Hillary, don’t go

posted at 4:00 pm on December 4, 2010 by Patrick Ishmael

Wikileaks is making waves again this week, and the immediate consequences of its revelations are lapping onto the shore of at least one administration official: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As one of the primary executors of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, Clinton’s role as First Mate to Captain Reset places her on the front lines of the President’s international failures and successes, and the cables released this week have her, like President Obama, trapped in the squall.

As the S-o-S, we all knew  Hillary’s job was to ask questions. Now, we know the sorts of questions she’s asked. Which is why some think she must go.

Jack Shafer at Slate:

[W]hat makes Clinton’s sleuthing unique is the paper trail that documents her spying-on-their-diplomats-with-our-diplomat orders, a paper trail that is now being splashed around the world on the Web and printed in top newspapers. No matter what sort of noises Clinton makes about how the disclosures are “an attack on America” and “the international community,” as she did today, she’s become the issue. She’ll never be an effective negotiator with diplomats who refuse to forgive her exuberances, and even foreign diplomats who do forgive her will still regard her as the symbol of an overreaching United States. Diplomacy is about face, and the only way for other nations to save face will be to give them Clinton’s scalp.

How embarrassing are the WikiLeaks leaks? A secret cable from April 2009 that went out under Clinton’s name instructed State Department officials to collect the “biometric data,” including “fingerprints, facial images, DNA, and iris scans,” of African leaders. Another secret cable directed American diplomats posted around the world, including the United Nations, to obtain passwords, personal encryption keys, credit card numbers, frequent flyer account numbers, and other data connected to diplomats. As the Guardian puts it, the cables “reveal how the US uses its embassies as part of a global espionage network.” …

Anne Applebaum writes in Slate today that nobody should be honestly horrified at the image of the United States spying in the United Nations. Nobody in the diplomatic community is. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to take advantage of the moment to demand retribution that will shame the high-and-mighty United States.

Mr. Shafer is right that the leak is embarrassing, but he’s wrong about Secretary Clinton: Dismissing her is one of the worst things the President could do right now.

The secretaries of state of every other country in the world would ask, or should be asking, the same sorts of questions and seeking out the same sorts of information as Hillary if they were taking their jobs seriously, and as Allahpundit noted,

My hunch: Knowing that [Obama] can’t afford to further alienate Clinton Democrats ahead of 2012 and fully aware that dumping her won’t do a smidge of good to improve U.S. standing in the eyes of rabid anti-Americans like Assange, he’ll pat her on the back and say she’s guilty of nothing more than being a bit too zealous in defense of her country’s interests. And pretty much every last voter in America aside from 20 percent on the far left fringe will agree with him.

Domestic political reaction aside, it is extraordinarily short-sighted to set a precedent whereby leaks of honest and relevant intelligence gathering communiques by the secretary of state would get the S-o-S booted. 1.) It’s disruptive to American interests and organizational continuity, 2.) it rewards bad actors by punishing vigilant work, and 3.) it doesn’t really soothe any of the grumbling that may result among our international friends, foes, and frienemies (think of a family reunion, where everybody pretty much knows where they stand relative to one another, with or without each other’s private conversations about each other fully known.) The notion that the diplomatic community is honestly shocked-shocked! that the US doesn’t mince words about its intelligence gathering operation in private is naive. Our international peers do, or would do, the same kind of intelligence work as we’ve done if given the means and opportunity. And the Obama Administration is right to continue backing her. That Clinton is actively involved in seeking out and monitoring the states of minds of friends and foes alike means she’s doing her job. She shouldn’t be punished for it.

And not only is Hillary her job for the American people properly; it sounds like her department is not coming off too shabbily, either.

[F]rom what I have seen, the professional members of the U.S. Foreign Service have very little to be ashamed of. Yes, there are echoes of skullduggery at the margins, especially in relation to the conduct of the “war on terror” in the George W. Bush years.

For the most part, however, what we see here is diplomats doing their proper job: finding out what is happening in the places to which they are posted, working to advance their nation’s interests and their government’s policies.

