As former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton prepares to testify about the deadly 2012 attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, the frustrated mother of a man who died in the violence is demanding "the truth for a change."
San Diego resident Patricia Smith lost her son, Sean, in the Sept. 11, 2012 attack, when insurgents stormed the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi and overwhelmed security. They killed four Americans: Sean Smith; U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens; and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods, of Imperial Beach; and Glen Doherty, of Encinitas, California.
Sean was a state department communications specialist, and his mother said more than three years after his death, she is still waiting for answers from Clinton.
"Why does she get to know what happened and I don't? What is so… it was her department. How come she let my son be killed, how come? She knew this was happening," said Patricia Smith.
Patricia Smith said the state department told her she was not a member of Sean’s immediate family, so did not have to release details of his death to her.
She hopes to get some answers when Clinton goes before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill Thursday. Clinton, a Democratic candidate for president, was the U.S. secretary of state during the attacks.
"I hope she opens up her mouth and says something that's the truth for a change," Patricia Smith said. "She promised she would get back to me and tell me what happened; she has never, ever communicated with me."
Committee chairman Trey Gowdy said he wants to ask Clinton why U.S. security was not enforced as the conditions in Libya got worse. But in recent weeks, some Republicans have suggested Clinton herself is the panel's target.
During last week's Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Clinton said she'll answer all questions but believes this is a concerted Republican effort to derail her campaign.
"This committee is basically an arm of the Republican National Committee," she said. "It is a partisan vehicle as admitted by the House Republican Majority Leader Mr. McCarthy to drive down my poll numbers."
One committee member, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, agreed with Clinton’s view.
"After 17 months, $4.5 million, we have nothing new to tell the families, apart from that there was a private email server," said Schiff. "That doesn't tell us anything about Benghazi."
Five House committees and two Senate committees have held hearings on Benghazi. Clinton testified at two of them, taking responsibility for the tragedy and agreeing to improve security at diplomatic outposts.
Thursday marks the first time Clinton will testify before Congress about the private server she used for emails during her time as secretary of state.