Hillary Clinton’s Libyan Fingerprints

Some Hillary Clinton backers now downplay the then-Secretary of State’s role in what has become a disastrous “regime change” war in Libya, but that was not what her sycophants were saying four years ago, recalls Larry C. Johnson.

By Larry C. Johnson

I am going to share with you four devastating emails sent and received by Hillary Clinton on the subject of Libya. You can find these posted at Wikileaks. It is clear in reading these exchanges that, in the glow of the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Hillary embraced the call to spike the football and clearly was planning to use Libya as evidence of her leadership and skill that qualified her to become President.

The attack on our diplomats and CIA officers in Benghazi on 11 September 2012 however, destroyed that dream. The dream became a nightmare and Hillary has scrambled to pretend that she was not the mover-and-shaker that destabilized Libya and made it a safe haven for ISIS, aka radical Islamists.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

Let me take you through these chronologically. First up is an email from James “Jamie” Rubin, the husband of CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. (You might want to have an air sickness bag handy.) Jamie wrote on 18 July 2011:

“Again, congratulations are in order for Friday’s recognition of the Transitional National Council in Istanbul. It is a pleasure to see the State Department again leading the administration on this. Syria, too, but that is a subject for another day.

“I suspect that you have been pushing very hard within the administration on Libya. From the outside, the White House doesn’t seem like it cares very much. In general, the NSC seems uncomfortable with creative applications of American power and influence. And we all know the military and the Pentagon resist limited military operations, especially airpower-only engagements. So, it must be you and your colleagues at State. Well done. . . .

“First and foremost, this is winnable. The killing of Bin Ladin aside, the administration really needs a solid, substantial success. . . .

“Second, unlike in the Balkans or Afghanistan, Paris and London are fully committed, as are most Europeans, with the exception of Germany, which is a disgrace but not really relevant in the end. . . .

“Third, beyond the moral component of preventing a slaughter, defeating Qaddafi is one of the few concrete and unique ways the West can contribute to the Arab Spring. . . .

“Fourth, even a small success like the one that is coming in Libya will turn around the steady decline in American influence in the region and around the world. I suspect that you know this, but European elites, Gulf elites, East Europeans and many others regard the Administration as weak.

“What you need is a rationale for a new strategy and an internal argument for the Pentagon to change its position. If the Pentagon moves and a new rationale alters the politics on Capitol Hill, the White House will have to go along. . . . But I would suggest the following strategy:

“First, without acknowledging that it was a mistake to let the British and French lead the operation to begin with, you can simply argue that circumstances have changed to the extent that leaving Qaddafi in power is now a national security risk. . . .

“Second, for civilians in the Pentagon and the military, you can simply state that the U.S. and NATO’s deterrent power is now at risk. . . .

“Third, the threat of Qaddafi organizing terrorist threats against Europe and possibly the United States is an argument that most Republicans will be forced to accept. (At a private meeting with Tim Pawlenty, he put forward the idea that framed as a threat from a former terrorist leader, most Republicans would change their view.) McCain and Lindsey Graham are already there and with this new rationale it should be possible to win political support from Republicans that would not support the moral case alone.”

I am sure you picked up the themes here – Obama is weak ass, U.S. policy needs to shift to get on board with the Europeans and Hillary is the one to do it. Hillary loved this note from Jamie. She directed her staff to print it.

A little more than one month later (in fact, the day after rebels entered Tripoli), Hillary’s old friend and confidant, Sid Blumenthal, weighed in (barf bag suggestion still recommended):

“First, brava! This is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it. 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 house. You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment. The most important phrase is: ‘successful strategy.’

“Just a few points: *The US has pursued a successful strategy in Libya. We did not know how long it would take, but we knew it would not be easy, and that it would require steadiness and persistence. This was the right course, based on our interests and principles. And it has worked.

“*Do not skimp on the reasons in the US interest behind the successful strategy: We prevented a humanitarian tragedy on a vast scale. Qaddafi, who had already killed 2,000 people in April, threatened to massacre the residents of Benghazi, tens if not hundreds of thousands of people. We worked closely with our NATO allies, proving that cooperation within the Western alliance can achieve our mutual goals.

