Paraphrasing JFK, Bill Clinton introduced himself as, “the man who accompanied Hillary Clinton to Iowa.”   It was his fourth appearance at the Tom Harkin Steak Fry where, Harkin noted, a steak has never been fried.  WJC said that the gingham shirt he was wearing, very trendy right now, was his birthday gift from Hillary.  She, in turn, on her first visit to Iowa since 2007, told the audience that Bill calls the steak fry “the stir fry,” and warned that she is on “grandma alert” in case they happened to see the two Clintons suddenly run off stage.

For his part, Tom Harkin, saying that after 40 years it was time to step aside,  introduced his family: daughters Amy with son-in-law and grandchildren,  and Jenny with his “granddog” Ollie who received a little grandfatherly stroke under the chin.  Retiring from the Senate and speaking at the last of these annual events,  he said he and wife Ruth are looking forward to being back home in Iowa.  People in the audience held signs thanking him for his years of service.

C-SPAN Video >>>>

New York Times Video >>>>

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In Oman with Sultan Qaboos,  January 12, 2011,  when strategies to limit Iran’s nuclear expansion were failing, the sultan suggested secret talks. “I can help,” he said. She liked his style. Monarch, yes, but a true reformer with a great human rights record and possibly our best chance at that moment.

Hillary provides a brief history of U.S.-Iranian relations from the coup in 1953 that installed the Shah through his overthrow in 1979 and the seizure of Embassy Tehran that year in which 52 Americans were taken hostage and held for 444 days until after Ronald Reagan took the oath of office on January 20, 1980.  (OK – Hillary doesn’t say that, but I will never forget it.)

She enumerates terrorist attacks originating in or connected to the new Iranian revolution over the decades that indicate the global danger posed by a nuclear Iran which refused to abide by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (which it had signed) and denied inspection access to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Hillary began advocating for sanctions against Iran as Senator from New York. During the 2008 primaries she took issue with Obama’s plan to engage directly with Iran without preconditions.  She also threatened nuclear retaliation if Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel and Iran filed a formal protest against her at the U.N.

New York Senator Hillary Clinton (L) lis

After she accepted secretary of state, they had to craft an effective approach.


They settled on a dual strategy:  engagement and pressure.   Compliance with treaty obligations would result in improved relations.  Refusal would lead to increased isolation and worse.

The first gesture was two letters from President Obama to the Ayatollah Khameini and a video message to the people of Iran.  The tactic was meant to show our open hand.  Hillary emphasized this posture by inviting Iran to the U.N. Conference on Afghanistan at The Hague in March 2009.   They sent a deputy foreign minister.   Hillary did not meet with him, but reciprocated by sending a deputy of hers to make contact.

The Hague Afghanistan Conference

 Hillary’s proxy, Jake Sullivan,  hand delivered a letter requesting the release of three hostages: Robert Levinson, Esha Momeni, and Roxana Saberi.  Levinson remains in custody.  Momeni was released in August of that year, and Roxana Saberi was released in May 2009 and can be seen daily on Al Jazeera America.   Richard Holbrooke also had an encounter with the Iranian representative that the Iranian later denied. (After all you have read about Holbrooke in this book, the air of mystery, forever to remain unsolved, is tantalizing.)

June of that year brought deeply flawed Iranian elections.  The protests and subsequent government crackdown played out for several weeks, particularly on Twitter.  It was called The Green Revolution.

The mainstream media was perpetually several days behind.  Many of us were busily retweeting tweets from the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities.  Our profile pictures and backgrounds were shaded green.  This was a wallpaper many of us used.  It was made of a collage of hundreds of our green-shaded profile pictures.  The first night we did this, the whole left side of my Twitter feed turned to a green stripe within two hours.


These were visual signals, instantly recognizable, that what followed was information from Iran.  You could scan your feed and rapidly locate the tweets that could mean everything to someone on the other side of the globe.

Tweets consisted of life-and-death information.  What hospitals were safe?  Which ones had Revolutionary Guards posted?  What streets were safe to navigate?  Which embassies were accepting people?  Which were not?  Which had Revolutionary Guards stationed at entrances?  We had all set our Twitter accounts to Tehran time and deleted every RT as soon as we sent it to protect the original senders.  The senders did the same thing in case their phones were confiscated.  Continually retweeting the information was the only way to keep it alive, available, and moving.

We did this particularly on Friday and Saturday nights –  frantically.   It was like a part-time job.  We all saw almost immediately when this young woman, Neda Soltani,  was killed in the street.  She died in her father’s arms. and her sister tweeted the horrific video she had posted on Facebook with the heartbreaking words. “I saw my sister die today.”   The video at this link is no longer available in this country, but Hillary writes of this and knew about it.

It had been on Twitter and Facebook for three days before the mainstream media finally picked up the story.

Neda Soltani

I have no words. Yesterday I watched as this lovely young woman, looking for a better life in her own country was killed on the street. I know I was not alone, and I also know I was not the only one who cried.


