In January, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got into a heated exchange with Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin during her testimony on Benghazi before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Johnson asked Clinton to ascertain whether the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya was a response to an anti-Islam YouTube video. A visibly-furious Clinton took exception to Johnson’s inquiry and shot back, “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Other than earning her law degree, name one thing that Hillary Clinton has accomplished on her own. Her accomplishments—slim as they are—have been achieved on the coattails of either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama.
Had she not been the First Lady, would anyone have ever heard of her in the context of high power political posts? The short answer is no. She had traded on her celebrity and name recognition to become a Senator from New York and then, after a failed bid to become the Democratic Party’s candidate for President, accepted the position of Secretary of State.
Obama wanted to make sure she was “inside the tent” during his first term and, following that, her resignation has permitted her to now begin distancing herself from a man that many regard the worst President the nation has ever had.
Let’s back up a moment. Is there a single piece of major legislation during her term as a Senator from January 3, 2001 to January 21, 2009 attributed to her? The answer is no even though she served on important committees that included the budget; armed services; environment and public works; health; education; labor and pensions; and a special committee on aging. No point reviewing her voting record. If her former votes pose a political problem for her now, they will simply be dismissed.
During her four years as Secretary of State, can you name a single treaty that generated any significant media coverage? Again, no, If what political pundits believe and her own book reflects, her views on foreign affairs, strategic objectives and other weighty matters was entirely directed from the Oval Office of the White House. Now, it is true that the Secretary of State’s job is to carry out the President’s foreign policy, but at this point we know he had no consistent or strategic policy other than to ignore the Middle East and make nice with Russia.
As Secretary of State Hillary spent most of the time flying anywhere in the world so as not to be seen that much with Obama, but when the Benghazi consulate was attacked on September 11, 2012, killing our ambassador and three security personnel, what we learned was that she had previously paid little or no attention to the question of its protection at a time when other embassies in Libya were closing their doors to avoid attacks. The picture that emerged following the attack was that of someone simply occupying the office without devoting much time to the management of the State Department.
It’s one thing to allocate management to those in the Department responsible for its vast responsibilities, but the buck still stops at the Secretary’s desk and what we learned following the attack is that she backed up the absurd lies of the President who claimed that it was the result of a video no one had seen and a casual group of men who decided to attack the consulate. On the anniversary of 9/11!!! Questioned about it by a Senate committee, she famously said, “What difference at this time does it make?” It makes a lot of difference when the President and Secretary of State lie to the nation and the world.
After returning to private life following Obama’s reelection Hillary outrageously claimed that she and Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House. Hillary’s inclination to say stupid things and lie without any need to should be especially troubling should she run for President and, yes, she has been running for a very long time.
In Hillary we have a person who has given little evidence of legislative or management skills who wants to be the first woman President of the United States. It will look good on her resume.
What, in fact, does she have to offer? Just as Obama offered voters the chance to say they had voted for the first black candidate for President, Hillary offers them the chance to say they voted for the first woman President.
That is not reason enough to elect anyone, black, white, man or woman.
We have learned from the Obama experience that his Marxist ideology, attachment to Islam, and disdain for the U.S. military has proven to be a formula for economic and foreign policy disasters. His signature legislation, Obamacare aka the Affordable Patient Care Act, has proven to be the antithesis of his promises that one could keep their own healthcare insurance and doctor if they wanted. It has been an unmitigated failure since a Democratic Party controlled Congress voted it into law in 2009 without a single Republican vote. In 2010 the voters gave political power in the House to the GOP.
Would Hillary allow Obamacare to be repealed if that was passed by Congress? Would she take steps to destroy the Islamic State threat in the Middle East? Or simply said, would she cease to be an extreme liberal masquerading as a moderate or centrist?
Do we want to elect a woman who in early September told a conference in Las Vegas that “Climate change is the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collections of challenges we face. The threat is real, and so is the opportunity…if we make the hard choices.” This is abject idiocy.
I find all the talk of her candidacy at this point to be obscene. It is an insult to the Democratic Party, but then so is Obama. If she is not opposed by primary candidates within the Party or she floats to candidacy simply as a political celebrity, simply as a woman, then the Party deserves to be massively defeated in 2016. We may get an indication of that in the November midterm elections.
