Hillary Clinton made statements criticizing the Bush Administration's secrecy in regard to the 9/11 Commission's investigation during a 2003 conference titled 'New American Strategies for Security and Peace,' alongside top Democratic public policy advisors including Madeline Albright, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Gen. Wesley Clark, Richard Holbrooke, Sandy Berger and many others.
Her key statement purported that the Bush Administration was behaving as though it had "something to hide":
"By withholding information from the 9/11 Commission and the American public, the administration unnecessarily raises the suspicion that they have something to hide. Americans will be more likely to accept what is "going right" in Iraq, if the administration is honest about what is "going wrong."
Hillary's 2003 statements also criticized the Bush Administration for keeping secret a 28-page report on "the involvements of foreign governments with the highjackers." She even advocated the citizens know the full truth about 9/11.
"I feel absolutely without doubt that our citizens, particularly my constituents, deserve to know all the facts of how the government was prepared or not." [SEE TRANSCIPT AT BOTTOM FOR FULL CONTEXT]
Despite Hillary's hopeful sounding rhetoric on 9/11, she is far from a truther and has now recruited Sandy Berger, a former staff member from her husband's administration, into her campaign and likely her administration.
Berger, who was also present at the 2003 New American Strategies meeting, was convicted for stealing classified documents from the national security archives pertaining to pre-9/11 Al-Qaeda intelligence, though he was only punished with a $50,000 fine and 100 hours of community service.
The document theft took place between September 2 and October 2, 2003, with 9/11 Commission investigation underway, according to the charges, and less than a month before the October 28 New American Strategies conference.
Thus Hillary's criticism of 'suspicious' behavior in the Bush Administration clearly stands in hypocrisy, as it is horrifyingly clear that both administrations were "hiding something" about 9/11.
Sandy Berger-- a top national security advisor-- claimed the incident was an "honest mistake" and that he had only been reviewing the documents for the 9/11 Commission and that the destroyed documents were "duplicates."
As RealClearPolitics explains, the classified documents pertained to 9/11-Al Qaeda Intelligence:
Hillary's statements-- publicly available but not publicized-- came during a policy discussion on topics related to Homeland Security and the restructuring of intelligence operations during the new era of terrorism.
The 2003 rhetoric reflected plans for a continuation of 9/11-era fear of terrorism, further integration, new intelligence structures and regional integration:
"The lost opportunity of 9/11 is that the President did not rise to the position of educator."
Samuel R. Berger "We've been spending money on homeland security since 1996, but we do not have a strategy."
Randall Larsen "We need economic security, new levels of public-private partnerships, a balance between homeland security and civil liberties, and collaboration among all levels of government.
"We should be working to strengthen and use international institutions, beginning with the United Nations and NATO." General Wesley K. Clark, USA (Ret.) "The distinction between domestic and foreign intelligence no longer makes any sense... Today, our intelligence assets are as likely to be a public health official or a cop on the street, as an FBI or CIA agent." James Steinberg "In Bosnia, we achieved our objective at an acceptable cost....that is nationbuilding...It isn't perfect, but it worked. In Afghanistan, the administration did the exact opposite of nation building." Richard Holbrooke "The day after a nuclear or other attack, we will ask ourselves, what is it that we wished we had done?" Margaret A. Hamburg
To their credit, the New American Strategies for Security and Peace did claim this notable objective:
"We can collect vital information without compromising civil liberties."
Much of this rhetoric matches a number of Hillary's policy outlines recently published in the Council on Foreign Relations' Foreign Affairs, in which she calls for greater integration with third world countries and an integrated approach to security, amongst other issues.
More of Hillary Clinton's statements on the Bush Administration withholding information on 9/11 appears below:
"I believe, having had a lot of experience now in watching and listening to the American people, that they are far more willing to accept the administration's statements about what is going right in Iraq if they believe that the administration is more forthright about what is going wrong....
One is in the administration's approach to the investigations surrounding 9/11. Not only as a Senator from New York, but as an American, I don't think there is any more searing event in my personal experience than what happened to us on September 11th.
I feel absolutely without doubt that our citizens, particularly my constituents, deserve to know all the facts of how the government was prepared or not. Yet, over this weekend, we learned that the 9/11 commission, an independent commission, charged with the important task of investigating how 9/11 happened, complains that it is not getting access to all the documents it needs.
This is a hugely important issue. And it's not just important for this commission, but for these larger questions about access to information and how this government maintains the trust of the American people.
The lack of transparency on the part of the Bush administration has forced Governor King, former Republican Governor of New Jersey, to threaten subpoenas. This should not be happening.
As bad as it was for Vice President Cheney to keep secret how the administration developed its energy policy, this is far worse. The 9/11 commission is not trying to embarrass this president or any former president or anyone else. It is trying to learn what happened, what went wrong. In hopes that we can be better prepared to protect ourselves from any future attacks.
In taking their action to evade or avoid providing information, the administration unnecessarily raises the suspicion that it has something to hide, that it might use the claim of national security to hide mistakes that are literally questions of life and death for Americans.
Similarly, with respect to the prior report about intelligence and the administration's continuing refusal to release to the American public the 28 pages that concern the involvements of foreign governments with the highjackers, the administration is drawing a line that should not be drawing. There is no legitimate basis for denying the American public this information."
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