We all know by now what Hillary relates in the book – that smack in the middle of this revolution and all of this activity on Twitter, the social media site was to go down for maintenance.   Her department prevailed upon Twitter to delay the maintenance in order to leave the lines of communication open.  It was crucial, and even though we who were retweeting did not and do not know what night that was to have been and what terrible  things were happening just then, I know we were still there retweeting critical information back to Iran because Hillary made sure we could.

We don’t know how many lives might have been saved as a result.  We never knew.  I think we did help.  I pray we did.

Hillary says in the book that she remains uncertain that staying on the sidelines was our best move during that terrible time as this popular uprising was crushed.

She writes that by September Khameini and Ahmedinejad, the quirkily comic yet dangerous President (who reminded some of us of a certain Twin Peaks character) had solidified their stronghold and UNGA was imminent.  President Obama was scheduled to chair a Security Council meeting on nuclear security,  and recent news of a secret enrichment facility near Qom was an issue to be provided some international daylight.

Hillary foreshadowed what was to be unveiled in this speech about a week earlier.

Hillary Clinton at Brookings Institution in Advance of UN General Assembly

… let me take a moment to say a few words about Iran, which will be another key topic on the President’s and my agenda next week.
To begin, it is important to recall what’s really at issue, and what’s really at stake.
Iran has refused for years to address the international community’s deep concerns about its nuclear program. Those concerns have been underscored repeatedly by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN Security Council.
Iran’s continued failure to live up to its obligations carries profound consequences – for the security of the United States and our allies; for progress on global nonproliferation and progress toward disarmament; for the credibility of the IAEA and the Security Council and the Nonproliferation Treaty; and of course, for stability in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, and beyond.
Our concern is not Iran’s right to develop peaceful nuclear energy, but its responsibility to demonstrate that its program is intended exclusively for peaceful purposes. This is not hard to do. Iran’s continued refusal to cooperate has damaged the credibility of its claim that it does not seek a nuclear weapon.
So Iran faces a choice. The international community has made abundantly clear what is possible for all Iranians if Iran lives up to its responsibilities on the nuclear issue – the benefits of economic connections to the rest of the world, cooperation on peaceful nuclear energy, and partnership in education and science.
But there will be accompanying costs for Iran’s continued defiance – more isolation and economic pressure, less possibility of progress for the people of Iran.

Outing the Qom facility in the Security Council was ditched.  The alternative was to use private meetings.

US President Barack Obama (R), US Secret

The Russians were visibly shocked.  Here is how it began to roll out.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on Iran

Secretary Clinton: Further Remarks on Iran

… as President Obama, President Sarkozy, and Minister Brown said in their statement today, Iran’s efforts over a number of years to build a covert enrichment facility near Qom deepens our already deep concern, and the growing international understanding about the scope and intent of Iran’s nuclear program…

This is further evidence of Iran’s continued defiance of IAEA and the United Nations obligations. Iran is breaking rules that all nations are expected to follow, and we fully support an immediate IAEA investigation…

This is an unfolding narrative. As more and more information is shared with the world, as the comments made by Ahmadinejad during his recent appearance, and both before and since illustrate attitudes and approaches that are really at variance with almost universal principles and understanding of historical reality…

I’m not going to prejudge it, but clearly, this is an incredibly important disclosure that the world needs to digest.

The “Geneva Agreement” became the effort into the fall.

Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates: Power and Persuasion

 … there were three agreements. One, that there would be inspections, and those inspections are going forward and they’re going forward quickly, of the undisclosed site that the President and Prime Minister Brown and President Sarkozy announced a little over a week ago in Pittsburgh. They agreed that, in principle, the Iranians would ship out their LEU for reprocessing to be returned for their research reactor. There will be a team of experts meeting to determine exactly how that will be carried out within 10 days. And they agreed that there will be another meeting, which means that this process doesn’t just drag on without any continuity.
So we think that on those three big issues, this was a worthwhile meeting. But as the President has said and I and others have also made clear, this is not by any means a stopping point. There is much more to be done. We expect much more.


Hillary Clinton in England with David Miliband

… we have also reviewed our position on Iran, where our countries work so closely together, including on the most recent revelation of the covert Iranian uranium enrichment site. My point on this is very, very simple, that Iran will never have a better opportunity to establish normal relations with the international community. And it will never have a better opportunity than to show that the peaceful intent that marks its words about its nuclear program is matched by its deeds.

Hillary Clinton with Sergei Lavrov in Moscow

We obviously discussed some of the broader foreign policy issues that we both face. Iran’s nuclear program remains a matter of serious concern, and we’re working closely with Russia through the P-5+1 process. We had a constructive meeting in Geneva on October 1st. And we are working to ensure that Iran moves forward with us on this engagement track and demonstrates unequivocally that it is seeking only the peaceful use of nuclear weapons.

