The Hill: Hillary’s E-Mails

Today, the internet publication The Hill weeded out some of the recently-released e-mails from Hillary Clinton.  Below are summaries of e-mails about Benghazi.  As best this website – OK, Fine – can tell, there doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary.

March 27, 2011: Huma Abedin, an aide and confidante, emails Clinton about special envoy Stevens’s mission to Benghazi. She says the goal would be to “lay the groundwork for a stay of up to 30 days,” according to a State official, by meeting with the Transitional National Council (TNC), the group that was fighting to oust Moammar Gadhafi.

April 8, 2011: Clinton receives an update from her team on Stevens’s trip. He met with TNC officials, who have “frustration with the lack of coordination with NATO.” Clinton’s chief foreign policy aide, Jake Sullivan, forwards the chain to Clinton with his recommendation that they dispatch a NATO liaison to work with the rebels.

April 11, 2011: Abedin forwards Clinton an email with the subject “Stevens Update (Important),” which says Stevens is debating leaving the Libyan city because of the fighting between Gadhafi and the rebels. Abedin fears such a departure would signal the U.S. was “losing confidence in the TNC.”

April 24, 2011: With attacks on hotels increasing, Stevens tells State he will formally request more security at his hotel, although he still “feels comfortable.”

June 10, 2011: Sullivan emails Clinton to tell her there’s a “credible threat” against Stevens’s hotel and that officials from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security will evacuate U.S. personnel.

Aug. 22, 2011: Cheryl Mills, a longtime aide, forwards a draft of a memo by Sullivan that outlines Clinton’s role in the U.S. government’s work in Libya. Referring to Clinton as the “public face of the U.S. effort in Libya,” the memo runs down her official actions to help support the ouster of Gadhafi. That memo appears to be finalized in April 2012.

Sept. 11, 2012: After the initial news of the Benghazi attacks, Clinton receives an email from an aide at 10:41 p.m. saying then-national security adviser Tom Donilon “wants to speak with you secure … He would like to speak with you asap as he is leaving shortly.”

Less than an hour later, after confirming Stevens’s death with the Libyans, Clinton sends a message titled “Chris Smith” to aides asking when the department should make an announcement. Sean Smith, an agency employee, also died in the attacks.

Sept. 12, 2012, at 12:50 a.m.: Clinton confidant and former aide Sidney Blumenthal emails her a memo that blames the attack on a “what many devout Libyan viewed as a sacrilegious internet video on the prophet Mohammed originating in America.” He follows up with a new email that said Benghazi was a terrorist attack.

Sept. 12, 2012, at 7:29 a.m.: Clinton receives a copy of the statement that she will deliver on the Benghazi attacks. The remarks blame “heavily armed militants” and argue that the deaths should not distract from America’s relationship with Libya.

Sept. 122012, at 10:43 am: President Obama condemns the attacks from the Rose Garden. “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation,” he says.

Sept. 14 to 152012: State Department, White House and intelligence officials work on talking points to give to lawmakers and others about the attacks. The final version of the talking points list says the attacks were “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post and subsequently its annex.”  The emails also state, “extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.”

Sept. 162012: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, rather than Clinton, appears on all five Sunday news shows to deliver the administration’s message on Benghazi. The talking points later fuel questions from GOP lawmakers about whether Rice tried to mislead the American people about whether Benghazi was a terrorist attack.

Sept. 30, 2012: Sullivan seeks to assure Clinton that she hadn’t attributed the deadly assault to demonstrators.

“Attached is full compilation,” Sullivan writes while including copies of all Clinton’s public statements in the immediate wake of the attacks. “You never said spontaneous or characterized the motives, in fact you were careful in your first statement to say we were assessing motive and method. The way you treated the video in the Libya context was to say that some sought to *justify* the attack on that basis.”

Nov. 18, 2012: Sullivan forwards Clinton a discussion about reports that Libyans have arrested Benghazi suspects. That emails chain includes information that the FBI redacted from the public documents.

Nov. 26, 2012: Mills chimes in on an email from the previous week that expressed concern within the State Department over how a series of talking points describing the attack was being received on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.

Dec. 20, 2012: Clinton skips a congressional hearing on the Benghazi attacks after suffering a concussion in a fall.

“I’m so sorry that I cannot be on the Hill today as we had long planned, but very grateful that you both will be. The State Department and I appreciate your leadership everyday,” the then-secretary writes to Bill Burns and Tom Nides, two State officials who agreed to appear in her stead.

“I’ll be nursing my cracked head and cheering you on as you ‘remain calm and carry on.’

(Updated article)

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill: Benghazi Has ‘Turned Into A Political Exercise’

ABC News

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri (D) said on Sunday that the congressional investigation into the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, has “turned into a political exercise.”

“Benghazi has had more hearings, more documents produced, more investigative effort than the entire Iraq War,” McCaskill said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Note: the part of the video (near the beginning) where McCaskill makes these statements is oddly missing or has been removed from the ABC video. 

The Hill article (with original video footage):

(Updated report)

Fox News Blames U.S. President For Terror Attacks In Paris, France

David Pakman

Right-Wing Fox News turns the Paris massacre into a Benghazi-like conspiracy and blames the U.S. president Obama.

GOP Lawmakers Reject Findings Of Other GOP Lawmakers On Benghazi

Rand Paul is a conspiracy theorist: Time for the world to call him what he isAccording to MSNBC, some GOP lawmakers on the panel of the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee described the findings of their recent report on the 2012 attack in Benghazi as “definitive.”

Every question has been answered. Every conspiracy theory has been looked at.

Every House committee, every Senate committee, every State Department investigator, and every inquiry launched by independent news organizations have reached the exact same conclusion.

There may be a general feeling, even among many Republicans, that it’s time to just move on.