In fact, my opinion of the State Department has just gone up several notches. In recent years I have found the American Foreign Service to be somewhat underwhelming, a bit dandruffy, especially when compared with other, more self-confident arms of American government, such as the Pentagon and the Treasury. But what we find here is often first rate.

For as embarrassing as the leak of the cables may be for the United States, the communications showcase much more about American restraint and unvarnished geopolitical realities than it suggests about supposed American malfeasances around the globe. All that said, there is real damage being done by the Wikileaks. My worry isn’t about the effect this new information will have on our mature democracies, led by rational actors who are by-and-large accountable to their electorates; it’s that unstable regimes, revealed to be more precariously situated than previously believed, act irrationally to the detriment of their neighbors and their captive populations. The U.S. is going to be just fine, but it’d be worse off if solely on account of these cables we lost a secretary of state.

Stick around, Hill. We may disagree on the particulars, but where it matters, it looks like you’re doing your job as we’d have you do it.

***

I’m on Twitter.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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Stick around, Hill. We may disagree on the particulars, but where it matters, it looks like you’re doing your job as we’d have you do it.

I’m hoping this post is supposed to have a giant “sarc” tag attached to it. I haven’t read such unmitigated crap here since, oh, a week or so, maybe.

In this context Wikileaks doesn’t matter a damn. What matters is that Clinton is as clueless and incompetent a SoS as we’ve had in modern times. She is, in that respect, a perfect match for Osama Obama, who hired her.

They both need to go, and if that could somehow be made to happen, I’d give Assange a sliver of credit for making it happen.

MrScribbler on December 4, 2010 at 4:23 PM

Her entire agenda has been centered on abortion on demand and spreading that genocide internationally. Her main experience is being the wife of an impeached president, who is a liar and pervert.

Dump her, and at least get someone with some insight in such an important position.

Hening on December 4, 2010 at 4:26 PM

MrScribbler on December 4, 2010 at 4:23 PM

slickwillie2001 on December 4, 2010 at 4:38 PM

How exactly do you covertly get iris scans?

And, what do you do with the biometric data? I assume when you see the Ambassador, you know who you are talking to.

mockmook on December 4, 2010 at 4:39 PM

The sooner we’re rid of this left wing dolt the better off we will be. The Clintons are like a fungus . . . you can get rid of it but it will just grow back.

rplat on December 4, 2010 at 4:40 PM

the symbol of an overreaching United States

But…but…but…Barry said we wouldn’t do that anymore!

As for Hillary! and her “I won’t be looking for another public job.” I’ll believe that when she’s 6′ under.

GarandFan on December 4, 2010 at 4:44 PM

When did the State Department become the intelligence agency? Why would the state department need to know someone’s biometric data or credit card numbers?

That has absolutely nothing to do with furthering the responsibilities of the State Department. If the State Department has questions about someone, they need to pick up the phone and call someone in the intelligence community who has the expertise in such matters.

This comes across as nothing more than Pinebluff politics. Twisting arms via blackmail.

ButterflyDragon on December 4, 2010 at 4:49 PM

So, in other words, Hills is just doing what comes naturally to foreign ministries around the globe. I’m not shocked that this goes on, though I do seem to remember someone, somewhere talking about changing the dialogue with other nations….

john1schn on December 4, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Quite the dilemma Skippy is faced with. If he goes with the reactionary naivete that Hill must go, he’ll basically invoke the Star Wars paradox – he strikes her down, and she comes back more powerful than he could have imagined. With a nice excuse to make one more run for a public office, instead of either retiring or raking in the big bucks on the lecture and punditry circuit as a bona fide ‘elder stateswoman’.

Oh, and quick tip to those shocked, shocked, I tells ya, that diplos do that black bag spy stuff. . .uh, yeah, they do. If they aren’t collecting intel, they aren’t doing their jobs. And that applies to all diplo personell, whatever country they’re from. Hence the travel restrictions placed on the foreign diplos in DC and NY. . .welcome to the real world, kids.

Wind Rider on December 4, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Anne Applebaum writes in Slate today that nobody should be honestly horrified at the image of the United States spying in the United Nations. Nobody in the diplomatic community is. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to take advantage of the moment to demand retribution that will shame the high-and-mighty United States.

