In a passionate interview with host Brooke Baldwin on the June 17 edition of CNN Newsroom, Patricia Smith – mother of slain U.S. diplomat Sean Smith – voiced her frustrations about the lack of answers she has received from the Obama administration regarding Benghazi.
Smith had one basic request for Hillary Clinton, a simple phone call [MP3 audio here; video below]:
All I’ve asked for is for Hillary to give me a telephone call and tell me what happened. If it's classified, fine, whisper it in my ear but just tell me. No, she gets to know. Everybody else up there in the big shot wing gets to know but the mother of the son that got killed is not allowed to know these things.
When Baldwin asked Mrs. Smith what justice would look like to her, Smith emphatically stated, “there is no justice for me. My son is gone. He's dead. Nobody has been standing up to say it's their fault...Yes, I'm upset and I think I will be upset until the day I die. I'm sorry.”
Continuing the discussion, Baldwin wondered what one question Mrs. Smith would ask Hillary Clinton if they had the chance. Smith responded:
Why did she not give security to those people that were there?...But why can't they just tell me the truth? Just the truth. That should be something that's allowable. But she don't care. She wants to be president.
While many in the mainstream media have insisted upon the idea that all the questions surrounding the Benghazi attacks have been answered, Mrs. Smith–and almost certainly other families of the victims–have their doubts. As Mrs. Smith carefully noted, the dithering of Mrs. Clinton on Benghazi is ultimately about her political aspirations.
A portion of the transcript from the interview is below:
June 17, 2014
2:18 p.m. Eastern
BROOKE BALDWIN, host: That was Patricia Smith then. She is joining me now on the phone. Mrs. Smith, welcome. I will never forget that interview, and thinking of those bloody hand-prints and you not knowing if it was your son. I want to follow up on that interview and see if you got the answers you so deserve but first, what do you make of the news today that the U.S. has finally captured this key suspect in the attack that killed your son? Pat Smith, can you hear me? It's Brooke with CNN. We're live on TV.
PATRICIA SMITH, mother of Sean Smith (killed in Benghazi attack): Okay.
BALDWIN: Can you hear me?
SMITH: I can hear you. You're cutting in and out.
BALDWIN: Hopefully we won't. I will just repeat my question and speak slowly for you. My question is this. With the news today of this key capture of one of these alleged terrorists involved in the attack that killed your son, what do you make of that news?
SMITH: Well, it's wonderful that they finally caught him after all this time. I didn't have too much hope for it anymore because they didn't want to.
BALDWIN: How do you mean?
SMITH: Well, if he was out there and available to be spoken to and other people can speak to him, why did it take them so long to do this? They didn't want to. I don't know if it was because of something that's so secret over there, I don't know. They haven't told me anything. They still haven't told me anything. Anything that I have gotten, any information I've gotten has been from the outside, from–not from the state department, because they just told me lies. What I have gotten it from the seals and from the people that were there and some terrorists even called me on the phone and told me some of the things that happened. So I don't have too much hope for anything else other than that they've got to get the rest of those guys. They've got to get them and like they promised, they've got to just do it, for god's sakes. Just do it. But no, they don't want to. Because they're afraid something might come out.
BALDWIN: They did it, it sounds like, with this one individual. And I hear you, we know there could be others that they are looking for, but I hear the passion, I hear the frustration in your voice. You were frustrated two years ago and understandably so. In talking to my colleague, Anderson. When you say you haven't got the answers, the answers that you were promised from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Joe Biden, can I ask, when's the last time you heard from either of those individuals or someone from state?
SMITH: Okay. The last time I heard from them was at the casket ceremony when they said that they're going to let me know when the ceremony comes up so that they can get me down for the medal ceremony. They never did. I had to get transportation from Hannity. He was able to afford or he paid for my airplane ticket to go there for the medal ceremony. But they did not contact me at all. Not at all.
BALDWIN: Do you even know to this day, we're coming up on two years in just a couple of months, do you know the official cause of death for Sean?
SMITH: Do I know, I don't know if I do or not. I know what I've been told. But I have been told two different things. Both of them are the same type of thing, that it was asphyxiation from the diesel fire. But I'm not even sure if he was in the casket. I asked to see him and they wouldn't let me see him. They said I had to go to Dover in order to see who was in that casket. Which I didn't do.
BALDWIN: What about the fact we have now learned that this man, this alleged terrorist, will be brought to U.S. Soil, he will face the American justice system, federal court in Washington, D.C. How do you feel about him being brought to the U.S., how do you–what does justice look like for you?
SMITH: Justice for me, I don't think there is justice for me. My son is gone. He's dead. Nobody has been standing up to say it's their fault. They stand up for it and this is the reason why. That's what I want to know, why. Why were those decisions made, not a bunch of baloney that they have been handing out, but why were those decisions made, and why, just why. A whole bunch of whys because nobody has talked to me about anything. Not about anything. Yes, I'm upset and I think I will be upset until the day I die. I'm sorry.
BALDWIN: You have every right to be upset and you deserve all the answers that were promised to you.
SMITH: They've–they don't give a damn. You would think that after all this time, all I’ve asked for is for Hillary to give me a telephone call and tell me what happened. If it's classified, fine, whisper it in my ear but just tell me. No, she gets to know. Everybody else up there in the big shot wing gets to know but the mother of the son that got killed is not allowed to know these things.
BALDWIN: Mrs. Smith, Hillary Clinton will be answering questions as part of a town hall in a couple of hours here on CNN. Let me ask you live on CNN, if you could ask her one question, because Christiane Amanpour will be doing so, what is your one question for Hillary Clinton?
SMITH: Why did she not give security to those people that were there? She sent them in there to do her thing, whatever it is that they were supposed to do, which they did willingly, and my son I'm sure did willingly, and he would probably do it again even knowing what the outcome is. But why can't they just tell me the truth? Just the truth. That should be something that's allowable. But she don't care. She wants to be president.
BALDWIN: We don't know. She has written about this, she has answered many questions, she’s testified under oath for seven hours. I hear you, though. I hear your frustration. Let me just end with this and we will be watching to see how she responds to some of this that will certainly it will be brought in front of her in a couple of hours. I want to talk about–I want to end with Sean. He left behind a family, a wife, children. What do you want the world to know about Sean?
SMITH: Oh, god. I'm sure he was–he agreed to do whatever it is that they wanted him to do. I'm sure he volunteered, as they say, because this is the way he was. And like I had always told him, honey, just–you don't choose it, it chooses you. It will find you and have you do what's necessary to do. But the state department stinks. When I was there at the ceremony for the Colin Powell ceremony when Sean was elected into the foreign services institute, Colin turned around to all the people that were there, I was there, I know, he turned around to everybody there and says look, everybody, look at the people that are here on this stage graduating from the institute. I want you to know that these are my people and I will never, ever let you down. Turned around and looked at everybody and said look at that person, that's the one that's going to be helping you, that's the one that's going to be there for you when you need help. And guess what? Nobody was there. They even denied him–why did they deny him the security they asked for over eight times? And why did Hillary sit there and watch drones go through and not do anything about it? And why did Obama go to Las Vegas to make his bets or whatever it is he did in Las Vegas to raise money, because that's his important thing. Why all that? Why can't they just give me an answer on something? That will make me go away, but they won't do it.
BALDWIN: Maybe they will. Maybe they will. Maybe they will.
SMITH: No, they won't. No, they won't. They want to save their ass.
BALDWIN: Patricia Smith, I'm so sorry for the loss of your son. I appreciate all the time you have given me. Quite candidly here, live on TV. Thank you. I'm so sorry.
SMITH: Thank you.