Hillary Clinton’s Troubling Patterns Of Placing Self-Interest Above America’s National Security
This week Bob Gates dropped a bombshell in his new book, writing that in a private conversation, Hillary Clinton told him that political interests and a desire to win the 2008 Iowa Caucuses drove her opposition to the troop surge in Iraq. Hillary Clinton is a notoriously calculating politician, but the Gates report shows that this extends to matters as grave as war and national security. This was not the first time. Below we highlight 5 instances where Hillary Clinton both as a candidate and as Secretary of State, put her political interests ahead of national security considerations.

According to a new memoir by former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, who served alongside her in Obama’s cabinet, Clinton told the President that she opposed the 2007 U.S. troop surge in Iraq for political reasons to win the 2008 campaign: Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. 1 Despite her politically driven opposition, Clinton nonetheless questioned the credibility of the U.S. Commander in Iraq who was implementing the surge strategy in what now appears to be rather brazen questioning at a congressional hearing: “You have been made the de facto spokesmen for what many of us believe to be a failed policy” in Iraq, Clinton said. “Despite wh at I view is your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today, I think that the reports that you provide to us really require a willing suspension of disbelief.” 2

In 2008, Clinton voted against legislation that authorized the NSA’s surveillance programs that were later used during the Obama Administration. 3 For years, Clinton was a harsh critic of surveillance

1 2 3

Bob Woodward, “Robert Gates, Former Defense Secretary, Offers Harsh Critique Of Obama’s Leadership In ‘Duty,’” The Washington Post, 1/7/13 “Clinton: Believing Petraeus And Crocker Requires ‘Willing Suspension Of Disbelief,’” Politico, 9/11/07 H.R. 6304, Roll Call Vote #168: Passed 69-28, 7/9/08, Clinton Voted Nay; James R. Clapper, “DNI Statement On Activities Authorized Under Section 702 Of FISA,” Press Release, 6/6/13; S. 1927, Roll Call Vote #309: Passed 60-28: R 43-0; D 16-27; I 1-1, 8/3/07, Clinton Voted Nay; Andrea Mitchell and Jeff Black, “Sources: US Intelligence Agencies Tap Servers Of Top Internet Companies,” NBC News, 6/7/13

tactics and even penned a fundraising email accusing the Bush Administration of “[a] secret program that spies on Americans!” 4 However in 2009, as she began running Foggy Bottom, Clinton oversaw the State Department’s involvement in intelligence gathering and analysis from the NSA’s then-secret spying activities: During her time in the Obama administration, however, Clinton oversaw the State Department’s involvement in a host of intelligence programs, including PRISM. The Washington Post reported Monday the FISA Court approves 99.97% of government’s requests for warrants. 5 Clinton, who as Secretary of State would receive a copy of the President’s daily intelligence briefing, had an entire bureau in the State Department dedicated to intelligence analysis from “all -source intelligence.” 6 In fact, in 2012 while Clinton was still Secretary of State, the NSA was spying on diplomats at the United Nations, dramatically increasing its data. 7

In the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, the area was abandoned leaving sensitive material insecure for weeks, including the diary of slain Ambassador Chris Stevens. When CNN reported that the diary showed he feared the threat from Al Qaeda and that his name was on a hit list, the State Department launched a bizarre attack on CNN for reporting information that contradicted its Benghazi narrative: On Saturday night, State Department spokesperson Philippe Reines slammed CNN for its “disgusting” handling of Ambassador Christopher Stevens’ diary. The diary helped confirm, as the network reported, that Stevens had been worried about the threat of an Al Qaeda attack, and even feared his own name was included on a hit list. The blockbuster news contradicted the line the State Department and the administration had been pushing since the horrible tragedy took place almost two weeks ago: that there was no intelligence of a coming attack. In fact, the Ambassador himself was aware of a persistent high level threat against him. “Perhaps the real question here,” CNN responded to the State Department criticism, “Is why is the State Department now attacking the messenger.” That is the real question, and State Department’s bizarre criticism o f CNN gives clues to the answer. Foggy Bottom is now in full-on damage control mode, with the primary goal of keeping Hillary Clinton’s legacy in Libya — and in Washington — intact. 8 Months later, we learned that the State Department pushed for changes to now-infamous interagency talking points to avoid references to earlier warnings about potential attacks from Islamic extremists in Benghazi. The reason? Because they “could be abused by members of Congress to beat the State Department [and Secretary Clinton] for not paying attention to (central intelligence) agency warnings”:
4 5 6

