After four months of playing hide and seek with the American people, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honored the Congress with her presence long enough to duck and deceive the American people regarding the worst incident of terrorism against Americans since 9/11.
Those who are fans of Mrs. Clinton must have been delighted with her tap dancing around questions addressed to her by House and Senate Committee members. Those fans consider all this as just stagecraft created by political hacks that have no right to question “his eminence” --the President -- or his esteemed Secretary of State. Yet there are many questions unanswered and new questions that were created by her testimony.
The moment that received the most coverage was Secretary Clinton’s heated response to a question from Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI). Johnson queried Clinton as to why her office was not immediately able to determine whether the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi were spontaneous or planned by a terrorist group. Clinton responded in an animated and heated manner: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”
It makes a lot of difference. Not because of the great point that Charles Krauthammer made after the hearing where he pointed out that telling the truth to the American people is important. The central question has not been laid to rest as to whether the Administration was covering up the fact that Al Qaeda was resurgent despite Obama’s biggest foreign policy coup – killing Bin Laden. Nor is it because of the point others brought out about the fact that Ambassador Stevens had made repeated requests for additional security, but Clinton claims not to be aware of such requests.
It is much simpler than that. That night had started with major protests in Egypt. They had reportedly spread to Libya. It was 9/11, the anniversary of the largest attack on the American homeland in history. It certainly appeared that neither the American Embassy in Egypt nor our consulate in Libya or our Libyan Ambassador properly prepared for the day at hand. The rest of Northern Africa had been a powder keg for over a year. Understanding the nature of the attack in Libya certainly would give guidance to how our State Department staff in a place like Tunisia should prepare themselves in the coming hours. It is that simple, yet our Secretary of State does not think it of significant importance.
Then there is Ms. Clinton’s management of her department. She stated she has concern for all of the 70,000 employees at the State Department. We know we are a big country and we know it is a complicated world, but really -- 70,000 employees? If you take the estimated 195 countries and put 100 staff people in each country that totals 19,500. That would include providing for 100 staff people in countries like Burundi or Macau. If you double that for all the people who might work here in the U.S. and add some vigorish you have 39,000 people. Why in God’s name do we have 70,000 people in that department? No wonder we are broke; and Clinton claims there was not enough security because of insufficient resources and points her finger at Congress?
But more importantly, the question of her management has to be asked. Mrs. Clinton claims that the requests from Ambassador Stevens for more security did not cross her desk. We are big on delegation, but how did she not know? This was Libya, one of the hot button places in the world. A place that was clearly unsettled. This was not additional security requests from Belgium or the Bahamas. Nor was it even security requests from Colombia or Indonesia. This was a request from the Ambassador in Libya. Not only that, there were multiple requests. If the requests did not filter up to Clinton then she is guilty of gross negligence of management. Are you saying your staff does not know what to bring to your attention? Either she has no idea how to train her staff or she wanted institutional ignorance. Either way she is guilty.
Most people think that Clinton’s ducking and obfuscating got her out of any real scrutiny on this issue. With most of the press being in the bag for Obama and Clinton, this issue could go away. It is now in the hands of my friend, Congressman Ed Royce, chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, to keep the hope alive that some truth will come out of this murderous mess. Go get then, Congressman. Don’t let Hillary’s lies take the day.