San Diego mother who lost son in attack on U.S. consulate in Libya reacts to Clinton's testimony
Pat Smith lost son Sean in consulate attack
Last Updated: 120 days ago
SAN DIEGO - The mother of a man who was killed in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya spoke with 10News after watching U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answer questions about the attack during congressional hearings on Wednesday.
"I can't bring my son back. I can't bring him back at all. I want to know what happened," said Pat Smith at her Clairemont home. "My son told me what the problem was and if he could tell me, I'm sure she knew it too."
The problem – which an internal investigation found in December – was "grossly inadequate" security despite repeated requests for more staffing.
Smith's son Sean, a communications specialist, was one of four Americans killed in the attack.
"He was one of the first persons killed and I know how he died, but what I don't know is why wasn't there any protection?" she said.
"Nobody wants to sit where I am and have to think now about what 'coulda, shoulda, woulda' happened," said Clinton during the hearings with both Senate and House committees.
Clinton said she was not aware of the security requests and that those are handled by department security professionals. Three State Department officials resigned in December following the release of the internal report.
While recounting the day the flag-draped coffins of those killed came home, Clinton fought back tears.
"I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the sons and daughters," she said.
What Smith remembers from that day is U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta holding her face and saying, "We will not keep you in the dark."
She added, "He looked at me right in the eye and told me that. I'm waiting."
Smith said she wants Clinton to not just take responsibility – which she has – but to admit she blew it.
Holding back tears, Smith said she raised a strong kid who is gone now and that he deserves that much.
"He loved what he was doing," she said. "He did a darn good job and he would do it again, even knowing."
Clinton insisted recommendations now being implemented will ensure security requests receive high level attention. Meanwhile, Smith said four months after officials promised to keep her in the loop, no one has contacted her.
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