Will Sect. of State Clinton Ban Private Contractors?

| Tue Dec. 16, 2008 1:03 PM EST

In the presidential primaries, Hillary Clinton frequently touted her tough-as-nails stance on private contractors. She was the co-sponsor of the Stop Outsourcing Security Act, which, in her words, would keep firms like Blackwater from performing "combat-oriented and security functions in Iraq." Blackwater employees could keep slinging slop in cafeteria under Clinton's bill, but they couldn't get themselves into horrifying situations like the Nisour Square shooting.

Justin Elliot of Talking Points Memo reports that part of that bill (which did not see any success in the Senate) instructed the Secretary of State to remove private contractors from their posts guarding State Department personnel:

Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall ensure that all personnel at any United States diplomatic or consular mission in Iraq are provided security services only by Federal Government personnel.

Now that Clinton is about to take over at Foggy Bottom, she can either institute this rule without getting congressional approval or can prod Congress into taking the Stop Outsourcing Security Act more seriously. But Elliot reports that there is no indication she will do either. Clinton's Senate office isn't answering any questions about Clinton' current position on the use of private forces in Iraq. This may mean that Clinton doesn't want to steal Obama's thunder by appearing to make policy, or it could mean that Clinton's anti-contractor pledge in the primaries was simply campaign bombast. We'll soon know.

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