Clinton inadvertently admits she may have violated law over Benghazi.
I’ve publicly stated I do not believe Hillary Clinton will be running for president in 2016. Her recent performance during the book rollout evidenced someone incapable of standing up to scrutiny. She certainly didn’t comport herself in a professional manner.
And so this recent Wall Street Journal article by Victoria Toensing builds that case even more, writing, “In her recent interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Hillary Clinton said “I was not making security decisions” about Benghazi, claiming “it would be a mistake” for “a secretary of state” to “go through all 270 posts” and “decide what should be done.” And at a January 2013 Senate hearing, Mrs. Clinton said that security requests “did not come to me. I did not approve them. I did not deny them.”
Well, it seems the former Secretary of State may have just admitted she either didn’t follow, or intentionally broke the law — but then again, if you’re a liberal progressive socialist, laws are just recommendations.
As Toensing says, by statute, Clinton was required to make specific security decisions for defenseless consulates like Benghazi, and was not permitted to delegate them to anyone else. The Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999, or Secca, was passed in response to the near-simultaneous bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Aug. 7, 1998.”
The similarities of history are disturbingly coincidental.
In 1999, Bill Clinton was president. Patrick Kennedy, now the undersecretary of state for management, was then acting assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security. Susan Rice, now the national security adviser, was then assistant secretary of state for African affairs. As with the Benghazi terrorist attacks, an Accountability Review Board (ARB) was convened for each bombing.
Their reports in January 1999 called attention to “two interconnected issues: 1) the inadequacy of resources to provide security against terrorist attacks, and 2) the relative low priority accorded security concerns throughout the U.S. government.”
Just as U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens did in 2012, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Prudence Bushnell, had made repeated requests for security upgrades in 1997 and 1998. All were denied.
It’s not certain whether George Santayana said, “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”, but we know for certain Hillary said, “what difference at this point does it make?”
In 1998 to ensure accountability in the future, the review boards (ARB) recommended “[f]irst and foremost, the Secretary . . . should take a personal and active role in carrying out the responsibility of ensuring the security of U.S. diplomatic personnel abroad” and “should personally review the security situation of embassy chanceries and other official premises.” And for new embassy buildings abroad, “all U.S. government agencies, with rare exceptions, should be located in the same compound.”
So Congress quickly agreed and passed Secca, a law implementing these (and other) recommendations. It mandated that the secretary of state make a personal security waiver under two circumstances: when the facility could not house all the personnel in one place and when there was not a 100-foot setback. The law also required that the secretary “may not delegate” the waiver decision.
What difference does it make? Well, Benghazi didn’t house all U.S. personnel in one building. There was the consulate and an annex, one of the two situations requiring a security waiver by the secretary of state, which could not be delegated.
However, here is the doozy: the “home cooking of the books.” Recognizing that the Benghazi consulate (like the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam embassies) was a previously nongovernmental building, the 2012 Benghazi review board — co-chaired by Amb. Thomas Pickering (Ms. Rice’s supervisor in 1998) and Adm. Michael Mullen — reported that this “resulted in the Special Mission compound being excepted from office facility standards and accountability under” Secca.
I don’t smell a rat. I smell a Clinton — but then again they may be synonymous.
Mrs. Clinton either personally waived these security provisions required by law or she violated the law by delegating the waiver to someone else — take your pick, they both suck!
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.