"Hillary doesn't have to audition for the part of Caesar's wife. She knows when to be out of the room." -- Anonymous State Department source.
Since it has been a few days, readers might want to refresh their memories by revisiting "In at the beginning." The State Department & the Gunwalker Scandal. Part 2. The 90% Myth. "I have not backed off" an AWB. The last four paragraphs:
My sources say that this battle of the "statistics" was taken very seriously by all players -- the White House, State and Justice. Yet, WHY was this game of statistics so important to the players? If some weapons from the American civilian market were making it to Mexico into the hand of drug gang killers that was bad enough. What was the importance of insisting that it was 90 percent, 80 percent, or finally 70 percent? Would such statistics make any difference to the law enforcement tactics necessary to curtail them? No.
This statistics mania is similar to the focus on "body counts" in Vietnam. Yet if Vietnam body counts were supposed to be a measure of how we were winning that war, the focus on the 90 percent meme was certainly not designed to be a measure of how we were winning the war against arming the cartels, but rather by what overwhelming standard we were LOSING. Why?
Recall what the whistleblower ATF agents told us right after this scandal broke in the wake of the death of Brian Terry: "ATF source confirms ‘walking’ guns to Mexico to ‘pad’ statistics."
In "In at the beginning, Part 3," our sources tell us how the demand to "pad statistics" from on high apparently led to the tactic of "letting the guns walk."
Indeed, our sources say, Hillary was obsessed with defending the 90 percent meme. There was a pervasive sense at the highest levels of the White House, State, Justice and in DHS that the Mexican agony could provide domestic opportunities for Rahm Emanuel's dictum: "Never let a good crisis go to waste," the sources say.
At the strategic level, this meant that there were increasing demands for "better statistics." In other words, if the 90 percent meme was not provable it must be because enough statistics of the "right" sort were not being gathered. Again, the comparison with Vietnam War body counts was striking, say the sources. The demand this time though, as noted above in Part 2, was for statistics indicating defeat, not victory.
The political implications of this, say the sources, were evident at State long before the knowledge about Fast and Furious and gunwalking became public. From the repeated statements from Obama to Hillary and on down the Obama administration food chain it was obvious to the the State Department sources that what the "Mexican hat dance" (to use the words of one my sources) was about was to justify more federal firearms restrictions.
The sources hastened, in every case, to explain to me that Hillary kept herself at arms-length from some of the critical strategy meetings at both the White House political level (Obama and Emanuel) and the National Security Council policy administrative level about Mexico and Project Gunrunner program.
Said one, "Hillary doesn't have to audition for the part of Caesar's wife. She knows when to be out of the room." The source added that while her demands for "better," i.e., higher, statistics of American civilian market firearms seized at Mexican crime scenes were "incessant," Hillary knew instinctively to stay out of the meetings where HOW those "better statistics" were to be achieved were discussed.
They also cautioned against expecting any mention of the tactic of "walking guns" at the higher levels of this scandal. More guns in Mexico from American civilian firearm sources found beside dead bodies was the implicit goal, they say, but don't look for any specific mention of the tactic of "gunwalking" at Hillary's level in documents yet to be discovered. As my "old spook" source said in early March:
"Do you think," he asked me, "that this happened accidentally in a vacuum?" Meaning that one day "Gunwalker Bill" Newell, Phoenix SAC, just got a wild hair and decided to invent his own foreign policy. "Things like this happen because of meetings. People sit in meetings and they decide what they want to happen. And then they take decisions, make policy and implement that policy to achieve those ends." He added, "That's why State is so nervous. They signed off on this. In a meeting."
. . . He added, "Of course the meeting transcripts won't reflect the truth so plainly, but then neither did the Wannsee Conference. These bastards always talk in riddles about what they're really after. Watch what they do, not what they say."
The sources at State repeatedly cautioned about looking for mentions of the tactical ("gunwalking") in strategic level documents and meeting transcripts. "They will all say that they didn't know about any 'Fast and Furious' or 'gunwalking,'" one source said, "and they will be accurate. . . as far it goes." What such statements are hiding, all the sources said, is the strategic fact that the higher ups wanted to achieve: the 90 percent myth. Exactly HOW that was accomplished with the tactic of gunwalking, my sources say, probably was closely held within a small group at the National Security Council and designated "in the know" people at various critical command and control points in the various agencies.
The sources believe that there were two people close to Hillary (one by position, one personally) who knew the broad outlines of the "gunwalking strategy," and thus are culpable in its bloody tactical results. One was Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg. Recall Hillary's statement upon Steinberg's resignation from "In at the beginning," Part 1:
Clinton said Steinberg had been a “fixture” at meetings with the National Security Council (NSC) and frequently represented the US State Department at the White House.
Part of this was that Steinberg was, first and foremost, an Obama man and not "loyal" to Hillary as the Clinton partisans saw it. Part also was that Hillary preferred to maintain personal distance from the White House staff, preferring to run her shop and not have to deal with Obama minions, but rather with Obama himself when she felt the need to. But part of it, too, say the sources was Hillary's cat-like sense of danger where the Obama partisans were concerned.
The Obama White House denizens, said one source, were inexperienced, reckless and arrogant, whereas Hillary had been taught by experience the virtues of not getting caught in policy blow-back. There was also a sense of Hillary preserving her political options if an Obama presidency imploded from the aforementioned inexperience, recklessness and arrogance. Hillary demanded to KNOW everything that was going on, said one source, but wanted insulation from the execution of reckless policy, which the gunwalking policy certainly was. But that demand for information led to a closer exposure of Clinton herself to the Gunwalker Scandal, say the sources.
The other man close to Hillary but familiar about the overall gunwalking strategy, sources say, was Andrew J. Shapiro, Clinton's Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs at the Department of State.
A Hillary intimate, Wikipedia says:
Shapiro then became a legislative assistant for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D–NY). In 2005, Clinton appointed him as her senior defense and foreign policy adviser. In this capacity, he was Senator Clinton's liaison with the Pentagon and worked closely with her in connection with her work as a member of the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services. According to The New Republic "it is Shapiro, Hillaryites say, who is in the room for most of her important foreign policy decisions" as senator. Shapiro has been described as a hawk on defense and Israel, and was reportedly influential in Clinton's decision to vote in favor of the Iraq Resolution in 2002.
During the 2008 presidential election, Shapiro was a member of Hillary Clinton's campaign team, with his special focus being on foreign affairs.
During the presidential transition of Barack Obama, Shapiro was a member of the Obama-Biden Department of Defense Agency Review Team. Following the confirmation of Hillary Clinton as United States Secretary of State on January 21, 2009, President of the United States Barack Obama nominated Shapiro as Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. After Senate confirmation, Shapiro was sworn into office on June 22, 2009.
My sources say that as Hillary's trusted subordinate, it was Shapiro who first described to the Secretary of State the details of what has become the Gunwalker Scandal.
The precise extent to which Hillary Clinton's knowledge of, and responsibility for, the Gunwalker Plot, lies within the memories of these two men, Shapiro and Steinberg, sources say.
The sources also express dismay that the Issa committee is apparently restricting itself to the Department of Justice and not venturing further afield. The House Foreign Affairs Committee, they say, needs to summon these two men and their subordinates -- especially at the Mexico Desk at State -- and question them under oath as to what Hillary Clinton knew about the origins of the Gunwalker Scandal and when she knew it.
There is one other thing those sources agree upon. The CIA, they say, knows "everything" about the "Mexican hat dance" that became the Gunwalker Scandal.
In Part 4 of "In at the beginning" we will explore the interface between the State Department, the CIA and the Gunwalker Plot.