The mother of one of the state department officials killed in the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack pointed the finger of blame directly at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.
Pat Smith's son, Sean Smith, was one of the four Americans killed last year when the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked. Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper the day before three State Department witnesses are set to deliver congressional testimony on the event, Smith expressed outrage at what she claimed was the continued refusal by officials to give her information about the events that lead up to her son's death.
After viewing a clip of Clinton's heated response to questioning during Senate testimony in January, Smith said she ultimately held Clinton accountable for the failure to protect Americans at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya.
"I blame her," she said. "[T]hat's her department. She is supposed to be on top of it. Yet she claims she knows nothing. It wasn't told to her. Well, who is running the place?"
Smith has not hidden her distress in the wake of the attack in Benghazi. A month after the tragedy, she said she told President Barack Obama that he "screwed up" by allowing her son and three other Americans to die. She also has said she was promised a detailed accounting of the night's events -- which she says she still hasn't received.
Smith is not the only parent speaking out ahead of Wednesday's hearing. Charles Woods, the father of slain Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, sat down with Sean Hannity of Fox News on Tuesday night. While Woods refused to answer a question about whom he blamed for the incident -- which Hannity asked after playing a clip of Clinton's testimony -- Woods did say that there appeared to be a general issue with "credibility" in terms of how the administration had disclosed information about the way it handled the attack.
The scheduled witnesses set to testify Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism; Gregory Hicks, the former deputy of mission in Libya; and Eric Nordstrom, a former regional security officer in Libya who testified before the panel in October. Many Republicans have eagerly previewed the day's events as sure to provide clear evidence of some sort of coverup or deeper negligence by the Obama administration, though others on both sides of the aisle have expressed skepticism.
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