Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bears responsibility for the attacks on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, and will be held accountable should she run for president in 2016, former Vice President Dick Cheney said.
“It’s a major issue,” Cheney, who served under President George W. Bush, said in an interview on the “Fox News Sunday” TV program. “I don’t think we’ve heard the last of it yet.”
The Republican-controlled House voted this month to create a select committee to continue investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks, which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The panel will probe whether President Barack Obama’s administration intentionally misled the public when officials initially asserted the violence didn’t stem from planned terrorism. The officials later said it did.
Democrats say the attack and the administration’s comments on it have been thoroughly vetted.
“It’s a hunting mission for a lynch mob,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who is chairman of the chamber’s intelligence committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
She said questions about the attacks have been “answered to the satisfaction” of her committee, citing past hearings and four reports.
Clinton, whose 2008 presidential run was derailed by the surging popularity of fellow Democratic candidate Obama, has said she’ll make a decision on a 2016 White House run by the end of this year.
Cheney, who was vice president from 2001 to 2009, also criticized Obama for his handling of the crisis in Ukraine. Obama has “demonstrated repeatedly” that he can “be pushed around” by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cheney said.
Putin is “taking advantage of this opportunity when he thinks we have a weak president to try to restore some of the old Soviet Union,” Cheney told Fox News.
The U.S. and U.K. imposed sanctions on Russian companies and individuals in Putin’s inner circle after he annexed the Crimean peninsula in March.
Fighting is escalating in Ukraine’s eastern regions as the country’s government pursues a national-unity discussion without the participation of separatists. Unofficial referendums on secession earlier this month in Donetsk and Luhansk ended with rebels declaring independence. The violence is threatening to disrupt Ukraine’s May 25 presidential election, which the U.S., European Union and NATO say is being undermined by Russian intervention.
The government in Kiev and its allies in the U.S. and EU have rejected the secession referendums as illegal, and accuse Putin of stirring unrest after annexing Crimea. NATO says Putin still has 40,000 troops arrayed on Ukraine’s border and hasn’t fulfilled promises to pull them back.
Cheney, who before his stint as vice president served as a U.S. secretary of defense and in the U.S. House of Representatives, appeared on the Fox program with his wife, Lynne Cheney. She is the author of “James Madison: A Life Reconsidered,” a new book examining the life and legacy of the fourth U.S. president.