I’m sure this moonbat still thinks of Hillary Clinton as The Most Important Person In The World. But Third World countries couldn’t possibly give less of a crap what happens to Hillary Clinton.

Newsflash: All they’ll want out of this is MONEY.

logis on December 4, 2010 at 5:20 PM

And not only is Hillary her job for the American people properly; it sounds like her department is not coming off too shabbily, either.

I believe you mean “doing” her job for the American people.

One Angry Christian on December 4, 2010 at 5:23 PM

I have to agree with you, windrider. Anyone who doesn’t think that all embassies are engaged in intelligence gathering is naive.

Directives such as Hillary’s simply suit her MO.

onlineanalyst on December 4, 2010 at 5:30 PM

I didn’t even read the post, sorry.

That pic of Hillary almost made me snort beer out of my nose, so I had to say something.

Thank You.

Mord on December 4, 2010 at 5:46 PM

Her personal agenda aside, which has nothing to do with this thread, Hillary is doing what she should be doing – taking names.

OldEnglish on December 4, 2010 at 5:53 PM

This is silly. Everything that goes out from the State Department have Clinton’s name on it unless she’s out of the country. I understand people not liking Hillary, but this story was dead on arrival.

MrX on December 4, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Yeah…even heard an NPR piece where the they were questioning foreigners on the impact of the Wikismut…a commenter from Russia said that instead of tarnishing the U.S. it just affirmed U.S. leadership. It seems more then a few folks are yawning at Assange’s bold suicide.

Limerick on December 4, 2010 at 6:06 PM

BS! Hillary was doing the same thing in the f**king WH. Remember the “Travelgate” scandal and the FBI files? This monster would lie and cheat her own Mother to get ahead. Finding out info about another country is one thing but we all know Hillary would blackmail anyone that she needed to, to get what she wanted. This “Person” is no diplomat and to say she is doing her job can only come from someone who hated GWB.

inspectorudy on December 4, 2010 at 6:15 PM

This “Person” is no diplomat

inspectorudy on December 4, 2010 at 6:15 PM

That, whether you realize it or not, is a compliment to her. Diplomats are a stain on the planet.

OldEnglish on December 4, 2010 at 6:24 PM

Here’s a piece by a former Canadian diplomat who says these leaks may make it easier for oppressive governments to continue violating human rights:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/wikileaks-just-made-the-world-more-repressive/article1818157/

It’s not just the militant activist in Guelph, Ont., reading the cables. It’s the military dictatorships and the secret police in capitals all around the world. In the days and weeks ahead, people who dared to share information with U.S. diplomats will be rounded up. And thousands more who may have been willing to pass on pictures of tortured bodies will keep them in the desk drawer instead.

juliesa on December 4, 2010 at 6:25 PM

At least the Administration is only looking for info on our foreign enemies and not on American citizens.

Oh wait……..nevermind.

PappyD61 on December 4, 2010 at 6:35 PM

O/T:

Congrats to the Oregon Ducks—headed to the National Championships, more than likely against Auburn, (who are leading South Carolina 42-14 with 7-minutes left in the 3rd Qtr)

Rovin on December 4, 2010 at 7:03 PM

Double You – Please Don’t Go

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIAnkrPgTvY

canopfor on December 4, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Player – Baby Come Back [Download-Lyrics]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyvUgZSNpno

canopfor on December 4, 2010 at 7:32 PM

Stick around, Hill. We may disagree on the particulars, but where it matters, it looks like you’re doing your job as we’d have you do it.

Complete agreement, despite some of the partisan-till-death naysayers here.

MadisonConservative on December 4, 2010 at 7:35 PM

and the cables released this week have her, like President Obama, trapped in the squall.
===============================

Egads,the NeverEnding EverUnReLentless Looping of
PappyD61′s TeaNami’s Wave,is still causing UnTold
and Catostrophic Collateral Consequences of the Mid
Term FallOut,that has Trapped Hopey and HilRod in a
Time Frozen Political Abyss!!!

canopfor on December 4, 2010 at 7:41 PM

Agree with this, Patrick. It is no time to boot out Hillary, though it would strengthen the Republican’s hand in 2012, not weaken it.

kathy from austin on December 4, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Throw the WikiBook at them
============================
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, December 3, 2010

Third, this makes us look bad, very bad. But not in the way Secretary of State Hillary Clinton implied in her cringe-inducing apology speech in which she scolded these awful leakers for having done a disservice to “the international community,” and plaintively deplored how this hampers U.S. attempts to bring about a better world.

