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Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith, a U.S. Info management officer who died in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, speak on the first day the the Republican nationwide Convention, in ~ the Quicken loans Arena in Cleveland, July 18, 2016. (NYT)



The opened night theme of the Republican national Convention to be "Make America safe Again," with a parade of speakers that criticized Hillary Clinton and also the Obama management for leaving the nation weak and vulnerable. Exhibit A to be the 2012 attack on the U.S. Diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Patricia Smith, whose boy Sean blacksmith was killed in the attack, spoke passionately about the loss of she son.

She claimed Sean told her that "all security had actually been traction from the embassy ... And when the asked why, he never received a response. Nobody listened. Nobody appeared to care."

Smith claimed Clinton is responsible. "For all of this loss, for every one of this grief, for all of the cynicism the tragedy in Benghazi has actually wrought ~ above America, ns blame Hillary Clinton. Ns blame Hillary Clinton personally for the fatality of my son."

Clinton blamed terror for the assault in an email to her very own daughter Chelsea Clinton, blacksmith said, yet "when I experienced Hillary Clinton at Sean’s coffin ceremony, just days later, she looked me squarely in the eye and told me a video clip was responsible. Due to the fact that then, I have actually repeatedly request Hillary Clinton to describe to me the actual reason why my boy is dead. I’m quiet waiting."

Her comments get right at the heart of the deep partisan division over Benghazi and also Clinton’s role. Yet the absence of hard evidence makes it difficult to understand what yes, really happened in between Clinton and also these families.

The allegation the Clinton lied come victims’ households refers to occasions right ~ the Sept. 11, 2012, strike on a U.S. Diplomatic link in Benghazi, Libya. Three days after the attacks, president Barack Obama, Clinton and also others met with the family members of the four victims, collection at Joint basic Andrews to receive the victims’ remains.

No one tape-recorded these quick meetings behind close up door doors. Household members and Clinton do not agree on what was said. Especially given the emotionally setting, memory — both Clinton’s and also the families’ — might be fuzzy.

When we fact-checked this claimin January, us tried to reach as countless family members as we could and reviewed their previous statements.

We can’t placed Smith’s claims on the Truth-O-Meter. Yet here, we’ll lay the end the case for and against the allegations versus Clinton and also let readers pertained to their very own conclusion.

‘Because the this film that come out’

There to be initial confusion, and conflicting intelligence and also public statements, about whether the Benghazi strike was part of protests about a video clip mocking Islam and also depicting the prophet Mohammed. The video had sparked raucous demonstrations about the center East, consisting of one in ~ the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, top top the same day together Benghazi.

It turned the end that there to be no protests in Benghazi that day, and also the strike was premeditated. Some household members of the Benghazi victims have actually said Clinton stated a video clip in their meeting, also though she knew it didn’t cause the attack.

Patricia smith told CNN ~ above Oct. 10, 2012, that at the Joint basic Andrews meeting, national Security adviser Susan Rice "talked to me personally, and also she said this is the method it was. It was because of this film that come out."

Speaking in ~ a home hearing about a year later, Smith expanded on that, saying the Clinton, chairman Barack Obama, Rice and also others, every individually told she the strike stemmed indigenous the video.

"She lies. Very simple. She is not telling the truth," blacksmith said during an interview v Fox’s Megyn Kelly in 2015, as soon as Kelly lugged up the inquiry of whether Clinton mentioned the video.

Charles Woods, father of CIA operative Tyrone Woods, said talk show host valley Beck on Oct. 25, 2012, that Clinton claimed to him, "We will make certain that the human who made that film is arrested and also prosecuted."

In 2015, three years later, Woods shared with Fox News diary note he took after conference Clinton, Obama and other officials. "I gave Hillary a hug and shook she hand. And she claimed we are going to have actually the movie housing arrested who was responsible because that the fatality of my son," the entry stated in full.

Speaking v CNN’s Anderson Cooper in October 2015, Kate Quigley, sister of CIA operative valley Doherty, said Clinton mentioned protests yet not a video.

"She spoke to my family around how sad we should feel because that the Libyan people because they room uneducated, and also that each other fear, which breeds violence, and also leads come a protest," Quigley said, adding that Clinton determined to "perpetuate what she knew to be untrue."

In enhancement to meeting with family members members privately at Andrews the day, Clinton do a publicly statement. In it, she didn’t specify what motivated the attack, but she did cite the video. She was careful, though, not to straight tie it to Benghazi.

