Posts Tagged ‘Cheryl Mills’

Just in case there are any questions about why this happened, it was at her request.

Clinton’s security clearance withdrawn at her request

The State Department has revoked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s security clearance after she requested that it be withdrawn, according to a letter released Friday by a top GOP senator.

The State Department—in a letter dated Sept. 21 but publicly released Friday— told Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, that the security clearance was revoked on August 30 after Clinton requested that it be withdrawn.
“We would like to provide you with an update on the status of former Secretary Clinton’s security clearance and the ongoing administrative review pertaining to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other current and former department officials,” Charles Faulkner, the acting assistant secretary of legislative affairs, wrote to Grassley.
The State Department added in the letter to Grassley that five of Clinton’s aides had also had their security clearance revoked.
Four of the names are redacted but one aide listed in the email is Cheryl Mills, who worked as Clinton’s chief of staff.
Those of us who have been here awhile can probably guess a few of those redacted names.

Edited to add:

  1. It is not unusual for officials to maintain clearances when they leave office;
  2. Hillary and her researchers were working on Hard Choices after she retired, so no, she is not working on a new book at the moment;
  3. Here is the request.

Here is the background.

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Hillary, her entire life, has put girls and women front and center.  Before some of you guys out there (you know who you are) start emailing me, it has never been at the expense of men, so please do not call it sexist.  Let me qualify that.  It is not at the expense of men unless you are a man who thought the exchange of rings and vows meant that you were purchasing a person.

Running for president, Hillary has encountered many parents, both moms and dads, who have brought their daughters to her events to show them that they can aspire to be anything they wish to be.  This little girl dressed as Hillary for Halloween.  We are certain she was not the only mini-Hillary out there ringing doorbells last night.


There has been enormous hubbub around Hillary’s emails and private server.   I know Hillary would have supplied these emails to the State Department even if she had not been asked.  I do not know whether we would have seen them this quickly if the Select Committee had not pressured the State Department.  There are lessons, insights, interesting glimpses into background information, and some great stories there.  This is one of them.

UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05793164 Date: 10/30/2015
From: Mills, Cheryl D <MillsCD@state.gov>
Sent:Tuesday, April 3, 2012 11:07 AM
To: H
Subject: FW: Don’t say ‘no’ to S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (see highlights)
From: Toiv, Nora F
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 9:20 AM
To: Mills, Cheryl D
Subject: Don’t say ‘no’ to S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (see highlights)
Don’t say ‘no’ to S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley
Susan Page
on Apr. 02, 2012, under
Walking down the tree-lined streets where she grew up, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley remembers the day she was presented with a beach ball at the Wee Miss Bamberg pageant — not for winning, but as a consolation prize when she and her sister were disqualified.
“They pulled my parents aside and said they had a white queen and they had a black queen and they didn’t want to upset either side by putting us in that category,” she recalls, not the first time nor the last that their Indian heritage made it hard for her family to fit in this small town. “My mom said, ‘Can she at least do her talent?’ “
So she sang (irony alert) “This land is your land, this land is my land. …” A family photo from that day shows a solemn Nikki in a ruffled dress and black patent-leather shoes, accepting the gift-wrapped package on stage as the other little girls squirm and chatter, waiting for the contest to continue.
How times have changed.
Now the “Welcome to Bamberg” signs along the two main highways brag, “Home of Nikki Haley.” Mayor
Alton McCollum, her former junior-high principal, scrambles to pose for a photo with her that later makes the front page of the Bamberg Advertizer -Herald.
Walking along the berm where railroad tracks once divided the black and white parts of town, she’s greeted by passing motorists who honk and wave.
Even so, for years she rebuffed her daughter’s entreaties to enter pageants because of an admittedly irrational fear that the same thing might happen to her. “That’s when you realize things sit with you,” Haley says. Feelings from the past “come running back.”
As a rule, Nimrata Randhawa Haley has been more interested in charging forward than looking back. At 40, she’s written a memoir that is not only the quintessential story of an immigrant family coming to America but also the tale of an unlikely political career.
Can’t Is Not an Option goes on sale today. (Sentinel; 245 pages;
A state legislator, she launched a bid for governor in 2010 that seemed quixotic, facing three better-known, better-funded primary rivals. After a bare-knuckles campaign in which she faced racial slurs and was forced to deny accusations of marital infidelity, she won the GOP nomination and then the election.
Now she is the first non-white governor in the state where the Civil War began. She is the first female governor in a state that for a decade has ranked dead last in the nation in percentage of elected officials who are women.
(Even today, the 46-member South Carolina State Senate is 100% male.) She is the youngest governor in the country and a Tea Party favorite who sometimes is mentioned as a potential running mate for Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.
Her first year in office hasn’t been entirely smooth. The state Legislature has stymied some of her key
proposals. Several Republican officeholders already are discussing challenging her for the nomination if she seeks a second term. She endorsed Romney in the state’s January primary, angering some conservative allies, only to see him crushed in the vote by former House speaker Newt Gingrich.
Still, when the governor’s black limousine and SUV stop at the corner where she grew up, Bessie Cogburn, 63, hurries out to hug her. The Cogburns were neighbors in the old days; she phones her son Erick to run home from his job to see his childhood friend. “Nikki was just such a hard worker,” remembers Erick, 39. From the start, he says, setbacks just stiffened her resolve: “If you tell her ‘no,’ she’ll make it happen.”
Landing on the moon?
Her parents might as well have landed on the moon when they arrived in rural South Carolina in 1969. They were Sikhs who had emigrated from India to Canada, where her father earned his doctoral degree in biology, and then to the United States to take the only teaching job he could find, at Voorhees College. The small, historically black school is in Denmark, S.C.
At first, no one would rent a home to them, Haley says. When they finally arranged to buy one in nearby
Bamberg, it came with conditions. They were prohibited from entertaining black people and committed to selling it back to the man they had bought it from.
“Just imagine a small Southern town of 2,500 people and this family moves in and the man wears a turban and the woman wears a sari, and they’ve never seen anything like that,” Haley says during an interview at Bamberg City Hall. ” It was Bamberg experiencing them for the first time and them experiencing Bamberg for the first time, and I think it was hard on both.”
The family came to call themselves The Original Six: her parents, two brothers and a sister, a tightly knit clan that was able to take “all the armor off’ only when the family was at home together on Sundays. Her mother taught sixth grade and started a small shop in their home offering foreign items from India and elsewhere.
Eventually Exotica International became a multimillion-dollar clothing and gift store based in Lexington, S.C. By the time Nikki was 13, her mother had drafted her to keep the store’s accounts, an experience that forged a business-owner’s appreciation of private enterprise and a conservative’s suspicion of regulation.
“I saw how hard it was to make a dollar and how easy it was for the government to take it,” she says.
She earned an accounting degree at Clemson, worked for a waste-management company in Charlotte, then returned to help run the family business. She married Michael Haley, an employee of the U.S. Army and officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard; they had two children, Rena and Nalin.She credits Hillary Clinton— whom she has never met, before or since — with the inspiration to jump into
“I wanted to make a difference,” she says, “but everybody told me that I didn’t need to look into elective office. You know, ‘you’ve got two young children.’ And ‘you sure it’s right for a woman?’ And ‘why don’t you run for the school board? You don’t need to run for the statehouse.’
In 2003, she and friend Eleanor Kitzman went to a speech that Clinton, then a New York senator and now secretary of State, was giving at Furman University in Greenville. Haley remembers her message. “She said, `There will always be people who say you
shouldn’t do something, but the only thing you should … think about is why you should do something.’ She said, ‘Don’t listen to the naysayers.’
“I walked out of there and I told Eleanor, ‘I’m not going to let anybody tell me T can’t do this anymore. I’m just going to do it.’ “
The next year, she ousted a 30-year incumbent from the state House. When she was frozen out by party leaders after pushing a proposal to require recorded votes in the legislature, she decided to run for governor. She says being able to sign that proposal into law was the proudest moment of her tenure to date.
Pahl’ to the rescue “The stars were in alignment” for her election as governor, Haley says. The emerging Tea Party was in sync with her policy views — small government, less regulation and lower taxes — and 2010 was a good year to be running as an outsider. Romney, whose presidential bid she had backed in 2008, endorsed her.
Then-governor Mark Sanford had offered to help, too, but his political implosion in a 2009 scandal over an extramarital affair made him a joke and his support toxic. Still, Sanford’s popular wife, Jenny, campaigned for her.
Then there was Sarah Palin.
Haley, who had never met Palin, said she had hoped against hope for her backing. In the final weeks of the campaign, Todd Palin called to say his wife would swing by South Carolina the next day to endorse her after addressing an NRA convention in Charlotte. The hastily arranged rally on the statehouse steps drew 1,500 people and provided a surge of support for Haley.
When the two women were chatting that day, Palin gave Haley some private advice. “She said, ‘When you start to rise, they’re going to come after you, and what you need to know is that it will never stop,’ ” Haley recalls. “At that time I didn’t understand it. Now I understand it. “
Two weeks before the primary, a former Sanford aide sparked a firestorm when he posted an item on his blog saying he had an affair with Haley several years earlier. A week later, a consultant who worked for one of her primary rivals released a statement saying he had a one-night stand with her. She denied both allegations. Palin called from her home in Wasilla, Alaska, the day the first story broke. “It was just, ‘Nikki, is it true?’ “
Haley recalls. “And I said no, and she said, ‘Then let’s fight.’ ” Within minutes, Palin had posted a defiant
message on her Facebook page: “Nikki Haley in Opposition’s Crosshairs: A Good Sign for Nikki and South Carolina!”
“She gave us credibility at a time we needed it, and she did it in a way that was strong and in a way that made a statement,” Haley says. An aide to Romney also called and said they were going to have a “Nikki Haley meeting” the next day to decide what to do; the former Massachusetts governor turned out to be supportive.
“They were both helpful,” Haley says, but she was struck by differences in their responses that reflected their personalities. “His was more reserved and cautious and professional,” she says. “Hers was, ‘Let’s go get ’em!’ “
Veep? ‘I wouldn’t take it’
Haley says she’s too focused on today to think about tomorrow.
She hasn’t thought about whether she will run for a second term in 2014 or if she might run for national office in 2016 or beyond, she says.
She insists she wouldn’t run for vice president this year even if Romney asked her
to join his ticket. “That’s not going to happen,” she says. “Even if it happens, I wouldn’t take it. I love being governor.”
Her election has disproved some long-standing stereotypes about her home state, she says. “I got to be the one who proved to people that South Carolina is not what people make it out to be,” she says. “You can’t say it’s a racist state anymore, and you can’t say it’s a backward state.” She adds, “I can tell you it’s a state that has changed tremendously over time, and for the better.”
Some memories still sting.
“My daughter wanted to be in a school pageant, and I for years just kept telling her, ‘No, no, don’t do it,’ “
Haley says. On her mind was her own experience at the Wee Miss Bamberg pageant. Her husband convinced her that incident was from a bygone era, and last month, Rena, 13, competed at her school’s pageant. “She got first runner-up,” Haley says with a broad smile. “It was an amazing moment.”

