It’s been five years since the State Department first uncovered some previously hidden Hillary Clinton emails from her time as Secretary of State, and new information continues to surface.
The email calls into question the credibility of the intelligence community’s initial assessments of the Benghazi attacks.
The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch recently released an email written to Clinton in 2012 after the deadly Islamic extremist terrorist attacks of Americans in Benghazi, Libya. The Obama administration initially falsely blamed the attacks on a “spontaneous” mob motivated by an anti-Muslim video. The email was written by Clinton aide Jake Sullivan. It discusses the administration’s controversial Benghazi “talking points.”
An investigation revealed that Obama officials knew, even as the Benghazi attacks were underway, that Muslim terrorists (rather than a video-motivated mob) were responsible. Also revealed was the fact that U.S. diplomats on the ground had repeatedly asked State Department headquarters for better security leading up to the attacks. The requests were denied. Instead, security was drastically drawn down. Investigators also learned that there had been a explicit threats of such an attack, as well as other attacks in Libya that were also consummated as threatened.
Key to the cover up of the terrorist nature of the Benghazi attacks right before the 2012 U.S. presidential elections were the false “talking points” used to brief Congress and the public. A series of emails I obtained in reporting on the scandal showed Obama officials excised all mention of Islamic extremists and terrorism from the final version of the talking points.
Read my Benghazi investigative reports, which were recognized with an Emmy nomination, by clicking here.
Judicial Watch obtained the new email through a lawsuit seeking records concerning “talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack” containing Clinton’s private email address and a conversation about the YouTube video that sparked the Benghazi talking points scandal (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)).
According to Judicial Watch:
The September 2012 email chain begins with an email to Clinton at her private email address, “firstname.lastname@example.org,” from Jacob Sullivan, Clinton’s then-senior advisor and deputy chief of staff. The email was copied to Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s then-chief of staff, and then was forwarded to then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategic Communications and Clinton advisor Phillipe Reines.
The email from Sullivan to Clinton is dated September 29, 2012, eighteen days after the attacks. It refers to the controversy over Obama official Susan Rice, who had appeared on TV network Sunday talk shows presenting the incorrect talking points that blamed a “spontaneous” mob. Based on the email, it appears as though someone had asked, on Clinton’s behalf, to answer the accusation that “Susan” had “made things up.” It also seems to imply that Clinton knew “the real story” (the terrorist nature of the attacks) from the start– although she immediately blamed the anti-Muslim video in a meeting with victims’ family members.
Sullivan blames the Intelligence Community for providing the incorrect information blaming the video, and says they were “unanimous” about it.
The Intelligence Community has several major black eyes on the record, including some within it falsely claiming President Trump and his associates were Russian stooges working on behalf of President Putin in the 2016 campaign.
(“Cheryl” in the email refers to Clinton confidant Cheryl Mills.)
Read the newly-released Clinton email below.
From: Sullivan, Jacob J
Sent: Saturday, September 29, 2012 11 :09 AM
Cc: Mills, Cheryl D
Subject: Key points
HRC, Cheryl –
Below is my stab at tp’s for the Senator call. Cheryl, I’ve left the last point blank for you. These are rough but you get the point.
I look forward to sitting down and having a Hillary~to-John conversation about what we know. l know you were frustrated by the briefing we did and I’m sorry our hands were tied in that setting.
It’s important we see each other in person, but over the phone today I just wanted to make a few points.
First, we have been taking this deadly seriously, as we should. I set up the ARB in record time, with serious people on it. l will get to the bottom of all the security questions. We are also in overdrive working to track down the killers, and not just through the FBI. We will get this right.
Second, the White House and Susan were not making things up. They were going with what they were told by the IC [Intelligence community].
The real story may have been obvious to you from the start (and indeed I called it an assault by heavily armed militants in my first statement), but the IC gave us very different information. They were unanimous about it.
Let me read you an email from the day before Susan went on the shows. It provides the talking points for HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] and for her public appearance. It’s from a very senior official at CIA, copying his counterparts at DNI [Director of National Intelligence], NCTC [National Counterterrorism Center], and FBI:
Here are the talking points …
–The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.
-This assessment may change as additional information is collected and analyzed and as currently available information continues to be evaluated.
–The investigation is on-going, and the US Government is working with Libyan authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the deaths US citizens.
That is exactly what Susan said, following the guidance from the IC. She obviously got bad advice. But she was not shading the truth.
Third, you have to remember that the video WAS important. We had four embassies breached because of protests inspired by it. Cairo, Tunis, Khartoum, and Sanaa. We had serious security challenges in Pakistan and Chennai and some other places. All this was happening at the same time. So many of the contemporaneous comments about the video weren’t referring in any way to Benghazi. Now of course even in those countries it was about much much more than the video, but the video was certainly a piece of it one we felt we had to speak to so that our allies in those countries would back us up.
The Clinton email cover-up led to court-ordered discovery into three specific areas: whether Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server was intended to stymie FOIA; whether the State Department’s intent to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and whether the State Department has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s request. The court also authorized discovery into whether the Benghazi controversy motivated the cover-up of Clinton’s email. (The court ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”)Judicial Watch