We had a long discussion and brought in some of our technical experts to review where we stand on missile defense. We explained that our assessment of the evolving threat from Iran led President Obama to adopt a new, different approach to missile defense. We are very interested in working with Russia to develop cooperation, including a joint threat assessment and intensified efforts to establish a joint data exchange center, as our presidents agreed to in July, as a means of making missile defense a common enterprise against what we believe are increasingly common threats.


Secretary Clinton: Back at Foggy Bottom after an extended trip

The United States is also grateful for Germany’s participation and leadership in the P-5+1 and the E-3+3 processes to ensure Iran’s full compliance with UN Security Council resolutions and IAEA directives on its nuclear program. We are speaking with one voice on this critical issue, and it is a voice that is amplified by our friends from Britain and France, from Russia, China and the European Union. We are pressing Iran together in our support of the recent proposal to provide new fuel for the Tehran research reactor in exchange for Iran shipping out its low-enriched uranium. We both support the IAEA’s efforts to inspect the recently disclosed uranium enrichment facility near Qom. And we both remain ready, along with our partners, to meet with Iranian representatives to discuss further steps to build confidence and transparency in its nuclear program. As I have said, this is a pivotal moment for Iran, and we urge Iran to accept the agreement as proposed. We will not alter it, and we will not wait forever.

Hillary Clinton’s Remarks with French Foreign Minister Kouchner

The work on Iran is (inaudible) greater intensity and France’s leadership is especially important. The international community is united in its resolve regarding Iran’s nuclear program and in its condemnation of the serious escalating assault on human rights. The recent executions that have taken place in Iran of demonstrators, the creation of new crimes to try to imprison and execute protestors and opposition leaders is deplorable.

Video & Text: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks Before Senate Foreign Relations Committee

We are fighting two wars that call on the skill and sacrifice of our civilians as well as our troops. We have pursued a dual-track approach to Iran that has exposed its refusal to live up to its responsibilities and helped us achieve a new unity with our international partners. Iran has left the international community with little choice but to impose greater costs for its provocative steps. And we are now working actively with our partners to prepare and implement new measures to pressure Iran to change its course.

Video & Text: Secretary Clinton Before House Foreign Affairs Committee

The figures in the budget are more than numbers on a page. They tell the story of the challenges we face and the resources we need to overcome them. We are fighting two wars that call for the skill and sacrifice of our civilians as well as our troops. We have pursued a dual-track approach to Iran that has exposed for the world to see its refusal to live up to its responsibility, and it has helped us achieve a new unity with our international partners. Iran has left the international community little choice but to impose greater costs for its provocative steps. And we are now working actively with other countries to prepare and implement new measures to pressure Iran to change course.

Brazil was, at the time, occupying one of the rotating seats on the Security Council.  Cooperation was essential to the success of the resolution for sanctions.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim

… both the United States and Brazil are committed to the core goal of nonproliferation. And the foreign minister and I discussed our mutual commitment to ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon. And the United States looks forward to continuing that conversation with Brazil in the weeks ahead.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Russian FM Lavrov

We discussed at length Iran’s nuclear program, which remains an issue of grave concern for the international community. We are still committed, as we have been, to a diplomatic solution, but there must be a solution. Iran is not living up to its international obligations and, therefore, we’re working together with our other partners in the P-5+1 to bring together a very clear international consensus in the Security Council that gives Iran the message it needs to hear that its behavior does have consequences and that its pursuit of nuclear weapons poses a direct threat both to regional and global security.

Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State: Remarks at the Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

We know there are some countries who will choose not to be constructive. This morning, Iran’s president offered the same tired, false, and sometimes wild accusations against the United States and other parties at this conference. But that’s not surprising. As you all heard this morning, Iran will do whatever it can to divert attention away from its own record and to attempt to evade accountability. Ultimately, however, we will all be judged not for our words but for our actions. And we will all be measured not by how assertively we claim our rights but by how faithfully we uphold our responsibilities. And as the Secretary General said, in this regard the onus is on Iran. So far, it has failed to meet its burden. Iran is the only country represented in this hall that has been found by the IAEA Board of Governors to be currently in noncompliance with its nuclear safeguards obligations – the only one. It has defied the UN Security Council and the IAEA, and placed the future of the nonproliferation regime in jeopardy. And that is why it is facing increasing isolation and pressure from the international community.

Secretary Clinton’s Address at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue Opening Session

… on international security challenges, the United States and China have consulted closely on the challenge posed by Iran’s nuclear program. The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran concerns us all. And to address that threat, together we have pursued a dual-track approach of engagement and pressure, aimed at encouraging Iran’s leaders to change course. The draft resolution agreed to by all of our P-5+1 partners and circulated at the Security Council sends a clear message to the Iranian leadership: Live up to your obligation, or face growing isolation and consequences. As we continue to cooperate in New York, the burden is on Iran to demonstrate through its actions that it will uphold its responsibility.

