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Paul: The moment of responsibility for Hillary Clinton

posted 5/11/2013 12:01:56 AM |
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Her fatal mistakes mirror the disaster at Mogadishu

By Sen. Rand Paul, Friday, May 10, 2013

When I took Hillary Clinton to task in January for the mishandling of security in Benghazi, I told her that if I had been president at the time I would have relieved her of her post. Some politicians and pundits took offense at my line of questioning.

During those hearings, I reminded Sec. Clinton that multiple requests were sent to the State Department asking for increased security measures. I asked if she had read the cables from Ambassador Chris Stevens asking for increased security. She replied that she was busy and had not read them. I find that inexcusable.

Four months later, we are hearing that Sec. Clinton allegedly withheld information from a counter-terrorism bureau during the response. We are hearing new allegations that Special Forces wanting to respond during the attacks were told, "you can't go" by superiors. Ambassador Stevens' deputy Gregory Hicks testified this week that he spoke with Sec. Clinton on the night of the attack, when these orders were given. We are hearing that Hicks was initially told by the State Department not to meet with congressional investigators.

We are, again, hearing allegations that contradict the White House's story.

Benghazi security was a life and death matter that resulted in the latter. The notion that high-ranking government officials are somehow beyond reproach, as many suggested during my criticism of Sec. Clinton, is dangerous and wrong.

The Secretary of State's responsibility is to protect our diplomats. Clinton's decision not to and any other official responsible for the bad decisions in Benghazi should be relieved of their post. Almost twenty years ago, President Bill Clinton likely reached a similar conclusion.

In early October 1993, a battle between U.S. forces and Somali militia in Mogadishu left 18 Americans soldiers dead, 80 wounded and two American helicopters shot down. Today, this is remembered as the Battle of Mogadishu or more popularly, "Black Hawk Down," thanks to a subsequent movie of the same name.

A month earlier in September, Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Colin Powell requested soldiers, tanks and armor-plated vehicles to reinforce the mission in Somalia. Secretary of Defense Les Aspin denied these requests. The Associated Press reported the following on October 8, 1993, just days after the Battle of Mogadishu: "Defense Secretary Les Aspin today brushed aside calls for his resignation as ‘the politics of Capitol Hill,' but conceded that in light of recent casualties he shouldn't have rejected a request to send more armor and troops to Somalia last month."

Two months later, after less than a year of service, Aspin resigned as Secretary of Defense.

Though President Clinton cited personal reasons for Aspin's resignation, it was reported widely that he had asked him to step down. Aspin did ultimately accept responsibility for his decisions, saying, "The ultimate responsibility for the safety of our troops is mine. I was aware of the request and could have directed that a deployment order be drawn up. I did not, and I accept responsibility for the consequences."

By refusing to grant requests for weapons and reinforcement in Somalia in 1993, Sec. Aspin made a bad decision, admitted his bad decision, accepted responsibility and eventually left his position due to it.

When Ambassador Stevens, Lt. Col. Andrew Wood and others made repeated requests for increased security and resources in Benghazi, those requests were ignored. No one denies that these requests crossed Sec. Clinton's desk. But virtually everyone involved has denied that they should accept responsibility for the tragedy in Benghazi.

Now there are new allegations, accusations that arguably bear more significance on how this tragedy unfolded. It is imperative that we continue to ask: Who was responsible?

My job as a United States Senator and as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is to be part of the confirmation process for high-ranking national security positions as well as review the performance of office holders. When Sec. Aspin made bad decisions in 1993, he testified before the Senate, which examined his job performance, and many gave him a bad review.

Sec. Clinton was never above a similar job performance review. When I asked Clinton in January if her resignation meant that she was finally accepting responsibility, the answer never came.

Will the answers ever come? Don't the victims' families deserve them? Shouldn't we do everything in our power to leave no rock unturned in order make sure such bad decision-making doesn't happen again?

Sec. Aspin resigned over Black Hawk Down. The same precedent should have applied apply to Sec. Clinton.

To date, no one has ultimately taken responsibility for Benghazi.

My office is currently seeking out the witnesses and survivors of Benghazi to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. To date, the Obama administration has refused to let them testify.

Too many questions remain unanswered. Now, there are too many new questions. The evidence we had in January already suggested that Sec. Clinton ignored repeated requests for more security in Benghazi. The new evidence we have today—and that continues to mount—suggests that at the very least Mrs. Clinton should never hold high office again.

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post a comment!


May 11 @ 1:35AM  

May 11 @ 2:13AM  
It's inconceivable that our Secretary of State would be out of the loop. She knew about it as it occurred, she lied to absolve herself of responsibility and neglect of her duties in corroboration with Obama. She and that incompetent fool in the White House, in my opinion, are responsible for the deaths of four heroic Americans whose lives they willingly accepted due to their negligence, their incompetence, their lack of character and their choice to cover their asses. Obama knew it, covered it up, she knew it and covered it up and we know it. "WHAT DOES IT MATTER"?....Nothing to this corrupt administration because those who elected them care even less than they do. What will come of it.....nothing, because idiots like you are only concerned about their petty lives and can only see beyond their paltry mundane existence. Harsh? You bet, because unless you pursue the truth, you are as responsible for killing those heroes as the terrorists who will one day KILL someone you love. Then your tears and cries will be muted, and then and only then will your cowardly wailing's for justice go unheard and unheeded and you then will receive your just rewards for your impotence.

May 11 @ 2:20AM  
"It's inconceivable that our Secretary of State would be out of the loop"


May 11 @ 8:51AM  
And just where WAS Obama at that time....I wonder if he has a lady on the side?

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Paul: The moment of responsibility for Hillary Clinton