Fact-check: Clinton’s testimony about US Marine protection in question

clintonDemocratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton was secretary of state for four years and she doesn’t know why U.S. Marines are attached to diplomatic missions?

One of the issues that came up at Thursday’s House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing was the security forces the facility had available to ward off the attack and protect the outpost’s personnel.

Clinton claimed that the Marines that were present were not there for personal protection of the diplomatic personnel.

“Certainly it was useful for our security professionals and our diplomats to be partnered in that way with the Defense Department,” she told the committee members.

“You know, historically the only presence at some of our facilities has been Marines. And as you know well, Marines were there not for the purpose of personnel protection; they were there to destroy classified material and equipment.” (Hillary Clinton, Select Committee On Benghazi, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 10/22/15)

That’s only half true, according to the Marine Corps Security Group, which provides:

The primary mission of the Marine Security Guard (MSG) is to provide internal security at designated U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities in order to prevent the compromise of classified material vital to the national security of the United States. The secondary mission of the MSG is to provide protection for U.S. citizens and U.S government property located within designated U.S. diplomatic and consular premises during exigent circumstances (urgent temporary circumstances which require immediate aid or action).

If a unified attack by the al-Qaida affiliated Ansar al-Sharia militants with mortars and fully-automatic weapons didn’t constitute “exigent circumstances,” one would be at a loss as to what would.

Editor’s Note: It was mistakenly written that Hillary Clinton had served as the US Secretary of State for eight years and not four. This was an error that made it through editing, and for that I apologize. The post has been corrected.

Watch Clinton’s reply in this clip.

Editor’s note: this originally stated that Clinton was secretary of state for eight years, not the four years she actually served in that capacity.


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