US Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) questions US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the September 11, 2012 attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 23, 2013. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced a tough line of questioning Wednesday as lawmakers grilled her on the deadly terrorist attack that occurred in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012. No one posed tougher questions than Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who blasted the "inexcusable" failure of "leadership" Clinton displayed in the time leading up to the assault.
Paul told Clinton he was glad she had decided to take responsibility for the "worst tragedy since 9/11" but that doesn't excuse the State Department for ignoring cables from Benghazi asking for additional security and warning of extremist activity.
"Had I been president at the time, and I found that you did not read the cables from Benghazi, you did not read the cables from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post," he said. "I think it's inexcusable."
He continued: "I would think that by anybody's estimation, Libya has to have been one of the hottest of hotspots around the world. Not to know of the requests for securities really, I think, cost these people their lives. Their lives could have been saved if someone had been more available, had someone been aware of these things, more on top of the job."
Paul went on to say that he does not suspect Clinton of "bad motives" but that doesn't excuse her negligence in the situation, even it was wasn't "willful."
Watch Sen. Paul skewer Clinton during Wednesday's Benghazi hearing:
The senator followed up by asking Clinton whether she had any knowledge of the transfer of weapons to Turkey out of Libya. She denied having any knowledge of it, but took the question "for the record," never denying it.
"To Turkey?" Clinton asked, perplexed. "I will have to take the question for the record, nobody's ever raised that with me."
"It's been in news reports that ships have been leaving from Libya and that that they may have weapons," Paul pressed. "And what I'd like to know is the annex that was closely, were they involved with procuring, buying, selling, obtaining weapons and were any of these weapons being transferred to other countries, any countries."
"Well, senator, you will have to direct that question to the agency that ran the annex. I will see what information is available," Clinton replied.
"You're saying you don't know," Paul shot back.
"I don't know. I don't have any information on that," she said.