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Don't take Hillary's 'what difference does it make' out of context

To The Daily Sun,

Laconia Sun frequent letter writer Steve Earle has gone and done it again. Does he really expect us to believe more of the half truths and outright lies about Benghazi? Please take this time to read the following. It's the actual exchange between then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). It comes from the hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which took place on Jan. 23, 2013.

Why would Mr. Earle intentionally ignore the facts. President Obama said the day after that attack that it was a terrorist attack.

(You probably remember that Mitt Romney claimed in one of the 2012 debates that Obama had not said it was a terrorist attack, the President said that he had said that just the day after the event, and the debate moderator pointed out to Romney that the president had indeed said it was terrorist attack).

"Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they'd go kill some Americans," Clinton said. "What difference — at this point, what difference does it make?" This infamous quote has been taken out of context countless number of times. We must ask to what end?

With Benghazi back in the news and renewed attention being paid to Clinton's comment, it is time for a contextual review of the testimony.

Based on a C-SPAN video of their six-minute exchange, here is a transcript of what Johnson and Clinton said during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Jan. 23, 2013:

Johnson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Madam Secretary. I'd like to join my colleagues in thanking you for your service sincerely, and also appreciate the fact that you're here testifying and glad that you're looking in good health.

Clinton: Thank you.

Johnson: Were you fully aware in real time — and again, I realize how big your job is and everything is erupting in the Middle East at this time — were you fully aware of these 20 incidents that were reported in the ARB (State Department Accountability Review Board) in real time?

Clinton: I was aware of the ones that were brought to my attention. They were part of our ongoing discussion about the deteriorating threat environment in eastern Libya. We certainly were very conscious of them. I was assured by our security professionals that repairs were under way, additional security upgrades had taken place.

Johnson: Thank you. Did you see personally the cable on — I believe it was August 12th — specifically asking for, basically, reinforcements for the security detail that was going to be evacuating or leaving in August? Did you see that personally?

Clinton: No, sir.

Johnson: Okay. When you read the ARB, it strikes me as how certain the people were that the attacks started at 9:40 Benghazi time. When was the first time you spoke to — or have you ever spoken to — the returnees, the evacuees? Did you personally speak to those folks?

Clinton: I've spoken to one of them, but I waited until after the ARB had done its investigation because I did not want there to be anybody raising any issue that I had spoken to anyone before the ARB conducted its investigation.

Johnson: How many people were evacuated from Libya?

Clinton: Well, the numbers are a little bit hard to pin down because of our other friends. . .

Johnson: Approximately?

Clinton: Approximately, 25 to 30.

Johnson: Did anybody in the State Department talk to those folks very shortly afterwards?

Clinton: There was discussion going on afterwards, but once the investigation started, the FBI spoke to them before we spoke to them, and so other than our people in Tripoli — which, I think you're talking about Washington, right?

Johnson: The point I'm making is, a very simple phone call to these individuals, I think, would've ascertained immediately that there was no protest prior to this. This attack started at 9:40 p.m. Benghazi time and it was an assault. I appreciate the fact that you called it an assault. But I'm going back to then-Ambassador (Susan) Rice five days later going on the Sunday shows and, what I would say, is purposefully misleading the American public. Why wasn't that known? And again, I appreciate the fact that the transparency of this hearing, but why weren't we transparent to that point in time?

Clinton: Well, first of all, Senator, I would say that once the assault happened, and once we got our people rescued and out, our most immediate concern was, number one, taking care of their injuries. As I said, I still have a DS (Diplomatic Security) agent at Walter Reed seriously injured — getting them into Frankfurt, Ramstein to get taken care of, the FBI going over immediately to start talking to them. We did not think it was appropriate for us to talk to them before the FBI conducted their interviews. And we did not — I think this is accurate, sir — I certainly did not know of any reports that contradicted the IC (Intelligence Community) talking points at the time that Ambassador Rice went on the TV shows. And you know I just want to say that people have accused Ambassador Rice and the administration of misleading Americans. I can say trying to be in the middle of this and understanding what was going on, nothing could be further from the truth. Was information developing? Was the situation fluid? Would we reach conclusions later that weren't reached initially? And I appreciate the. . .

Johnson: But, Madame Secretary, do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened wouldn't have ascertained immediately that there was no protest? That was a piece of information that could have been easily, easily obtained?

Clinton: But, Senator, again. . .

Johnson: Within hours, if not days?

Clinton: Senator, you know, when you're in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on, number one. . .

Johnson: I realize that's a good excuse.

Clinton: Well, no, it's the fact. Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about it and the classified ARB because, even today, there are questions being raised. Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown. . .

Johnson: No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that — an assault sprang out of that — and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn't know that.

Clinton: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they'd they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we'll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

Johnson: Okay. Thank you, Madame Secretary.

Bernadette Loesch


Last Updated on Monday, 02 June 2014 10:01

Hits: 307

Many helped make Inter-Lakes After Prom a great success

To The Daily Sun,

The Inter-Lakes Class of 2014 was treated to a chem-free party following their senior prom. The all-night event was filled with entertainment, activities and socializing with their classmates and friends. The parents of the Inter-Lakes After Prom Party Committee would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to the following businesses, organizations and community members for their contribution to the 2014 After Prom Party.

The community members who sponsored many of the activities with their generous contributions were: Meredith Rotary, Lamprey & Lamprey Realtors, EPTAM Plastics Ltd., Inter-Lakes PTO, RE/MAX Bayside, Edward DeTolla DDS PLLC, Ippolito's Furniture Inc., Meredith Village Savings Bank, Inn at Mill Falls Inc., BARNZ Movie Theater, and Dragonfly Yoga Barn.

The committee also recognizes the following community members for their financial and prize donations: Flurries, Taylor's Country Restaurant, Plum Crazy, Extreme Clean Touch Free Car Wash, Napa Car Care, REMCON North Corp., E.M. Heath, BAUEN Corporation, Lakes Region Computer LLC, American Pride Landscape Company, Sandwich Animal Hospital, Irwin Automotive, Overhead Door Options, Emery & Garrett Groundwater, Meredith Police Assoc, Picnic Rock Farms LLC, Moulton Farm, Shane Halsey Painting, Scott Burns Landscaping, DAK Financial Group, Seely Plumbing & Heating, Circle Dental, Sandwich Fire & Rescue Assoc, Pemi Glass & Mirror, Shep Brown's Boat Basin, Altrusa International of Meredith, Moxie Media, Bill & Pat Read, Cross Insurance - Laconia.

Also: RN Peaslee & Sons Inc., Town of Center Harbor, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Frank Michel, esq, Margaret Demos & Bud Martin, Meredith Kiwanis, Tanger Outlets, The Winnipesaukee Playhouse, Funspot, The Fitness Edge, Hannaford's, T-Bones/CJ's, All State Insurance/Jim Hamel, Waterville Valley Resort, The Sandwich Creamery, Gunstock Mountain Adventure Park, Innisfree Bookstore, Corner House Inn, Shield Comics, Cannon Mountain, The Common Man, Sacred Waters, Meredith Bay Coffee House, McDonald's, Erika De Almeida - Mary Kay, EKAL, Lori Card, Hula Hoop - Nicole Colindres, Veggie Art Girl.

Also: Meredith Station, UNO's, Alpine Adventures, Phu Jee's, Dunkin' Donuts, The Mug, Ruel's Barber Shop, Edward Jones, Lavinia Restaurant, Oak Hill Golf Course, Pirates Cove, Too Little Thyme, George's Diner, The Edge Tie Dye, Lee's Candy Kitchen, Ben & Jerry's, Burrito Me, Giuseppe's, Louie's, Wine'ing Butcher, Hart's, Kathy Erving Catering, Deweys Ice Cream, Subway, Michelle Goodearl Photography, Miss Print, JP Swift, Mr. Bill Athanas, Dennis Scholfield, Meredith Community Center & staff, Middleton Lumber, Yikes, Country Carriage, Pat Kelly, Officer Jamie Brunt, The Inter-Lakes School District community, many parents, friends & community members.

The evening was a huge success due to the outpouring of support from everyone who planned and supported the event.

The Inter-Lakes After Prom

Parent Committee

Last Updated on Monday, 02 June 2014 09:58

Hits: 311

If it was my son or daughter, I'd open Gitmo & let them all go

To The Daily Sun,

"Bring Bowe Home" to "Bowe Is Back Home "

I have already been asked,"How many people and bikers now expected for the June 19th POW/MIA Vigil and Freedom Ride in Meredith"? The answer is, "those interested and who care about joining in a simple celebration of a returned POW who had been held prisoner for 4 years, 10 months and 30 days".

Why has a vigil that has been going on for over 25 years been important? Just listen to the political discussion by some members of Congress on the release of the five detainees for this American soldier, American son. What is the value of an American Soldier in this situation ? Well, if it's MY son or daughter or grandchild . . . open Gitmo and let the boots on the ground handle the issue from there!
My guess is, these brave members of Congress honestly feel the same!

This American Soldier coming Home brings faith and trust back to the saying, "Leave No Man Or Woman Behind". I believe 'millions' of Veterans and Blue Star Families who have sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers serving in harm's way can be comforted by that fact.