Secretary Clinton: Concluding Joint Statements at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue

… we had very frank and detailed conversations about international security challenges and regional hot spots, including Iran and North Korea. We stressed the importance of reaching a conclusion on resolution of the United Nations Security Council to send a message to Iran to, “Live up to your international responsibilities or face growing isolation and consequences.”

Hillary mentions an OAS meeting in Peru where she had cocktails with Chinese ambassador the the U.S. Zhang Yesui and they worked out some fine points on the sanctions while the press at the bar had no idea high-level negotiations were going on.  Mark Landler of the New York Times brought them a couple of drinks, and there was a final agreement.  Thank you Mark!

Assistant Secretary Arturo Valenzuela: Briefing on Secretary Clinton’s Upcoming Travel to Latin America and the Caribbean

This trip this week will begin on Sunday and it’s to Lima, Peru, for the General Assembly of the Organization of American States. So the Secretary will lead the U.S. delegation to the Organization of American States annual meeting in Lima. And in Lima, she will also have a bilateral meeting with President Garcia, who, as you know, was in Washington last week to meet with the President as well.
From – so will be arriving on Sunday in Lima, Peru – Sunday evening. She will spend the entire day in Peru on Monday in the meetings of the OASGA.

Hillary Clinton: Statements and Remarks on the Security Council Vote

I commend the United Nations Security Council for its adoption today of UN Security Council Resolution 1929, aimed at addressing the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Despite consistent and longstanding demands by the Council, Iran has not suspended its uranium enrichment and other proliferation-related activities that are in direct violation of its commitments to the IAEA and its obligations under the NPT.

This resolution sends an unambiguous signal to Iran that the international community holds it accountable for its actions. The measures in this resolution go well beyond the pre-existing sanctions on Iran.

Secretary Clinton’s Statement on Passage of Iran Sanctions Legislation

I join President Obama in welcoming Congressional passage of legislation to strengthen sanctions against Iran. We support the broad aims of HR 2194, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 — constraining Iran’s nuclear program, changing the calculus of Iran’s leaders, and demonstrating that Iran’s policies decrease its standing, and further isolate it in the international community. We are committed to fully implementing this legislation in a manner that advances our multilateral dual-track strategy of engagement and pressure. These new measures, along with action by the European Union and Australia, build on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929 and underscore the resolve of the international community to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and to hold it accountable for its international obligations. The United States will work with our partners to maximize the impact of these efforts and to continue pursuing a diplomatic resolution to the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program.‪

December 2010, she recounts her first face-to-face encounter with her Iranian counterpart at this function where she extended her open hand and was twice rebuffed.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Manama Dialogue Opening Dinner

At this time, I would like to address directly the delegation at this conference from the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

I am pleased to have this opportunity for your government and mine to gather here with representatives from other nations to discuss problems of mutual concern and interest…

Nearly two years ago, President Obama extended your government a sincere offer of dialogue. We are still committed to this offer.

The next month, Sultan Qaboos made his offer to help.  He had helped get the release of three American hikers, Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd who had been arrested in July 2009.  This, of course, was bigger and very sensitive.  Complications were sure to arise and they did.

The news she mentions about the assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. broke while she was about to be interviewed at the State Department.

Secretary Clinton’s Interviews with AP and Reuters

QUESTION: And that is – presumably you are up to speed, you’re aware of this?


QUESTION: And I know that it’s a Justice Department thing and that –


QUESTION: But what does it say about – I mean, about Iran and any attempt to try and get them to be reasonable?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me start with what it says about our whole-of-government efforts. I mean, this was a really important achievement by our law enforcement and our intel community to disrupt this plot. And you’ll be able to get the – you all were up here, but the news conference that the Attorney General and the FBI director and the U.S. Attorney from the Southern District and the Assistant AG for National Security just finished giving made it very clear that this was conceived by and directed by elements within the Iranian Government. The complaint has more detail than that. It’s something that we’ve been aware of and working on, led by the Justice Department and the FBI and the DEA.

So I think that the fact that the plot was disrupted and that, thankfully, the worst consequences that might have resulted from this kind of state-sponsored act of terror against a diplomat who, under the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons, is a breach of international norms, and Iran happens to be a signatory to that convention, I think creates a potential for international reaction that will further isolate Iran, that will raise questions about what they’re up to, not only inside the United States or Mexico, but elsewhere in the world. More details will, of course, come out in the course of the case being processed.

But as you may know, Matt, there are two named defendants, one the holder of American and Iranian passports and one who is in Iran who was involved. And I’m going to let the details kind of be up to the Justice Department because it’s really within their bailiwick. But it will not, I think, surprise you to know that we are actively engaged in a very concerted diplomatic outreach to many capitals, to the UN in New York, to not only explain what happened so that we try to preempt any efforts by Iran to be successful in what will be their denial and their efforts to try to deflect responsibility, but that we also enlist more countries in working together against what is becoming a clearer and clearer threat by Iran within many nations.

