In her testimony on the Benghazi debacle, Hillary Clinton said:
“I AM the Secretary of State, and the ARB (Accountability Review Board) made it very clear that the level of responsibility for the failures that they outlined, sat at the level of Assistant Secretary and below.”
And to Rep. Michael McCaul, who wanted to know why she had not seen Christopher Stevens’ disturbing cables on the lack of security, she responded:
“1.4 million cables come to us each year, all of them addressed to me.”
These responses clearly demonstrate that Hillary Clinton has no idea at all of what executive management is all about. An executive is not only or even primarily responsible for his or her own individual tasks—he or she is responsible for the work of the people in the organization, and for organizing that work properly and effectively.
These responsibilities include establishing an information and decision-flow architecture…including clear assignment of responsibilities…to ensure that the right things are seen and acted upon by the right people at the right time. Failure to do this..and to maintain and tune the system over time…will predictably result in catastrophes.
There had been three and half years to set up a system, to let the career officers of the Secretariat and the Operations Center know what she wants, and to have her personal staff figure it out too.
That is to say, if she did not see the Benghazi cables in a timely fashion, if she did not see Chris Stephens’s cables describing the deterioration of security, and if she did not see his requests for more security, this was a huge management failure on her part. It is a poor excuse to say, “Gee, the Department gets lots of cables” — and perhaps even worse then to hide behind an Accountability Review Board that pins responsibility on assistant secretaries and no higher.
Having worked as an assistant secretary of state and a deputy national-security adviser, I can report that even in those posts one is entirely swamped by cable traffic and needs a system to cope with it — to be sure that the really important ones get through. From all the available evidence, Hillary Clinton failed to establish such a system for herself, and that management failure is a far more important fact about her tenure than being the third woman to hold the post or having flown more miles than Condoleezza Rice.
Hillary Clinton is by her own words convicted of a failure to understand and perform the basics of her job…and she is so clueless about what she should have been doing that she doesn’t even grasp the seriousness of what she has so cavalierly and angrily admitted.
And those people making statements about what a wonderful Secretary of State Ms Clinton has been…a group that includes President Barack Obama…have also in effect admitted that they also do not understand the basics of executive management.
Note also that these are the same people who want to extend government control into all aspects of American life, including but not limited to the economy.
Imagine if someone like Hillary Clinton was micromanaging America’s food distribution or energy industry. Think about how many emails, letters, purchase orders, invoices, and other kinds of messages are involved in getting food from the farm to the railroad, from the railroad to the processing plant, from the processing plant to the warehouse and finally to the shelves on the store. Or think about how many messages and decisions are involved in getting the natural gas or coal out of the ground and to the power plant and then delivering the electricity to your house. The numbers dwarf the “1.4 million cables” with which Ms Clinton has confessed herself unable to cope.
Under the above scenario we would all be hungry, cold, and in the dark very soon. And in the Congressional hearings, the Hillary-equivalent would assert that the responsibility really lay at the level of the assistant-something-or-other, and that “we get 150 million purchase orders and shipping notifications and so on every month”…ie, that the Hillary-equivalent who was supposedly in charge of it all was not to blame.
And the people selected by this administration for positions of power tend very much toward the Hillary Clinton mold: highly credentialed, lacking in practical experience, extremely arrogant, and with a certain facile verbal ability: constructing verbal formulations along the approved patterns, saying things that sound good until they are challenged or analyzed too closely.
The empowerment of such people with government authority, together with the concurrent growth in the reach of that authority, ensures failures, of greater or lesser scale, in every aspect of American life that they touch.