Democratic Presidential pretender Hillary Rodham Clinton is drowning in her own sea of lies, undone by exaggerated claims of being under fire in Bosnia, waterlogged by her hype, murdered by her own mendacity.
After months of lying outright about being “under fire” in Bosnia during a visit while serving as First Lady, Clinton now tries to dismiss the gaffe as a “misstatement.”
But her lies about landing in Bosnia as snipers took potshots at her and her entourage are just part of a pattern of “misstatements,” misinformation and outright falsehoods.
Indeed, her quest to replace George W. Bush, easily one of the most dishonest Presidents in American history, appears to be based on nothing more than a strategy of replacing one liar with another.
Reports Michael Dobbs in The Washington Post:
Hillary Clinton has been regaling supporters on the campaign trail with hair-raising tales of a trip she made to Bosnia in March 1996. In her retelling, she was sent to places that her husband, President Bill Clinton, could not go because they were “too dangerous.” When her account was challenged by one of her traveling companions, the comedian Sinbad, she upped the ante and injected even more drama into the story. In a speech earlier this week, she talked about “landing under sniper fire” and running for safety with “our heads down.”
But a check of print and video reports of that day in Bosnia tell a different story. Dobbs continues:
As a reporter who visited Bosnia soon after the December 1995 Dayton peace agreement, I can attest that the physical risks were minimal during this period, particularly at a heavily fortified U.S. air base, such as Tuzla. Contrary to the claims of Hillary Clinton and former Army secretary Togo West, Bosnia was not “too dangerous” a place for President Clinton to visit in early 1996. In fact, the first Clinton to visit the Tuzla Air Base was not Hillary, but Bill, on Jan. 13, 1996.
Had Hillary Clinton’s plane come “under sniper fire” in March 1996, we would certainly have heard about it long before now. Numerous reporters, including The Washington Post’s John Pomfret, covered her trip. A review of nearly 100 news accounts of her visit shows that not a single newspaper or television station reported any security threat to the first lady. “As a former AP wire-service hack, I can safely say that it would have been in my lead had anything like that happened,” Pomfret said.
According to Pomfret, the Tuzla airport was “one of the safest places in Bosnia” in March 1996 and “firmly under the control” of the 1st Armored Division.
Far from running to an airport building with their heads down, Clinton and her party were greeted on the tarmac by smiling U.S. and Bosnian officials. An 8-year-old Muslim girl, Emina Bicakcic, read a poem in English. An Associated Press photograph of the greeting ceremony shows a smiling Clinton bending down to receive a kiss.
“There is peace now,” Emina told Clinton, according to Pomfret’s report in The Post the next day, “because Mr. Clinton signed it. All this peace. I love it.”
The first lady’s schedule, released on Wednesday by the National Archives, confirms that she arrived in Tuzla at 8:45 a.m. and was greeted by various dignitaries, including Emina (whose name has mysteriously been redacted from the document). Footage from CBS shows Clinton walking calmly out of the back of the C-17 military transport plane that brought her from Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Among the U.S. officials on hand to greet Clinton at the airport was Maj. Gen. William Nash, the commander of U.S. troops in Bosnia. Nash told me he was unaware of any security threat to Clinton during her eight-hour stay in Tuzla. He said, however, that Clinton had a “busy schedule” and may have got the impression that she was being hurried.
Sinbad, who provided entertainment on the trip along with singer Sheryl Crow, said the “scariest” part was deciding where to eat. As he told Mary Ann Akers of washingtonpost.com, “I think the only ‘red phone’ moment was ‘Do we eat here or at the next place?’ ” He questioned the premise behind the Clinton version of events. “What kind of president would say ‘Hey, man, I can’t go ’cause I might get shot, so I’m going to send my wife. Oh, and take a guitar player and a comedian with you’?”
