July 17th, 2009
02:01 PM ET
9 years ago

Clinton again rips into vetting process

 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday tore into the Obama administration's 'vetting' process

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday tore into the Obama administration's 'vetting' process

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Behind the scenes they're tearing out their hair.

Nominees for top positions in the Obama administration say they are put on seemingly endless hold for months during the "vetting" process, forced to provide minute details of their financial, personal and professional lives going back years. Many have to hire lawyers and accountants – paid for with their own money – to compile the information. Some nominees have simply given up in frustration.

Now, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says it's affecting U.S. diplomatic relations.

"It's hard to explain in my position to our foreign counterparts that we don't have positions filled that would be the natural interlocutors or their counterparts in other countries," she said Thursday.

It's the third time this week the secretary has lambasted the process. Monday, she called it "frustrating beyond words," telling staff at the U.S. Agency for International Development who still don't have a new administrator, the process is a "nightmare."

Wednesday, in a major foreign policy speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, Clinton was at it again: "I mean, we are trying to get our political leaders in place to work with our very dedicated Foreign Service and Civil Service employees, but we're still not there yet. And I had no idea when I was in the Senate asking a million questions of every nominee – how really shortsighted that was."

Thursday, at a press availability, the Secretary told CNN, "Most (foreign) governments, after they are elected, are up and going in a relatively short period of time. We are now six months into our new administration and it's not only here but across the government where they don't have critical positions filled. I think it's pretty obvious that the process has gotten much more complicated, cumbersome and lengthy and that is something that I hear from everyone. And it is a matter that we're going to have to address."

Clinton added that it's not just the Obama administration and it's not happening just at the State Department or USAID. The situation has been getting worse with every administration. But some political observers say President Obama's new ethics rules make it even more challenging to get through the process.

In spite of the frustration, at the USAID town hall Clinton managed to find some ironic humor in the predicament: "… here's one of the questions you get asked: first of all, you have to remember everywhere you've lived since you were 18. And, beyond a certain age you can't even remember when you were 18!"

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. striker

    I blame the idiots in the media, who will scream and whine, "Why wasn't so-and-so propertly vetted!"

    July 17, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. cb in Austin

    Obama should stay home and take care of these appointments instead of globe trotting. He would be wise to stay out of Hillary's doghouse...

    July 17, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Wygenia

    Is Hillary's true colors showing. Where is her loyalty. The division is what has us where we are now. Even the bible says "A house divided can not stand" Luke 11:17

    July 17, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. Leslie Griffith

    Seems to me Hillary needs to concentrate on the more important issues.

    July 17, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. Bobby

    Hillary sometimes its better to take your time and get it right the first time then to rush and keeping do something over and over again. This administration learned this lesson early with the Secretary of Energy position. Also, we got your message the first time, so time to move on and focus on something more compelling, like war and peace.

    July 17, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    She's not even in the US today. Incompetent CNN?

    July 17, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Kevin

    SOS Clinton... You are so correct. I know our president wants to cover all bases, but this is a little ridiculous. I can't remember everything I did yesterday.. how the heck am I going to remember what I did 42 years ago..

    July 17, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. 1nckore

    Simple.. If its too much too handle that means you are not qualify. You know the media. they have everything... The Obama's want to know before they get hit by surprise... LOL... No one is perfect. but if you got secrete that you think no one should know get out of the public eyes... sorry.. Oh to the youth... Facebook and other socail network site might come back to hunt you. hope people take the Obama vetting process and learn..

    July 17, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Bill, Bloominton IL

    Welcome back to the republicans in 2012 as we watch the democrats implode. Democrats would not listen to the idea that Hillary would not be able to take marching orders from anyone. Hopefully the Blue Dogs who are the smartest democrats in Washington will stall healthcare until the republicans are back and my healthcare will not be changed.

    July 17, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. Alwin Meincken

    I agree with Hillary. It is disgraceful that we have to wait months to have some one approved. wonder how the Senators would feel if they had to go through the process before taking their position as a Senator. How many would fail the very questions their asking:-). Guess we will take care of it during the next election. Take care Senators, we are watching your record, what you vote on and what you say and how you act. I'm very disappointed in the progress up to now. How about you, the rest of the population. Are you satisfied in YOUR Senators actions to date.

    July 17, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. Me

    Will someone tell her to go talk to her boss already!!!!

    July 17, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. Maury

    She's fighting for her people at the State Dept. Good for her! Probably takes someone of her stature to raise the issue before something is finally done about the problem.

    July 17, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. Steve in Kentucky

    CNN again uses the word SLAMS. That's because the moron who writes the headlines on the ticker doesn't have a thesaurus or an imagination.

    July 17, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |

    Hillary the Republicans have bashed President Obama for not vetting properly and now you, seems Hills republican side is coming out again put a sock in it Madame Secetary and do the Job you were hired for!

    July 17, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. canta

    What most people do not know is that the first slave owners were black. They then proceeded in selling their slaves to the sugar plantion owners. I learned this when I went to a talk by the National Forestry when visiting the islands. I was in my 40's then and I could not recall ever learning this in school. It was never in a history book. That was over 20 yrs ago. So when is this truth (the whole story) going to be told.

    July 17, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. Jane

    The vetting process under the current administration is tilted. If Obama appoints them hardly no vetting is accomplished or you must be a member of the :didn't pay my taxes; or the pay for play gang. For other civilian post hopefulls you must give your left eye and go throught the gov red tape.

    July 17, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. John

    If the nominees had lead a more transparently above board life then lawyers wouldnt be needed. I wouldnt need a lawyer to explain my actions!! Wasnt this administration embarrassed by a few of their nominees being tax dodgers? If I were Obama I would be making sure they pass muster as well!!

    July 17, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. Jose Palacios

    Fear not Ms. Clinton our President has a full slate of Czars to cover.


    July 17, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. Andrew, Buffalo NY

    It's funny, even after this "tough" process, Obama still managed to pick what 6 tax cheats???

    July 17, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Diego deLeon

    Tell it like it is, Hillary!

    I understand the President's need to be overly careful–given the idiotic nature of Republicans to over-scrutinize–but we can see how being too judicious and officious can harm our government.

    July 17, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. Stu-Florida

    Yes... I agree it is frustrating. One word sums it all up... litigation!
    Our country has gone beyond any vetting process. Lawyers have taken control! Any aspect of ones life is filtered and filtered. They don't want to miss any "ghosts" that often turn up.

    One question... just how did Palin make it through the process with not only her ghosts, but her incoherent and thoughtless mind as well??

    July 17, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Wallflower

    I don't understand why all of the bashing on the Rep b/c of this... This sounds like typical gov't crap–and i dont feel its one particular parties fault.

    I am completely disappointed w/ the level of incompetency these so called officials are displaying while trying to run this country. And frankly, i'm not impressed w/ any of them–including POTUS.

    Learn to work together! That's what this country was founded on!

    July 17, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. New Yorker

    Doug in New Jersey says Bill Clinton was the last somewhat "respectable" Democrat. What a joke!!!! Did you really forget his despicable affair with Monica? Clearly the vetting process is so difficult with this administration because they are vetting liberals!

    July 17, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. ss

    President Obama is doing a very good job inspite of all the doubters. Go Obama

    July 17, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. Rob Cloos in Hades

    Richard July 17th, 2009 11:26 am ET

    It is hard to find lefties who pay their taxes.

    It is hard to find wingnuts with intelligence

    July 17, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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