“The US has demonstrated its principled belief in the rule of law and acted on the basis of the United Nations resolution. We have supported the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy and freedom. We have ousted a murderous dictator who has been a source of terrorism, civil war throughout Africa and a prop for dictators elsewhere. By acting in Libya we have helped advance the cause of democracy and freedom throughout the Arab world. We have provided an important support for neighboring Egypt. We have put Assad on notice that the sands of time have run out for him as well. Our successful strategy in Libya stands as a warning that our strategy will work again. Etc.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

“*Be aware that some may attempt to justify the flamingly stupid ‘leading from behind’ phrase, junior types on the NSC imagining their cleverness. To refute this passive construction on US policy and help remove it as an albatross from the administration as it enters the election year, do not be defensive but rather simply explain that the US had a clear strategy from the start, stuck with it and has succeeded.

“*Then you can say whatever on future policy — but only after asserting the historic success and explaining the reasons why. *This is a very big moment historically and for you. History will tell your part in it. You are vindicated. But don’t wait, help Clio now.” (Blumenthal’s reference to “Clio” is to the Greek muse of history.)

Yes sir. “Big moment” indeed. Hillary helped thousands die but, as Sid emphasized, the glory, at least part of it, belonged to her. This was not because of anything that the weak-ass President Obama did. Nope. It was Hillary’s baby.

On 3 September 2011, Hillary directed her staff – Jake Sullivan in particular–to document the case of Hillary’s “brilliance.” Remember. This is how Hillary and her staff were taking credit for what transpired in Libya:

“Secretary Clinton’s leadership on Libya HRC has been a critical voice on Libya in administration deliberations, at NATO, and in contact group meetings as well as the public face of the U.S. effort in Libya. She was instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime.

“February 25 — HRC announces the suspension of operations of the Libyan embassy in Washington.

“February 26 — HRC directs efforts to evacuate all U.S. embassy personnel from Tripoli and orders the closing of the embassy.

“February 26 HRC made a series of calls to her counterparts to help secure passage of UNSC 1970, which imposes sanctions on Gaddafi and his family and refers Qadhafi and his cronies to the ICC

“February 28 — HRC travels to Geneva, Switzerland for consultations with European partners on Libya. She gives a major address in which she says: ‘Colonel Qadhafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and common decency. Through their actions, they have lost the legitimacy to govern. And the people of Libya have made themselves clear: It is time for Qadhafi to go — now, without further violence or delay.’ She also works to secure the suspension of Libya from membership in the Human Rights Council.

“Early March — HRC appoints Special Envoy Chris Stevens to be the U.S. representative to Benghazi

“March 14 — HRC travels to Paris for the G8 foreign minister’s meeting. She meets with TNC representative Jibril and consults with her colleagues on further UN Security Council action. She notes that a no-fly zone will not be adequate.

“March 14-16 — HRC participates in a series of high-level video- and teleconferences B5 She is a leading voice for strong UNSC action and a NA TO civilian protection mission.

“March 17— HRC secures Russian abstention and Portuguese and African support for UNSC 1973, ensuring that it passes. 1973 authorizes a no-fly zone over Libya and ‘all necessary measures’ – code for military action – to protect civilians against Gaddafts army.

“March 24 — HRC engages with allies and secures the transition of command and control of the civilian protection mission to NATO. She announces the transition in a statement.

“March 18-30— HRC engages with UAE, Qatar, and Jordan to seek their participation in coalition operations. Over the course of several days, all three devote aircraft to the mission.

“March 19— HRC travels to Paris to meet with European and Arab leaders to prepare for military action to protect civilians. That night, the first U.S. air strikes halt the advance of Gaddafi’s forces on Benghazi and target Libya’s air defenses.

“March 29—HRCt ravels to London for a conference on Libya, where she is a driving force behind the creation of a Contact Group comprising 20-plus countries to coordinate efforts to protect civilians and plan for a post-Qadhafi Libya. She is instrumental in setting up a rotating chair system to ensure regional buy-in.

President Obama talks with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama talks with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office. (White House photo by Pete Souza)

“April 14—HRC travels to Berlin for NATO meetings. She is the driving force behind NATOadopting a communique that calls for Qadhafi’sdeparture as a political objective, and lays out three clear military objectives: end of attacks and threat of attacks on civilians; the removal of Qadhafi forces from cities they forcibly entered; and the unfettered provision of humanitarian access.

