With both supporters and opponents eagerly anticipating Hillary Clinton’s account of the Benghazi attacks in her upcoming book, Hard Choices, her political operation has reportedly brought on a former Obama administration official who has been dismissive of a House select committee formed to investigate the attacks.
Politico reports that Clinton’s camp has retained former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor to “assist in the response to the book” according to a source. Earlier this month Vietor replied, “Dude, this was like two years ago,” to a question from Fox News host Bret Baier about the aftermath of the attacks.
In her chapter about Benghazi, Clinton stands by the initial intelligence blaming protests in the region on a YouTube video, adding that the Cairo riots and a recent New York Times report show that it was “a factor” in Benghazi.
“There were scores of attackers that night, almost certainly with differing motives,” Clinton writes. “It is inaccurate to state that every single one of them was influenced by this hateful video. It is equally inaccurate to state that none of them were.”
Susan Rice “stated what the intelligence community believed, rightly or wrongly, at the time,” she writes. “That was the best she or anyone could do.”
Clinton also defends the administration’s response to the attack, saying President Obama gave orders “to do whatever was necessary” to protect those under siege. Nonetheless, she goes on to take responsibility for the deaths of four Americans, and describes their murder as “a punch in the gut” and “a crushing blow.”
She also criticizes “those who exploit this tragedy over and over as a political tool [and] minimize the sacrifice of those who served our country.” She said she will refrain from being “a part of a political slugfest” and that “those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me.”