WASHINGTON -- Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) had perhaps the most bizarre line of inquiry at Thursday's meeting of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, where Hillary Clinton appeared for a second time to testify about the 2012 terror attacks in Libya.
The congressman alleged that Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador who died in the attacks, had less access to the former secretary of state than her friend Sidney Blumenthal, who repeatedly emailed Clinton about Libya in the months before Sept. 11, 2012.
"Ambassador Stevens didn't have your email, is that correct? Your personal email?" Pompeo asked.
"Yes, that's right," Clinton replied.
"Did he have your cell phone number?" Pompeo asked.
"No, but he had the 24-hour number of state operations at the State Department," Clinton said.
"Did he have your fax number?" Pompeo asked.
"He had the fax number of the State Department," Clinton responded.
"Did he have your home address?" he shot back.
"No, I don't think any ambassador has ever asked me for that," Clinton said.
"Did he ever stop by your house?" Pompeo asked.
"No, he did not, Congressman," Clinton responded, looking a bit exasperated.
Her answers proving sufficient, Pompeo proceeded to make his point.
"Mr. Blumenthal had each of those and did each of those things," he said. "This man who provided you so much information on Libya had access to you in ways that were very different than the access that a very senior diplomat had to you and your person."
It's fair to criticize Clinton for entertaining the attention-seeking antics of Blumenthal. But it's not really realistic to expect a secretary of state to remain in direct contact with every ambassador around the globe. Clinton says Stevens was her friend. But no number of house visits would have prevented the attack in Benghazi.
Pompeo's line of inquiry was even the subject of mockery by John Podhoretz, editor of the conservative Commentary magazine:
Pompeo has been beating the Blumenthal drum for some time. On Sunday, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell rebuked him after he said Clinton relied on Blumenthal “for most of her intelligence.”
“That is factually not correct... I cover the State Department," Mitchell said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "That is just factually not correct.”