Don Jackson, an Air Force journalist filming the event in Bosnia, told Dobbs:
Mrs. Clinton arrived to a flight line full of well-wishers, both military and civilian, accompanied by her staff as well as comedian Sinbad and singer Sheryl Crow who were there to entertain troops. To set the record straight, there was no enemy fire, and no imminent danger. If there had been any danger, “well-wishers” would not have been allowed on the tarmac, much less allowing me to stand above everyone else on the back of a truck. And Sinbad and Sheryl Crow would’ve been running for their lives instead of taking the time to be interviewed by yours truly, on the tarmac. Mrs. Clinton’s [claim] is a lie, plain and simple.
Clinton now dismisses the whole thing as a simple “misstatement.” In response to questions from the Philadelphia Daily News, she said:
Now let me tell you what I can remember, OK — because what I was told was that we had to land a certain way and move quickly because of the threat of sniper fire. So I misspoke — I didn’t say that in my book or other times but if I said something that made it seem as though there was actual fire — that’s not what I was told. I was told we had to land a certain way, we had to have our bulletproof stuff on because of the threat of sniper fire. I was also told that the greeting ceremony had been moved away from the tarmac but that there was this 8-year-old girl and, I can’t, I can’t rush by her, I’ve got to at least greet her — so I made a — I took her stuff and then I left, Now that’s my memory of it…No, I went to 80 countries, you know. I gave contemporaneous accounts, I wrote about a lot of this in my book. You know, I think that, a minor blip, you know, if I said something that, you know, I say a lot of things — millions of words a day — so if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement.
But there is a slight problem with Clinton’s claim that this whole thing was just a slip of the tongue:
Dobbs also reports:
Last week was not the first time that Clinton talked about sniper fire in Bosnia. She has provided various different versions of the incident along the campaign trail and in her autobiography, Living History. In a New York Times account of a campaign rally in Waco, Tex., on February 29, Clinton said that the welcoming ceremony had to be “moved inside” a Tuzla airport building “because of sniper fire.” She made a similar statement in Dubuque, Iowa, back in December.
The Bosnia trip story is not the only Clinton claim that fails to pass the smell test. Greg Craig, former counsel to Bill Clinton, says Hillary often plays fast and loose with the facts. Consider this interview with The National Journal:
Q: But was that experience, do you think, that is — having a lot of influence with advisers, giving private advice to her husband — was that experience that has helped prepare her to be commander in chief?
Craig: Oh, I don’t doubt that. The point that I am making is that her claims of the nature of that experience are overstated. The fact is she did not sit in on national security meetings. She did not have a security clearance. She did not attend meetings in the situation room. She conducted no negotiations. She did not manage any part of the national security bureaucracy. She did not have her own national security staff. That’s the fact. Now the experience that she did have — watching and sometimes sitting in the room where discussions were going on and also meeting heads of state and foreign ministers — that is good experience, and it’s invaluable to understanding how the world works when it comes to international organizations as well as international negotiations.
History suggests that lying is part of Clinton’s personna. In 2000, New York Times columnist William Safire called the than First Lady a “Habitual Fabricator.” Wrote Safire:
Remember all the claims by Hillary Clinton’s see-no-evil supporters that the decision by independent counsel Robert Ray not to prosecute her in the travel office affair ”exonerated’ her?
Some exoneration. We now have the full report of this egregious abuse of power and its six-year cover-up, and the evidence that she has been lying all along is damning.
Lest we forget, the central issue was never whether she had the right to pressure her husband’s staff to fire seven longtime White House employees and direct the lucrative travel business to her Hollywood cronies and a Clinton cousin. That’s just the spoils system.
The Travelgate issue was and is: was her sworn denial of any ”role” or ”input” in the firings factually false? Did her pressure cause fearful aides to stimulate a besmearing F.B.I. investigation? Did this lead her Justice Department to bring criminal charges against people later found to be innocent? And did she and her White House minions delay, impede and increase the expense of revealing her improper involvement?
The inescapable answers are yes, yes, yes and yes. Read the evidence and denials in full and see how her orchestrated lying continues to this day.
In 1996, Safire wrote:
Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady — a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation — is a congenital liar.
Drip by drip, like Whitewater torture, the case is being made that she is compelled to mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit.