Archive for the ‘U.S. Congress’ Category

Following the attack on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, convened, as required by law, an Accountability Review Board (ARB).   It was the 12th ARB to have been convened since the law was established.   The ARB submitted their report to her, and on December 18, 2013,  Hillary Clinton submitted the board’s classified and unclassified reports along with a cover letter to Congress while recovering from serious health issues at home.

Both documents were made available here at the time and remain available in the sidebar on the right.  In the wake of their publication, I posted sections of the report in small portions on Facebook.  Several friends thought that was a good way to make the information available.

Apparently in response to demands from the House Oversight and Reform Committee, the State Department Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently conducted a review of ARBs and issued that report this week.  Four former secretaries of state, including Hillary Clinton, were interviewed in the process of conducting this review.  As I have been reading through it I have found some items that deserve to be brought to the fore in light of criticisms that have been lodged against Hillary.

Since small portions appear effective, here are a few statements from the  Special Review of the Accountability Review Board Process (ISP-I-13-44A) that clarify some issues that some perhaps have not understood.

As for accusations that the ARB was somehow covering information to protect Secretary Clinton.

P 1 ¶ 1 The Accountability Review Board process operates as intended—independently and without bias—to identify vulnerabilities in the Department of State’s security programs.


Then, of course there is the accusation that Hillary, herself, appointed board.

P 6 ¶ 1 ARB membership consists of five individuals. The Secretary names four members, and the Director of National Intelligence names the remaining member.


Darrell Issa and his minions who have railed and roiled since the ARB did not interview Hillary Clinton.  Here is the record.  The emphasis is mine.

P 14 ¶ 6 None of the 12 ARBs interviewed the Secretary to ascertain her/his role in the events leading up to the incident under review. ARB members interviewed by the OIG team stated that after reviewing documentation, they did not find reason to interview the Secretary; rather, the ARBs focused their inquiries at the operational levels of the Department responsible for implementing and overseeing security policies and programs. ARB members were unanimous in saying that they felt empowered to interview anyone, including the Secretary, as the facts or events warranted.


Hillary submitted the ARB reports, both classified and unclassified, and made the unclassified report public.   The day she testified before Congress it appeared that there were those (Republicans) in both houses who had not familiarized themselves with the contents of the reports.  This is  especially egregious negligence on their part since she was not required to submit the actual reports but did so nonetheless.  She, in fact,  went above and beyond the call of duty in providing the documents since all she was actually required to do was provide her own report to Congress based on these reports.  Instead, she sent them all of the information gathered by the ARB, something she did not have to do.

P 17  ¶ 1The Secretary has a legislated mandate to submit a report to Congress on each recommendation but is not required to forward to Congress a copy of the ARB report itself. The Department submitted the ARB reports on the Nairobi/Dar es Salaam and the Benghazi attacks to Congress in their entirety. Because the recommendations in these reports were so far-reaching and had such significant resource implications, the Secretary considered it important that the findings be shared with both houses of Congress. In the other 10 ARB investigations reviewed, the secretaries’ reports to Congress provided a summary of the key elements of the ARB report, transmitted the ARB’s recommendations for action, and informed Congress of the Department’s response to those recommendations. The OIG team’s review of the secretaries’ reports to Congress over the last 14 years indicated that they accurately conveyed the key elements of the ARB reports.


Should I, as I continue reading the report,  find additional information to shed clear light and offer evidence of Hillary’s transparency on issues at the center of  the Tea Party Benghazi obsession, I will be certain to share them.

The bottom line, of course, is that Hillary followed the letter of the law and went beyond by providing the ARB report in two forms when that was not required.  She is above reproach in this review process while the Tea Party Republicans show no respect for law or order in this case or in their current attempts to bring the country to its knees over a law  (the Affordable Care Act) that, while not perfect, is helpful to many and thus good.   Instead of tweaking the imperfections of the law and improving what we have (their job), they would prefer to drive us to insolvency for purely partisan reasons.

Their war against Hillary and their strategy of pulling the emergency brake on the whole country because of a law they do not like although  the country re-elected the president who signed it are shameful and unconscionable.

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When Hillary Clinton accepted the prestigious American Bar Association Medal last month, she spoke out on the Supreme Court decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act and announced a series of policy speeches the next of which she will deliver in Philadelphia this coming Tuesday upon acceptance of the Liberty Medal from Jeb Bush.

