Hillary Clinton and Rachel Maddow Talk About Benghazi

The former secretary of state was all smiles and giggles as she prepared to sit down with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow Monday night. Their already-scheduled interview just happened to be conducted at the exact moment Fulton County prosecutors announced another bombshell indictment against Donald Trump in relation to the 2020 election interference case.

What happened in Benghazi?

After the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Libya became lawless and awash in weapons. On the evening of Sept. 11, 2012, extremists armed with AK-47 rifles and grenades stormed the U.S. special mission in Benghazi, killing Ambassador Stevens and two other Americans.

Several investigations faulted bureaucratic miscues and interagency blunders for the attack. But the Obama administration initially blamed it on a video critiquing (and some say insulting) Islam.

A recent TV ad long on innuendo and short on facts accuses Clinton of “inaction before” and “indifference after.” It’s wrong. It’s also misleading to suggest that emails show that the State Department didn’t respond to a July 9, 2012, cable from Stevens requesting more security. It did, and they were ignored. The cable warned that if security in Benghazi was not improved, the compound would have to be closed. It remained open, however, and Stevens was killed along with a colleague and a US Navy SEAL who helped defend the facility.

What happened in the White House?

The White House isn’t just the official residence of the President of the United States, it’s also a symbol of the federal government and a place where all Americans feel they belong. That’s why it’s so disturbing when the institution is threatened by terrorists or thwarted by crazed individuals with guns.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow devoted an episode of her show this week to exploring the White House’s security challenges. She sat down with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to talk about some of the most notable examples.

In one instance, a pizza delivery man and former psychology student named Leland William Modjeski scaled a fence surrounding the White House and ran toward it with a pistol in his hand. Secret Service officers fired a gun at him, and he was later committed to a psychiatric hospital. Modjeski’s attempt was unsuccessful, but the incident made headlines and prompted a reevaluation of security at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Why are we so paranoid?

Thoughts like these are common, and don’t necessarily signal a mental illness. In fact, they can be beneficial if you’re able to talk about them with people you trust and feel safe with, such as close friends or a mental health professional.

In this case, the former first lady was on MSNBC to discuss her new essay, and ended up discussing the bombshell indictment of Donald Trump by a Georgia grand jury related to the state’s 2020 election interference investigation. Clinton and Rachel Maddow got into a fit of giggles over the development, and even more laughs when the former Secretary of State was asked about her feelings on Trump attacking her to fire up his hard-core base of support.

Researchers have shown that paranoid thinking is heightened in individuals who are anxious, highly sensitive to the opinions of others, exhibit cognitive rigidity, and/or have endured distressing experiences. The good news is, these thoughts are also known to dissipate when people find a sense of trust and safety with others.

What can we learn from the Benghazi hearings?

Eight months after the attack killed four Americans in Benghazi, Wednesday’s congressional hearings didn’t produce any dramatic revelations. But they did serve as a reminder of why Congress needs the select committee option—to shine light on grievous wrongdoing by powerful officials.

Clinton rebuffed attempts by Republicans to tie her directly to the attacks, saying security decisions didn’t fall to her and that she saw Ambassador Stevens as “a human being.” She also shot down claims that she personally turned down requests for extra security and accused her Republican interrogators of concocting conspiracy theories about what happened in Libya.

She did concede that State Department staff in Benghazi were not given enough resources and that the White House was misguided in saying the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam video that went viral. She also admitted to using a private email server to conduct government business while secretary of state. Congressional investigators have now obtained some of her emails.

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