Today John Bolton, former U.N. ambassador under George W. Bush, said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s trip to Australia is “very important” and necessary, undercutting attacks from conservative news outlets such as Fox News and Drudge that Clinton is vacationing Australia rather than testifying in front of a congressional committee about the Benghazi attacks.
Speaking on Fox News today, Bolton said:
Let me first say a word in defense of Secretary Clinton and Secretary Panetta being in Australia. This is for an annual meeting called the AUSMIN that we have and I think it is very important that we demonstrate solidarity with the Australians so the fact that they’re out of town shouldn’t be concerning.
Watch the clip:
Specifically, Fox Nation propagated a myth that Clinton skipped a hearing on Benghazi to drink wine in Australia. The Drudge Report picked up the story as well, going even further with its headline: “Hillary can’t make House hearing on Benghazi; busy visiting friends, wine tasting in Australia.” Drudge and Fox link to an article in the Herald Sun, a newspaper, as Media Matters pointed out, that is owned by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Indeed, the Australia meeting is crucial. At the meeting today, Clinton and Panetta announced that the military “will station a powerful radar and a space telescope in Australia as part of its strategic shift toward Asia.” Other key topics including Afghanistan will be covered as well, the Voice of America notes, “The two countries will also discuss plans to wind down the war in Afghanistan. Australia, which has 1,550 troops in Afghanistan, is the biggest military contributor to the campaign outside NATO.”