This meeting happened at a very sad time. Only now do we know, via an email where Cheryl Mills shared an article with Hillary, that Nikki was meeting the woman who told her not to listen to the naysayers.  The story is just one of many gems and gold nuggets buried in the mountain that is Hillary Clinton’s emails.

06-26-15-Z-01 06-26-15-Z-03




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There are several stories out there about the letter sent by Democrats on the Benghazi Select Committee to committee chair, Trey Gowdy.  Since, if possible, we like to see primary source material, here is the letter under the official letterhead of Ranking Minority Member Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland.  The image is followed by the press release and a printed copy that might be easier to read.

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Here is the press release followed by a print version of the letter,


Democrats to Release Mills Interview Transcript to Correct Public Record

Oct 5, 2015
Press Release
“We Will No Longer Sit and Watch Selective, Out-of-Context Leaks Continue to Mischaracterize the Testimony the Select Committee Has Received”

WASHINGTON—Today, all five Democratic Members of the Select Committee on Benghazi sent a letter informing Chairman Trey Gowdy that they plan to begin releasing witness interview transcripts, starting with the interview of former State Department Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, in order to correct the public record after numerous inaccurate Republican leaks.

“Despite claims that the Committee would be run with integrity, Republicans have engaged in a series of selective leaks of inaccurate and incomplete information in an effort to attack Secretary Clinton with unsubstantiated or previously debunked allegations,” the Democrats wrote.

“The latest example occurred after the Select Committee’s interview of Cheryl Mills, the former State Department Chief of Staff.  It has become obvious that the only way to adequately correct the public record is to release the complete transcript of the Committee’s interview with Ms. Mills,” the Democrats wrote.

Democrats point to the Republican leaks as further evidence of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s stark admission that House Republicans created the Benghazi Committee to wage a taxpayer-funded political attack against Secretary Clinton’s bid for president.

The Democrats’ letter released several excerpts from Ms. Mills’ interview that rebut Republican allegations against Secretary Clinton and the administration, but were never made public by Republicans.

Before releasing the full transcript, Democrats are giving Gowdy five days to identify any specific information in the transcript he believes should “be withheld from the American people.”

“We understand that you have not released any of the Select Committee’s transcribed interviews to date, but we believe it is time to start.  We note that you have objected to Democrats releasing Committee documents until the conclusion of the investigation, but you already crossed that bridge yourself when you unilaterally released a subset of Secretary Clinton’s emails on June 22 with no debate or vote by Committee Members,” the Democrats wrote.

“Therefore, we plan to begin the process of correcting the public record by releasing the transcript of Ms. Mills’ interview.  Since you have indicated your unwillingness to do this in a bipartisan manner, we plan to do so ourselves.”