“May 5 — HRC travels to Rome for a Contact Group meeting. The Contact Group establishes a coordination system and a temporary financial mechanism to funnel money to the TNC.

“June 8 — HRC travels to Abu Dhabi for another Contact Group meeting and holds a series of intense discussions with rebel leaders.

“June 12 — HRC travels to Addis for consultations and a speech before the African Union, pressing the case for a democratic transition in Libya.

“July 15 — HRC travels to Istanbul and announces that the U.S. recognizes the TNC as the legitimate government of Libya. She also secures recognition from the other members of the Contact Group. Late June — HRC meets with House Democrats and Senate Republicans to persuade them not to de-fund the Libya operation.

“July 16 — HRC sends Feltman, Cretz, and Chollet to Tunis to meet with Qadhafi envoys ‘to deliver a clear and firm message that the only way to move forward, is for Qadhafi to step down’.

“Early August — HRC works to construct a $1.5 billion assets package to be approved by the Security Council and sent to the TNC. That package is working through its last hurdles.

“Early August — After military chief Abdel Fattah Younes is killed, S sends a personal message to TNC head Jalil to press for a responsible investigation and a careful and inclusive approach to creating a new executive council

“Early August — HRC secures written pledges from the TNC to an inclusive, pluralistic democratic transition. She continues to consult with European and Arab colleagues on the evolving situation.”

Hillary and her posse were not content to sit back and hope that others would recognize here “brilliant leadership.” Nope. They embarked on a full propaganda campaign to ensure that the media and the public got that message. Sid Blumenthal helped coordinate this effort and turned to fellow Hillary sycophant, Jamie Rubin, to help push the meme. His email to Hillary is dated 10 September 2011.

Jamie, using his position as an editor at Bloomberg News, published the following op-ed. Please note the shrewd and deceptive use of the media. Nowhere in this piece does Jamie disclose that he is a friend of Hillary’s and had provided previous encouragement to pursue this policy. I am sure that Jamie was feeling very smug about his insider role. The average reader, however, had no clue. They simply assumed that this was an objective journalist taking note of the magnificence of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In an email, Blumenthal passed on word to Clinton: ” Subject: H: Per our conversation. Jamie writes editorial… Sid

“http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2011-09-o8/hillary-clinton-deseryes-credit-for-the- positive-u-s-role-in-libya-yiew.html

“Hillary Clinton Deserves Credit for U.S. Role in Libya:

“View By the Editors –

“Sep 7,2011

“The unsung hero of the Libya drama in the U.S. is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s actions were critical for several reasons. Most important, she overcame Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s caution about using military force in Libya and his reluctance to support an operation led by France and Britain. Clinton also personally managed the unorthodox partnership with French President Nicolas Sarkozy that proved so crucial to joint action to defeat the Qaddafi regime.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honor the four victims of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony held at Andrews Air Force Base, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on Sept. 14, 2012. [State Department photo)

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honor the four victims of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony held at Andrews Air Force Base, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on Sept. 14, 2012. [State Department photo)

“Despite the unusual arrangement in which the U.S. was a supporter rather than a leader of NATO’s military operation, she defended intervention before a skeptical Congress and performed the hard slog of daily diplomacy around the world, helping Arab countries, the Europeans and the U.S. work together with a minimum of friction and a maximum of determination.

“Aside from the killing of Osama bin Laden, the decision to support NATO military action in Libya is probably the Obama administration’s most important achievement in international affairs. Although Muammar Qaddafi is still at large and the country is a long way from having a stable, representative government, there is little doubt that the Qaddafi regime has been defeated as a result of an internal revolt led by the Transitional National Council.

“History will surely judge that, by intervening on the side of the rebellion, the West — primarily the governments of France, the U.K. and the U.S. — made a unique and invaluable contribution to the democratic aspirations of the people of the Middle East. That said, the Obama administration’s decision-making process remains opaque. The veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s next book, due out in the fall 2012, may shed some light on the question of whose voices were decisive this past March, when President Barack Obama decided to support a United Nations resolution and a NATO military operation for Libya.

“Based on our discussions with administration officials, as well as the public record, some preliminary conclusions about the decision are possible. First, while we argued for a more active U.S. military role in NATO’s operation, it is now clear that Obama’s unprecedented approach — in which Washington supported, rather than led, a NATO operation — was successful in the end.