Secretary Clinton: Measures to Increase Pressure on Iran

Recent days have brought new evidence that Iran’s leaders continue to defy their international obligations and violate international norms, including the recent plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador here in the United States and as verified by the new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency that further documents Iran’s conduct of activities directly related to the development of nuclear weapons. Now, this report from the IAEA is not the United States or our European partners making accusations; this is the result of an independent review and it reflects the judgment of the international community.

Secretary Clinton with Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna

 MINISTER KRISHNA:  Since you asked a specific question about Iran, it remains an important source of oil for us, although its share in our imports are declining, which is well known. Ultimately, it reflects the decision that refineries make based on commercial, financial, and technical considerations. We have discussed our position and our perspectives on energy security, and these discussions will continue. As far as India is concerned, we subscribe to and rigorously implement the UN Security Council resolutions. This issue, however, is not a source of discord between our two countries.

Hillary states that this was good enough for her.  Iran’s oil market suffered as our partners decreased their dependence on that market and migrated to other sources – often suggested by us.  Hillary’s mantra of “crippling sanctions” was becoming realized.  She made sure, however, that the people of Iran were not deprived of necessities as a result, always clarifying that our argument was with the government, not with the people.

Meanwhile, Iran was propping up Bashar Al-Assad in Syria with weapons, trainers, fighters, and money.

As Hillary’s term at State was drawing to a close, the secret talks began to yield some results, and Iranian elections were just around the corner.  True debates ensued.   Hassan Rouhani was elected.  Hillary was no longer in office when the agreements were reached, and she harbored (and still does) a healthy skepticism born of experience.  Yet five years of hard work and back-channel negotiations had produced fruit.

Once again, if anyone tries to disparage or diminish Hillary Clinton’s legacy at the State Department show them this page.   Better yet, they should just read the book.  The final few pages of this chapter read as grippingly as Michael Crichton or John le Carré.   Hillary was not involved in those operations, but it was she who set the ball rolling.  It wasn’t a strike, but I think eight pins fell.


Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction



Hillary spoke yesterday at the ‘Women and Girls Rising’ conference at the Ford Foundation in New York.  The event was sponsored by the Roosevelt Institute and Hillary’s former speech writer Lissa Muscatine acted as moderator.

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Hillary joined Nikki Giovanni, Toni Morrison, and Michelle Obama in paying tribute to Maya Angelou at Riverside Church in New York.  Meanwhile Barack Obama and Bill Clinton celebrated Americorps in DC.

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This morning, at Riverside Church, Maya Angelou will be celebrated and remembered.  Hillary is expected to join Nikki Giovanni, Toni Morrison, and other luminaries in memorializing Dr. Angelou’s legacy.

Memorial service for literary lion Maya Angelou will feature former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

A memorial to honor Maya Angelou, the revered writer, poet, actress and civil rights activist who died this year, will kick off at the Riverside Church on Riverside Dr. near W. 120th St. on Friday at 11 a.m.

Thursday, September 11, 2014
Gerald Herbert/AP Poet Maya Angelou smiling in Washington.

Literary lion Maya Angelou may be gone, but her memory will live on through the day and beyond.

A memorial celebration to honor Angelou, the revered writer, poet, actress and civil rights activist who died this year, will kick off at the Riverside Church on Riverside Dr. near W. 120th St. on Friday at 11 a.m.

Former first lady, senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will join a group of renowned speakers — including author Toni Morrison and popular poet Nikki Giovanni — to pay tribute to the legendary Angelou, who died at her home on the North Carolina campus of Wake Forest University on May 28. She was 86.

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Leo DiCaprio to be honored. Seth Meyers, Natalie Merchant, and The Roots to perform

President Clinton, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton Announce More Participants for 10th Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting and Honorees and Performers for the 8th Clinton Global Citizen AwardsTM

Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Michelle Bachelet, President of the Republic of Chile; Cherie Blair, Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; Carlos Alves de Brito, Chief Executive Officer, Anheuser-Busch InBev; Lauren Bush, Founder and CEO, FEED; John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco; Joaquim Alberto Chissano, Former President of the Republic of Mozambique, Chairperson, Joaquim Chissano Foundation; David Crane, President and CEO, NRG Energy, Inc.; Geena Davis, Founder, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO, XPRIZE; Hikmet Ersek, President and CEO, The Western Union Company; Fadi Ghandour, Founder and Vice Chairman of the Board, Aramex; Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Hugh Grant, Chairman, President, and CEO, Monsanto Company; Tony James, President and COO, Blackstone; Antony Jenkins, Group Chief Executive Officer, Barclays; Donna Karan, Founder, Urban Zen; Laurent Lamothe, Prime Minister of the Republic of Haiti; Cindy Hensley McCain, Advisor, McCain Institute for International Leadership; Carolyn Miles, President and CEO, Save the Children; Luis Alberto Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Vika Pota, Chief Executive Officer, Varkey GEMS Foundation; Group Director, Corporate Affairs, GEMS Education; Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America Foundation

