WASHINGTON — As a new member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, was among the last to question Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about her knowledge of the Benghazi consulate attack.
After a brief exchange of pleasantries, Cotton got in three questions during his allotted three minutes.
Cotton first asked if she was concerned about the ongoing FBI investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
On Sept. 21, Clinton said there would be "no rest until we track down and bring to justice" those responsible. But, in testimony Wednesday she said she "certainly hoped" the FBI finds out who is responsible.
"Does the difference in those statements reflect any concern on your part in the investigation?" he asked.
"No it does not," Clinton responded. "I hope it is clear that when President Obama says he is going to bring people to justice, even if it takes time, he means what he says."
Cotton then asked about the role of al Qaeda and the Islamic Maghreb in the Libya attack.
Clinton said she would not prejudge the FBI investigation but noted that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have "severely depleted" al Qaeda.
"What we are dealing with now are Jihadists associated with al Qaeda who have gained, unfortunately, very serious combat experience and are coming back to the countries they left," she said.
Lastly, Cotton asked about the release earlier this month of Ali Harzi, one of the only men who had been in custody for alleged links to the attack.
Clinton said she was not distressed by the release because high-ranking Tunisian officials have pledged to monitor his whereabouts.
Clinton appeared in the morning before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
During the daylong testimony, Clinton defended her handling of the September 11 attack and insisted that the administration had not tried to mislead the American people about the cause of the attacks.