TEL AVIV – Hillary Clinton has been using her campaign website to obscure the foreign policy debacles that marked her disastrous tenure as Secretary of State.
In one case, the “Factcheck” section of HillaryClinton.com seeks to minimize her central role in the U.S.-led intervention in Libya in 2011 by highlighting other politicians’ stated support for action against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
The campaign website laments that “Republicans haven’t hesitated to attack Hillary Clinton over the United States’ intervention in Libya during her tenure as Secretary of State.”
“But the reality is that in 2011, in addition to calls for action from our closest NATO allies and our partners in the region, there was broad support from leaders at home for the administration’s effort to do more to protect the Libyan people.”
The website spotlights statements of encouragement for intervention in Libya from politicians such as Sens. Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi, and future Secretary of State John Kerry. Republicans like Sens. Marco Rubio, Lindsay Graham, and John McCain also urged action in Libya in 2011, the website relates.
However, while those politicians issued statements, it was Clinton who played a central role in convincing President Barack Obama to act in Libya in 2011.
In fact, in the immediate aftermath of Gaddafi’s downfall and before the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. Special Mission and nearby CIA Annex in Benghazi, Clinton debated how best to publically take credit for the “victory” in Libya.
Emails later released by the State Department showed that Clinton’s confidante, Sidney Blumenthal, urged her to go on camera to claim credit for Gaddafi’s removal from power, a recommendation that she strongly considered with the help of top aides.
“First, brava! This is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it,” Blumenthal wrote in an Aug. 22, 2011 email.
“When Qaddafi himself is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation home,”
Blumenthal wrote. “You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment.”
Clinton forwarded Blumenthal’s email to one of her closest aides, Jake Sullivan. “Pls read below,” petitioned Clinton. “Sid makes a good case for what I should say, but it’s premised on being said after Q goes, which will make it more dramatic. That’s my hesitancy, since I’m not sure how many chances I’ll get.”
Sullivan replied that he and another State official “thought it might make sense for you to do an op-ed to run right after he falls, making this point.” He said a draft was already in the works.
“You can reinforce the op-ed in all your appearances, but it makes sense to lay down something definitive, almost like the Clinton Doctrine,” Sullivan added.
In a lengthy piece on Wednesday, the Washington Post documented how Clinton convinced Obama to intervene in Libya in 2011:
According to the Post, “after consultations with British and Arab allies and a leader of the Libyan opposition all demanding action, Clinton joined a White House meeting of President Obama’s National Security Council by phone and forcefully urged the president to take military action.”
Continued the Post article:
Clinton’s decision to shed her initial reluctance and strongly back a military operation in Libya was one of the most significant — and risky — of her career.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon, and others were against military action, contending that the United States had no clear national interests at stake and that operations could last far longer and cost more lives than anyone anticipated.
But Clinton joined U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice and White House adviser Samantha Power in pressing Obama to back a U.S.- and NATO-led military campaign, arguing that the United States could not let Gaddafi butcher his citizens.
Obama sided with Clinton’s argument, and three days later, on March 17, the U.N. Security Council passed a U.S.-backed resolution authorizing “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians. U.S. warplanes immediately destroyed Libya’s air defenses before turning the operation over to NATO, which continued strikes until Gaddafi was captured and killed in October.
But Libya became a policy disaster, deteriorating into what the Post accurately labeled a “virtual failed state run by hundreds of private militias.”
Besides the Benghazi attacks, the Post notes, the North African nation “has become a primary outpost for the Islamic State, which has exploited the chaos to take territory, train soldiers, and prove its strength outside Syria and Iraq.”
After Gaddafi was toppled, however, Clinton was so excited about declaring victory there that she reportedly urged Ambassador Chris Stevens to ensure that the U.S. Benghazi mission could be converted into a permanent U.S. State Department facility.
Gregory Hicks, the former State Department deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affairs who was in Libya at the time of the attack, said Clinton wanted to announce the establishment of a new permanent facility in Benghazi before her planned trip to Libya in December 2012.
Gaza ceasefire scrubbed
Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign website was caught removing a passage from her official biography touting her role in brokering a 2012 ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
That truce fell apart when Hamas started rocketing Israeli cities in the summer of 2014, leading to the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, also known as Operation Protective Edge, in which Israel acted to minimize Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure.
The Independent Journal Review noticed a discrepancy between Clinton’s current bio and the official bio that can still be seen in the Wayback Machine web archive.
The original passage reads:
“She built a coalition for tough new sanctions against Iran that brought them to the negotiating table and she brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that ended a war and protected Israel’s security. She was a forceful champion for human rights, internet freedom, and rights and opportunities for women and girls, LGBT people, and young people all around the globe.”
The current version, apparently altered on Monday, now reads:
“She built a coalition for tough new sanctions against Iran that brought them to the negotiating table. She was a forceful champion for human rights, internet freedom, and rights and opportunities for women and girls, LGBT people, and young people all around the globe.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.