Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received a report from the Accountability Review Board detailing the events up to and after the September 11 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. The report comes after allegations that the US did not do enough to prevent the killing of four Americans including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The report, which officials are not making public at the moment, is expected to describe the actions of top State officials and whether the decision to refuse additional security personnel at the consulate was a mistake which could have been prevented.
She will most-likely use this report to debrief her Deputy Secretaries Thomas Nides and William Burns in preparation for their testimony on December 20 with congressional investigators regarding the incident. Clinton had been scheduled to testify Thursday, but was forced to delegate the testimony to her deputies, as she recovers from a stomach virus and concussion.
If the results of the congressional investigation shed light on serious problems within the State Department, it may result in more strict accountability standards, the loss of several official’s jobs, a decrease in the president’s overall approval rating, and will certainly hurt Clinton’s chances of election in 2016, should she choose to run. These factors lead many pundits to question the validity considering the timing of Clinton’s unfortunate condition. Was it mere circumstance, bad luck, that she fell ill just when she was poised to face the investigators? Many reporters say no, citing the withdrawal of Susan Rice’s name from the running for Clinton’s job next term, amidst deepening concerns about the extent of Rice’s prior knowledge of the attacks as well.
Whether her lack of testimony on Thursday will affect her career positively or negatively, the fact still remains that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is probably one of the most qualified and effective in American history. The Secretary has over four decades of experience in public service, having held the responsibilities of a chairwoman for several successful organizations, New York Senator, attorney, and First Lady. Her talent with diplomacy, public relations and personnel management unrivaled, Clinton has experienced thus far more miles traveled and countries visited in a single term than any of her predecessors. She is most certainly burning the candle at both ends, a fact that her supporters use to explain her recent bout with a stomach virus and a subsequent concussion.
The US Secretary of State is the face of our country, where the Secretary of Defense is America’s right fist, she is America’s welcoming left hand, an embodiment of temperance, reason and of stern negotiation. An avatar of American ideology and culture, the Secretary of State is tasked with setting the tone for all of American representatives, from top US ambassadors (such as UN Ambassador Susan Rice) all the way down to consulate janitors. She has the power to sway public opinion, to instigate or pacify conflicts anywhere in the world, with all of the tools of the United States at her disposal: what current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls, “smart power” or as it is described on the State website, “the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural” the site goes further to explain that smart power is, “picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy. This is not a radical idea. The ancient Roman poet Terence, who was born a slave and rose to become one of the great voices of his time, declared that ‘in every endeavor, the seemly course for wise men is to try persuasion first.’ The same truth binds wise women as well.”
Are we being persuaded to believe what the State Department wants us to now? Assuming that her condition is indeed valid, would she deliberately give herself a virus and a subsequent concussion just to avoid answering a few questions? If yes, what could be so devastating, incriminating that someone would deliberately injure themselves in order to escape it? Out of pure conjecture, consider the possibility that the attack was indeed orchestrated by a terrorist group, and not part of a larger protest regarding an offensive picture of the Prophet Mohammed. Then consider that at least one of the 16 branches of the intelligence community had prior knowledge of the incident, say for example, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Would that mean that Obama’s reelection platform of having removed and reduced terrorist activity from the region was in danger, and that the lack of reinforcements for the Consulate was an order carried out of political self-preservation for the Obama administration? Did the administration consider that sending reinforcements as a result of intelligence that a terrorist organization was actively operating and targeting the region would mean less votes for the president in the election? Time, and this accountability report will only tell.
Writen By: @andreweasler