Tea Partiers, of course, are in meltdown mode over the coincidence of this presentation with the upcoming anniversary of the attack on the outpost in Benghazi which, in the interim, has come to be known to have been a CIA operation (thanks to Jason Chaffetz’s public announcement on live TV).

The policy speeches Mme. Secretary has announced are to address transparency and national security.  In an op-ed, published in yesterday’s New York Times, Representative Alan Grayson also addressed these issues as they relate to the classified information available to members of Congress regarding the proposed attacks on Syria that President Obama has referred to Congress for approval.

Grayson has some issues with the available data and documentation to back up an attack on Syria that he addresses in this article.  Most interestingly,   he compares that availability with the documents Hillary Clinton’s State Department provided on Benghazi.

Grayson in the NY Times on Syria Intel: “Trust, But Verify”

On Syria, “Trust, but Verify”

This op-ed written by Congressman Alan Grayson appeared in The New York Times today. Read it, share it with your friends and family, and join more than 75,000 others who oppose U.S. military intervention in Syria by signing on at DontAttackSyria.com.

WASHINGTON — THE documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion.

On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was “no.”

The Syria chemical weapons summaries are based on several hundred underlying elements of intelligence information. The unclassified summary cites intercepted telephone calls, “social media” postings and the like, but not one of these is actually quoted or attached — not even clips from YouTube. (As to whether the classified summary is the same, I couldn’t possibly comment, but again, draw your own conclusion.)


Compare this lack of transparency with the administration’s treatment of the Benghazi attack. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to her credit, made every single relevant classified e-mail, cable and intelligence report available to every member of Congress. (I know this, because I read them all.) Secretary Clinton had nothing to hide.

Her successor, John Kerry, has said repeatedly that this administration isn’t trying to manipulate the intelligence reports the way that the Bush administration did to rationalize its invasion of Iraq.

But by refusing to disclose the underlying data even to members of Congress, the administration is making it impossible for anyone to judge, independently, whether that statement is correct. Perhaps the edict of an earlier administration applies: “Trust, but verify.”
Read more >>>>

Most ironic is the statement of sources of the intel – sources that are being withheld.   Social media is cited.  Last October, in the wake of the Benghazi attack,  there was a great deal of hand-wringing over the issue of some leaked emails that Hillary Clinton addressed directly.

Hillary Clinton, those emails, and the truth

In the dust up around the leaked emails and among the events of her busy day, Hillary Clinton made the following remarks regarding the emails and the attack on the Benghazi consulate in a press availability today.

Now finally, on Benghazi, look, I’ve said it and I’ll say it one more time. No one wants to find out what happened more than I do. We are holding ourselves accountable to the American people, because not only they, but our brave diplomats and development experts serving in dangerous places around the world, deserve no less. The independent Accountability Review Board is already hard at work looking at everything – not cherry-picking one story here or one document there – but looking at everything, which I highly recommend as the appropriate approach to something as complex as an attack like this.

Posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence, and I think it just underscores how fluid the reporting was at the time and continued for some time to be. What I keep in mind is that four brave Americans were killed, and we will find out what happened, we will take whatever measures are necessary to fix anything that needs to be fixed, and we will bring those to justice who committed these murders. And I think that that is what we have said, that is what we are doing, and I’m very confident that we will achieve those goals.

Read more >>>>

There are two major takeaways here: 1) Attestation from a member of Congress, who is in a position to make the comparison,  that Hillary Clinton provided Congress with every scrap of relevant documentation on Benghazi all of which he read. 2) Hillary Clinton does not consider postings on social media to be evidence – in her own words.

Thank you, Representative Grayson, for defending our girl prior to a week that is guaranteed, on every front, to be hell on wheels, and thank you and our Hillary for your dedicated service.  It is satisfying to know that some members of Congress read everything she sent since, during her testimony in January,  she was obliged regularly to refer some members to the ARB Report that they seemed to have neglected to read.   The unclassified ARB report is available in the sidebar on the right for anyone who would like to see it.

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Hillary paid tribute to her former Senate colleague,  Frank Lautenberg,  at the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City today.


Hillary’s remarks.


Full funeral.


Political elite attend U.S. Senator Lautenberg’s funeral

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, whose death has sparked a battle over his seat in the Senate, was remembered at his funeral on Wednesday as a tenacious fighter who battled tirelessly for the causes he championed.


Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recalled that Lautenberg fought for veterans, victims of HIV and AIDS, families trying to keep their children safe from toxic chemicals and “stood proudly with the working people of New Jersey trying to provide for their families, to build businesses like Frank and his two friends had, to pursue the American dream.

Read more  >>>>

06-05-13-Y-01 06-05-13-Y-0206-05-13-Y-03 06-05-13-Y-0406-05-13-Z-01

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We older dudes and dudesses remember a time before Congress reset all national holidays except Independence Day to the nearest Monday to the traditional date.  Originally, Memorial Day was May 31.  Somehow it is fitting that the bookends for this week include this particular dudess finally being face to face and hand in hand with Hillary Clinton ( while being featured in Inside Chappaqua Magazine) and the fifth anniversary of the infamous meeting of the Democratic Party Rules and Bylaws Committee that reassigned and partitioned delegates Hillary had won in the 2008 primaries effectively disenfranchising primary voters in two states and handing the nomination to Barack Obama.

Two movements came to life that summer although only one remains in the spotlight.  Angry Democrats from all over the country carried signs imploring the RBC to “Count Every Vote” and countered  the intended appearance of party unity with cries of “party unity my a**.”

The PUMA movement arrived yelling and screaming as most newborns do.  On the other side of the political spectrum, a reaction brought an embryonic coalition into existence.  In the days of Barry Goldwater, many young people read his Conscience of a Conservative and argued politics  in essay assignments for school and over cafeteria lunches.  A word seldom heard anymore was one we commonly used then, reactionary.

By late summer 2008, in the wake of the Democratic National Convention where a shameful, scripted,  televised imitation of a roll call vote ended when the winner of the party’s popular vote was escorted onto the convention floor and called for the unanimous nomination of the candidate who had garnered and been gifted with a few more delegates, the other baby of the summer was coming to term.  Activist women, some angry that Barack Obama had bypassed his very well-qualified female former rival for the Veep spot – in fact would not even speak with them on the topic –  headed to the Republican Convention to have a word with their nominee, John McCain.

If you read the book, or better yet saw the movie Game Change, you know what happened next.  Sarah Palin, of shooting wolves from helicopters fame,  was drafted to the ticket in the Veep spot. By September 2008. PUMA talks shows on Blog Talk Radio and PUMA blogs began being invaded by people speaking of FEMA camps, coffins stacked stories high, blue helmets, black helicopters, and a private army while the Republican VP nominee made speeches about the Democratic nominee paling around with radicals.

There is no doubt that elements of the Tea Party were drawn from the ranks of the PUMAs.  Five years later, some who were diehard Hillary Clinton supporters have indeed turned hard against her as those early Tea Party infiltrators tried to convince us to do.  But the PUMAs have remained cohesive via Facebook groups and blogs.  We may not receive the publicity the Tea Party does.   We do not seek it,  but we are still together.  If /when our Hillary wants us, this solid core of her loyalists are already organized around her.  We have stuck by her over these six years since she so appealingly began the conversation with us.  We stayed beside her when she was robbed of her delegates, and we celebrate our anniversary together while our girl, as yet having made no commitment to a second run for the roses, continues to top the polls.


A new Quinnipiac poll out today pits her against two dynastic possible rivals,  Jeb Bush, of the more traditional Republican brand, and Rand Paul, darling of the reactionary firebrand variety that has  overtaken the party and left Congress in paralysis.  While she remains in the shade, setting up her office within the family foundation, her appeal and charisma continue to keep her in the news.

May 31, 2013 – American Voters Like Clinton Over Paul, Jeb Bush, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds;
PDF formatIn an early look at the 2016 presidential campaign, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky 49 – 41 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 48 – 40 percent, but Vice President Joseph Biden trails Bush 44 – 38 percent and falls behind Paul 43 – 39 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Ms. Clinton gets a 52 – 40 percent favorability rating, down from an all-time high 61 – 34 percent in a February 8 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. Favorability ratings for other possible 2016 presidential contenders are:
  • Biden: Negative 37 – 44 percent;
  • Paul: Positive 32 – 24 percent, with 42 percent who don’t know enough about him to form an opinion;
  • Bush: 29 – 29 percent, with 42 percent who haven’t formed an opinion.