Seth Meyers to host 8th Annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards™ honoring Leonardo DiCaprio, Founder, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation; Atifete Jahjaga, President of the Republic of Kosovo; Hayat Sindi, Founder and CEO, i2 Institute; and Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez, Co-founders, Coalition of Immokalee Workers; with appearances by Madeleine Albright, Eva Longoria, Randy Jackson and musical performances by Aloe Blacc, Natalie Merchant, Jason Mraz with special guests Raining Jane, and The Roots

New York, NY – President Bill Clinton, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton announced new participants for the 10th Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, to be held September 21-24 in New York City, including 45 current and former heads of state, and more than 1,000 of the most influential leaders from business, government, civil society and philanthropy.

Honorees, participants, and performers for the 8th annual Clinton Global Citizen AwardsTM were also announced. CGI will open on Sunday, September 21st with the Clinton Global Citizen AwardsTM, which have honored outstanding individuals in civil society, philanthropy, public service, and the private sector who exemplify global citizenship through their vision, leadership, and impact in addressing global challenges since the first Clinton Global Citizen AwardsTM in 2007.

Hosted by Seth Meyers, of NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” the 2014 ceremony will honor Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez for their work on behalf of farm workers throughout the United States, Leonardo DiCaprio for his dedication to environmental causes and preservation efforts of the world’s oceans, Hayat Sindi for her work to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among young people in the Middle East, and the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga, for promoting reconciliation in the region and building Kosovo’s political and economic institutions to gain EU membership. The event will feature musical performances by Aloe Blacc, Natalie Merchant, Jason Mraz with special guests Raining Jane, and The Roots and appearances by Madeleine Albright, Eva Longoria, and Randy Jackson who serves as music director for the event.

Newly announced participants in the Annual Meeting include the most influential from business, government, civil society and philanthropy, including: Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan;  Michelle Bachelet, President, Republic of Chile; Cherie Blair, Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; Carlos Alves de Brito, Chief Executive Officer, Anheuser-Busch InBev; Erin Burnett, Anchor, Erin Burnett OutFront; Lauren Bush, Founder and CEO, FEED; John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco; Joaquim Alberto Chissano, Former President, Republic of Mozambique, Chairperson, Joaquim Chissano Foundation; David Crane, President and CEO, NRG Energy, Inc.; Geena Davis, Founder, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman and CEO, XPRIZE; Hikmet Ersek, President and CEO, The Western Union Company; Shelly Esque, President, Intel Foundation; Kelly Evans, Co-anchor, “Closing Bell”, CNBC; Fadi Ghandour, Founder and Vice Chairman, Aramex; Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister,  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Hugh Grant, Chairman, President and CEO, Monsanto Company; Mark Gunton, Chief Executive Officer, Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership; Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent, CNN; Tony James, President and COO, Blackstone; Antony Jenkins, Group Chief Executive Officer, Barclays; Musimbi Kanyoro, Chief Executive Officer, Global Fund for Women; Donna Karan, Founder, Urban Zen; Laurent Lamothe, Prime Minister Republic of Haiti; Parker Liautaud, Expedition Leader, Willis Resilience Expedition; Cindy Hensley McCain, Advisor, McCain Institute for International Leadership; Molly Melching, Executive Director, Tostan; Carolyn Miles, President and CEO, Save the Children; Luis Alberto Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund; Vika Pota, Chief Executive Officer, Varkey GEMS Foundation; Group Director, Corporate Affairs, GEMS Education; Martin Riant, Group President, Global Baby, Feminine & Family Care, Proctor & Gamble; V. Shankar, Chief Executive Officer, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Americas, Standard Charter Bank; Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New American Foundation, and Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University; Uma Thurman, Founding Board Member, Room to Grow, Award-winning Actress; Xiaogang Wei, Executive Director, Beijing Gender Health Education Institute; Derek Yach Executive Director, The Vitality Institute; and, Fareed Zakaria, Host, Fareed Zakaria GPS, CNN.

Previously announced participants include President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States; His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Mary Barra, Chief Executive Officer, General Motors Company; Matt Damon, Co-founder, Water.org; Melinda French Gates, Co-chair and Trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group; Jack Ma, Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group; Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Chairman, The Paulson Institute, Former Secretary of the Treasury of the United States; Becky Quick, Co-anchor, Squawk Box, CNBC; Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President & CEO, IBM; Charlie Rose, Host, “Charlie Rose Show”; Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation; and Muhammad Yunus, Chairman, Yunus Social Business.