Read the full letter set forth below or online here:


October 05, 2015


The Honorable Trey Gowdy


Select Committee on the Events Surrounding

the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C.  20515


Dear Mr. Chairman:


On September 29, 2015, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted during a nationally televised interview on Fox News that House Republicans created the Benghazi Select Committee from the very beginning to wage a taxpayer-funded political campaign against Hillary Clinton’s bid for president.  Obviously, this is an unethical abuse of millions of taxpayer dollars and a crass assault on the memories of the four Americans who were killed in Benghazi.


Although some Republicans attempted to explain away Rep. McCarthy’s admission, it reflected exactly what has been going on within the Select Committee for the past year-and-a-half.  The Committee has now spent more than $4.5 million in one of the longest and least productive congressional investigations in history.  It has held no hearings of any kind since January, and it has completely abandoned its plans to hear public testimony from top defense and intelligence officials so Republicans can focus almost exclusively on Hillary Clinton.


Despite claims that the Committee would be run with integrity, Republicans have engaged in a series of selective leaks of inaccurate and incomplete information in an effort to attack Secretary Clinton with unsubstantiated or previously debunked allegations.  The latest example occurred after the Select Committee’s interview of Cheryl Mills, the former State Department Chief of Staff.  It has become obvious that the only way to adequately correct the public record is to release the complete transcript of the Committee’s interview with Ms. Mills.


We understand that you have not released any of the Select Committee’s transcribed interviews to date, but we believe it is time to start.  We note that you have objected to Democrats releasing Committee documents until the conclusion of the investigation, but you already crossed that bridge yourself when you unilaterally released a subset of Secretary Clinton’s emails on June 22 with no debate or vote by Committee Members.


Therefore, we plan to begin the process of correcting the public record by releasing the transcript of Ms. Mills’ interview.  Since you have indicated your unwillingness to do this in a bipartisan manner, we plan to do so ourselves.


Claim That Mills Interview Transcript Should Be Treated As “Classified”


After the nine-hour interview of Ms. Mills concluded on September 3, 2015, you left the room and announced to the assembled reporters that you planned to keep the transcript shielded from public view.  You stated:  “The Members of the Benghazi Committee on our side are going to treat the conversation as if it were classified.”


This assertion made little sense since you and other Republicans, as well as your own staff, took numerous steps prior to, during, and after the interview that would have violated security rules had any classified information been discussed.


For example, prior to the interview, your counsel confirmed that staff without security clearances could attend the unclassified interview.


In addition, at the beginning of the interview, your counsel stated on the record:  “Our session today is unclassified.  If you feel that any question calls for a classified answer, please let us know and we will reserve its answer until another time.”  Your counsel also acknowledged on the record:  “It is my understanding that not everybody has the appropriate level of clearance to hear the classified information.”


The stenographers who recorded the interview also considered the session to be unclassified.  In fact, they prepared and transmitted the interview transcript to the Select Committee as an unclassified document.


In addition, your staff emailed a copy of the transcript to our staff on our unclassified email system which, ironically, is precisely what Republicans have accused Secretary Clinton of doing. The difference is that your own staff transmitted Ms. Mills’ interview transcript on an unclassified email system after you declared publicly that you were treating it as classified.


Finally, just hours after the interview concluded, Select Committee Member Lynn Westmoreland appeared on Fox News and freely discussed numerous details from the interview.  Despite your direction to treat the interview as classified, he emphasized that he was providing first-hand information “[a]ccording to what we heard today.”  As he explained, “I’m just telling you what they said.”


During Ms. Mills’ interview, she conducted herself professionally, she answered every question posed to her, and she debunked numerous Republican conspiracy theories that have been made for several years—and that continue to be repeated even today—yet Republicans did not make any of that information public.


Republicans may have their own partisan political reasons for wanting to keep Ms. Mills’ interview transcript out of the public view, but they may not suddenly claim it is now classified merely to prohibit its release to the American people.  According to Executive Order 13526, information may not be classified merely to “prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency”—including embarrassment to the Select Committee.


Inaccurate Republican Leaks


Republicans began leaking inaccurate information about Ms. Mills’ interview within minutes after your public declaration that it should be treated as classified.


Prior to her interview, Ms. Mills’ counsel wrote to request that the interview be held in public in light of the “numerous reports in the press, as well as public comments from members of your Committee regarding Ms. Mills’ upcoming interview.” At the beginning of the interview, Ms. Mills’ counsel renewed her request to make the transcript public, stating, “I would only ask today that at the end of the day, because this is an unclassified hearing, as was just explained to us, that the transcript be released publicly.”


Instead, Republicans began leaking inaccurate information about the interview out of context.  For example, Politico published an article on the front page of its website entitled, “What Cheryl Mills Told Benghazi Investigators.”  Relying on multiple “GOP” and “Republican” sources, Politico wrote that “one of the biggest surprises” from the interview was that Ms. Mills “had reviewed and made suggestions for changes” to the report of the Accountability Review Board (ARB).  According to “a separate, GOP source,” this supposedly new revelation was “raising alarms on the right” and “call[s] into question the ‘independence’” of the report’s conclusions.  Select Committee Member Jim Jordan later provided an interview to another media outlet raising these same concerns.


In fact, this claim was already known—and had been debunked—two years earlier during the investigation led by former Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa.


On June 4, 2013, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, the Chairman of the ARB who served with distinction under both Republican and Democratic Administrations,‎ testified before the Oversight Committee in a sworn deposition.  In the transcript made public two years ago, he explained that the ARB provided a draft of the report to the Secretary’s office to ensure “the accuracy and the focus of our recommendations” before they were released.  He also testified then that while the ARB considered some of Ms. Mills’ thoughts about the report, neither Secretary Clinton nor Ms. Mills tried to influence the outcome of the ARB’s findings in any way and had no editing rights.


A review of the ARB by the State Department Inspector General issued in September 2013 concluded:


ARB members were conscious of the need to protect their impartiality by limiting their contact with senior managers of the Department during the process.  Former members unanimously told OIG team that they encountered no attempts to impede, influence, or interfere with their work at any time or on any level.


Instead of being part of a process to interfere with the findings of the ARB, Ms. Mills participated in the same kind of routine process used by the Government Accountability Office, Inspectors General, and other independent investigative entities that provides agencies under review an opportunity to provide comments before reports are publicly released so investigators can make changes they deem appropriate to ensure their accuracy.


During her interview, Ms. Mills corroborated both Ambassador Pickering’s testimony and the Inspector General’s findings:


Q:           Did you ever, in that process, attempt to exert influence over the direction of the ARB’s investigation?

A:            No.

Q:           Did you ever try to—did Secretary Clinton ever try to exert influence over the direction of their investigation?

A:            No.


Ms. Mills also explained that the Secretary’s objective in selecting members of the ARB was, “could they be people who could give hard medicine if that was what was needed.  And I felt like, in the end, that team was a team that would speak whatever were their truths or observations to the Department so that we could learn whatever lessons we needed to learn.”


According to the same Politico article on September 3, “Mills said they didn’t know it was solely a terrorist attack until Sept. 21, and, according to a separate Republican source, she said she didn’t know why Rice went on TV to make such claims.”


