Hillary Clinton arriving in Bosnia in 1996
Sen. Hillary Clinton has used a story of arriving in Bosnia under sniper fire to bolster her foreign policy bona fides, but the Washington Post retrieved a photo showing that upon landing, she actually was greeted in a customary tarmac ceremony, complete with a kiss for a native child.
Clinton has declared on the campaign trail that a welcoming ceremony for the March 25, 1996, arrival in Tuzla was canceled, and she had to run from the airplane into an awaiting vehicle for safety. The then-first lady’s traveling party included 15-year-old daughter Chelsea, the comedian Sinbad and singer Sheryl Crow.
“I remember landing under sniper fire,” Clinton recounted. “There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”
But the Post’s Michael Dobbs says that “as a reporter who visited Bosnia soon after the December 1995 Dayton Peace agreement, I can attest that the physical risks were minimal during this period, particularly at a heavily fortified U.S. Air Force base, such as Tuzla.”
“Had Hillary Clinton’s plane come ‘under sniper fire’ in March 1996, we would certainly have heard about it long before now,” Dobbs writes.
He pointed out that numerous reporters, including the Post’s John Pomfret, covered Clinton’s trip, and a review of nearly 100 news accounts of their visit “shows that not a single newspaper or television station reported any security threat to the first lady.”
Pomfret declared, “As a former AP wire service hack, I can safely say that it would have been in my lead had anything like that happened,”.
Dobbs says Clinton and her entourage were greeted by smiling U.S. and Bosnian officials, and an 8-year-old Muslim girl, Emina Bicakcic, read a poem in English.
The actor Sinbad had a different account of the trip than Clinton, telling the Post’s “Sleuth” column Monday the “scariest” part was worrying about whether “we eat here or at the next place.”
Clinton defended her story on the campaign trail this week and dismissed the actor’s contention, saying, “Sinbad is a comedian.”
Clinton repeated the Bosnia story, saying she remembers “landing under sniper fire” and that “we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”