She sounded like a cross between an exasperated school principal and a Miss America contestant professing world peace to be her fondest wish. The problem is not that the purloined cables exposed U.S. hypocrisy or double-dealing. Good God, that’s the essence of diplomacy. That’s what we do; that’s what everyone does. Hence the famous aphorism that a diplomat is an honest man sent abroad to lie for his country.
————

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/02/AR2010120204561.html

canopfor on December 4, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Oh for the love of Pete,

give HilRod a break,she was the Coordinating Commander in
acrhitecting Bills Bimbos Eruptus MSM Damage Control,and
then there was that infamous Sniper Dash through Bosnia’s
Valley of the Snipers!!(sarc).

canopfor on December 4, 2010 at 8:20 PM

Yeah, I really don’t have a problem with it. Call me cynical but I’m fairly sure this sort of intelligence gathering at the State Department is not unique. I would expect an agency charged with managing global diplomacy and which has some participation in counterterrorism measures to be keeping tabs on other players.

NoLeftTurn on December 4, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Complete agreement, despite some of the partisan-till-death naysayers here.
MadisonConservative on December 4, 2010 at 7:35 PM

Same here. I can’t stand HRC, but why not spy on them all? They’re doing it to us.

joejm65 on December 4, 2010 at 8:50 PM

Same here. I can’t stand HRC, but why not spy on them all? They’re doing it to us.

joejm65 on December 4, 2010 at 8:50 PM

The problem is not the spying. The problem is it’s not the State Department’s business to be spying. In fact, it’s their business to be doing just the opposite.

Might as well have the FCC start handling education or the DOE handle tax collections. I mean, why not?

Let’s just get a huge mish-mash of government workers doing whatever they feel like doing, department mission not withstanding.

ButterflyDragon on December 4, 2010 at 10:46 PM

OldEnglish on December 4, 2010 at 6:24 PM

That was one of the most asinine statements I have ever heard. Diplomats are messengers, and negotiators that reduce the likelihood of shooting wars.

But they have always been always been expected to gather intelligence. When it is reveled that they have done this by foul ways they are asked to leave, with a very short time limit on their immunity.

Slowburn on December 5, 2010 at 12:48 AM

The problem is it’s not the State Department’s business to be spying.

ButterflyDragon on December 4, 2010 at 10:46 PM

You do not know what you are talking about. The business of the U.S. Ambassador has always been to find out what is happening in the country assigned and report back to the Department of State.

Hillary has been doing her job.

slp on December 5, 2010 at 2:58 AM

HotAir, where are you? Leftwing pundits have taken over the blog. Unbelievable… the Salem damage is almost complete.

leftnomore on December 5, 2010 at 3:43 AM

Another secret cable directed American diplomats posted around the world, including the United Nations, to obtain passwords, personal encryption keys, credit card numbers, frequent flyer account numbers, and other data connected to diplomats

Ummm… i am sorry but why exactly would you put these out as cables. Spying is a part and parcel of people who work for American embassies – it is the same thing with other countries as well.

But why oh why would you so stupidly put this stuff out? This information should/could have been disseminated more discretely.

The question here is not whether Hillary Clinton did her job by spying on the diplomats of other nations – but how there was no real discretion in doing such confidential/sensitive work.

Patrick, Hillary failed badly -and this pretty much seals her political career.She is not coming back in 2012 after this fiascol

nagee76 on December 5, 2010 at 5:24 AM

even foreign diplomats who do forgive her will still regard her as the symbol of an overreaching United States.

The Ugly American

maverick muse on December 5, 2010 at 5:50 AM

MrScribbler on December 4, 2010 at 4:23 PM

This article comes off like another Rush campaign effort to save Hillary’s potus bid.

