Yesterday, SecretaryÂ Hillary Clinton held a town hall meeting with State Department employees. One human resources intern, Chris Dilworth, had a very pointed question for her: Will you ban private security contractors?
Clinton, after noting that private security contracts are a concern and the contract with the controversial Blackwater Worldwide will be terminated, had this to say:
I certainly am of the mind that we should, insofar as possible, diminish our reliance on private security contractors. Whether we can go all the way to banning, under current circumstances, seems unlikely, but we ought to be engaged in a very careful review of where they should and shouldnâ€™t be used, and under what circumstances. And thatâ€™s what weâ€™re doing right now.
Clinton prefaced that statement by saying this:
Hereâ€™s the dilemma, and take Iraq as the example. We are going to be withdrawing our troops. Now, the presidentâ€™s working right now on how to sequence the withdrawal and how to do so in as safe and effective manner as possible. We believe there will be an important role for our civilian employees. How we provide security and safety for those performing civilian functions is a very difficult question. The military assets will be diminishing. The numbers of civilians in Iraqâ€¦ will also be decreasing. But there will be a corps of, you know, foreign service and civil service and foreign nationals who will be performing the work of the United States of America. And I, for one, as your secretary, want to make sure that they have necessary security.