“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains the queen of the 2016 hill at this point, but the wide gap between her and some of the leading Republican contenders on favorability may be closing, as her overall favorability has taken a hit,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“Her score is down substantially from her all-time high score in February. The drop in her favorability is substantial among men, Republicans and independent voters. One reason for her drop may be that 48 percent of voters blame her either a little or a lot for the death of the American ambassador in Benghazi,” Brown added.
In the hypothetical race between Clinton and Jeb Bush, she carries Democrats 92 – 3 percent, but loses Republicans 82 – 8 percent and splits independent voters 42 – 43 percent. She wins women 55 – 35 percent, but loses men 45 – 40 percent.
Clinton gets a 91 – 4 percent favorability among Democrats and a 46 – 42 percent favorability from independent voters, with a negative 18 – 77 percent favorability from Republicans. Women are favorable 59 – 32 percent, while men are negative 44 – 50 percent.
In February, she was 91 – 5 percent favorable among Democrats, negative 27 – 68 percent among Republicans and 59 – 35 percent positive among independents. She was 53 – 42 favorable among men and 68 – 27 percent favorable among women.
“If Ms. Clinton chooses not to run in 2016, the potential Democratic field could include a somewhat unpopular vice president and a number of new faces who are unknown to the vast majority of Americans,” said Brown. “The potential Republican candidates include many unknowns also. Some of them, however, lead the incumbent vice president and outscore him when it comes to overall voter favorability.”Read more >>>>

For those of us who remember this day in history, Hillary is the glue.  She is the magnet that drew us together and keeps us tight.  We have stayed with the girl we took to the dance in 2008 even though the party tore up our prom tickets.

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During today’s press briefing, Victoria Nuland deferred to the Congressional committees to announce the schedules for Secretary Clinton’s testimony on Benghazi and offered some insight as to what her testimony will include. In addition, she provided a peek at some of Mme. Secretary’s bilaterals this week.  Here is a snip of the transcript.


QUESTION: Do you have any update on when the Secretary might testify? And could you also tell us how her preparation is going, what she’s doing to prepare for that testimony on Capitol Hill?

MS. NULAND: Well, with regard to the consultations that we’ve had with the Congress on the timing, I’m going to defer to the two committees to announce the hearings when they’re ready to do so. But we did talk about these happening after both houses come back into session next week. So we will defer to them on any formal announcements.

Secretary is doing what she always does. She is going through all the steps that this Department is taking to implement the recommendations of the Accountability Review Board. I think you’re aware that – well, first and foremost, as you know, she’s made a commitment that all 29 recommendations will be implemented and that the implementation should be well in train before she finishes here. So I think she’ll want to update the committees on implementation.

As you know, Deputy Secretary Nides is leading an implementation process here in the building. I think he’s having his 11th meeting with the various stakeholders this week to get that work – as many of the short-term recommendations completed as possible, the medium-term ones well underway, and the longer-term ones well set up. So I think you’ll hear a good accounting from her on all those things when she testifies.

QUESTION: And this is an important week because it’s the week before the inauguration. I think you were mentioning that perhaps we might see some meetings that she would have with foreign visitors. Can you – is there any schedule information that you can share with us at this point about what the Secretary will do this week?

MS. NULAND: I think we did put out some scheduled things over the course of the week.

QUESTION: Yeah, you did, but I mean anything –

MS. NULAND: She’s going to see Ellen Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia tomorrow. She’s also seeing her Colombian counterpart. I think that one is tomorrow as well. As we said, the Somali President will be here on Thursday. We’ve already announced the visit of the new Foreign Minister – Foreign Secretary of Japan – Mr. Kishida will be here on Friday. So it’s a busy diplomatic week.

QUESTION: So these would be more – let’s call them working on the relationship issues in the relationship, as opposed to farewell, right?

MS. NULAND: Oh, all of these are working visits of foreign ministers or heads of state continuing the bilateral and regional work that we do together, yes.

Edited to add:

Apparently Congress was willing to accommodate the State Department by not waiting to be back in session.  CNN’s Jill Dougherty just posted this on Facebook.

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify before the Committee on Wednesday, January 23 to answer questions about the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. In the attack, terrorists killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty.

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At today’s press briefing, Victoria Nuland reported that the date for Mme. Secretary’s visit to Capitol Hill has yet to be set.


QUESTION: Can I ask you about Benghazi – excuse me – the Secretary’s testimony? There was a date floated out yesterday by Senator Corker. I think it was January 22nd, if I’m correct. Has that been confirmed?