This picture is from the May 1, 2009 ceremony when the name of Brian Adkins was added to the memorial wall in the lobby of the Harry S. Truman Building. Brian was a 25-year-old Foreign Service officer killed in his first tour of duty in the consular section of the American Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Also added to the wall that day were the names of Felix Russel Engdahl, U.S. Consul in Shanghai, who died in 1942 in a Japanese internment camp; Thomas Waldron, first U.S. Consul in Hong Kong, who died of cholera; Edmund Roberts, a special envoy sent by President Andrew Jackson to negotiate a treaty with Japan, who died of dysentery.

It was the first time we saw Secretary Clinton cry.

Date: 05/01/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton at the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) Plaque Ceremony in C Street Lobby.   © State Department photo by Michael Gross


Hillary Clinton on the Tragedy in Benghazi

Hillary Clinton’s Video Remarks on the Deaths of American Personnel in Benghazi, Libya

Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. American and Libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. Four Americans were killed. They included Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, and our Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals.This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence, and we send our prayers to the families, friends, and colleagues of those we’ve lost….

In the lobby of this building, the State Department, the names of those who have fallen in the line of duty are inscribed in marble. Our hearts break over each one. And now, because of this tragedy, we have new heroes to honor and more friends to mourn….

… we must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or Government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post.

May God bless them, and may God bless the thousands of Americans working in every corner of the world who make this country the greatest force for peace, prosperity, and progress, and a force that has always stood for human dignity – the greatest force the world has ever known. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.


President Obama and Secretary Clinton at the White House and State Department


Hillary Clinton on the Deaths of Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty in Benghazi, Libya

Hillary Clinton at State Department Eid ul-Fitr Dinner

Religious freedom and religious tolerance are essential to the stability of any nation, any people. Hatred and violence in the name of religion only poison the well. All people of faith and good will know that the actions of a small and savage group in Benghazi do not honor religion or God in any way. Nor do they speak for the more than one billion Muslims around the world, many of whom have shown an outpouring of support during this time.

Unfortunately, however, over the last 24 hours, we have also seen violence spread elsewhere. Some seek to justify this behavior as a response to inflammatory, despicable material posted on the internet. As I said earlier today, the United States rejects both the content and the message of that video. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. At our meeting earlier today, my colleague, the foreign minister of Morocco, said that all prophets should be respected because they are all symbols of our humanity, for all humanity.

Benghazi-Spin: Myth-Busting and Reality Check

Myth:  Hillary Clinton said the attack on the Benghazi installation was an outgrowth of a demonstration against an anti-Islamist video on the internet.

Not exactly.  Here are her words on September 12, 2012.

We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.

There were demonstrations against such a video at many U.S. embassies world-wide and in the region,  however.

Sep 11, 2012

Cairo protesters scale U.S. Embassy wall, remove flag

Egyptian demonstrators climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today and pulled down the American flag to protest a film they say is insulting to the prophet Mohammad.

This Wikipedia entry gives a pretty complete treatment.  All of these embassies were under the oversight of the State Department.  The American School in Tunisia was destroyed.  Secretary Clinton, just back from a tour that ended in Vladivostok,  did have her hands full, but she did not blame this attack on the video.

Hillary mentions a precedent: Terry Jones burning the Quran the previous year and the resultant deadly protest in Afghanistan.    Jones was also promoting the offensive video.

Much early discussion centered on embassy security.  Many wrongly assumed that Marine Embassy Guard were stationed at every embassy (untrue) and that their mission was to guard personnel.  Hillary points out the error as did Victoria Nuland shortly after the attacks.

Clearing The Air On How Embassy Security Works

Hillary went to Capitol Hill to testify as soon as she had gathered the necessary information and her schedule permitted.  She answered every question posed to her and also announced the appointment of the required Accountability Review Board (ARB).

Hillary Clinton with Indonesian FM Marty Natalegawa

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to go up to the Congress today. I will be briefing in two separate sessions, the House and the Senate, in a classified setting, along with my interagency colleagues, as we continue to work together, and with governments around the world, to ensure that our people and our facilities are safe. I will be joined today by the Director of National Intelligence, General Clapper, by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sandy Winnefeld, along with experts from the FBI, the State Department, and elsewhere in the government.

Now, I anticipate that this briefing will cover our security posture before and during the events, and the steps we have taken since to do everything we can with host governments to protect our people and our embassies and consulates. The Director of National Intelligence will speak to the intelligence issues surrounding these events in Libya. Deputy Secretary Carter will brief on the superb support we have had from the U.S. military in the wake of these events, and we are at the very early stages of an FBI investigation. The team from the FBI reached Libya earlier this week. And I will advise Congress also that I am launching an accountability review board that will be chaired by Ambassador Thomas Pickering.

Partisan attacks began early.  We went on the defensive here.

