Hillary Clinton is culpable for not labeling Boko Haram — the Islamic extremists who kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls — a terror group, Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary to George W. Bush, believes.
"It does raise questions of her judgment. Why wouldn't the State Department have called them terrorists? Was there a reason they didn't want to?" Fleischer told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"That's a question of judgment, leadership, [and] strength in foreign policy … For the Obama administration, it's a lack of strength in foreign policy.''
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It was revealed this week that Rep. Peter King had asked the State Department during Clinton's stewardship to tag Boko Haram a terrorist group, but was rejected.
The group recently kidnapped hundreds of girls from a boarding school and plans to sell them into slavery.
The former secretary of state also still has questions that must be answered about Benghazi — and it's obvious by her actions she knows more than what she's said so far, according to Fleischer.
He pointed to Clinton avoiding TV news shows following the bloodbath in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died, instead having Ambassador Susan Rice spin a false story that the attack was reaction to an anti-Islamic video.
"She deliberately didn't want to go on because she knew the information that was being fed was bad, wrong information, and she wouldn't say it," Fleischer said.
"She probably smelled a rat, but to her fault she kept it to herself."
Fleischer said the ongoing questions about Benghazi — and why it happened — point to a White House that has not been honest with the nation.
"Here’s the fundamental problem with what the administration has done on Benghazi: The president [was] running for re-election on the basis of al-Qaida is on the run and is being destroyed, [and] two months before his re-election, we're hit by a terrorist attack," Fleischer said.
"They can't call it one because it would cut against the campaign theme. So they blame it on the YouTube video, which also allowed the president to leave the White House that day and go fundraising out in the state of Nevada.
"Now if we're hit by a terrorist attack, the president needs to man his desk, not leave the White House, and start working on reaction to the attack.''
Fleischer said that instead, the White House backpedaled by blaming the video.
"That's what's so troubling to me about all of this. The White House did not deal straight with the American people, and that's a travesty,'' he said.
Fleischer said that because the White House has yet to say where Obama was in the hours after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, it suggests it was not taken "very seriously."
"They were so focused on the re-election on the president and al-Qaida is on the run that they could not open up their minds to the possibility of America being under attack," he said. "I was there when America was attacked on Sept. 11, and the reaction of any administration, Democratic or Republican, has got to be to do everything possible to protect American lives and to strike back. This is not what happened.''
Fleischer sharply criticized White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's pooh-poohing of the bombshell email that appears to show the White House covering up by coaching Rice to spin the YouTube video angle.
"That was one of Jay's lowest days. He's had many low days, but to say that black is not white, white is not black – of course that memo is about Benghazi," he said.
"It also makes you wonder, what else is about Benghazi that they have not released under that same thinking, that if it's about Benghazi we'll say it's not, that way we don't have to release it."
"That frankly is why … this [House select] committee was created. The committee was created because the administration helped create it, by not providing information, by not being forthcoming, and by trying to trick the American people into thinking this was caused by a YouTube video.
"They brought this about on themselves and it should be a bipartisan investigation. I hope the Democrats will join in this investigation. Let me also say I hope Republicans don't go too far.''
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