MS. NULAND: It is not yet. We are continuing to work with both the House and the Senate. As I said, we can’t do it before that week, obviously, because they are out of session. But we have to – we have not yet closed with the committees on the precise date.

QUESTION: But you could do the House the week earlier? Do you anticipate it would be the same day?

MS. NULAND: Yeah, I mean –

QUESTION: Like how it usually is?

MS. NULAND: Yeah, that she would go up once, she would do the House and the Senate is usually the way we do it. Yeah.

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These are pdfs so I can only link to them.

Here is the cover letter.  Here is the unclassified ARB Report.

I just read the letter.  It is brilliant.  It should stand as yet another extraordinary response to an existing problem in the same vein as her 1000 Days and clean cookstove efforts.  What she has managed to do here is agree with the ARB’s findings and involve the Congressional committees in the effort to address them at every turn.  So while she is saying that there were weaknesses, she is also saying that she has already initiated steps to address them that can succeed only if Congress cooperates.  I like to read documents myself rather than have media interpret them for me.  This letter is a masterpiece from the best secretary of state I have seen in my life.  It is a must read!

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As you know, Mme. Secretary is traveling again next week when several House and Senate Committees called hearings on Benghazi.  For those who would like some details on who from DOS will attend  these hearings and what kind of information DOS is providing,  this snip from today’s press briefing is helpful.


12:56 p.m. EST

MS. NULAND: All right, everybody. Happy Friday. Apologies for the delay. I think you know that the President is coming out with a statement very shortly, so we will do as much as we can until we hear that he’s going out. And then if we have things to clean up later, we can do it by phone or by email.

I want to just start by coming back to something that we mentioned either yesterday or the day before, which was that we would be participating in some Hill engagements next week on Benghazi. Just to give you the list there, on Tuesday, Under Secretary Kennedy and Assistant Secretary Boswell will brief members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Let me, sorry, go back and say that all of these are going to be closed sessions at the Hill’s request. Okay?

So first, on Tuesday, Under Secretary Kennedy and Assistant Secretary Boswell will brief members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. On Wednesday, Under Secretary Kennedy and Assistant Secretary Boswell will brief members of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. On Thursday morning, Under Secretary Kennedy will testify in a closed hearing before the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee, and in the afternoon, he’ll testify before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. And on Friday morning, Under Secretary Kennedy will brief Chairmen and ranking members from the House. And again, all of those are in closed, classified session and at the Hill’s request. Let’s go to what’s on your minds.

QUESTION: I’m sorry, because I came in late. This is on Benghazi, right?

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: All of these are in closed session at the Hill’s request?

MS. NULAND: Correct.

QUESTION: Do you have – did they say why these needed to be closed sessions, since they seem to be the source of all the documents that are leaking out in dribs and drabs?

MS. NULAND: Well, my understanding is that they wanted to have a conversation that incorporated classified information, including intelligence reporting.

QUESTION: Was there not classified information – did members of Congress not complain that classified information was released at the House Oversight Committee hearing that already had been held?

MS. NULAND: Matt, they’ve asked for closed hearings, closed briefings; that’s what we’re complying with.

QUESTION: The Secretary won’t appear before any of these committees?

MS. NULAND: The Secretary has not been asked to appear. They’ve asked for the individuals that are coming.

QUESTION: Would she be willing to fly back from Australia to appear?

MS. NULAND: Again, she has not been asked to appear. She was asked to appear at House Foreign Affairs next week, and we have written back to the Chairman to say that she’ll be on travel next week.

QUESTION: Are you aware that any Libyans will be called to the hearings to be talked to?

MS. NULAND: That sounds like a question for the Hill. I’m not aware of any panels other than the government panels.

QUESTION: But you have not been asked to facilitate any visas or anything like this for –

MS. NULAND: To my knowledge, no.

QUESTION: — maybe some Libyan officials?


QUESTION: Toria, I’m sorry. I was running down here to get here. You may have said this: Is there any effort by the State Department to brief us on anything that might not be classified or any information, any progress that we could talk about next week that could come out of that?

MS. NULAND: I don’t anticipate that we’re going to have new information for the press before we have the ARB report, but let’s just see where we go there.

QUESTION: Do you know – do you anticipate that you’ll have new information for members of Congress?

MS. NULAND: Well, again, they’ve asked for classified hearings.

QUESTION: I understood that.