Negotiating does not mean compromise! If we can negotiate for hikers who get lost in Iran and journalist detained in North Korea and send ex-presidents to pick them up, we have the responsibility and accountability to do anything and everything to see that an American POW is returned to his family and country.

Why are vigils and freedoms rides important ? Because many members of Congress had no idea who Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was. Perhaps most Americans had no idea. Awareness is and was important. We hear that he "walked away from his area"? Facts as we are receiving them, he was captured when his camp was hit, he was going to the bathroom (where ever) and the Taliban at first thought they had captured a "high valued prisoner" because of the action taken to find him.

Here's what is most important. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is freed and will be united with his family. Members of Congress should be very careful with this one because I can pretty much guarantee it will bite them in the butt! Sen. John McCain is with us today because of the negotiations of Henry Kissinger.

Blessings to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and his Family.

Vigil and Freedom Ride, June 19th..Meredith.."Bowe Is Back"!!

Bob Jones

Last Updated on Monday, 02 June 2014 09:36

Hits: 283

Home inspection should be separated from real estate agents

To The Daily Sun,

In 2010, New Hampshire enacted home inspector legislation to set minimum standards for inspectors. If consumer protection was the goal, it has fallen short.

If people who have a vested interest in selling property, (i.e. real estate agents) are allowed to control the home inspector selection process, are buyers really being protected? Should someone who has a vested interest in selling a property be advising potential buyers as to which home inspectors to use or not use or how much to pay for inspection services? Whose best interest is being served by an agent referred home inspector, the agent or home buyer?

Massachusetts recognized this conflict of interest of home inspectors trying to win favor with agents, for continued client referrals from the agents. In 2001 Massachusetts amended the real estate licensing law to help prevent this conflict of interest. Part of that law appears below.

"At the time of the signing of the first written contract to purchase, real estate brokers and salesmen, or the seller if no broker or salesperson is involved in the sale, shall distribute a brochure, published by the office of consumer affairs and business regulations, educating consumers about the home inspection process. Real estate brokers and salesmen shall not directly recommend a specific home inspection company or home inspector but may, upon request, provide a complete list of licensed home inspectors prepared by the board."

Similar legislation is overdue for New Hampshire. For more information regarding this issue, please visit www.independentinspectors.org

Dennis Robitaille


Last Updated on Monday, 02 June 2014 09:33

Hits: 162

Bargaining with terrorists for release of alleged deserter was error

To The Daily Sun,

Over the weekend, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released in an exchange for his release for five Gitmo prisoners.

I am a mother and would do anything to bring my son home, but was this a huge error in judgment?

CNN reported that some of his closest fellow soldiers said he deserted. One soldier said Bergdahl left his post with a compass, a knife, water a digital camera and a diary. At least six American soldiers lost their lives searching for him.

Non-disclosure agreements were signed by soldiers in the same squad as Bergdahl, and are breaking the agreement to tell the truth about him. They describe him as a deserter.

The president signed into law last year that Secretary of Defense 30 days prior to release telling them the reason and assurances would be made that those released would not be able to go back to a life that would hurt American security. This law was not followed. Congress was not told. Again our president has broken U.S. law — a law he himself signed. Is it time for the president to be impeached?

We released five prisoners to get one back. It seems to be a little lopsided five to one. The U.S. is not very good in negotiating any more.

The five worst of Gitmo's terrorists were released to Qatar. How many American soldiers died or were hurt to capture these terrorists? These terrorists will be banned by the Qatari government from traveling outside of Qatar. Does anyone think they will not think of sneaking out and actually leave the country?

Marine Tahmooressi took a wrong turn and ended up in Mexico. He called 911 and they said they could not help him. Mexico is an ally. The president could call Mexico's president and get our marine back with a phone call and not give up anything. . .  Let alone five terrorists. But is the White House doing anything? Not that I have heard or read.

But what does our president do? He breaks a law he signed and brings back an alleged deserter.

I think this is horrible and a slap in the face to our troops. If you were a terrorist, what would you do, to get Gitmo prisoners released? What would you do to get America to do what you wanted? Kidnap an American soldier or citizen? This trade puts our soldiers in harm's way. Just think most of our troops are leaving Afghanistan. But some will be left behind. Almost 10,000. And this is just the troops in Afghanistan. We have troops all over the world. The President just put a target on their backs.

Sargent Bowe Bergdahl must be investigated and if warranted put on trial for desertion. If he is not a deserter, then let the court rule that way.

I have much more respect for our troops, their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons. . .

Linda Riley


Last Updated on Monday, 02 June 2014 09:28

Hits: 328

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