“Clinton cash” for foreign arms deal approval

David Sirota writes: “Among all the rivers of money that have flowed to the Clinton family, one seems to raise the biggest national security questions of all: the stream of cash that came from 20 foreign governments who relied on weapons export approvals from Hillary Clinton’s State Department.” As Secretary of State, Sirota explains, Clinton was charged with rejecting or approving weapons deals. “And when it came to Clinton Foundation donors, Hillary Clinton’s State Department did a whole lot of approving.”

While Clinton was secretary of state, her department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors. That figure from Clinton’s three full fiscal years in office is almost double the value of arms sales to those countries during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

Overall arms sales increased during Clinton’s time as Secretary of State, but this doesn’t explain how well Clinton Foundation donors did:

The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

American military contractors that donated to the Clinton Foundation and/or helped finance speaking fees to Bill Clinton also made out like bandits. According to Sirota, these firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of arms deals authorized by the Clinton State Department.

Pursuant to an executive directive, the State Department is required to take foreign governments’ human rights records into account when reviewing arms deals. Ironically, this directive was signed by President Bill Clinton.

However, according to Sirota, “Hillary Clinton’s State Department increased approvals of such deals to Clinton Foundation donors that her own agency was sharply criticizing for systematic human rights abuses.” He cites Algeria:

[In] its 2011 Human Rights Report, Clinton’s State Department slammed Algeria’s government for imposing “restrictions on freedom of assembly and association,” tolerating “arbitrary killing,” “widespread corruption” and a “lack of judicial independence.”

That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and the next year Clinton’s State Department approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country. The jump included authorizations for almost 50,000 items classified as “toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment.” The State Department had not authorized the export of any of such items to Algeria the year before.

These arms deals, says Sirota, raise a fundamental question about Hillary Clinton’s judgment, “one that is relevant to the 2016 presidential campaign.” To me, they raise, or rather confirm the answer to, a fundamental question about her lack of ethics and her inability to put the public good ahead of her lust for private gain.