NYT invents fake scandal about one of Bill Clinton’s greatest successes

The New York Times reported breathlessly yesterday on a new Clinton scandal. The only problem? There’s nothing there.

The crux of the Times’ “scandal” is that an aide to Bill Clinton asked the State Department for a diplomatic passport for two of his staff.

He didn’t get it. (And he should have.)

That’s it.

No clear connection to the Clinton Foundation. And no explanation as to why it was a bad thing for Clinton’s staff to ask for the passport.

Oh, but it gets better.

The two Bill Clinton staffers weren’t asking for a diplomatic passport so they could pick up chicks at Euro Disney. They were heading on a secret diplomatic mission to North Korea, with Bill Clinton, to negotiate the release of two American journalists held hostage by the North Korean regime. One of the journalists Bill Clinton rescued, Laura Ling, is the younger sister of CNN correspondent Lisa Ling.

You can watch my Facebook Live discussion of this “scandal” at the bottom of this page.

Yes, Bill Clinton, with the aid of a few staffers, was heading to the most brutally repressive regime on the planet, on a secret diplomatic mission on behalf of the US government, and he wanted diplomatic passports to protect his staff. And the Times is trying to portray that as some kind of frivolous, even nutty, request.

Mind you, let’s just ignore the fact that Clinton did it, he saved the two journalists.

I have to share the first two grafs of the story, so that you can fully appreciate how breathless the NYT was about their new “scandal”:

A top aide to Hillary Clinton at the State Department agreed to try to obtain a special diplomatic passport for an adviser to former President Bill Clinton in 2009, according to emails released Thursday, raising new questions about whether people tied to the Clinton Foundation received special access at the department.

The request by the adviser, Douglas J. Band, who started one arm of the Clintons’ charitable foundation, was unusual, and the State Department never issued the passport. Only department employees and others with diplomatic status are eligible for the special passports, which help envoys facilitate travel, officials said.

Note how the first two paragraphs of the story don’t mention North Korea at all. They talk about a “special” diplomatic passport, and “special access” for the adviser, as if there was nothing “special” about American citizens being asked to go on a secret diplomatic mission to the most repressive regime on the planet. Oh that’s right, none of that was mentioned in the lede of the story.

I particularly enjoyed this part of the story:

Only department employees and others with diplomatic status are eligible for the special passports, which help envoys facilitate travel, officials said.

Now that’s interesting, because I had a” special passport” as a 25 y.o. congressional staffer working in the US Senate. And I’m pretty sure my boss’ passport was a diplomatic passport — I distinctly remember it was a step above my “official” passport. So the New York Times is wrong — it’s not only State Department officials and others with “diplomatic status” who are eligible for special passports.

The Times story is reminiscent of the recent Associated Press story that claimed, falsely, that half of the Hillary’s meetings at  State were with Clinton Foundation donors. You have to read through the entire story, and do a bit of math, to realize it’s a lie. And the AP still hasn’t retracted the false story, including a series of completely erroneous tweets.

With amateur (animus?) reporting like this, it’s no wonder that Hillary Clinton refuses to do a press conference. Why should she?

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Here’s my Facebook Live video discussing this story.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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