“I have a lot of baggage and everybody has rummaged through it for years!” – Hillary Clinton, April 16, 2008
When Hillary Clinton uttered those 14 words in a debate with Barack Obama, it was prior to her controversial tenure as Secretary of State under Obama. The premise behind her statement was that she could withstand any Republican opponent’s attempts to dig up dirt on her while then Senator Obama didn’t have the sea legs necessary to do so.
Clinton’s close adviser during her tenure as Secretary of State could make it a bit more difficult to stand by that claim. Recent State Department behavior in response to requests by various news outlets may suggest as much.
It’s now being revealed that the State Department is stonewalling Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted by the Associated Press, which is seeking files surrounding the tenure of Clinton as Secretary of State:
The State Department has failed to turn over government documents covering Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state that The Associated Press and others requested under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act ahead of her presumptive presidential campaign. They include one request AP made four years ago and others pending for more than one year.
The agency already has missed deadlines it set for itself to turn over the material.
The State Department denied the AP’s requests, and rejected the AP’s subsequent appeals, to release the records sought quickly under a provision in the law reserved for journalists requesting federal records about especially newsworthy topics.
In its requests, the AP cited the likely prospect of Clinton entering the 2016 race. The former first lady is widely considered the leading Democratic contender hoping to succeed President Obama. She has made scores of recent high-profile speeches and public appearances.
Since boasting about her ability to survive baggage rummaging, several more years have passed and former Secretary of State Clinton has accumulated even more baggage that needs rummaged through. Benghazi is the most glaring example but her ability to hire a woman named Huma Abedin who has distinct and irrefutable familial ties to the Muslim Brotherhood as her deputy chief of staff proved to qualify as well, when questions were raised about Abedin’s Form 86.
Potentially compounding that problem is the fact that regardless of what terrorists attacked Benghazi, most of them rolled up under the Muslim Brotherhood umbrella.
Abedin continues to remain a close aid to Clinton but when her Muslim Brotherhood connections were revealed by Shoebat.com in 2011 and then amplified by Rep. Michele Bachmann a year later in a letter to the acting State Department Inspector General Harold Geisel on June 13, 2012, a critical question started getting asked. How did Abedin get a security clearance in light of those connections? Guilt by association arguments were irrelevant. Conflict of interest arguments were not.
The 90-day deadline for Geisel to respond to Bachmann came and went without any known response. Ironically, the deadline expired on the day of the Benghazi attacks.
Then of course, there is the matter of Abedin’s time as a Special Government Employee (SGE). Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) raised the issue in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, dated one year to the day after Bachmann’s letter to IG at State.
As Shoebat.com reported, Grassley had several concerns. Chief among them was that Abedin’s time as an SGE seemed to far exceed what was permissible by law. She allegedly began work as an SGE / consultant in the same month Bachmann named her in the letter to the IG and continued in that capacity until leaving in February of the following year, thereby appearing to exceed the 130-day limit. As Shoebat.com reported, this admission was shockingly made by Abedin’s attorney who, to his credit, responded to Grassley, unlike Geisel.
To this point, Hillary’s 2008 argument about her ability to have her ‘baggage’ ‘rummaged’ through and withstand an opponent’s ability to gain traction with it, doesn’t seem to apply in 2014 and beyond.