January 23, 2013

Senator Kaine Participates in First Committee Hearing, Questions Secretary Clinton on Benghazi Attacks

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine participated in his first hearing as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, questioning Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her testimony on the tragic attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, that cost four American lives. 

In his opening statement, Kaine praised Clinton for her extraordinary service to the nation and the world.

“I think the country is at its strongest when we balance military strength with diplomatic strength, economic strength and strength of our moral example and I can’t think of a person who exemplifies that balance in a public service career as well as you do,” Kaine said.

In his questioning, Kaine asked Clinton for details on how the Libyan government was notified of the mission in Benghazi and followed up with inquiries about the reliance on non-governmental security forces to guard embassies.

Clinton welcomed Kaine to the committee and answered that the U.S. government notified Libya of the individuals serving in Libya and that the shortcomings in their response was not their “willingness, it was their capacity.” She also expressed that the temporary nature of the missions caused some level of confusion to some employees of the State Department.

“We do think that needs to be looked at going forward,” Clinton said. “The ARB [Accountability Review Board] made a very important point that the so-called temporary nature of the mission did prove to be confusing to people down the chain…”

Following the hearing, Kaine committed to partner with other members of Congress to implement solutions to ensure the safety of members of the diplomatic corps and urged continued cooperation between U.S. government agencies and international partners to find those responsible for the attack.

"I strongly believe we must enhance security for our diplomats and civilians serving at our Embassies and overseas posts and urge quick implementation of the Accountability Review Board’s recommendations, especially in high-risk locations,” Kaine said.

Kaine will join the Senate Foreign Relations Committee again on Thursday for the confirmation hearing of Senator John Kerry to be Secretary of State.