During her interview, however, Ms. Mills never questioned or disagreed with the accuracy of Ambassador Rice’s statements.  Instead, she explained that she did not know the information because she did not participate in Ambassador Rice’s preparation for the interviews:


I don’t know the answer to that question.  I know that she had received preparation materials and points, and I’m assuming that that’s how she relied on them and she relied on them to relate what she related on the program.  But I don’t know, because I didn’t participate in her prep or in the materials for her prep.


Rebuttal of Republican Allegations


During her interview, Ms. Mills also rebutted several Republican allegations against Secretary Clinton and the administration, but Republicans have not made any of this information public to date.


For example, contrary to the allegation that Secretary Clinton ordered Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to “stand down,” Ms. Mills explained Secretary Clinton’s actions on the night of the attack:


Q:           Did Secretary Clinton request that military assets be deployed?

A:            She actually on our SVTCS [Secure Video Teleconference]—which obviously had the presence of a number of different agencies, of which I believe DOD was one—said we need to be taking whatever steps we can, to do whatever we can to secure our people.  And I can remember that someone from the White House said that the President was 100 percent behind whatever needed to be done and we needed to do whatever needed to be done.  And that’s, you know, that’s what he would expect, but it’s also what was said.


Ms. Mills also explained how Secretary Clinton pressed for rapid action in response to the attacks:


She was pretty emphatic about wanting whatever to be done and whatever were assets that could be deployed, if that was both effective and possible to be done.  Obviously, it was a challenging environment, given that our compound had been overrun.  And so you want to ensure that, as you also are thinking about who else might go in, how they are able to do that effectively.  But my observation and impression and, obviously, engagements were around what can be done, what can be sent, and how can that be done best.  There was not any notion of not doing that to the fullest amount that was practical, effective, and possible.


Ms. Mills also had the following exchange about Secretary Clinton’s level of engagement on the night of the attacks:


A:            She was very concerned.  She was also very determined that whatever needed to be done was done.  And she was worried.  She was worried not only about our team on the ground in Benghazi but worried about our teams that were on the ground in Libya and our teams on the ground in a number of places, given what we had seen unfold in Egypt.

Q:           Did she seem uncertain as to how to respond?

A:            No.  She was very—she was very certain.  And, indeed, when we said it was going to be a staff SVTCS, which was our diplomatic way of saying that maybe she shouldn’t be attending, she said, “I’m coming.”  And so we tried to make sure the rest of the interagency knew ahead of time that she was going to be on, but we were unsuccessful, so they were surprised when she sat down.

Q:           So were you surprised by that?

A:            I’m not surprised, because that’s her approach.  She’s a person who steps in and leads.  She’s someone who, when there is accountability, takes it.  So I wasn’t surprised.  But I know that it can sometimes be intimidating to other staff that there is a principal present.  And what she really was communicating that night is, “I’m here because I want my team safe.  I’m not here because I’m here for any other reason than trying to get their safety.  And whatever we need to do to do that I want to do.”


Ms. Mills also explained Secretary Clinton’s response to the loss of life:


I think she was devastated.  Ambassador Stevens was someone she had a lot of confidence and respect for.  And his guidance and his way was a compelling one.  And the notion that he had been murdered, I think, was something that all of us thought was unbearable, but I think she particularly felt the pain of that.  She also felt the pain of the loss of other Americans that were there that night, whom she didn’t have a personal relationship with but who she knew were there because they were trying to further our own interests.  And so she felt very strongly about claiming all of them, even at a time where there was ambiguity about how that should or shouldn’t be done, but also in honoring their service and what they had done.  And, in the days afterwards, she spent time reaching out to our team in Tripoli, constantly trying to determine if they had what they needed, constantly trying to remind people that, while we all have jobs, people are fragile and you have to remember the fragility of people and their humanity and you have to give respect to that.  And she made herself consistently present to people on her team because she wanted them to know that, as hard as this was, this was something that required us all to bear witness, to learn, and to try to be the very best we could in those moments.


Finally, Ms. Mills explained that this commitment was shared throughout the interagency, including by the President:


Absolutely everything was on the table.  And, like I said, obviously, the President made that clear too, and that was important.  My impression was that we really had a lot of support from the interagency, who I felt like were very not only just humanly empathic but operationally committed to doing what needed to be done to try and secure our folks and get them out of there.


Republicans have never disclosed any of this information from the interview of Ms. Mills to the public because it directly contradicts their political narrative.




We believe it is time to begin releasing the transcripts of interviews conducted by the Select Committee in order to correct the public record after numerous inaccurate Republican leaks, and we plan to begin this process by releasing the full transcript of Ms. Mills’ interview.


Our authority to take this action should be clear since you took similar unilateral action on June 22, 2015, when you publicly released a subset of Secretary Clinton’s emails—without any debate or vote by Committee Members.  Therefore, just as you unilaterally released these Committee documents, we plan to release Ms. Mills’ interview transcript.


We do not take this action lightly.  We have held off on taking such action for more than a year, but we will no longer sit and watch selective, out-of-context leaks continue to mischaracterize the testimony the Select Committee has received.


Please notify us within five days if you believe any information in the full transcript should be withheld from the American people.  We are providing the State Department and Ms. Mills’ attorneys with this same opportunity.




Rep. Elijah E. Cumming      Rep. Adam Smith      Rep. Adam B. Schiff

Rep. Linda T. Sánchez           Rep. Tammy Duckworth

114th Congress
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, leaves the White House after a national security team meeting with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, leaves the White House after a national security team meeting accompanied by her Chief-of-Staff, Cheryl Mills, Jan. 5, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Please note that in the right sidebar here are links to both the ARB Report and Secretary Clinton’s cover letter that accompanied the report.  They will remain there as long as is necessary. If you have never read them, I encourage you to.

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There is nothing unusual about televising Congressional hearings.  When I was in elementary school, I came home to find my mom watching the Army-McCarthy hearings.  I did not understand what was happening, but TV was new to our house. Anything on the screen was miraculous and gripping to me. My mom believed what she was hearing from Joe McCarthy even though she was a Democrat.  Sometimes religion overpowered politics in our house.  McCarthy was Irish Catholic so he could not possibly be leading us all astray, could he?

McCarthy operated under a belief system that had nothing to do with the Vatican.  His credo was that the military and government agencies were infiltrated with “card-carrying” Communists.  Not only did he believe that the State Department, the Pentagon, information services, and military research facilities were crawling with seditious moles, he was an evangelist as powerful as Billy Graham at the time.

Of course he was wrong. He was wrong in his beliefs and in his methods, and he came to a sorry end but not before instilling an undercurrent of fear and paranoia among ordinary, patriotic Americans.  Perhaps some petition signed years ago,  maybe a union affiliation,  possibly an offhand remark at a party or in a bar – any innocent past action or comment could boomerang and become one’s undoing.  They spoke of him – the grown-ups did – in hushed tones.

Following an investigative report about the senator on his program, See It Now, Edward R. Murrow offered the following.

