Obama State Department Hid Key Clinton Benghazi Email from Judicial Watch 4/30/2016
It has taken several years of persistent legal pressure from Judicial Watch even to begin to expose Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. This week, for example, we reported that we could have known about her email games two years ago, had the State Department not covered a key email responsive to a JW Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The Obama State Department admitted last week that it withheld a key Benghazi email of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from Judicial Watch since at least September 2014. Had the department disclosed the email when first supposedly found, Clinton’s email server and her hidden emails would have been revealed before she authorized the alleged deletion of tens of thousands of emails.
This development comes in our July 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)lawsuit seeking records related to the drafting and use of the Benghazi talking points (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). The lawsuit, which forced the disclosure of the Clinton email records, seeks records specifically from Clinton and her top State Department staff:
Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.
Contradicting an earlier statement to the court, an April 18, 2016, State Department letter admits that it found the email at issue in 2014 but that it was held back in its entirety:
Also, upon further review, the Department has determined that one document previously withheld in full in our letter dated November 12, 2014 may now be released in part.
The referenced November 12, 2014, letter does not discuss any withheld emails. Asearch declaration suggests the hidden email was found in September 2014 as a result of a search in response to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit.
The September 29, 2012, email to Clinton from then-Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan concerns talking points for Clinton calls with senators about the Benghazi attack. The email contains Clinton’s non-state.gov address.
Last week’s document production also includes material from a records cache of thousands of new Clinton State Department records supposedly only discovered in December 2015. The new material shows the State Department compiled extensive Libya/Benghazi-related dossiers on Republican and Democrat senators.
The result of all this is that we now know that the Obama administration consciously refused to give up key information about Hillary Clinton’s email in 2014. It covered up this email both from the court and Judicial Watch.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth was right when he suggested that Obama’s State Department acted in bad faith. This cover-up provided Hillary Clinton enough time to hide potentially thousands of government records. One aim of our court-order discovery will be to get to the bottom of this cover-up.
Our disclosure of the State Department’s mendacity led to some pushback this week from the agency. The agency first told the press and then sent us a letter suggesting we were “confused.” Here’s what the Obama State Department spokesman told the press:
So we don’t generally comment on matters of litigation, but in this case, there has been some confusion about – or rising from what was an administrative error in the correspondence in which the department said that the document in question was withheld on November – in November 2014, and that date was incorrect. So all the facts in this case or this – the complete facts, rather, surrounding this document are actually in a court filing, a public court filing from July 2015. And we would recommend that folks who are interested would look at that court filing.
But in summary, it describes that the department received the documents in June 2015 from members of former Secretary Clinton’s senior staff and did not withhold it until that time. So there’s a pretty big discrepancy in the dates there and we regret, obviously, any confusion that was caused by our error in correspondence.
The letter we received supposedly correcting the record is even more incomprehensible. The Clinton email in question wasn’t received or uncovered in 2015 – that is when the State Department first told us they had a Clinton Benghazi email but were withholding it in its entirety. The poor State Department can’t even keep track of its cover-ups.
These shifting and shifty Clinton email explanations by the State Department is why two frustrated federal court judges granted Judicial Watch discovery in the Clinton email matter.
New Benghazi Documents Reveal September 11, 2012, Hillary Clinton ‘Call Sheet’ Describes Benghazi Assault as Attack by ‘Armed Extremists’
The duplicity of the Obama administration, including its former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, regarding Benghazi seems to know no bounds.
This week we released new State Department documents that contain a “call sheet” background document for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that called the Benghazi attackers “armed extremists.” This was on the day of the attack.
The documents were obtained under a court order in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on September 4, 2014, (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01511)), seeking:
All records related to notes, updates, or reports created in response to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. special mission compound in Benghazi, Libya. This request includes, but is not limited to, notes taken by then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or employees of the Office of the Secretary of State during the attack and its immediate aftermath.
A September 11, 2012, call sheet states:
“Armed extremists attacked U.S. [special mission compound in] Benghazi on September 11, setting fire to the Principal Officer’s Residence and killing at least one American mission staff, Information Management Officer Sean Smith, on TDY from The Hague.”
In an unusual move, the State Department is withholding the identity of the foreign leader for whom the Benghazi background information was prepared. Why does the Obama administration want to keep secret the identity of the person on the other end of Hillary Clinton’s phone call?
The documents also include a copy of Hillary Clinton’s schedule showing she met with then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice and attended a meeting in the White House situation room before the now controversial arrival ceremony for the remains of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty.
The families of those killed at Benghazi claim that at the memorial service Clinton blamed an Internet video for the attack. She is alleged to have promised the father of Tyrone Woods to “have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of your son.” Given the timing of the Susan Rice and White House meetings, one has to ask if the video lie was discussed as they prepared for the political perilous task of having to account to the victims’ families.
Days after her weekly meeting with Clinton, Rice appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News and CNN, still claiming the assaults occurred “spontaneously” in response to the “hateful video.” On Sunday, September 16 Rice told CBS’s “Face the Nation“:
But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy-sparked by this hateful video.
In 2014, Judicial Watch famously uncovered that Rice’s talking points originated with the Obama White House. This directly led to the creation of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
This is the second production of documents from a records cache of thousands of new Clinton State Department records supposedly only discovered in December 2015. The first batch of records, released earlier this month by Judicial Watch, include documents from the Department of State containing the telephone transcripts from the evening of September 11, 2012, in which then-Secretary of State Clinton informs then-Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil that the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi “had nothing to do with the film.”
Those documents include previously unreleased telephone transcripts with world leaders about the Benghazi attack. As The Washington Free Beacon first noted, the State Department admitted in a court filing in a related case that the records were removed from the secretary of state’s office in April 2015, despite pending congressional subpoenas and Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits.
It’s little wonder that the Obama administration hid these documents for nearly four years. These new Benghazi documents show again that Hillary Clinton was told that “extremists” – the Obama administration’s term for terrorists – were behind the Benghazi attack.
Her curiously timed meetings with Rice and the White House just before she personally lied to the Benghazi victims’ families again bring the Obama White House into the center of the continuing scandal.
Obama State Department Hid Key Clinton Benghazi Email from Judicial Watch 4/30/2016