By Jonathan Easley - 08/16/13 12:25 PM EDT
Former secretary of State Hillary Clinton shouted at lawmakers and deliberately lied to them in a private meeting about last year's deadly strike on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said Friday.
Speaking on Fox and Friends, Kinzinger said he and other members of Congress had a private meeting with Clinton about the Benghazi attack, and that the she became agitated when someone suggested it might have been a terrorist attack.
“I actually sat there in that meeting and said, well the secretary believes this is a YouTube video because of how passionately she’s arguing that,” he continued. “But now we found out … that they knew this whole time that it was a terrorist attack, including when it was happening.”
Kinzinger wouldn’t reveal the name of the lawmaker that provoked Clinton’s ire, saying the member could come out on their own if they wanted to.
“I don’t care about the yelling so much – and she yelled,” Kinzinger said. “I care more about the fact that a member of Congress who has a right to know this and ask these questions was chided for asking about what we eventually found out was the truth.”
Former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice appeared on Sunday news shows following the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks, and said intelligence indicated they were a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam video circulating on the Internet. The administration later admitted Rice’s claim was wrong and labeled the event an act of terror.
The State Department has since said the agency was concerned that the preliminary talking points went too far in assigning blame for the attack and would have been inconsistent with what the White House had said at that early stage.
On Friday, Fox anchor Brian Kilmeade asked Kinzinger if he believed Clinton deliberately lied in the meeting.
“Absolutely,” he said. “If you look at the emails that were exchanged during the attack, they knew what was going on.”
Kinzinger said the administration tried to play down the notion of a terrorist attack because President Obama would have been damaged politically in the final stages of the 2012 election.
“The president didn’t want to admit it, he didn’t want to say it,” Kinzinger said. “He was more interested in getting through November.”
Earlier this month, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent a letter to the State Department demanding more information about the talking points the Obama administration used.
Issa says emails he obtained through a subpoena indicate that State Department leadership signed off on talking points that said the attack was due to a spontaneous protest, even though they were aware of a potential terrorist threat in the region at the time of the attack.