No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind, as between the internal and the external threats of Communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men—not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.

Joseph R. McCarthy maintained a vise-like grip on the psyche of the nation until Army representative Joseph N. Welch finally stood up to him with the famous, “Have you, at long last, no sense of decency?”  Only then did his influence begin to erode.  Only then could our long national recovery commence.

Records of closed sessions, the ones we did not see on TV, were made public in 2003-2004, a full 50 years after they were held.  Senators Susan Collins and Carl Levin prefaced the documents thus.

Senator McCarthy’s zeal to uncover subversion and espionage led to disturbing excesses. His browbeating tactics destroyed careers of people who were not involved in the infiltration of our government. His freewheeling style caused both the Senate and the Subcommittee to revise the rules governing future investigations, and prompted the courts to act to protect the Constitutional rights of witnesses at Congressional hearings … These hearings are a part of our national past that we can neither afford to forget nor permit to reoccur.

Congress is always investigating something. Our two houses have a multitude of committees and subcommittees all busily pursuing information.  Sometimes committees work in tandem.  When the secretary of defense has a budget proposal to present, both armed services and appropriations committees need to hear the proposal and ask their questions.  Now that we have C-SPAN, our government at work – or not – has become more accessible than back in the day when McCarthy and Kefauver interrupted the soap operas.  It seems that important testimony should, in our information age, be easily accessible and visible.

Last night, Politico shared this.

Benghazi panel denied ex-Hillary aide’s request to publicly testify

Hillary Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills had requested a public session to thwart GOP leaks.


The House Benghazi Committee rejected a request from Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s former chief of staff at the State Department, to have her testimony occur in a public session later this week, a source close to Mills said.

Mills’ desire for open testimony — a request made because she fears Republicans will leak selected information that casts her in a negative light — is just the first disagreement in what’s likely to be a tense session Thursday, when she appears before the panel a day before Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s top policy guru, is also hauled in for questions.

The private interviews with Clinton’s top brass represent the highest-profile grillings yet for the panel probing the cause of, or avoidable factors that could have led to, the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that left four Americans dead.

Lawmakers — who don’t often attend the closed-door interviews with Benghazi witnesses, allowing staff investigators to take the lead — are making the rare move of returning to Washington, D.C., early from their summer break to be present for the interviews with Mills, who no longer works for Clinton, and Sullivan, who remains Clinton’s No. 1 policy staffer on the campaign.

Read more >>>>

Wow! That’s one way to get them all back to DC and on the job. But what, exactly, is the job?  Originally, the Select Committee on Benghazi was assembled to find out what went wrong there and how to avoid similar incidents in the future.   That commission has been retrofitted for political reasons as Democrats on the committee made clear in a July 15 letter.

Select Committee Dems Call Out Republicans for Turning Political Turrets on Hillary Clinton

July 15, 2015
An article in The Hill today reveals a letter from Select Committee Democrats to their GOP counterparts accusing them of refitting the objectives of the committee from inquiry and prevention into a political weapon aimed at the former secretary of state.

Read more and see letter >>>>

So, while public, televised testimony is as old as TV networks in this country, the GOP is using its leadership power to prevent the public from hearing a witness.  This is unfair to Ms. Mills and to the nation.  Certainly all parties, including the media, are well-versed in cutting into broadcasts when sensitive testimony arises.  What is to be feared from broadcasting Cheryl’s testimony?

Given the true GOP agenda, throwing a veil of secrecy wholesale over the proceedings succeeds in accomplishing one objective, promoting the false and toxic allegation that Hillary Clinton and her staff have something to hide.

Hillary has made 55,000 pages of email available, has agreed to testify and answer all of the questions the committee might have, and has explained time and again her decision to use a private server.

Cheryl Mills is an accomplished attorney who served as legal counsel at the State Department and was referred to by another witness in hearings at the House Oversight Committee as the person who reminded him of the rules of engagement for department staff interacting with members of Congress.

Benghazi-Spin: Myth-Busting and Reality Check

May 10, 2013

Spin: Gregory Hicks, demoted for speaking out. Leaving aside for the moment that you chose to speak to a Congress person without a lawyer present as that terrible witch Cheryl Mills pointed out to be State Department protocol….

Read more >>>>

Note:  Hicks did not name her, but we all knew who advised him.

She knows her stuff.  She also knows theirs, and that is why she asked for her testimony to be public. The GOP, and in particular, Trey Gowdy, should honor that request.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, leaves the White House after a national security team meeting with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, leaves the White House after a national security team meeting with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Someone should give us a reason why we should trust that we will see and hear all that we should.  When I see this in the Politico article,  I remember that statement above from Senators Collins and Levin.  I have a fear that it will be a 50 year wait before closed session documents are released.

Republicans did not wish to comment specifically on the Mills request but have said they’ll release the information after they’re completed their entire investigation and issued their final report.

Let Cheryl Mills testify publicly!



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This chapter is an intensely personal one for me.  Like anyone who has ever lived there, I remember exactly where I was – sitting in my car at an intersection I was at daily on my way home from work – when I heard the news of the earthquake on the radio.  As soon as I heard the magnitude, I knew what the number 7 meant.  I looked at the Getty station on the corner where I was waiting for the green light and imagined it crumbled.  I knew that many buildings I knew, loved, had been in, had lived, studied, and worked in had been destroyed.  I knew that people I cared for, had taught or studied with were gone. I was not prepared for this.
No, I had never been in the National Palace, but like the Getty station I had been next to when I heard the news, it was a building I passed four times daily on my way to and from work at the Haitian-American Institute where I taught English.  That link goes to a whole new building.  The building where I taught was an old mansion on the east end of the Champs-de-Mars on Rue Capois.  Like the National Palace, it had collapsed – probably while evening classes were going on at the busiest time of day there.


original building

On July 4,1942, Haitians and Americans founded a bi-national center to reinforce friendship and cultural ties between their two countries. Located in the heart of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian-American Institute has enjoyed decades of continuous community service and remains faithful to the ideal of its founders.

The Haitian-American Institute itself stands on a landmark site. The original building was the house that once belonged to former Haitian President Elie LESCOT. This building, pictured in the pen and ink drawing at the top of this page, was destroyed in the January 12, 2010 earthquake.

It is a bi-national center run partially by the State Department.  It’s great to see this grand new facility!

In the old building,  I loved teaching at six in the morning in the classroom on that very top floor.  You could see the city waking up.  I would walk up the many flights of stairs early just to go out on that balcony and watch for a few minutes before the students arrived.  When Dr. Ainslie Minor was director,  as was his position as Cultural Affairs officer at the embassy, he was often on the front steps to greet me and the arriving students prior to the early morning classes.  We all loved him!  He loved the institute and everything about it.  We teachers were disdained by some subsequent directors until Millie McCoo arrived.  She, too, loved the institute, the students, and the teachers.

