During Thursday’s contentious meeting of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Alabama U.S. Rep. Martha Roby questioned former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on an email between two state department staffers which Roby said were “troubling.”
An email exchange between Libya Desk Officer Alyce N. Abdalla and Deputy Director of the Office of Maghreb Affairs Evyenia Sidereas, Abdalla told Sideras:
“[T]he Secretary asked last week if we still have a presence in Benghazi – I think she would be upset to hear that yes we do but because we don’t have enough security they are on lockdown.”
Roby said on Thursday that was a sign that, contrary to Clinton’s testimony she was “actively involved” in security at the Libyan outpost, then-Secretary Clinton had taken a someone laissez-faire approach to the department’s presence in Benghazi.
“How could this be that two of your staffers are emailing about whether or not you even knew that we had a presence in Benghazi in 2012 with all your interest in Libya in 2011?” Roby asked Clinton.
Clinton responded she “couldn’t comment on what has been reported,” about the emails, though she insisted “of course I knew we had a presence in Benghazi.”
Clinton then spoke at length about the State Department’s presence there, saying “I was doing a lot” as it pertained to Benghazi, but that didn’t satisfy Roby.
“Sure, but this was your staff and it has to make me wonder if they had this conversation with you, why they would make it up,” said Roby.
Roby tried twice to refer Clinton to the email exchange, which she said she was not aware of, but Clinton declined both times.
Roby, a Republican first elected in 2010, represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District based in the Wiregrass region of southeastern portion of the state.
See the full exchange between Roby and Clinton below.