On Friday, Bloomberg’s Francis Wilkinson predicted that “Benghazi will be Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Whitewater.”
Considering her long history of scandals – and the litany of subsequent excuses and denials she sent spinning to absolve herself of any fault — Examiner predicted Thursday that “Benghazi could prove to be a real “corkscrew landing” under “sniper fire” for Clinton in 2016.”
“In case you have any lingering doubt about the true agenda of House Republicans” in Wednesday’s Benghazi hearing, check out these numbers,” Jed Lewison fretted Thursday for the uber-liberal blog site, Daily Kos.
- 15: Number of times President Barack Obama was mentioned during the hearing
- 71: Number of times fmr. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was mentioned
Evidently, Lewison can’t imagine why Clinton – the “fmr. secretary of state,” whose duty it was to protect the lives of Chris Stevens, Sean Smith and ex-Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty who were killed under her watch – would be “mentioned” so many times during a hearing aimed at finding out who was responsible for the decisions that ultimately led to their deaths.
Never mind that the State Department knew Benghazi was a hostile, unsafe environment and that Clinton put Stevens and Smith there anyway.
As Examiner noted further Thursday, information revealed in the April 23 “Interim Progress Report for the House Republican Conference on the Events Surrounding the September 11, 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi, Libya,” showed that senior State Department officials scrubbed the official talking points to cover their tracks.
Specifically, after a White House Deputies Meeting on Saturday, September 15, 2012, the Administration altered the talking points to remove references to the likely participation of Islamic extremists in the attacks. The Administration also removed references to the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya, including information about at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi. Senior State Department officials requested – and the White House approved – that the details of the threats, specifics of the previous attacks, and previous warnings be removed to insulate the Department from criticism that it ignored the threat environment in Benghazi.
On Friday, ABC News released “12 versions of the now-discredited CIA Benghazi talking points.”
They show revisions from the State Department, including one email from spokeswoman Victoria Nuland requesting a paragraph deletion referencing previous attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi.
Nuland was afraid that such information “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either? Concerned .”
During Wednesday’s testimony, PJ Media noted that Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom said” that, of the very few diplomatic facilities worldwide that are considered as having a critical or high threat level for U.S. personnel by the GAO, Tripoli and Benghazi are two of them.
“And by statute, Mr. Nordstrom,” Rep. Jim Lankford, R-Okla., inquired, “who has authority to place personnel in the authority that does not meet the minimum [Overseas Security Policy Board] standards?”
“It’s my understanding that since we were the sole occupants of both of those facilities,” Nordstrom answered, “Benghazi and Tripoli, the only person who could grant waivers or exceptions of those was the secretary of State.”
During her Jan. 23 testimony before the Senate Committee, Clinton insisted that she wasn’t aware of any requests for additional security.
You know, Congressman, it was very disappointing to me that the [Accountability Review Board] concluded there were inadequacies and problems in the responsiveness of our team here in Washington to the security requests that were made by our team in Libya. And I was not aware of that going on, it was not brought to my attention.
Unfortunately for Clinton, an April 19, 2012 cable — signed by Clinton – showed that she personally denied the March 28, 2012 request by Ambassador Gene Cretz for additional security at the mission and even ordered “the planned removal” of additional “security elements” to move forward.
This “oopsie, there’s a memo proving I really did do it” scenario reminds you of Clinton’s Travelgate scandal, doesn’t it?
In May 1993 — after her husband became president — Clinton had all seven employees of the White House travel office fired – many of whom had served for 20 years.
According to a June 1994 report by American Spectator, she replaced them with friends from Worldwide Travel, the Arkansas travel agency that had provided a million dollars in deferred travel for the Clintons during Bill’s 1992 presidential run.
Not only did Clinton have these loyal, long-term employees fired, she effectively ruined their careers by initiating and FBI “investigation” that ultimately accused them of criminal activities.
But Clinton denied playing any role in the firings.
“Mrs. Clinton does not know the origin of the decision to remove the White House travel office employees” and she “did not direct that any action be taken,” her lawyers told congressional auditors in 1994, according to a June 2000 report by The Los Angele Times.
But, just as the April 19, 2012 cable – “signed by Clinton” — destroyed her claim that she never received requests for additional security in Benghazi — a memo from then-presidential aide David Watkins surfaced later that year that made it pretty clear that Clinton ordered the firings.
“There would be hell to pay if we failed to take swift and decisive action in conformity with the first lady’s wishes,” Watkins wrote, according to the transcript of a 1996 airing of NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.
Other handwritten notes by Watkins quote Clinton saying she wanted to give the travel business to Arkansas friends.
We need these people out. We need our people in. We need the slots.
Watkins was the one who fired the seven employees, made them surrender their White House passes, told them to get out within an hour and had them escorted – by security — from the building.
Reminds you of what happened to Gregory Hicks, doesn’t it?
Business Investor’s Daily noted Thursday that, after talking to investigators about his observations in Benghazi, Hicks — the deputy chief of mission in Libya and a career foreign service officer for 22 years — received a searing phone reprimand from a very angry Cheryl Mills, who happened to be the chief of staff to his boss, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”
Mills and the Clintons go way back. She worked in Bill’s White House legal office, then as counsel to Hillary’s presidential campaign, and then became chief of staff at State when Hillary was appointed secretary.
Hicks also got a call from Beth Jones, acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.
“Jones counseled me on my management style, she said staff was upset,” Hicks said. “(She) delivered a very blistering critique of my management style and said, ‘I don’t know why (Libya charge d’affaires) Larry Pope would want you back.’”
I asked her why the ambassador said there was a demonstration when the embassy reported there was an attack. The sense I got is that I needed to stop my line of questioning.
When Hicks was asked whether he’d ever been told before not to meet with a congressional delegation: “Never.”
For doing that, Hicks was summarily demoted.
While Benghazi is, without question, the most egregious display of Clinton’s incompetence – and further proof of her subsequent endeavors to engage in a calculated effort to hide her deleterious ineptitude – the list of her scandals is long.
Ultimately, should Clinton decide to make a run at the presidency in 2016, she better start figuring out how she’s going to make a “corkscrew landing” through her past and start practicing how to duck the sniper fire that is sure to ensue as she runs across the campaign tarmac.