Passing the palace, on my way to work, I was usually on foot.   I nodded to the guards in the guardhouse every day – several times a day.  I later learned that the police headquarters adjacent to the palace had also crumbled to the ground.  I was in there regularly on my annual trek through the ministries to renew my visas.

All of those ministries were gone.  So were the people in all of them.  All the people in all of those buildings.  My HAI and all of the government buildings.

It was beyond my imagination, much the way the collapse of the twin towers had been on 9/11.  I heard the news only one traffic light away from where, that September morning, I had heard that a plane had flown into One World Trade.

How could it be?  Who could have survived this?  How on earth could my poor, dear Haïti Chérie recover?

As I had over those “green weekends” in June 2009 when the Iranians were protesting their elections, I took to Twitter.  A girl had texted, trapped in rubble beneath a supermarket that I knew.  One where I had shopped.  Many of us continually retweeted her location (and many others).  24 hours later, on the news,  I saw her pulled out alive and well and wept.  The reporter said they had found her from the tweets.

That tarmac, where I had boarded and disembarked so many, many times was the tarmac where Hillary landed only five days after the worst disaster in memory in that country – the very first high foreign official to set foot on Haiti’s shaken soil after the quake.  This was no photo op or campaign junket.  Hillary’s visit was from her heart.  It was dangerous, responsive, and crucial.

That, and much more was in my heart as I started reading this chapter and Hillary’s words about landing at the airport that, when I lived there,  was named for François Duvalier and had undergone a major upgrade just before I left the country for good.



Hillary was in Hawaii on her way to Asia when the quake – that came to be known as “Haitiquake” – occurred.

Hillary Clinton: “… it is Biblical…”

Hillary had to change her plans.  She flew back to D.C. immediately.

Hillary Headed Home to Manage Help For Haiti

She was at the White House the next morning and the pain was in her face … the terrible pain.

I  followed her progress to Haiti partially thanks to Greta Van Susteren who tweeted generously from the plane where she sat beside Andrea Mitchell and less so thanks to the old State Department Twitter that went by the handle “Dipnote,” which, in retrospect,  was not so bad and pretty democratic.

When Hillary landed I thought of her as really and truly “superwoman.”   I am sure the Americans at the airport waiting to be evacuated thought of her that way too – or as an angel of mercy.

She was landing on menacingly shaky ground. People who demand further service from her ought to consider the risks she has already taken, the sacrifices she has already endured,  the time in the air and on sometimes dangerous foreign soil,  away from her family.  When does this “superwoman” get a chance to step back and let someone else take the reins?

Hillary Clinton, Angel of Mercy: Her Press Conference & Details on her trip to stricken Haiti

The guy with the argumentative comment on that post was wrong.  She did come in by military transport, as I had predicted. She brought needed supplies and left the press entourage behind to bring injured Americans out.  The purpose of her visit was to get an agreement from the President of Haiti to allow American military to take over the airport operations so that aid – waiting and blocked – could begin to flow.  Sometimes, in a disaster, you must, judiciously, let one important visitor in for the greater good.  Haiti was no textbook case.  Who knew there was such a thing as a portable airport control tower?  That is what the FAA sent and that would not have happened without Hillary’s intervention and visit, i.e.  sometimes more is more.

Video: Hillary Clinton’s Press Briefing about her trip to Haiti

Hillary Clinton is Wheels down in Haiti (MSNBC)

Video: Hillary Clinton Arriving in Haiti

Hillary to the rescue!

Video: Hillary Clinton Speaks to The Haitian People

Over the course of some of those posts I heard from some aircraft experts that I had misidentified the plane as a C-130, but Hillary, in her book, validates me.  Sometimes it takes years to be validated!  My dad was an aircraft expert, not I.  He built them and knew anything that was in the air that was not flapping its own wings.  But once you have been floating on the Hudson River and seen a C-130 over your head on its way to Newburgh, you know one when you see one.  It’s sort of like the Queen Mary over your head.

Hillary Clinton in Haiti: Some Images From Today

Hillary was accompanied by Cheryl Mills and USAID Director Rajiv Shah (2nd and 1st on the right respectively above).  Cheryl, from what Hillary says, must have been the one who got the “people-finder” set up as well as the text system for sending donations easily from your cell phone.

Rajiv was on the ground at the Champs-de-Mars in front of the collapsed National Palace where it seemed much of the Port-au-Prince population was camping out.  I remember him finding some enterprising young folks who had managed to have two car batteries and one car.  They had set up an enterprise allowing people, for a fee, to charge cell phones off one car battery while another of the crew ran a taxi service to charge the other battery.   It was so Haitian!

Secretary Clinton Announces Launch of State.Gov Person Finder Tool for Those Missing in Haiti

So this is where she starts – on the tarmac which is serving as the seat of government largely because it is flat and open and if you sit in a tent and there is a big aftershock you won’t be crushed.  Most roads were impassable and for the first 48 hours, planes could not land at the airport.


Secretary Clinton’s Daily Appointments Schedule for January 15, 2010

Hillary reminisces at this point about her honeymoon trip to Haiti when she and Bill went to one of Max Beauvoir‘s voudou shows at Le Péristyle in Mariani and saw TonTons Macoutes  (VSN) and Jean-Claude Duvalier en route somewhere.  1975 was the first Christmas that I came back home – well to Florida where my sister was living. –  or maybe I would have met them.

After the earthquake, President Préval told Cheryl Mills that he really needed Hillary and needed her now!  He was Hillary’s friend.  He needed help.  I perceived him as a nice guy, but not as a strong leader.

Hillary Clinton is NOT the President of Haiti!

In retrospect and fairness, and after having had my own house blown apart by Sandy, I have to say that at the time I probably did not appreciate Préval’s state of mind with his house having collapsed before his eyes (and thankfully not over his head) just as he and his wife were about to enter.  With most of his government officials missing or already known dead, the poor guy must have been in deep shock. When you go through something like that having a buddy like Hillary – well – yes, I would call her, too.  If I needed to pull my country together after something like that – yes, I too would call her.  But Hillary also sees that there was a need for him to go out among the people camping on the Champs-de-Mars and everywhere.   Their question/complaint at the time was “Where is our president?”

When you run for the office, before you even win, you need to consider this kind of situation and how you will react – even if you did just miss having your house fall on top of you.  That is the role you assume as leader of a country.

Try to imagine the White House or the Capitol this way.  This is what happened to Haiti.

When Hillary arrived,  injured Americans were being cared for by a devoted embassy nurse who worked non-stop.  Our Cultural Affairs officer, Victoria DeLong,  had been killed when her house collapsed on her.  I had been in that house several times on very happy occasions.  Dr. Ainslie Minor and his lovely wife, and later Millie McCoo had generously invited the teachers to barbeques and parties.  I had danced the merengue under that roof and met Millie’s sister and brother-in-law, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.,  there.  Now that roof had killed a Foreign Service officer.

There was a massive and effective U.S. response. Hillary remarks that U.S. military felt so refreshed at being welcomed somewhere.

One year we had no electricity from the last night of Carnaval in early February until about mid-June.  The lights went out when Carnaval ended at midnight. From then on sectors got one hour of electricity a day on a rotating weekly basis.  If you needed to do anything that required power, you needed to be home at your hour for that week.  If you were working at that time … too bad.  From Boutillier, the mountaintop above the city, you could see a sector darken and another light up on a clockwork schedule.

Then the United States Marines arrived with generators and I don’t know what all else.  I would be leaving my early morning classes at the institute (we taught from 6 -9 a.m. and from 3 – 6 p.m. or 4 – 7 p.m.) and they would be on the steps of the Hotel Plaza waiting to be picked up.  We cheered them every time we passed them.  “Thank you!”  Our electricity was returning.  Nice that after the earthquake the troops got the same reception.  We have a sort of edgy relationship with Haiti as far as troops go. Americans built the best roads there – during the occupation.

In this case, the distrust engendered by the history of the occupation could have been Préval’s political enemy.  Yet to unblock the shipments of aid at the airport and seaports someone needed to be in charge – not to take over the country – just to lubricate the flow of aid.  Hillary got Préval to sign an agreement that U.S. military would, temporarily in the emergency,  administer the airport and seaports.

Hillary Clinton is Wheels Up!

The plan was to establish camps.  Préval worried that putting displaced people in camps would make camps permanent.  The U.N. contended that camps provided the best efficiency for necessary distribution of aid.

To my mind, and this is just me, the camps were newer, safer, cleaner than the neightborhoods some people had come from,  like Cité Soliel, but many were not from those slums, so there was something to be said on each side of the argument.

For Haiti, the approach would involve both short-term aid and long-term plans for development that had already been in the incubator.

Bill Clinton Arrives on Mission to Haiti (CBS/AP)

On-the-Record Briefing on Consular Services Being Provided to American Citizens in Haiti and in the United States in the Aftermath of the Earthquake

U.S. Government Response to the Haiti Earthquake

Secretary Clinton’s Update on Haiti

The outpouring of support and assistance from around the world has been extraordinary, and I’ve been very proud to see generous Americans from every corner of our country open their hearts in solidarity with the Haitian people. These are the times when we remember our common humanity, when we pull together across cultures and borders to help those suffering and in need.

Hilary Rodham Clinton

Secretary Clinton at the Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti 01.25.2010

Today, Secretary Clinton announced that she will run an International Haiti Donors Conference in March at the U.N. You may remember her words at the Haiti Donors Conference last April in D.C. That speech was simply spot-on.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks to Haiti Earthquake Volunteers

From U.S. Department of State: Some Details on the Upcoming International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti

We have had over 140 nations working to support the Government of Haiti in delivering food, temporary shelter, and medical care to thousands of survivors. But the emergency relief is only the beginning of what will be a long road to recovery, as the Secretary General just pointed out; one that will require global support.

Some people wonder, “Why Haiti? Why this great outpouring of international humanitarian concern and commitment to Haiti’s future? Why is Haiti’s fate of such consequence to the region and the world that it deserves sustained help? Why should we hope that this time, with our collective assistance, Haiti can achieve a better future?” These are questions that deserve answers and I believe that this conference will begin to do so…

Before the earthquake, Haiti was on a path to progress. The government, led by President Preval, had started enacting critical reforms. Haiti’s economy grew by nearly 3 percent last year. Two international chains launched new hotels, a sign of a rising tourism industry. New factories were opening and others had been contracted to begin production. But with the earthquake, the results of much of this hard work were wiped away. But the people of Haiti never gave up. As they mourn their losses, they gathered the resources they had left and began working around the clock to put their lives and their country back together. They relied on the strength and the spirit that have carried them through tough times before. But they need our help. They cannot succeed without the support of the global community, and we need Haiti to succeed. What happens there has repercussions far beyond its borders.

Hillary sees development as a key component in national security and USAID as an essential agency which played a huge role in addressing long-term plans to assist Haiti.  She recounts the war against USAID waged by Jesse Helms and celebrates this initiative which she and Rajiv Shah initiated in 2011 and she proudly saw launched earlier this year.

Hillary Clinton at U.S. Global Development Lab Inauguration

A year after the earthquake, Hillary returned to see the progress of the response (including to the subsequent cholera epidemic) and met with the presidential candidates.   There remained many challenges but things looked greatly improved.

Hillary Clinton in Haiti

“Shifting our focus from aid to development … The United States was not abandoning traditional aid … especially as part of an emergency response … we sought to break the cycle of dependence that aid can create …. Aid chases need; investment chases opportunity.” (Hard Choices)

Hillary Clinton’s Remarks at the Caracol Industrial Park Opening Ceremony in Haiti (with Bill Clinton!)

She recounts a personal moment with Préval after the disputed elections and credits him for being the exemplar – the first in Haitian history – to turn over the reins of leadership peacefully to  a successor not of his backing but chosen by the people.  When she speaks of the toughness of democracy, the danger of the running and the peril of the vote,  my memory rewinds to the Aristede election when Haitians literally risked their lives at the polling places and some were, in fact attacked and killed just for trying to vote.  This time, indeed, there was progress, and despite everything Préval might not have been, he, maybe, is their John Adams in some ways.

These images of the former and current presidents, Préval and Martelly, celebrating at the Caracol opening together were historic.

Rene Preval And Michel Martelly At Caracol Industrial Park Inauguration

Haiti - Politic : Martelly gives the brace to René Préval (speech)

In the book,  Hillary provides a thorough and fair accounting of what has worked and what has not in the aftermath of this disaster.  Shortly after she returned to the department following her health crisis in late 2012, this report was issued.

Haiti Three Years After: What Hillary Clinton’s State Department Has Done

Helping other nations build, profit, and rise among the economic powers on the globe is to everyone’s advantage, Hillary posits.  Especially our own.  In the case of Haiti’s disaster, the U.S. was, it cannot be disputed, the indispensable nation, but we were certainly not alone in the aid or in the investment, and that, Hillary points out, makes all the difference.


Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>



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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.

Myth: She blamed the attack on the video at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony at Andrews AFB on the 14th.  Nope again.  She referred to the demonstrations above, but she did not say they caused the attack. Speaking of Ambassador Chris Stevens she said this.

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.

Spin: “What difference does it make?”  First of all, those are not her exact words.  Second,  the exasperated remark came in the course of an exchange during Hillary Clinton’s testimony at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 23.  The focus of that exchange was whether Secretary Clinton had spoken to any individual on the ground in Benghazi on the night of September 11.  Thanks to Tom Kertscher at PolitiFact we have the transcript (there is more at this link.)

Clinton: Senator, you know, when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on, number one—

Johnson: I realize that’s a good excuse.

Clinton: Well, no, it’s the fact. Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about it and the classified ARB because, even today, there are questions being raised. Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown —

Johnson: No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that — an assault sprang out of that — and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.

Clinton: 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.

Johnson: OK. Thank you, Madame Secretary.