But that’s not going to happen. Not only is the House on track to spend at last another $1.5 million – of our money – on yet another committee, but many GOP lawmakers have decided to reject the findings of other GOP lawmakers.

Notable politicians such as Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul have been rejecting the findings of the report from members of their own party.

As Simon Maloy noted, Republican senator Rand Paul even proceeded to suggest his own GOP allies may be “helping the Obama administration cover-up the truth about Benghazi.”

According to the Huffington Post, millions in taxpayer money have been spent on the several Benghazi investigations that have been conducted over the past couple of years.

Huff Post Poll Shows Most People Have No Idea What A House Benghazi Investigation Just Found

When the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee released a report on the Friday before Thanksgiving clearing U.S. officials of multiple accusations leveled after the 2012 Benghazi attacks, it didn’t seem to get the public’s attention.

Eighty-four percent of Americans said they had heard little or nothing about the report’s release, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll.

Just 28 percent knew the investigation didn’t find evidence of intelligence failures before the attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, or wrongdoing in officials’ response to the attacks.

A nearly equal 25 percent thought the report found wrongdoing. The remaining 47 percent weren’t sure.

Partisanship (obviously) had a lot to do with people’s guesses as to what the report said.

Although Republicans were significantly more likely than others to say they had paid at least some attention to the results of the investigation, they were also the most likely to get it wrong, saying by a 10-point margin that it blamed, rather than absolved, U.S. officials.

Democrats, by a 20-point margin, said it vindicated the officials, while those independents who offered an opinion were about evenly split.

Opinions on how the Obama administration handled the Benghazi attacks two years ago also remain split along party lines. Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to say the administration deliberately misled the American people, by 79 percent to 19 percent.

The House committee found that early wrong statements by Obama administration officials were caused by conflicting information rather than purposeful deception.

As recently as this June, most Americans supported further investigation into Benghazi, and while the GOP’s interest has long outpaced that of other groups, overall focus on the story has been low for many months.

In 2013, a Gallup poll found that just 21 percent of Americans were paying very close attention to congressional hearings on the attacks. By June 2014, the number had moved down to 19 percent.

Lindsey Graham Not Happy With Conspiracy-Debunking Benghazi Report

TYT video.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) still doesn’t believe the Benghazi reports. Recently, the seventh investigation – which was Republican-led – came to a conclusion and a report was released.

According to the Denver Post, the House Intelligence Committee report was released on the Friday before Thanksgiving week. Many of its findings are similar to those of six previous investigations by other congressional committees and a State Department panel. The eighth Benghazi investigation is being carried out by a House Select Committee appointed in May.

This report was issued by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan.

Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. Lindsey Graham blasted the House GOP-led investigation that debunked myths about the 2012 Benghazi attack.

The House Intelligence Committee took two years to compile, and found there was no outright intelligence failure during the attack, there was no delay in the rescue of U.S. personnel, and there was no political cover-up by Obama administration officials.

After Graham was asked whether the report exonerates the administration, he initially ignored the question, and then said “no.”

“I think the report is full of crap,” Graham said.

Similar to six previous government reports, the one released by the Committee on Friday said that the administration had not intentionally misled the public about what occurred during the attacks in the talking points it created for officials to use in television appearances that turned out to be inaccurate.

It also said that no order was given by the military to “stand down” in responding to try to save the four Americans killed in the attacks.

This report is separate from the Special Committee created by Speaker John Boehner.  The Special Committee is led by Representative Trey Gowdy, a Republican from South Carolina, who has a budget of $3.3 million for the investigation.  PoliticusUSA states that $14 million of taxpayer money has already been spent on Benghazi investigations.

Little Evidence Of “Stand Down” Claim In Benghazi


Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committe, said lawmakers never came across evidence indicating the station chief had told his team to “stand down” and stop a rescue mission during the 2012 attack at Benghazi, Libya.   

Five security contractors made the allegation in a new book, accusing the CIA station chief of delaying a rescue mission.

Contractors and security officers told the House committee about 25 minutes passed between learning about the attack and the time the security contractors departed for their rescue mission, Ruppersberger said.

“After interviewing these individuals, including those writing the book, and all of the others on the ground that night, both Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that there was not, in fact, an order to stand down and no evidence was found to support such a claim,” Ruppersberger said.

He noted that a high-ranking CIA official told the committee the outcome could have been worse if the rescue team had tried to act sooner.

Ruppersberger said the U.S. officials in charge of the CIA annex deliberated “thoughtfully, reasonably and quickly” about whether the rescue team should wait for further security.


Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said Friday “There are still facts to learn about Benghazi and information that needs to be explained in greater detail to the American people. And this Committee will do just that,” he said.

Huff Post Lists Number of Benghazi Investigations

According to the Huffington Post, over the last 20 months, the facts and circumstances surrounding Benghazi have received unprecedented scrutiny.

Not including the current select committee hearings:

• 9 different House and Senate committees have already investigated the attacks
• 13 hearings have been conducted
• 50 briefings have taken place
• 25 transcribed interviews have been conducted
• 8 subpoenas have been issued
• more than 25,000 pages of documents have been reviewed
• 6 congressional reports have been released

No Consensus Among Democrats on Whether to Participate in Benghazi Hearings

House Democrats huddled privately Friday morning to debate whether to participate or boycott the committee. Nancy Pelosi acknowledged no consensus emerged.

Boycotting would be an unusual, though not unprecedented, move. Experts say not to be surprised if they do boycott. Sources believe that doing so would have little downside and could possibly even give Democrats momentum with their base ahead of the midterm elections.

In 2005, Democrats boycotted a special House committee set up to investigate the response to hurricane Katrina. They worried that the Republican-controlled House would “whitewash” the Bush White House of any responsibility.