MS. NULAND: Some of them have been – there are a lot of folks who have been out of town during this – the period that the Congress was out of session. These hearings and briefings were requested by them now that they’re coming back into session, so I can’t speak to what different members know and how much different members have followed.

QUESTION: Yeah. But, I mean, do you expect Pat Kennedy to get up there and say anything substantially different than what he’s already said in public?

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to what might be spoken about in a classified session. I would guess, Matt, that it’s also going to go to issues of intelligence, which we haven’t been briefing.

QUESTION: And Pat is the person that’s discussed issues of intelligence with them?

MS. NULAND: Again, Pat is the Under Secretary for Management. He can speak to the entire threat environment that we were working under, which included both unclassified and classified information.


QUESTION: Toria, the Congress has asked for a lot of documents, obviously. Can you give us an update on even percentage-wise how much the State Department has collected, how you’re giving them these documents, or whether you’re waiting to get everything together, compiled, and then you will give it to them?

MS. NULAND: Well, thanks for that question, Jill. As you know, we’ve had requests for documents from a number of committees and from a number of staff and members. We have now made documents available to members of and staff on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We have told all of these requesting committees and their staff that they can see these documents as many times as they’d like to see them, for as long as they’d like to see them.

Our understanding, in fact, is that today Senator Corker of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is reviewing documents at his request. So there have been some reports out there that we’ve been withholding information or that we’ve been limiting time. None of that is accurate. We’ve really done our utmost under the Secretary’s instructions to be fully compliant, transparent, and open with the Congress.

QUESTION: And do they come over here to view them?

MS. NULAND: No, we take them up there to their classified rooms.

QUESTION: And same question really, and then you – and they review them, and then you take them back and await the next request to see them?

MS. NULAND: Exactly. We arrange whatever requests are needed after they’ve had a chance to take a first look. And sometimes you have staff looking and then they want their members to see, subset, et cetera. So we’ve been facilitating all of that.

QUESTION: Just on these hearings, I’m wondering, given the fact that the refrain from the Hill or at least some members of the Hill, has been since this all began that the American people have the right to know, they deserve to know, was there any pushback from you guys when they said that we want to have these closed, we want to have these closed hearings rather than having open so that the American people could hear?

MS. NULAND: Well, as you know, relatively soon after the events, there was a set of open hearings. It’s obviously up to the Congress to ask for what it wants to have. In this case, they’ve asked for a set of closed briefings and hearings, so we’re going to comply with that.

QUESTION: Fair enough. I understand, but did – was there any suggestion from this building that, hey, if you really want the American people to know, maybe these shouldn’t be held behind closed doors?

MS. NULAND: I think we are in the posture of complying with what the Congress is asking for to help them in their review and to be supportive of their understanding of the situation as we go forward. As we’ve said, we have the ARB running. We also have whatever the FBI will come forward with. So there will be a time to be as open as we can be about the findings of the ARB with the public understanding the need to protect classified.


QUESTION: More clarification on the documents. Many – there have been many different requests and sometimes defined with different parameters. How did you collect those documents? Is it the full collection of documents that has been asked for? Is it this committee gets exactly what they ask for? Or if you can get into a little more depth in terms of which documents go where and how many, and whether this is it or whether there will be more.

MS. NULAND: Whether this is it, whether this – there’ll be more, I mean, that depends on whether the scope is broadened by committees. But in fact, whenever we have – particularly when we have classified documents requested, we have to do a full search. It involves both telegrams, intelligence reports, classified email, all of that kind of thing. And then we meet the requests that the different committees have, that the different staff members have. It’s not unusual for a first set of documents to be reviewed and then additional things to be requested. All of that has to be gone through. So it’s really specific to the requests as they come in.

QUESTION: Toria, there are currently Pentagon teams that are studying the situation in Libya to see how best an army, or a Libyan army, can be built. Is the State Department involved in any way in these processes, or are you involved in any way in sort of restructuring Libyan security?

MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, as you know, there is a UN-sponsored effort underway to be supportive to the Libyans. We also have made bilateral proposals. We’ve had teams, mil-mil teams and other teams, out there offering support in all of the various categories where we often help transitioning countries, whether it’s destruction of excess equipment, whether it’s nationalizing a military, whether it is training, all those kinds of things.