Read more >>>>

Spin: Nordstrom, understandably distressed,  keeps returning like the Ancient Mariner saying Hillary Clinton refused additional security requested in March 2012.   The body that properly should be called upon to address the reason for the reduction of available security resources is the House Appropriations Committee that cut the diplomatic security budget by hundreds of millions of dollars  two years in a row. (Oh!  Hi there Jason Chaffetz of the teary eyes and choked up throat!)

Spin: Gregory Hicks, demoted for speaking out. Leaving aside for the moment that you chose to speak to a Congress person without a lawyer present as that terrible witch Cheryl Mills pointed out to be State Department protocol, let’s look at what you did do.  Left in charge of Embassy Tripoli on September 11 with four special forces in place, contacted by Ambassador Stevens (who had the other six special forces assigned to Embassy Tripoli with him in Benghazi), and told the installation was under attack, you thought it would be a great idea to send the last four special forces in Tripoli 400 miles away.

This,  while embassies across the region and beyond were subject to rather aggressive demonstrations. Let’s also leave aside the logistics of getting those forces to Benghazi in time to do anything to help.  There were two things that were unknown.  First,  was the Benghazi attack a distractor and precursor to a bigger attack on Embassy Tripoli (of which you were in charge)?  Second, is there another attack coming in Benghazi?  The second happened to be the case.  But Hicks decided it made the best sense to send the last remaining forces out of Tripoli.

“I’m in charge” echoes from the grave of Alexander Haig aside, I have never seen a less responsible decision.  Hicks was second in command and in charge of Embassy Tripoli that night.  He was responsible for all embassy personnel and all classified material and electronics inside the embassy.  This was his decision – to strip away all special forces on the ground there -yes, in the fog of an attack hundreds of miles away.  We appreciate your service, but, questioning your judgment,  understand why you were assigned a “desk job.”

Is this who should be chief of any mission?  Or second in command?  If you have ever been in charge of anything,  you know the answer to this question.  If you are a mom, you know the answer.

Happy Mother’s Day to our cherished and wise Madame Secretary!  Great mom and great SOS!


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I am posting these today, when they were finally published by the Department of State,  in order not to break my New Year’s resolution of December 31, 2009 to post every public schedule the State Department releases.   If schedules of ensuing days happen to appear I will add them here.

It is infinitely frustrating trying to promote the work of the Secretary of State when her own department is remiss in posting public information.  There is nothing productive or constructive accomplished by posting these this late.  In fact, the only thing it accomplishes for me, personally, is make me wish it really were so easy to go back in time and re-do the RBC decision of 05-31-08 and the bogus roll call vote in Denver.

Seriously, it gives me a migraine.

Public Schedule for June 11, 2011


Public Schedule

Washington, DC
June 17, 2011



Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel in Lusaka, Zambia accompanied by Counselor Mills, Assistant Secretary Carson and Ambassador Goosby. For more information, click here (ET+6 hours).

9:00 a.m.  Secretary Clinton launches the U.S.-Zambia Chamber of Commerce, in Lusaka, Zambia.

9:25 a.m.  Secretary Clinton tours the University Teaching Hospital Paediatric Centre of Excellence, accompanied by Ambassador Goosby, in Lusaka, Zambia.

10:35 a.m.  Secretary Clinton participates in an interview event with Africa 360, in Lusaka, Zambia.

11:45 a.m.  Secretary Clinton meets with Patriotic Front President Michael Sata, in Lusaka, Zambia.

12:05 p.m.  Secretary Clinton meets with United Party for National Development President Hakainde Hichilema, in Lusaka, Zambia.

12:25 p.m.  Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Lusaka, in Lusaka, Zambia.

Counselor Mills accompanies Secretary Clinton on foreign travel. Click here for more information.

Assistant Secretary Carson accompanies Secretary Clinton on foreign travel in Lusaka, Zambia. For more information, click here.

Ambassador Goosby accompanies Secretary Clinton on foreign travel in Lusaka, Zambia. For more information, click here.

9:25 a.m.  Ambassador Goosby accompanies Secretary Clinton on a tour of the University Teaching Hospital Paediatric Centre of Excellence, in Lusaka, Zambia.

Ambassador Verveer is on foreign travel to Lusaka, Zambia for the AGOA ministerial to promote women’s economic empowerment and to support the expansion of the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP).  AWEP, launched by the State Department during last year’s AGOA Forum, helps African women grow their SMEs, advocate for better policies, and lead women’s business networks.  



Public Schedule for June 12, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC


June 17, 2011




Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania accompanied by Counselor Mills, Assistant Secretary Carson and Ambassador Goosby. For more information, click here (ET+7 hours).

9:30 am. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton participates in a high level meeting on nutrition and the 1000 Days Initiative with Tanzanian Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda and Irish An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

11:45 a.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton meets with the farmers in the Upengo Women’s Cooperative group, in Mlandizi, Tanzania.

12:10 p.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton delivers remarks on the Feed the Future program at the Upengo Women’s Cooperative farm, in Mlandizi, Tanzania.

1:20 p.m. LOCAL    Secretary Clinton visits and delivers remarks at the Symbion Power plant with Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Daniel Yohannes and Symbion CEO Paul Hinks, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

2:30 p.m. LOCAL    Secretary Clinton tours the Buguruni Health Center, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

2:35 p.m. LOCAL    Secretary Clinton observes a skit by the “male champions” on gender-based violence at the Buguruni Health Center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

2:45 p.m. Secretary Clinton announces increased PEPFAR funding for combating gender-based violence, at the Buguruni Health Center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

3:50 p.m.  Secretary Clinton lays flowers at a memorial to the 1998 Bombing of the Embassy.

4:00 p.m.  Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Dar es Salaam.

Counselor Mills accompanies Secretary Clinton on foreign travel. Click here for more information.

Assistant Secretary Carson accompanies Secretary Clinton on foreign travel . For more information, clickhere.
Ambassador Goosby accompanies Secretary Clinton on foreign travel in Lusaka, Zambia. For more information, click here.

9:25 a.m.  Ambassador Goosby accompanies Secretary Clinton on a tour of the University Teaching Hospital Paediatric Centre of Excellence, in Lusaka, Zambia.

Ambassador Verveer is on foreign travel to Lusaka, Zambia for the AGOA ministerial to promote women’s economic empowerment and to support the expansion of the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP).  AWEP, launched by the State Department during last year’s AGOA Forum, helps African women grow their SMEs, advocate for better policies, and lead women’s business networks.


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Happy Anniversary Madame Secretary!

You inspire us every day!

One year: 198,934 miles and 49 countries traveled.
Follow her travels and activities here.

Daily Appointments Schedule for February 2, 2010

Washington, DC
February 2, 2010


8:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Members of Congress from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, at the Department of State.

9:50 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitrios Droutsas, at the Department of State.

3:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Bilateral Meeting with Iraqi Vice President Dr. Tariq Hashimi, at the Department of State.


1:30 p.m.
USAID Administrator Raj Shah and State Department Counselor Cheryl Mills brief the Press on the Way Forward in Haiti, On Camera and On the Record, in the Press Briefing Room, at the Department of State.


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