As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton aggressively advocated for a long-term U.S. troop presence in Iraq, according to a report Wednesday from the Daily Beast.
Clinton was joined by then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and then-CIA Director David Petraeus in pushing President Barack Obama to keep thousands of troops in the country before the U.S. military pulled out in 2011. Clinton was “particularly aggressive,” the Daily Beast reported — citing officials familiar with the negotiations for a status-of-forces agreement with Iraq.
“Hillary Clinton was a lion for keeping troops there,” James Jeffrey, U.S. ambassador to Iraq at the time, told the news outlet. “She was a strong advocate for keeping troops there past 2011.”
It was a point of disagreement between Clinton and the Obama White House, according to the Daily Beast, the latter of which saw pulling troops out of Iraq as the fulfillment of a central campaign promise.
In her recent media appearances, Clinton has said that she was involved in negotiations that included a continued troop presence in Iraq. But she has not portrayed the stance as an area of contention between herself and President Obama. Instead, she placed the blame on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki.
“We made such an offer to then Prime Minister Maliki. And he would not accept the status of forces agreement,” Clinton said during a CNN town hall interview Tuesday. “We didn’t get that done. And I think, in retrospect, that was a mistake by the Iraqi government.”