- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s attempt to hide a bout with pneumonia until forced to explain a caught-on-video health scare provided a fresh reminder of why a majority of voters say she is not honest and trustworthy — a reputation earned from a long history of concealing the truth and making false statements.

From her involvement with firings at the White House travel office to her claim that she braved sniper fire in Bosnia to her repeated lies about her secret email setup as secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton has left a trail of deceit and deception stretching back a quarter-century.

The Democratic presidential nominee has almost always dismissed these repeated challenges to her trustworthiness as right-wing hit jobs.

Her campaign’s attempt to gloss over her ill health and her near collapse Sunday as she was whisked away early from a 9/11 commemoration ceremony in New York, however, brought all of those travails rushing back to the forefront.

Republican strategist Ed Rollins traced Mrs. Clinton’s problem with veracity back to when she first stepped into the national spotlight in a 1992 interview on “60 Minutes.” That was when she stridently defended her husband, presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, from accusations that he had a 12-year extramarital affair with Gennifer Flowers.

“I’m not sitting here some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette,” Mrs. Clinton famously declared in the interview. “I’m sitting here because I love him and I respect him.”


Whether she spoke the truth, the world may never know. But the interview helped save Mr. Clinton’s campaign and launch a political legacy wracked with scandal.

“It was just a combination of Whitewater, the impeachment, the whole bit. You kind of forgot all that and then basically Benghazi, the emails, that kind of raised it all again,” Mr. Rollins said on Fox News. “You’ve got a candidate who has got a 60 [percent] or 70 percent disapproval rating, and people don’t think she’s honest. And then there’s something like this [health episode] — it has an impact.”

Another of Mrs. Clinton’s early scrapes with telling the truth came over her involvement in firings at the White House travel office when Mr. Clinton first because president in 1993. Mrs. Clinton reportedly orchestrated the firings, which were believed intended to make room for hiring friends of the Clintons.

The independent counsel investigating the scandal, known as Travelgate, found that Mrs. Clinton’s statements denying her involvement were “factually inaccurate.”

“The overwhelming evidence establishes that she played a role in the decision to fire the employees,” read the report from Independent Counsel Special Prosecutor Robert Ray. “Thus, her statement to the contrary under oath was factually false.”

Similarly, FBI Director James B. Comey in July outlined scores of lies Mrs. Clinton told the public about her secret email server as secretary of state, including:

⦁ Mrs. Clinton said she used a private email account for convenience because she wanted to use only one device. Actually, she used multiple devises, including an iPad and a BlackBerry.

⦁ She said she never received sent emails “marked classified,” but at least 110 were marked classified.

⦁ She said the classified material on her emails was “retroactively classified,” but the emails were classified at the time she handled them.

⦁ Mrs. Clinton said she turned over all her work-related email to the State Department, but the FBI found thousands of emails that were not turned over.

Later, Mrs. Clinton falsely claimed in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” that Mr. Comey said “my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people.”

Mr. Comey did not say that. He said that her answers during an FBI interview were truthful. However, when pressed at a congressional hearing, Mr. Comey stated that her claims about not handling classified information were “not true.”

Mrs. Clinton explained her mischaracterization of Mr. Comey’s statements by saying she “short-circuited” her answer.

During her 2008 presidential run, Mrs. Clinton also was caught trying to burnish her foreign policy credentials with a story about “landing under sniper fire” in Bosnia as first lady in 1996 and running for cover across the tarmac.

A news video of her arrival in Bosnia disproved her account, showing Mrs. Clinton and her daughter Chelsea, then 16, greeted by a welcoming party on the runway.

“I say a lot of things — millions of words a day — so if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement,” Mrs. Clinton explained in an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News’ editorial board.

The deception also has applied to policy.

When Mrs. Clinton reversed her position to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal this year to appease her party’s liberal wing, she recalled that as secretary of state, she said she “hoped it would be the gold standard.” The deal, she said, didn’t meet her expectations.

In reality, she said she never used the word “hoped” when touting the deal. Instead, she declared it “the gold standard.”

Mrs. Clinton also changed position on Keystone XL pipeline, same-sex marriage, the Cuba embargo, charter schools and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.
Some of her breaks with the truth have seemed trivial.

She claimed that “all my grandparents” were immigrants. In reality, only one of her grandparents was an immigrant.

Mrs. Clinton once boasted that she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the first men to climb Mount Everest. But Sir Hillary didn’t accomplish the feat and become famous until Mrs. Clinton was six years old.

Other times, Mrs. Clinton’s suspected falsehoods caused pain.

Relatives of three of the Americans killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi have said that Mrs. Clinton told them the attack was caused by a YouTube video that mocked Islam, despite her knowing it was an organized terrorist strike.

Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly denied talking about the video to the family members when she met them at Andrews Air Force Base for the arrival of the caskets.

“When I saw Hillary Clinton at Sean’s coffin ceremony, just days later, she looked me squarely in the eye and told me a video was responsible,” Patricia Smith, the mother of U.S. Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, who was killed in Benghazi, said at the Republican National Convention in July.

“Since then, I have repeatedly asked Hillary Clinton to explain to me the real reason why my son is dead. I’m still waiting,” she said. “If Hillary Clinton can’t give us the truth, why should we give her the presidency.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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