before you walked in the room. I guess that is why it was a complete shock to me that I married the worlds biggest liar because I had no experience with the concept. Now, I am completely different than most woman, once I found out he was a serial liar, he was toast. 👿 My point, I now have activated my parents keen sense of spotting a liar. 👿 Hillary either watched it live or saw it prior to her multiple claims of the current political prisoner being the impetus to 20+ terror attacks that resulted in numerous deaths, injuries, billions in destruction and the outrage people are filling across the globe. Actions have consequestions. To not know or be able to figure out a course of action is one thing. To go out and purposefully lie to cover for this debacle is criminal. I know people love her and it braks my heart she’s fucked, but she an Bill have lied and covered for the pos in the white house for 5 years. She doesn’t get a pass for some mythical idoltry (is that the word I’m looking for?). 👿

    • carol haka says:

      Idolatry. Sorry for all my current and future misspelling. I’m on a phone with 2 arm and 1 wrist injury. It’s hard to hit all the keys.

  10. HELENK says:

    I can not imagine someone not notifying the secretary of State as soon as this started in Benghazi. If Mrs Lamb was watching it in real time and did not call a higher up , she should be kicked out asap.

    i have been in a position where i was the first one notified of an incident and my job was to wake everyone up, and get people moving to the scene.

    • HELENK says:


      I would not want to be in the same state let alone the same building, If one of my general managers was not notified in a timely manner.
      What is happening, what resources are on the way, who has been notified. These are questions that i better have answers to when I talked to them.
      I do think it would be the same in the State Dept

  11. angienc says:

    To me, it is obvious that Obama is setting things up to throw Hillary under the bus for BenghaziGate & the only reason he hasn’t done it yet is because he needs Bill’s help to win re-election — but win OR lose, on Nov. 7th Obama’s plan is for Hillary to go down for this. So WTF is she doing? I’m hoping that Hillary & Bill realize this & throw Obama under the bus first, but nonetheless, there is no way I don’t also think she shares in responsibility on this. IOW, I’d like her to come out on top of Obama, but she still needs to be held accountable for some of the blame here.
    I saw a report today that for the first time the AP is reporting on Romney’s huge crowds — of course, being the AP, they pretend this is a recent development since the debate (it isn’t) & also make sure to note that Obama draws big crowds too (the numbers of which aren’t accurate) although not as big as he used to. However, all in all, I’d say that for the AP to report this, the worm has turned. I hope Hillary & Bill see this & decide to throw Obama under the bus before the election — maybe right before the foreign policy debate?

    Link to AP article:

    • For me, I just can’t get over Hillary spouting that video nonsense. For days. Loyalty to Democrats, her own professional future, whatever. There’s simply no excuse for that, and no way she didn’t know there was no protest outside Benghazi beforehand. It’s simply not credible unless she’s a dufus, and her being a dufus is itself not credible. She’s been over-competent her whole friggin’ life, ffs.

      I do not think, however, she or Bill will turn on Obama before the election. It’s simply not who they are. They will allow incredible amounts of damage to themselves personally in defense of the Democratic party. It’s been something that has bugged me about them for some time. They’re too far inside the echo chamber to realize the Democratic party left them.

  12. yttik says:

    I don’t understand what people want to see Hillary held accountable for? I mean, I don’t understand what the accusations against her are?

    The State Dept failed to properly protect our Americans in Libya. That’s indisputable since they are now dead. But that doesn’t mean that Hillary or anyone in the State Dept acted criminally or negligently.

    From the testimony at the hearings, statements by Susan Rice, Lamb, etc, I speculate that the Obama administration did not want to admit that there was a problem in Libya, did not want the word “terrorism” used, and did not want additional security sent because it would contradict the, “I killed Osama and destroyed extremism” message. I noticed that Lamb, even at this late date, was extremely reluctant to use the word “terrorism.” Why? I can only speculate that it’s because she’s been instructed not to because it doesn’t go well with the happy Arab spring theme.

    So is the question, how much did Hillary know about this and was she okay with it?

    • carol haka says:

      She placed the blame for what happened in Bengazi on the political prisoner still being held in California and put a bullseye on the back of eveyone involved. After that, multiple terrorist attacts sparked all over the ME under the impetist of the fake rage. She’s an officer of the court. I don’t know what charges could be brought for her deceit and the subsequent events. 👿

    • angienc says:

      While I agree that the majority of this is because of Obama & his policies,ideology & political considerations — Hillary is directly responsible for not providing more security to Ambassador Stevens after his requests — State gets $50 billion a year & allocates it however it wants — so she needs to be held responsible for that. Plus, she either agrees with Obama’s idiotic policies/ideology/political consideration or she didn’t fight them hard enough. Depending on which one, she’s responsible for that too. “Just following orders” is a pretty sucky defense, IMO.

      • carol haka says:

        Just following orders is not a defense.

      • yttik says:

        I don’t believe that “just following orders” is a defense at all. She certainly has an obligation to put the safety and lives of our people above politics.

