Clinton: I’m responsible for diplomats’ security
From Elise Labott, CNN
updated 5:29 AM EDT, Tue October 16, 2012
Lima, Peru (CNN) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday tried to douse a political firestorm over the deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, saying she’s responsible for the security of American diplomatic outposts.
“I take responsibility,” Clinton said during a visit to Peru. “I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”
Is it me? Or is there something odd in SecState Clinton’s comment? CNN’s headline quotes the “money” quote, “I take responsibility.” She reinforces this first sentence in her third: “The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals.” Well and good, but then there’s her fourth sentence (as CNN quoted her): “They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.” Did she contradict and negate her first three sentence with this fourth sentence? Or, since this was probably a carefully crafted statement, was she indirectly saying that the individual decisions, for which she said she is responsible, were made in accordance with policies and directives from the White House. If my reading between the lines is correct, it has the ring of truth. A POTUS is unlikely to see individual requests from a specific embassy; that’s the job of the SecState and various Under and Assistant SecsState. But the criteria for the decisions those officials and bureaucrats make would come from the President through White House staff. So this seeming “admission” may be a finesse move to take SecState Clinton between the Scylla of full hyper-vehiculation and the Charybdis of patently ludicrous hand-washing denial. It may also be a gambit to draw Pres. Obama into making his next move, revealing his strategy. Or maybe she’s saying, “I’m tired and want to go home.”