"This has actually been a an overwhelming week because that the State Department and for our country," she said. "We’ve checked out the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi the took the stays of those brave men. We’ve watched rage and violence command at American embassies end an horrible Internet video that we had actually nothing to execute with."

‘Part of the fog that war’

Some family members don’t remember any kind of discussion that a video.

Jan Stevens, father of Ambassador chris Stevens, told that the first time he heard anything around a video was when the Washington short article Fact Checker dubbed him through a similar question. He evidenced that the heard "nothing whatsoever" around a video from Clinton yet declined come comment further.

Tyrone Woods’ mother, Cheryl Bennett, told that as soon as she spoke v Clinton, she "never heard the word ‘video’ mentioned. That’s just a fact." Bennett, who is estranged native Charles Woods, claimed the an ideas behind the strike didn’t come increase in her quick interaction with Clinton.

Barbara Doherty, glenn Doherty’s mother, didn’t recall talking through Clinton about a video clip and said she mental Clinton together being sincere and also crying, according to the Washington Post.

Clinton, for she part, flatly denies speak anything about the movie in her one-on-one v the families. Top top Dec. 30, 2015, brand-new Hampshire’s Conway day-to-day Sun inquiry her about the allegation the she lied come the families.

"I can't recite for you whatever that was in a conversation where people were sobbing, where people were distraught, the president and also the angry president, we were every making the rounds talking to people, listening to people," Clinton said, after saying she didn’t tell them anything around the videos. "This was a component of the fog that war."

When Clinton to be asked in a march 9 Univision conflict if she lied to the family members members, she said, "I feel a an excellent deal that sympathy for the families of the 4 brave Americans that we lost at Benghazi. And I definitely can't also imagine the grief that (the mother of one victim) has actually for shedding her son, however she's wrong. She's certain wrong. I and also everybody in the administration, every the human being she named, the president, the vice president, Susan Rice, we were scrambling to acquire information that was changing, literally by the hour. And when we had information, us made the public. However then sometimes we had to go ago and say we have brand-new information that contradicts it."

For the sake of argument, let’s say Clinton had actually told the family members something around the video: would she have been informing them miscellaneous she knew to be false? no necessarily.

A clear picture of even if it is there had been protests in Benghazi didn’t come with each other until Sept. 15, a job after Clinton met v the families, according to multiple Senate examination reports.

In that is same-day report about the ceremony in ~ Andrews, the brand-new York Times composed that information available to the White home at the time argued there to be protests in Benghazi spurred by those in Cairo, and also Islamic extremists took benefit of the situation and also began the attack.

Many world say Clinton knew it was a terrorist strike wholly unconnected from protests ~ above the work of the attacks, Sept. 11, 2012. That day, Ansar al-Sharia, one al-Qaida affiliated group, took duty for the attack. In ~ the next 24 hours, we recognize Clinton relayed this come Libyan president Mohamed Magariaf and Egyptian prime Minister Hesham Kandil. She additionally emailed her daughter, Chelsea, the night, telling her the assault seemed to have been committed by one al-Qaida-like group.

However, this to be all prior to Ansar al-Sharia retracted their claim of responsibility. Therefore it’s possible Clinton had intelligence about feasible protests, rather than an unconnected terror attack, in mind when she met with the families. Yet this is, again, miscellaneous we most likely won’t ever know.

Even absent protests in Benghazi, some knowledge says the video played part motivational role, offering a rallying call for opportunistic attackers, according to congressional investigations. A Libyan terrorist intimately associated in the Benghazi attack, who the United says has because captured, reportedly said at the time that he to be partially encouraged by the video, because that example.

"I think to now the video clip played a role," Clinton said at her congressional testimony Oct. 22, 2015.

In conclusion

It is difficult to know with certainty what Clinton called these families in quick conversations at a exclusive reception only three days after Benghazi. Some, yet not all, family members that have spoken to the media claimed Clinton discussed a video clip or protests in your meeting. Some said she didn’t mention a video. Clinton says she go not.

If she did to speak something around the video, would it have been an knowingly lie? It’s very feasible that this is one of the many conflicting piece of knowledge that the management was working v at the time.

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There merely is not sufficient concrete information in the public domain because that anyone to claim as truth that Clinton walk or did not lie to the Benghazi families.