“Second, by breaking with Gates, Clinton tipped the balance within the administration in favor of action. Without her strong argument to support the Europeans’ call for American help, Washington probably would not have acted. The president’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, was declaring freedom in Libya to be outside the U.S. national interest, and both military and civilian officials in the Pentagon were reluctant to endorse or even opposed U.S. intervention. But Clinton’s push for the U.S. to act in support of Britain and France appears to have been decisive.

“In retrospect, the fears of Gates and other military officials that action in Libya would be a slippery slope, perhaps leading to U.S. involvement on the ground in a third war in the Middle East, seem wildly overblown. Obama said the U.S. would play a limited role by offering unique military assets, such as aerial refueling and air-defense suppression capabilities. Congress not only opposed sending in ground troops but mostly opposed any U.S. involvement. Obama wisely resisted.

“For better or worse, the Libya model is not likely to be repeated anytime soon. This is not, as some say, because NATO will never again intervene in a situation like Libya’s. After the Kosovo war, many also said NATO would never again act against a dictator to save lives.

“The Libya model is no guide for the future because such a unique set of circumstances in favor of military action is not likely to happen again. Think about the conditions: A despised dictator threatened mass murder; an open desert provided a decisive advantage for air power; a rebel army on the ground sought democratic change and espoused Western values; the UN at least loosely endorsed NATO air operations; the Arab League called for the West to intervene militarily in an Arab country; and U.S. allies prepared to do all the heavy lifting. Given those circumstances, it is still hard to explain why there were determined opponents, primarily in the Republican Party, to this mission in the first place.

“Throughout most of Obama’s term in office, only a few administration officials have commanded respect and political power on national security matters: Clinton, Gates and General David Petraeus, the most decorated and admired officer of recent times. With Gates now gone and Petraeus in a non-policy role as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton’s power will only increase as the president’s re-election campaign heats up. We hope she recognizes her opportunity and uses it well.”

Hillary told Sid the following in her email response to this op-ed: “It was very welcome and gave me reason to sit down and talk w Jamie who is such a good friend. Hope to talk soon–H”

This is how propaganda, press manipulation and lying to the public is manufactured in Washington, DC. Hillary and her crew, with the help of Jamie Rubin, pushed the meme that Hillary, not Obama, deserved the credit for the “success” in Libya.

Absolutely. Let her have it. Hang this festering turd of a policy around Hillary’s neck. To do so is only just. She is a power hungry thug who helped cause the deaths of thousands just to advance her own vile political ambitions.

Larry C. Johnson is a former CIA analyst and counterterrorism official at the State Department. [This article originally appeared at Larry Johnson’s blog No Quarter, http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/79194/hillarys-responsibility-libyan-disaster/]

15 comments for “Hillary Clinton’s Libyan Fingerprints

  1. Zachary Smith
    July 8, 2016 at 19:34

    Whenever I see an author I don’t know about I try to make it a point to do a Google Search of his name. In this case I learned that Mr. Larry C. Johnson is a tad bit gullible.


    There was another instance of Mr. Johnson taking a rumor and running with it. So while he may have some valuable contributions to a particular topic, a person would definitely need to verify any spectacular claims.

    • Dwight
      July 10, 2016 at 17:27

      Mr. Smith, the article is Johnson’s commentary on emails of Rubin, Blumenthal, and Sullivan. The emails speak for themselves, so Johnson’s credibility is not at issue here.

  2. Jay
    July 8, 2016 at 18:46

    I think Consortium News needs to work out a way of distinguishing large bodies of quoted text (the emails here) from the body of the text.

    Other websites like Common Dreams manage it.

  3. Jay
    July 8, 2016 at 18:42

    I’m not “with” her.

  4. exiled off mainstreet
    July 8, 2016 at 12:43

    Thanks for the detailed indictment. She is obviously a major war criminal on this and shares responsibility for the crimes against humanity committed by the jihadis whose path to power she secured in Libya. Among their crimes was a mass-murder of sub-Saharan Africans Khaddafi had allowed to settle in Libya as “mercenaries.”

  5. Mark McCarty
    July 7, 2016 at 23:36

    Anyone who understands this and still supports Clinton should be sent to the Hague for a lifetime.

