clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Confused by Benghazi? Here’s a 4-minute explanation.

You've almost certainly heard the word "Benghazi" a lot. What you may not know is what actually happened on September 11, 2012 — the night that US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi — or what the deal is with the controversies that came afterward. This video explains it all:

On September 11, 2012, a partially armed group of men stormed a US diplomatic outpost in the Libyan city of Benghazi. At the time, it was not clear who they were or why they'd attacked. But by the time the attack was over, four Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, had been killed.

The attack ended by the early hours of September 12. But it has echoed in Washington ever since. The controversy has centered on Republican accusations that the Obama administration did not take heed of intelligence warnings before the attack, that during the attack it refused to call in available military support, and that after the attack it deliberately covered up what had happened.

Repeated independent investigations have disproven all of these allegations. But Republicans have continued to push them, insisting that these failures go all the way to the top, personally involving President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They've done so partly out political expediency — they think it's a great way to attack Clinton's presidential campaign — and partly out of a genuine belief that the administration is covering up the truth.

But regardless of the motivation, it's kind of paid off for Republicans: The House Select Committee on Benghazi, created by Speaker of the House John Boehner in 2014, found the first documented evidence that Clinton used unauthorized private email servers for State Department business, which became a major scandal. Unless Clinton is defeated in the Democratic primary, Benghazi will be around for the rest of the 2016 election — and if she wins, you'll likely be hearing about it for much longer.


Why China’s population is shrinking


How Western weapons transformed the war in Ukraine


Why the dyslexic brain is misunderstood

View all stories in Video