Sen. Hillary Clinton, “Our Values Under Attack,” Email, 12/30/05 Andrew Kaczynski, “Hillary Clinton’s Record Didn’t Match Rhetoric On Surveillance,” BuzzFeed, 6/11/13 U.S. State Department, Accessed 8/30/13; Elisabeth Bumiller, “Black And White And Read By Precious Few,” The New York Times, 11/10/03 7 “German Magazine: NSA Spied On United Nations,” The Associated Press, 8/25/13 8 Michael Hastings, “Libya Threatens Clinton’s Legacy — And State Does Damage Control,” BuzzFeed, 9/23/12

Numerous agencies had engaged in an email discussion about the talking points that would be provided to members of Congress and to Rice for their public comments. In one email, thenState Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland worried about the effect of openly discussing earlier warnings about the dangers of Islamic extremists in Benghazi. Nuland's email said such revelations “could be abused by members of Congress to beat the State Department for not paying attention to (central intelligence) agency warnings,” according to a congressional official who reviewed the 100 pages of emails. 9

Despite Clinton’s claim that she had directed her Department to create a communications system that would prevent a future Wikileaks-style massive breach of classified information, the State Department implemented a system “without basic technical security measures”: The State Department’s communications system is operating without basic technical security measures in place, despite warnings about its vulnerabilities, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed and sources who have worked on the project. … The sources, who spoke to BuzzFeed on condition of anonymity, say the failures have left thousands of cables and messages, including highly sensitive and classified ones, vulnerable to espionage or leaks for the last four years. The State Department approved the project (and hundreds of millions of dollars in payments to contractors) in 2009 despite known flaws, and proceeded even after the 2010 Chelsea Manning leaks, despite two inspector general reports condemning the project’s lack of security, and even after then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised to stop another leak. “I have directed that specific actions be taken at the State Department … to protect State Department information so that this kind of breach cannot and does not ever happen again,” Clinton said in November 2010. 10 And the State Department actively stymied employees that raised concerns about the unsecure communications network, guided by Microsoft, as the State Department issued a series of waivers to move ahead despite deficient security: According to documents reviewed by BuzzFeed, several employees raised concerns starting from the beginning of the SMART rollout. They were told to not pursue the issue. … At least two employees involved in the project also filed complaints with the Office of Inspector General. Besides brushing aside internal complaints, the State Department officials also used official channels to override security concerns. The department’s chief information officer signed official “waivers” — essentially permission slips — used to allow projects to move ahead despite known problems with the promise to eventually fix them. 11 Why would Clinton ignore security warnings and move forward with a deficient system that leaves U.S. national security communications open to another breach? It could be because Microsoft has donated hundreds of thousands to the Clinton Foundation, made dozens of commitments through the


Donna Cassatta and Julie Pace, “State Dep't Sought To Change Libya Talking Points,” The Associated Press, 5/10/13 Justine Sharrock, “Exclusive: Years After Manning Leaks, State Department Cable System Lacks Basic Security,” BuzzFeed, 10/2/13 11 Justine Sharrock, “Exclusive: Years After Manning Leaks, State Department Cable System Lacks Basic Security,” BuzzFeed, 10/2/13

Clinton Global Initiative, and is part of three separate public-private partnerships with the State Department. 12

An internal State Department Inspector General’s memo found investigations were “influenced, manipulated, or simply called off”: CBS News has uncovered documents that show the State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal and inappropriate b ehavior within their ranks. … CBS News' John Miller reports that according to an internal State Department Inspector General's memo, several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. 13 Among the allegations were State Department security officials engaging in sexual assaults, engaging prostitutes and operating an underground drug ring: The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples. Among them: allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” on foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and the charge and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's security detail “engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries ” -a problem the report says was “endemic.” The memo also reveals details about an “underground drug ring” was operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and supplied State Department security contractors with drugs. 14 In one allegation, a U.S. Ambassador was suspected of patronizing prostitutes at a park, but was permitted to return to his post after meeting with Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy. 15 These investigations were called off not because of lack of merit, but because they could reflect poorly on then Secretary of State Clinton.


Clinton Foundation, Accessed 12/20/13; 100,000 Strong, Accessed 12/20/13; LIONS@FRICA, Accessed 12/20/13; USA Pavilion At Shanghai Expo 2010, Final Commissioner General’s Report , Accessed 12/20/13 13 “State Department Memo Reveals Possible Cover -Ups, Halted Investigations,” CBS News, 6/10/13 14 “State Department Memo Reveals Possible Cover -Ups, Halted Investigations,” CBS News, 6/10/13 15 “State Department Memo Reveals Possible Cover -Ups, Halted Investigations,” CBS News, 6/10/13

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