Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she is “very pleased” that the suspected ringleader of the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi was captured, but added “there is a lot we don’t know” about the assault.
“I’m very pleased, this is another indication, as President Obama said in his statement today, that the United States has an unwavering commitment to bring to justice those who are responsible for attacks on Americans, no matter where they are, no matter how long it takes,” Clinton said during a CNN-sponsored town hall discussion on Tuesday.
Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured in a weekend raid in Libya, officials announced on Tuesday. Khattala has been wanted for the deadly 2012 attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi.
But Clinton added that much is still unknown about the attacks, and Khattala’s capture may help answer some of the outstanding questions.
“I'm still looking for answers because it was a confusing and difficult time...There's a lot we don't know” Clinton said.
Clinton gave interviews to both CNN and Fox on Tuesday as part of her publicity tour for her new book “Hard Choices.” The potential 2016 presidential frontrunner was pushed on areas in which she disagreed with the president, especially on Iraq, where Republicans charge that the rise of Sunni militants is the result of Obama’s decision to withdraw troops in 2011.
Clinton did not criticize the president for his policy, but did make clear her support for a strong U.S. military presence globally.
“I dont think we should be retreating from the world. And that would be a position that I would strongly advocate,” she said.
She also cautioned against working with Iran to fight the militants who have taken over much of northern Iraq, warning that the U.S. must understand “what we’re getting ourselves into.”
The one-time first lady and New York state senator also declined to answer whether or not she would have made the controversial prisoner swap that freed five Taliban fighters in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
“I was trying to put together a bigger deal. A deal that would create a negotiation between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban,” Clinton said on Fox.
She did, however, say the five released Gitmo detainees currently pose no risk to America. “Those five men right now are not a danger if they are kept where they are supposed to be kept,” she said.
The civil war in Syria has been the only major foreign policy difference Clinton had with Obama, according to her new memoir. She pushed for arming moderate Syrian rebels, a move the president opted against.
Clinton told CNN Tuesday, “We pushed very hard. But as I say in my book, I believe that Harry Truman was right, the buck stops with the president."
The potential 2016 Democratic nominee gave few hints as to whether or not she is any closer to making up her mind on a potential run. She remains the frontrunner, according a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, but the grandchild she is expecting this year has delayed her decision making process.
“I’m not making a decision in part because I have this very exciting life changing experience coming up in the fall, and I don’t want to be looking past it,” she said.
“I will make this decision based on how I feel about it and what I believe I can do,” she added. “But i'm not going to be rushed to do it.”
First published June 17 2014, 2:58 PM