White House: Clinton’s 'Signature' on Benghazi Docs Doesn't Mean She Knew of Them

April 25, 2013 - 11:04 AM

 

jay carney

White House spokesman Jay Carney (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The White House dismissed the signature of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on documents ignoring security concerns in Benghazi, calling it “protocol” for government official “signatures” to appear on documents they did not sign.

“It is standard protocol that cables originating from the department in Washington go out under the authority of the current Secretary of State with their signature, i.e. their name, typed at the bottom,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday, using his fingers for quote marks when he said “signature.” He continued. “This practice has been in place throughout this administration and across prior administrations, both Democratic and Republican.”

A report by five House committees released Tuesday found that Senior State Department officials, including Clinton, approved reductions in security at the facilities in Benghazi, Libya. The report cites an April 19, 2012, cable bearing Clinton's signature acknowledging a March 28, 2012, request from then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz for more security, yet allowing further reductions.

On Sept. 11, 2012, terrorists killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, in Benghazi. Obama administration officials first told the public that the attack was a spontaneous response to an anti-Muslim You Tube video.

The interim report was a joint effort of the Republican controlled House Judiciary, Armed Services, Oversight and Government Reform, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence committees. House Democrats on these committees said they were not asked to participate.

On Tuesday, a reporter asked, “I wanted to bring up the House report yesterday on Benghazi. They point to cables that reportedly had secretary -- technically then-Secretary Clinton’s signature on it that referenced a request for additional security and in which instead cuts were made and some members are saying that this shows administration culpability in the security problems there, and some have gone so far as to say signs of a cover-up. I just wanted to get your response on that.”

Carney said the Benghazi matter has been politicized.

“I would draw your attention to the letter that the Democratic members of the same committee sent to Speaker Boehner yesterday strongly objecting to what is an obviously partisan Republican staff report,” Carney asserted. “Now, it seems to me that if these members of Congress were genuinely interested in getting information, they would not have abandoned the customary oversight process and excluded Democratic members from the entire process, which is what they did.”

Carney continued, “And on the issue of the signature, you have to be factual and acknowledge reality here. It is standard protocol that cables originating from the department in Washington go out under the authority of the current Secretary of State with their signature, i.e. their name, typed at the bottom.  This practice has been in place throughout this administration and across prior administrations, both Democratic and Republican.”

“Additionally, all cables originating from our overseas posts are similarly signed, i.e. have the name at the bottom, by the ambassador and are addressed to the secretary,” Carney said. “In this way, this Secretary Clinton and others before her signed hundred of thousands of cables during their tenures as secretary.”

Earlier Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner was asked about the House Democrats complaint.

“The committee chairmen involved in Benghazi came together in terms of this report,” Boehner said at a press conference Wednesday. “I think they’ve done a very good job in outlining what we know thus far and also raising questions about what we don’t know. I hope that our chairmen would reach out to their ranking members because I happen to believe ranking Democrats on the committees are just as interested in the truth as we are.”