        They didn’t give us enough information in those hearings. Charlene Lamb is the one who turned down the requests for extra security and she didn’t really give us satisfactory answers as to why.

        • angienc says:

          What I’m saying is, it doesn’t matter *why* the requests were turned down. As Sec. of State, Hillary is 100% responsible for what each & every person in State does — 100%. Doesn’t matter if she had direct knowledge that Charlene Lamb turned down those requests and/or for what reason Lamb turned down those requests. That is how things work in organizational structure– with power comes responsibility. Requests for more protection were made; Requests were denied; People died. QED — State (and thus Hillary) fucked up. Now there could be mitigating circumstances that lesson Hillary’s culpability (which is what you seem to be pointing to) but nothing can *absolve* her from responsibility here.

          Well, that’s how things worked at least until Obama — who seems to think his power as POTUS gives him responsibility only for things that *help* him & none for those that don’t. But he’s wrong. And if Hillary thinks the same thing about herself as Sec. of State, she’s wrong too.

        • yttik says:

          Well, I think it does matter “why” the requests were turned down. If they were turned down because it was State Dept policy that everything must fit Obama’s Happy Arab Spring Fantasy, then that’s a real problem.

          If there was just an error in judgement, bureaucrats thinking there was enough security already, or somebody making unauthorized decisions, that’s something different.

  13. carol haka says:

    Hannity said has show os explosive tonight. He didn’t say what. I know he had 2 videos that didn’t get shown in the last week.

  14. swanspirit says:

    It seems to me , that any way you slice this , Hillary , Rice , and Obama are responsible . In the congressional hearings , it became evident that the embassy requested increased security over quite a long period of time , well prior to Sept 11, to the extent that an attack was expected . This was testimony . The requests, over 200 of them , were denied because of policy . Policy that reflected well on Obama , because he wanted to point to a success in Libya , which was probably even more desirable given the results of the elections in Egypt.. This denial of increased security was not due to a lack of funds . This also came out in the hearings. There is no ” I WASNT TOLD EXCUSE ” As POTUS or SOS , someone should have been ASKING . They let peoples lives hang in the balance of taking this risk , to make Obama look good , and Hillary is in that chain of command and it is her department . They took that risk and people lost their lives and now they are delaying even answering the families of the deceased .
    Parsing words buys time , and if this investigation goes beyond the election and if they are counting on winning , the investigation will go the way of Fast and Furious . Nowhere . I love Hillary , but she is responsible.

  15. swanspirit says:

    I so wanted , in the middle of that debate and since , that every time some asshole says I WASN’T TOLD for someone to turn around and say WHY DIDN’T YOU ASK? It is your Goddamed JOB to KNOW !

    sorry for yelling but this is driving me nuts

    • carol haka says:

      Seriously, if I never hear the words abortion and birth control again, it will stii be too soon. 👿

    • wmcb says:

      Yes. It’s like a doctor killing a patient, and his excuse is: “Well, I never saw all those bad labs and things in the chart! I had no idea he had a heart condition when I put him under for surgery! I never even saw the echocardiogram!”

      Um, you were SUPPOSED TO KNOW, asshole. WHY did you not review the chart?! Don’t hand me this “I didn’t know” bullshit.

    • yttik says:

      Oh I know! It’s maddening. It’s your job to know. They should have gone to some presidential daily briefings, read some security reports, asked some questions. “I wasn’t told” is such a ridiculous excuse coming from the leader of the free world. Nobody should have to tell him that Libya was explosive, that we had people on the ground there, and that they needed to be kept safe.

      • swanspirit says:

        Exactly , as in : how are things in Libya these days ?? d
        Deny any requests for increased security lately ? Are the natives restless ? How many thousands of RPGS unaccounted for ?

        • carol haka says:

          10000 to 20000 missing shoulder to arm missiles that can bring down airliners. No prob! And stupid fucker McCain wants to arm Syrian. Just drop the bomb on us assholes and be done with it! 👿

  16. carol haka says:

    Oh my cheezwizzz! They are planning a Million Muppet March! I had no idea there were even a million muppets!

  17. carol haka says:

    If I thought trey gowdy was coming after me for anything other than a date, I would be scared shitless. 🙂

  18. carol haka says:

    It was too cute watching Ryan trying to coax his soon out of Biden’s child on stage afterwards. The kid kept saying, “No! I want to sit in the clown chair!” 🙂

  19. pghpuma says:

    How does the Gangsta Pres not get that the other side is as treacherous as he is? Didn’t he see the scene in the Godfather when the so-called Body Guards around Michael mysteriously “disappeared” from their posts just as Apollonia turned the key in the booby-trapped car? Arab Sprung a Power Struggle and it would seem the Libyans expected a better deal from “the One.” Don’t jack an AlQaida flag over my US Embassy and expect me as an American to just eat it while the dipshit quibbles with the Romney criticsm.

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