It isn’t as if she’s proven any statesmanship, let alone produced great work, especially via her cloak and dagger methodology.

maverick muse on December 5, 2010 at 6:01 AM

and this pretty much seals her political career.She is not coming back in 2012 after this fiasco

Whether of Palin or Hillary, never say never.

maverick muse on December 5, 2010 at 6:03 AM

I would expect no less from this soulless witch. She is like the scorpion, it is her character. Anything she does is for Hillary, not this nation. Machiavelli and Alinsky would be proud.

gbear on December 5, 2010 at 6:17 AM

If diplomats are there to avert wars, how come they end up at the center of the starting point for them?

Saddam Hussein’s ‘green light’ to invade Kuwait came from a diplomatic mis-step and mis-reading of the man.

Munich and ‘peace in our time’ should have been averted by diplomats, and yet it was a happy time for them. Not so much Europe in the following years.

Assassination of an Arch-Duke should not trigger a world war and yet the diplomatic crisis tripped up to that level in weeks.

Franklin trying to talk some sense into the Parliament in London before the Revolution.

Read through the 30 Years War and even when ended by trusted diplomats the role of diplomats throughout that conflict is one to be questioned.

Roll back through history, going to Persia and Sparta or Achaen Greeks with the Hittites and that little bust-up at Troy and you get to wonder if the role of diplomats is to ‘avert war’ or to work towards their country’s interest to the disfavor of other Nations and if war is the result, well don’t say that it didn’t come about for lack of talking. Embassies are a very fine way for one Nation to inform another of its interests and how those might impact the host nation of the embassy.

Don’t try to fancy it up with being able to ‘prevent war’ for that only happens when both nations want to AVOID WAR… and even then, you often wind up with war no matter how skilled the diplomats are. And if Westphalia is an example of the best that diplmats can do, then Versailles stands pretty much at the bottom of that spectrum… so don’t get all ruby-lensed and starry-eyed about the ability of diplomats to figure out a good solution to ending conflicts, either.

I expect them to spy as that is part of the job description of diplomats: to find out what is going on in another nation so that they can communicate to it through the lens of its culture and get the message across accurately. And that can require finding out just how they feel about us… and that always isn’t what is presented via diplomats but held in military and government circles that just aren’t easy to get to. I expect a level of professionalism internally to diplomatic ensembles from a nation… but not all nations are civilized… read the internal comms and see just what our state of being civilized is and you might get an idea of what is happening in that realm and what it says about our government. I am not amused.

ajacksonian on December 5, 2010 at 7:50 AM

Hil will go EARLY next year in order to prep and “primary” POTUS in 2012…

“COUNT IT!”

Khun Joe on December 5, 2010 at 8:47 AM

Hillary – as always – said it best.

“You never gave in. You never gave up. And together, we made history.”

OmahaConservative on December 5, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Anne Applebaum writes in Slate today that nobody should be honestly horrified at the image of the United States spying in the United Nations.

No doubt Anne wouldn’t be quite so unconcerned if Bush was caught up in this on his watch.

RJL on December 5, 2010 at 1:55 PM

ajacksonian on December 5, 2010 at 7:50 AM

To quote Louis L’Amour “It takes two to make peace but only one to make war.”

In other word. No amount of message bearing, or negotiations will stop an aggressor intent on war. But if tensions are rising over a misunderstanding, or mistake diplomats can and have defuse the situation. This does not get them into the history books, because no war no story.

Slowburn on December 5, 2010 at 1:58 PM

What?!

Am I alone here in believing that our diplomatic corps should be, hmmmm, let me see, what’s the word . . . oh, yeah – DIPLOMATIC?

They’re not spies. Not only that, that’s not a whole lot of useful information about people whose job is to have a public persona. Nice job Dick Tracy.

Seriously, shouldn’t we all be looking for ways to cooperate and work together rather than spy on each other?

Obama shouldn’t dismiss her, because she is a perfect representative of his moronic policies and epic incompetence. Diplomat? Hillary? puhleeease!

Pablo Snooze on December 6, 2010 at 10:17 AM