    • Antiwar7
      July 8, 2016 at 02:31

      You got that right.

  6. Lisa Salmon
    July 7, 2016 at 21:13

    Mr. Johnson – Thank you for suggesting a barf bag. By the end of your incisive essay, my bag was overflowing. My only question to you is: what should a reasonable person do in the voting booth in November? Barf bags will have been sold out long before then.

  7. Anon
    July 7, 2016 at 19:43

    Is this barf-inducing for CIA analysts as well? Or just us reg’lar folk?

    (One would imagine analysts to be awash in this kind of insider subterfuge.)

  8. ltr
    July 7, 2016 at 17:50

    This is a critical important essay but ruined by the crude and needless language. Readers do not need crude language to understand the import but the crude language means I will not refer to and send about this essay.

    • Anon
      July 7, 2016 at 19:55

      Well, he called the _policy_ a festering turd – not its architects (though they “birthed” the damn thing, so…)

      Maybe it was required to express the full magnitude of his contempt?

    • incontinent reader
      July 8, 2016 at 15:38

      To Ltr- It’s too bad that you are more concerned about linguistic political correctness, than the facts and the devastating import and implications of those facts that the language used so aptly described. It’s also too bad that so few, if any, of Larry’s (and Ray’s and the other VIPS members’) caliber are advising, or have influence over our policy makers and implementers in the Administration and Congress.

  9. Joe Tedesky
    July 7, 2016 at 16:10

    Mr Johnson, what you have provided us with here, is nothing short of a treasure trove of information regarding Hillary Clinton’s egotistical nature. If only the cable news networks, would take a break out of doing their ‘everything Trump’ programming long enough to present to us viewers something such as you have shown us here, then what a wonderful world this would be. Only, our news reporting world doesn’t work this way. No, instead we the news consuming public are hoodwinked by such journalist (if that is what you call them) like James “Jamie” Rubin, and I might add that what I find most offensive about CNN could almost be summed up by saying just one name, and that name is Jamie’s wife Christiane Amanpour. Now as I come up from getting to deep into the weeds, I must stress that articles such as you have presented here, were to flourish in such a way as to notify the voting American public to just what a Hillary Clinton leadership would look like, I would say that for many voters this could be the icebreaker they need before casting their most valuable vote. So, Mr Johnson, please return with more articles like this one, and give us all that heads up we need towards our making our decision for who we would be most happy with to put in the White House. You go guy!

      July 8, 2016 at 00:23

      “Jamie” Rubin throws out sales pitches that would offend a used-car salesman or a sub-prime mortgage swindler. It seems he and Hillbillious (barf bag, pls) can throw out binders full of BS, knowing many of them will stick, especially the American public that barely pays attention. {Amanpour is such a gas bag; has she ever thrown her hardballs at anyone with power?}

    • Joe Tedesky
      July 8, 2016 at 16:31

      Do you know what, anytime there is a terrorist attack somewhere in Europe, Christiane Amanpour is there so fast, that the bomb smoke is still lingering in the air. (I know that most of those European attacks were where guns were used, but the bomb reference fit the sentence better) I’m sorry, and you can call me a conspiracy theorist (I have my own tinfoil hat so I’m ready for the criticism), but when people like Amanpour show up on the scene to report the tragedy, I get kind of leery. Amanpour just by her words, and demeanor, makes me lack trusting her credibility which is required to believe anything of what she says. I guess I hear in her reporting an agenda, or something. I mean for all practical purposes she is probably a nice enough person to share a drink with or something, but for some reason she gives me the creeps. Her husband sounds like someone I shouldn’t want to like, after reading what was written about him here by Mr Johnson in his story.

      Here’s where I may lose you; as much as Amanpour gives me the creeps, I sometimes feel sorry for Anderson Cooper, because I’m prone to wonder if he isn’t just doing his job. The one reason I feel this way, was because Ray McGovern mentioned how Cooper was like the only one who was nice to him, when Ray appeared on CNN. I think Cooper asked Ray, ‘why he wasn’t scared to go public with information, the way he does’…I’m paraphrasing what Ray said, but I don’t know I just wonder to if Anderson Cooper could be in someway deep down a good guy. Now, any of you who feel otherwise can attack my statement here…because I may deserve it, but I also am wearing my tin-foiled hat, so I’m ready for ya!

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