Hillary Clinton boasts that her experience traveling to 112 countries as secretary of state qualifies her to be president. Don’t believe it.
At the end of her taxpayer-funded audition on the world stage, she came home empty-handed, with no meaningful gains for the United States. Voters are too smart to be wowed when she rattles off names of Islamic terrorist splinter factions and third-world capitals.
Evidence shows she left the State Department in shambles and our nation weaker. If anything, her record at Foggy Bottom should disqualify her to be president.
Her failures go beyond leaving four Americans to die in Benghazi, the ridiculous Russian “reset” and the carnage in Syria that she and President Obama idly watched unfold — and which gets more horrific by the day.
A string of investigative reports from the Obama administration show that she botched key management jobs as secretary of state, threatening American lives and our diplomatic secrets.
Clinton’s State Department repeatedly rebuffed requests for additional security for the vulnerable compound at Benghazi, Libya. The result? On Sept. 11, 2012, heavily armed terrorists were able to storm the compound and kill Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
But Benghazi wasn’t an isolated case. Clinton failed to secure diplomatic posts in Pakistan, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and other global hot spots. Internal State Department reports show the posts lacked emergency plans in case of attack. Guards assigned to them had no training in chemical or biological threats and, amazingly, some hadn’t undergone background checks.
Clinton tried to weasel out of taking the blame for Benghazi, testifying to Congress that she wasn’t personally involved in embassy security. But emails later revealed that was false.
Investigators also point to Clinton’s total neglect of cybersecurity. The Bush administration — reeling from the attack on the World Trade Center — had made it a top priority to protect information flow among embassies, the CIA and FBI. But Clinton dropped the ball, creating what the department’s inspector general called “undue risk in the management of information.”
In November 2013, the IG issued an alert to the State Department’s top executives about the urgent “recurring weaknesses” in cyber security that had been red flagged in six previous reports between 2011 and 2013, almost all on Hillary Clinton’s watch. The “recurring weaknesses” had still not been addressed, including vulnerabilities to hackers.
One of those previous reports — from July 2013 (shortly after Clinton’s departure) described how much of the cybersecurity work was actually being done by contractors rather than department staff, contrary to government policy. The report noted that Edward Snowden, the thief of a huge trove of documents — was similarly a contracted systems administrator.
John Bentel, in charge of State’s cyber security during Clinton’s tenure, is one of the five State Department staffers who demanded immunity before talking to FBI investigators about the Clinton’s private server scheme.
He apparently took his duties regarding Clinton’s secret server more seriously than his duties to safeguard national cybersecurity. According to an IG report, Bentel “instructed his subordinates not to discuss the secretary’s email.”
Rudy Giuliani told me on Saturday that Clinton’s use of a private email service for official business was like taking “all our top secret material and throwing it out on Fifth Avenue.”
Outrageous, but still a lesser offense than Clinton’s neglect of the entire department’s digital security — exposing communications between thousands of agents and diplomats across the globe. Even after the WikiLeaks released 250,000 confidential State Department documents in 2010, Clinton didn’t plug the obvious holes in State’s cyber setup.
Yet during Monday’s debate, Clinton had the nerve to claim that she takes threats to the nation’s cybersecurity very seriously. That’s a laugh.
Clinton’s management of finances at State was also slipshod, according to inspector-general reports that point to a whopping $6 billion unaccounted for during her tenure. Clinton’s chaotic mismanagement created “conditions conducive to fraud,” the IG warned, and made it harder “to punish and deter criminal behavior.” She must have felt right at home.
True to Clinton’s instinct to cover her tracks, she thwarted several investigations of sexual misconduct and prostitution at State. Investigators complained of “an appearance of undue influence and favoritism.”
This presidential race is a contest between a builder and a blabberer. The builder, Donald Trump, manages 185 major business ventures around the globe. Until 2009, Clinton had never run anything. Running the State Department was her chance to prove she could do it. She failed miserably.
So what are the odds Hillary Clinton would run the federal government with integrity, keep the nation safe and get taxpayers more for their money? Zero.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York state and a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and author of “Government by Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution.” To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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