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Washington Times Op-Ed: The moment of responsibility for Hillary Clinton

May 10, 2013 in Politics & Elections

When I took Hillary Rodham Clinton to task in January for the mishandling of security in Benghazi, Libya, I told her that if I had been president at the time, I would have relieved her of her post. Some politicians and pundits took offense at my line of questioning.During those hearings, I reminded Mrs. Clinton that multiple requests were sent to the State Department asking for increased security measures. I asked if she had read the cables from Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens asking for increased security. She replied that she was busy and had not read them. I find that inexcusable.Four months later, we are hearing that Mrs. Clinton allegedly withheld information from a counterterrorism bureau during the response. We are hearing new allegations that Special Forces wanting to respond during the attacks were told, ‘You can’t go’ by superiors. Ambassador Stevens‘ deputy, Gregory Hicks, testified this week that he spoke with Mrs. Clinton on the night of the attack, when these orders were given. We are hearing that Mr. Hicks was initially told by the State Department not to meet with congressional investigators.We are, again, hearing allegations that contradict the White House’s story.Benghazi security was a life-and-death matter that resulted in the latter. The notion that high-ranking government officials are somehow beyond reproach, as some suggested during my criticism of Mrs. Clinton, is dangerous and wrong.The secretary of state’s responsibility is to protect our diplomats. Mrs. Clinton should have been relieved of her post for denying pleas for additional security. Almost 20 years ago, President Clinton’s secretary of defense was relieved of his post for a similarly bad decision.In early October 1993, a battle between U.S. forces and Somali militia in Mogadishu left 18 Americans soldiers dead, 80 wounded and two American helicopters shot down. Today, this is remembered as the Battle of Mogadishu or more popularly, ‘Black Hawk Down,’ thanks to a subsequent movie of the same name.A month earlier in September, then-Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Colin L. Powell requested soldiers, tanks and armor-plated vehicles to reinforce the mission in Somalia. Secretary of Defense Les Aspin denied these requests. The Associated Press reported the following on Oct. 8, 1993, just days after the Battle of Mogadishu: ‘Defense Secretary Les Aspin today brushed aside calls for his resignation as ‘the politics of Capitol Hill,’ but conceded that in light of recent casualties, he shouldn’t have rejected …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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