I think one of the issues, as the Libyans have been clear about, is that in this – in the context of their being an interim government first and then having a relatively protracted period of establishing the current transitional government, they have been loath to make some of the larger structural decisions that would enable us to provide more help. But we are hopeful that, now that they have a fully agreed upon transitional government, that we will be able to do more together to help them meet the security needs of the country and to provide stronger population security. And we’re open to doing all of that.

Please, Margaret.

QUESTION: Toria, when you’re talking about this process, going up to the Hill, delivering these documents, is there a chief Benghazi point person at State? Who’s doing this? It sounds extremely time consuming. So who is focused on this specifically?

MS. NULAND: Well, there are a whole bunch of folks who, obviously, have to look at things to ensure that we’ve been complete. But as has been clear by our public presentations, Under Secretary Kennedy has the line authority for ensuring that we’re fully compliant, and obviously, our Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Dave Adams.


QUESTION: You mentioned that Senator Corker is looking at some of this stuff today. Is he the only person up there who’s so far gotten hold of any of these documents, or have they gone to other offices as well? Can you tell how many?

MS. NULAND: I think I just did that about five minutes ago.

QUESTION: Did you? I’m sorry.

MS. NULAND: Maybe you slept through that piece, Andy. (Laughter.) I can do it again.

Members and staff of House Oversight and Government Reform, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs –

QUESTION: Okay. I got that list. So it’s actually gone up to all of these folks?

MS. NULAND: Correct. Correct. Yeah.

QUESTION: Okay. That was it. Right.

MS. NULAND: And again, with members in and out before they came back into session, we now have some members whose staff have seen documents who want to see them themselves, et cetera.


MS. NULAND: Yeah. It’s the usual –

QUESTION: Victoria, will the Secretary be appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee next week?

MS. NULAND: I spoke to that about 15 minutes ago.

QUESTION: Oh, sorry. It’s just been posted on their website.

MS. NULAND: She is traveling next week, as you know. We just put out a message. So she will not appear, but we – I did give a list, at the top of this, of multiple briefings and hearings where Pat Kennedy will be appearing.

QUESTION: So just to make 100 percent sure, the Secretary is not going to interrupt her trip to come back and testify?

MS. NULAND: She has a commitment with the Secretary of Defense to the AUSMIN Ministerial. So –

QUESTION: And doesn’t she also have a commitment with the President to go to certain other countries in the region?

MS. NULAND: She does. Was that the – okay. Sounds like the President’s going to come out, so we can do the rest of this in gaggle format afterwards. Thanks.

(The briefing paused at 1:08 p.m. and resumed at 1:28 p.m.)

MS. NULAND: Here we go. Friday briefing, round two. All right, where were we, guys?

QUESTION: (Inaudible) fiscal cliff and the President’s plan to avert going over it. Are we done with Libya?

MS. NULAND: I think we are. Let’s keep moving on.

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Remarks at the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC
September 19, 2012

Seventeen years ago, as we were in Beijing on behalf of the UN Conference Concerning the Rights of Women, we thought about many of the women around the world who could not be with us but whose presence was a strong message of the values that we were promoting, values that were not just American values, but universal values.Madeleine Albright left that conference in Beijing taking with her a poster signed by all the Americans and a few others who we gave the opportunity to sign to take that poster to Burma to give to Aung San Suu Kyi, to let her know once again that there were many of us around the world supporting her in her cause, remembering her personally.

When I was a member of the Senate and privileged to vote for the bill that we now see come to fruition in 2008, I never imagined that a year later I would be Secretary of State. But I was so pleased to have the opportunity to work with my colleagues, my former colleagues, in thinking about a new approach that the United States might take to try to see if there were any way to help move a transition forward, not only in honor of and furtherance of Daw Suu Kyi’s life’s work, but for the people of Burma.

I reached out to Joe Crowley and Congressman Manzullo and my friends Dianne Feinstein, John McCain, and Mitch McConnell. I went to see Senator McConnell in his office. I said, “Mitch, what do you think about seeing whether there is any opening whatsoever?” And I was so pleased when he said, “Well, let’s give it a try. Let’s be careful. Let’s proceed judiciously.” On the way out of his office, he stopped and showed me a letter from Suu Kyi to him. We knew that at some point change would have to come, but whether it would be a year, a decade, or longer, no one could predict.
But very carefully, in close consultation with the Congress, we began sending Assistant Secretary Campbell and then now-Ambassador Derek Mitchell in the position created by the Congress of Special Envoy, listening, probing, seeing whether there was something happening. And slowly change started. And of course, when the house arrest was finally lifted and the voice of this remarkable woman could be heard more broadly, we knew that the United States had to be not only supporting the change, but carefully nurturing it to ensure that it did not end up being hijacked, detoured.

