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Will Benghazi make a difference for Hillary Clinton?

Published: Saturday, Aug. 1 2015 10:33 p.m. MDT

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.   (Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press) Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press)

A bipartisan report by the Senate Intelligence Committee released Wednesday illustrates that the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012 — leaving four Americans dead — not only could have been avoided, but places the blame on Hilary Clinton’s State Department.

As reported by the New York Times, the report doesn’t bring many new significant details to light. “But it is unsparing in its criticism of the State Department for failing to provide adequate security to the mission even as violence spiked in Benghazi in June 2012.”

The report concludes, “the Committee believes the State Department should have recognized the need to increase security to a level commensurate with the threat, or suspend operations in Benghazi. However, operations continued with minimal improvements in security and personnel protections.”

So, in light of the committee’s new conclusions, how does this bode for Hillary Clinton’s prospects at becoming our first woman president?

According to Aliyah Frumin of MSNBC, although Benghazi will be a “thorn” for Clinton, she cites experts who say that it won't prevent her presidential run.

P.J. Crowley, a former assistant secretary of state for public affairs under Clinton, is quoted in Frumin’s article as saying, “It will come up. It’s part of her record, and lots of people will be scrutinizing her record. She’ll be challenged to explain Benghazi one more time.” Crowley goes on to state that Clinton can shine in a foreign policy debate and that she most likely welcomes one.

However, Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post believes that her failure in Benghazi may prove difficult to navigate around. “It is a repudiation of nearly every White House talking point in the aftermath of the murder of four Americans in Libya,” Rubin writes. “Contrary to White House and Hillary Clinton spin, this was from the outset known to be an al-Qaeda operation, one that could have been preventable.”

There are many talking points for Clinton to explain if she decides to run.

In her famous testimony at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, she asked, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

In 2016, we will see if it makes any difference at all.

Erik Raymond is experienced in national and international politics. He relocated from the Middle East where he was working on his second novel. He produces content for DeseretNews.com. You can reach him at: eraymond@deseretdigital.com @RaymondErik

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