I wish Hillary Clinton would simply go away and permit a serious election to occur.
© Alan Caruba, 2014Follow VeronicaCoffin
As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
New Benghazi allegation puts spotlight on Hillary Clinton confidants, alleged after-hours document review.
UPDATE: Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff allegedly present at after-hours document review.
According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.
At the time, Maxwell was a leader in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, which was charged with collecting emails and documents relevant to the Benghazi probe.
Raymond Maxwell, former State Department deputy assistant secretary (Photo: Sharyl Attkisson)
“I was not invited to that after-hours endeavor, but I heard about it and decided to check it out on a Sunday afternoon,” Maxwell says.
He didn’t know it then, but Maxwell would ultimately become one of four State Department officials singled out for discipline—he says scapegoated—then later cleared for devastating security lapses leading up to the attacks. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were murdered during the Benghazi attacks.
Maxwell says the weekend document session was held in the basement of the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters in a room underneath the “jogger’s entrance.” He describes it as a large space, outfitted with computers and big screen monitors, intended for emergency planning, and with small offices on the periphery.
When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.
‘Basement operation’: The Department of State in Washington. (Photo: Wayan Vota/Creative Commons)
“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers.
“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”
Did Hillary Clinton aides withhold damaging Benghazi documents?
A few minutes after he arrived, Maxwell says, in walked two high-ranking State Department officials.
In an interview Monday morning on Fox News, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, named the two Hillary Clinton confidants who allegedly were present: One was Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff and a former White House counsel who defended President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial. The other, Chaffetz said, was Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan, who previously worked on Hillary Clinton’s and then Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.
“When Cheryl saw me, she snapped, ‘Who are you?’” Maxwell says. “Jake explained, ‘That’s Ray Maxwell, an NEA deputy assistant secretary.’ She conceded, ‘Well, OK.’”
Maxwell says the two officials, close confidants of Clinton, appeared to check in on the operation and soon left.
Maxwell says after Mills and Sullivan arrived, he, the office director and an intern moved into a small office where they looked through some papers. Maxwell says his stack included pre-attack telegrams and cables between the U.S. embassy in Tripoli and State Department headquarters. After a short time, Maxwell says he decided to leave.
“I didn’t feel good about it,” he says.
Cheryl Mills, left, was Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff and a White House counsel who defended President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial. (Photo: Newscom)
We contacted Mills and Sullivan to ask about the allegations and the purpose of the described separation of documents, but they did not return calls or emails. We reached out to Clinton, who declined an interview request and offered no comment. A State Department spokesman told us it would have been impossible for anybody outside the Accountability Review Board (ARB) to control the flow of information because the board cultivated so many sources.
When the ARB issued its call for documents in early October 2012, just weeks after the Benghazi attacks, the executive directorate of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs was put in charge of collecting all emails and relevant material. It was gathered, boxed and—Maxwell says—ended up in the basement room prior to being turned over.
In May 2013, when critics questioned the ARB’s investigation as not thorough enough, co-chairmen Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Mike Mullen responded that “we had unfettered access to everyone and everything including all the documentation we needed.”
Maxwell says when he heard that statement, he couldn’t help but wonder if the ARB—perhaps unknowingly—had received from his bureau a scrubbed set of documents with the most damaging material missing.
An attacker celebrates as buildings and cars burn at the consulate compound in Benghazi late Sept. 11, 2012. (Photo: Getty Images/Newscom)
Maxwell also criticizes the ARB as “anything but independent,” pointing to Mullen’s admission in congressional testimony that he called Mills to give her inside advice after the ARB interviewed a potential congressional witness.
In an interview in September 2013, Pickering told me that he would not have done what Mullen did. But both co-chairmen strongly defend their probe as “fiercely independent.”
Maxwell also criticizes the ARB for failing to interview key people at the White House, State Department and the CIA, including not only Clinton but Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, who managed department resources in Libya; Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro; and White House National Security Council Director for Libya Ben Fishman.
“The ARB inquiry was, at best, a shoddily executed attempt at damage control, both in Foggy Bottom and on Capitol Hill,” Maxwell says. He views the after-hours operation he witnessed in the State Department basement as “an exercise in misdirection.”
Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were murdered in Benghazi. (Photo: Newscom)
Sullivan did not respond to emails or to messages sent to him through his current teaching job at Yale Law School. Mills did not respond to a message passed to her through Black Rock, a major global investment firm where she is on the board of directors. Clinton’s press officer ultimately referred us to the State Department, though none of the three currently works there.
State Department Response
A State Department spokesman, Alec Gerlach, calls the implication that documents were withheld “totally without merit.” Gerlach says: “The range of sources that the ARB’s investigation drew on would have made it impossible for anyone outside of the ARB to control its access to information.”
“The allegations are as serious as it gets,” says one lawmaker of the alleged Benghazi document review.
Gerlach says the State Department instructed all employees to cooperate “fully and promptly” with the ARB, which invited anyone with relevant information to contact the board directly.
“So individuals with information were reaching out proactively to the board. And, the ARB was also directly engaged with individuals and the [State] Department’s bureaus and offices to request information and pull on whichever threads it chose to,” Gerlach says.
Benghazi Select Committee
Maxwell says he has been interviewed privately by several members of Congress in recent months, including Chaffetz, a member of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaks with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the Benghazi Select Committee, (Photo: Newscom)
When reached for comment, Chaffetz told me that Maxwell’s allegations “go to the heart of the integrity of the State Department.”
“The allegations are as serious as it gets, and it’s something we have obviously followed up and pursued,” Chaffetz says. “I’m 100 percent confident the Benghazi Select Committee is going to dive deep on that issue.”
Former Obama Supporter
Maxwell, 58, strongly supported President Barack Obama and personally contributed to his presidential campaign. But post-Benghazi, he has soured on both Obama and Clinton, saying he had nothing to do with security and was sacrificed as a scapegoat while higher-up officials directly responsible escaped discipline.
Maxwell spent a year on paid administrative leave with no official charge ever levied against him. Ultimately, the State Department cleared Maxwell of wrongdoing and reinstated him. He retired a short time later, in November 2013.
Maxwell worked in foreign service for 21 years as the well-respected deputy assistant secretary for Maghreb Affairs in the Near East Bureau and is a former chief of staff to the ambassador in Baghdad. Fluent in Portuguese, Maxwell is a Navy “mustanger,” which means he successfully made the leap from the enlisted ranks to commissioned officer.
Raymond Maxwell speaks with investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson in Washington. (Photo: Courtesy Sharyl Attkisson)
Maxwell also is a prolific poet. While on administrative leave, he published poems online: allegories hinting at his post-Benghazi observations and experiences.
A poem entitled “Invitation” refers to his placement on leave in December 2012: “The Queen’s Henchmen / request the pleasure of your company / at a Lynching — / to be held / at 23rd and C Streets NW [State Dept. building] / on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 / just past sunset. / Dress: Formal, Masks and Hoods — / the four being lynched / must never know the identities/ of their executioners, or what/ whose sin required their sacrifice./ A blood sacrifice — / to divert the hounds- / to appease the gods — / to cleanse our filth and /satisfy our guilty consciences…”
In another poem called “Trapped in a purgatory of their own deceit,” Maxwell wrote: “The web of lies they weave / gets tighter and tighter / in its deceit / until it bottoms out — / at a very low frequency — / and implodes…Yet all the while, / the more they talk, / the more they lie, / and the deeper down the hole they go… Just wait…/ just wait and feed them the rope.”
Maxwell in Algiers in 2011 as deputy assistant secretary for the Maghreb region. (Photo: YouTube via U.S. Embassy in Algiers)
Several weeks after he was placed on leave with no formal accusations, Maxwell made an appointment to address his status with a State Department ombudsman.
“She told me, ‘You are taking this all too personally, Raymond. It is not about you,’ ” Maxwell recalls.
“I told her that ‘My name is on TV and I’m on administrative leave, it seems like it’s about me.’ Then she said, ‘You’re not harmed, you’re still getting paid. Don’t watch TV. Take your wife on a cruise. It’s not about you; it’s about Hillary and 2016.’ ”
Since retiring from the State Department, Maxwell has obtained a master’s degree in library information science.