House Tea Party Members In Pursuit Of Hillary Clinton: Examine Your Own Role In Cutting Diplo Post Security

Issa Flips The Coin And The Game Is On

In the course of the four-hour testimony there were some obvious gaps in congressional knowledge of how embassy security operates.  As Victoria Nuland pointed out on September 17,  internal security (walls inward) is the task of the guest country, and external security (walls outward) is up to the host country,  Marine Embassy Security Guard (MESG) is posted at embassies (not usually at consulates) primarily to secure documents not personnel.   That task  falls under the purview of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security headed by Eric Boswell who testified in camera along with Secretary Kennedy yesterday to the same committee.

Hillary Clinton at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony to Honor Those Lost in Attacks in Benghazi, Libya

In the days since the attack, so many Libyans – including the Ambassador from Libya to the United States, who is with us today – have expressed their sorrow and solidarity. One young woman, her head covered and her eyes haunted with sadness, held up a handwritten sign that said “Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam.” The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring – and I quote – “an act of ugly terror.” Many others from across the Middle East and North Africa have offered similar sentiments…

This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable…

The people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. Reasonable people and responsible leaders in these countries need to do everything they can to restore security and hold accountable those behind these violent acts.


Hillary Clinton’s Media Interviews on Benghazi

For more than a month Hillary had been taking responsibility, talking to Congress and the press, providing explanations and information such as she could (some information was classified and later declassified, e.g. the fact that “the annex,” as the second building was called, was actually a CIA operation and the related fact that two of the four Americans killed were actually CIA officers and not State Department personnel).

Look, I take responsibility. I’m in charge of the State Department, 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts.

Nevertheless, when Hillary, traveling abroad in Peru, used those words to CNN’s Elise Labott it was breaking news across prime time cable.  Remarkable. Proving that when it comes to Hillary Clinton even saying the same thing differently somehow generates headlines.

(Recently she mentioned that she would decide whether or not to run in 2016 “after the first of the year.”  The story went viral despite that fact that for three months she had been saying that she would not make that decision “before the end of the year.”)

Aftermath … Benghazi, The Great Debate, and Hurricane Hillary

Hillary does not mention that, ill and injured,  she was handling her duties from home and at one point from her hospital room during the weeks in December when the ARB Report came to her.  We owe her dedication a great debt.

She has told us many times that we should take criticism seriously but not personally.  Her summary of the ARB findings stand as an excellent example.  In fact the ARB did not find fault with her or with any particular personnel.  The faults they did spotlight were functional and procedural.   Hillary addressed these with alacrity.  She accepted all 29 recommendations and ordered them implemented.  She pledged not to leave office until all were in the process of implementation and met that goal.

Here is a link to the ARB Report and the cover letter she sent with it to Congress.

Hillary Clinton’s Cover Letter to Congress and the Unclassified ARB Report

She testified on Capitol Hill as soon as her doctors permitted (which may have been earlier than they recommended).

Video: Hillary Clinton’s Testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Benghazi

As I have said many times, I take responsibility, and nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure…

… let me underscore the importance of the United States continuing to lead in the Middle East, in North Africa, and around the world. We’ve come a long way in the past four years, and we cannot afford to retreat now. When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root; our interests suffer; our security at home is threatened.

That’s why I sent Chris Stevens to Benghazi in the first place. Nobody knew the dangers better than Chris, first during the revolution, then during the transition. A weak Libyan Government, marauding militias, terrorist groups; a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel, but he did not waver. Because he understood it was critical for America to be represented there at that time.

Our men and women who serve overseas understand that we accept a level of risk to protect the country we love. And they represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation. They cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs. So it is our responsibility to make sure they have the resources they need, and to do everything we can to reduce the risks.

Video: Hillary Clinton Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Benghazi

With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

Hillary speaks eloquently in this chapter in her own defense.  She really should not have to, but Benghazi became a political football the very day after it happened and the fact that she was out of politics when it happened and that those who testified before Congress were career diplomats and not politically aligned mattered nothing to the people who intended a witch hunt.

None of us can really know what we might have done as colonial residents of Salem if our neighbors were accused of witchcraft.  A rapidly dwindling number of Americans knows how they reacted when asked by Congressmen or an ambitious and wrong-headed Senator to name names of “enemies” in the entertainment industry, the military, and even in the very department Hillary headed. I, however, did know what I could do to defend Hillary, so I have included in this post not only her words, but my own defenses of her – some of them.

I know Hillary does not agree with some of what I have said, and I did go ahead and name names as she has not.  None of it is secret.

The Tea Party v. Hillary Clinton: It Never Ends

Part of the partisan offensive was a review of the Accountability Review Board reporting system initiated by some in Congress who, as Hillary points out, refused to be satisfied or simply refused to listen.  It was a silly, frivolous waste of taxpayer dollars.

Hillary Clinton and the ARB Reporting System Reviewed: Things You Should Know

Hillary Clinton and the ARB Reporting System Reviewed: More Things You Should Know


Benghazi was the event that drew a dividing  line through the Hillary team.  People I had known since her 2008 campaign peeled off.  It was fast and furious in dramatic, stunning contrast to the pro-Hillary passion they had professed up until that point.


Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction




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