Today, we are joined by a representative from the President of Burma, and we welcome U Aung Min. We are joined by the new Ambassador from Burma, Than Swe. And we are joined not only by a fearless champion of human rights and democracy, but a member of parliament. It’s almost too delicious to believe, my friend, that you are here in the Rotunda of our great Capitol, the centerpiece of our democracy, as an elected member of your parliament – (applause) – and as, Leader Pelosi, the leader of the political opposition, the leader of a political party.

I am so deeply moved by what she has stood for and what she has represented, first and foremost for the people of her country, but for people everywhere who yearn for freedom, whose voices deserve to be heard. But I am also very impressed that she was not satisfied upon the release from house arrest to remain an advocate, a symbol, an icon. In many ways, that would have been the easiest path to take, because if anyone understands how difficult politics is anywhere in the world, it is all of us in this chamber today.

The to and fro of making decisions of compromise, of reaching agreement with people that you don’t agree with – and in her case, people who were her former jailers – is a great testament to her courage and fortitude and understanding of what Burma needs now.

Last December, I had the great honor of visiting with her in the house by the lake where she was confined for many years. As we walked around that house and through the rooms, I remembered another visit I had made years before with Nelson Mandela showing me his prison cell on Robben Island. These two political prisoners were separated by great distances, but they were both marked by uncommon grace, generosity of spirit, and unshakable will.

And they both understood something that I think we all have to grasp: the day they walked out of prison, the day the house arrest was ended, was not the end of the struggle. It was the beginning of a new phase. Overcoming the past, healing a wounded country, building a democracy, would require moving from icon to politician.

In a time when politics and politicians are sometimes the objects of criticism and even disdain, it is well for us to remember people fight and die for the right to exercise politics, to be part of a democracy, to make decisions peacefully, without resorting to the gun. That work of building democracy never ends, not here in the seat of the oldest democracy in the world, or in a country like Burma in its new capital of Nay Pyi Taw, where the speaker of the lower house where Suu Kyi now serves said to me, “Help us learn how to be a democratic congress, a parliament.” He went on to tell me that they were trying to teach themselves by watching old segments of the West Wing. (Laughter.) I said, “I think we can do better than that, Mr. Speaker.”

So as we honor her, a time that many of us feared would never happen, it’s good to recognize that one phase of her work may be over, but another phase, equally important, is just beginning. And that the United States will stand with her, with the President of Burma and those who are reformers in the executive branch and the legislative branch, with the activists, with civil society, as they fan the flickers of democratic progress and press forward with reform. And we wish them all Godspeed. (Applause.)

The entire ceremony was impressive. C-SPAN3 covered it, but there is nothing on the schedule indicating a re-run. Here is the link to the entire event. Daw Suu Kyi’s comments about freedom and security were especially relevant at a time when many have a hard time comprehending the relationship between the two.

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Report to Congress on the Haqqani Network


Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

September 7, 2012


Today, I have sent a report to Congress saying that the Haqqani Network meets the statutory criteria of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) for designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). This action meets the requirements of the Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-168). Based on that assessment, I notified Congress of my intent to designate the Haqqani Network as an FTO under the INA. I also intend to designate the organization as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224.

The consequences of these designations include a prohibition against knowingly providing material support or resources to, or engaging in other transactions with, the Haqqani Network, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States, or the control of U.S. persons. These actions follow a series of other steps that the U.S. government already has taken against the Haqqanis. The Department of State previously designated key Haqqani Network leaders under E.O. 13224, and the Department of the Treasury has designated other militants with ties to the Haqqanis under the same authority. We also continue our robust campaign of diplomatic, military, and intelligence pressure on the network, demonstrating the United States’ resolve to degrade the organization’s ability to execute violent attacks.

I take this action in the context of our overall strategy in Afghanistan, the five lines of effort that President Obama laid out when he was in Afghanistan in May: increasing the capacity of Afghan security forces to fight insurgents; transitioning to Afghan security lead; building an enduring partnership with Afghanistan; pursuing Afghan-led reconciliation; and putting together an international consensus to support peace and stability in the region. We will continue to work with both Afghanistan and Pakistan to move these efforts forward and build a more peaceful and secure future.

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