Monday, May 25, 2015

News Wrap: State Department releases Clinton emails on Benghazi

Could Clinton cash scandal shut Hillary Clinton out of White House?
Published on May 22, 2015
Republican Strategist Adam Goodman and The Weekly Standard Senior Writer John McCormack on the Clinton Foundation scandal and Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi emails.
Watch Gerri Willis talk about Elections on Willis Report.

Hillary Clinton campaigns in N.H., discusses email release
Published on May 22, 2015
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she's glad the State Department is releasing emails related to Benghazi. WMTW News 8's Paul Merrill reports. Subscribe to WMTW on YouTube now for more:

News Wrap: State Department releases Clinton emails on Benghazi
Published on May 22, 2015
In our news wrap Friday, the State Department released nearly 300 emails from then-Secretary Hillary Clinton on the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. One was heavily redacted at the FBI’s request. Also, at least 40 people died in Western Mexico from a gun battle between police and drug gang members.

Hillary Clinton Emails: Classified Information On Benghazi In Document Release

By @GingerGibson on
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton talks to the media about her emails that were released by the State Department on Friday after a campaign appearance at the Smuttynose Brewery while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in Hampton, New Hampshire, May 22, 2015. Reuters/Brian Snyder 
WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of pages of emails that were sent and received by Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state illustrate her close ties to advisor Sidney Blumenthal in the months before and after the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. The emails -- only a fraction of the correspondences sent on her private email server but according to State all those dealing with the 2012 attack -- are drawing criticism from Republicans after the FBI blocked the release of one message. 

The emails provided no immediate smoking gun or further fuel for Republican attacks. But it is unlikely the release will quiet criticism from Republicans. Given time to compare the emails to timelines, other public statements and relevant context, Republicans may find other grounds for criticism. And it's likely the GOP will call for Clinton to make the entire server available for inspection. 

The most noteworthy item in the emails was a portion that was missing. A piece of an email regarding reports of arrests of those believed to be responsible for the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in Benghazi was redacted by request of the FBI. The information wasn’t classified at the time of its sending but was deemed so in anticipation of Friday’s release.

Republicans focused on the fact that information now deemed sensitive had been on her server. “The impact is still not fully known, but it’s troubling that highly sensitive information, now deemed classified, was put at risk on her off-the-books server,” Republican Chairman Reince Priebus said. “Every new revelation is a constant reminder that Hillary Clinton can’t be trusted. Until she hands over the secret server to an independent investigator, the American people will never get the truth.”

Clinton told reporters in New Hampshire that she was aware of the request from the FBI to classify that portion, “but that doesn't change the fact all of the information in the emails was handled appropriately," according to The Associated Press.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, the top Republican on the House Benghazi Committee, suggested the released emails -- reviewed by Clinton’s lawyers before they were released -- left unanswered questions. “It is important to remember these email messages are just one piece of information that cannot be completely evaluated or fully understood without the total record,” Gowdy said in a statement. “The Committee is working to collect and evaluate all of the relevant and material information necessary to evaluate the full range of issues in context.”
Democrats argue the emails absolve Clinton of accusations that she ordered American forces not to try to rescue Stevens and the other Americans killed in the attacks. “Instead of the selective leaking that has happened so far, the American people can now read all of these emails and see for themselves that they contain no evidence to back up claims that Secretary Clinton ordered a stand-down,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Benghazi Committee said in a statement.

Clinton has agreed to testify before the House Benghazi Committee, initially saying she would be willing to do so before the end of May. But Gowdy has insisted that all documents in the possession of the State Department be turned over first. State officials have said it could take until January to finish reviewing and make them available. Whether the release on Friday could speed Clinton’s testimony remains unclear.
The emails did offer some insights into Clinton’s routines and how she interacted with her staff. Emails show that she frequently asked her staff to print documents. Her staff kept a detailed schedule for her, indicating to her and top aides whether her husband Bill Clinton was spending the night in Washington, D.C., or at their home in New York. 

More than a year before the attacks, Clinton was receiving regular correspondence from advisors outside the State Department about the situation in Libya. Blumenthal would send her long memos, detailing the political situation in the country and elsewhere in the region or quoting his contacts who dealt with the government. Clinton often forwarded those emails to her staff, requesting each time that they be printed.

Blumenthal wasn’t the only one weighing in on the situation. On March 30, 2011, Anne-Marie Slaughter, formerly a State Department employee, wrote Clinton to compliment her on her picture in the New York Times and to offer her thoughts on the situation in Libya. “For what it's worth, I am VERY dubious about arming the Libyan rebels. Our best bet is to keep pressure on BOTH sides to force a diplo solution.”
The emails also provided few new details on some of the most controversial elements surrounding the Benghazi attacks, including the initial blaming of an anti-Muslim video and the talking points that were created to detail to the State Department’s response.

Two weeks after the Sept. 27 attacks, Clinton was still receiving updates about the status of the video that had raised so much controversy. Denis McDonough, now the White House Chief of Staff who at the time was the Deputy National Security Advisor, sent Clinton and other top State Department officials the office and mobile phone numbers of Google CEO Larry Page and YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar. 

Top aide Jacob Sullivan emailed Clinton after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on all five Sunday-morning news shows to discuss the attacks. He sent her transcripts from all the appearances, and provided commentary on her ABC “This Week” interview. “She wasn't asked about whether we had any Intel,” Sullivan wrote to Clinton. “But she did make clear our view that this started spontaneously and then evolved. The only troubling sentence relates to the investigation, specifically: ‘And we'll see when the investigation unfolds whether what was — what transpired in Benghazi might have unfolded differently in different circumstances.’ But she got pushed there.” 


Hillary Clinton's Benghazi emails show frequent, unsolicited updates from adviser

Hillary Clinton
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, speaking May 21, 2015, to child care workers in Chicago, turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department last year. A House panel investigating the Benghazi attacks reviewed messages about Libya that are expected to be released in the coming days. (The Associated Press)
By The Associated Press
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on May 21, 2015 at 2:18 PM, updated May 21, 2015 at 3:20 PM

WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received monthly missives about the growing unrest in Libya from a longtime friend who was previously barred by the White House from working for her as a government employee, according to emails received on her personal account.
The messages show the role played by Sidney Blumenthal, who was working for the Clinton family foundation and advising a group of entrepreneurs trying to win business from the Libyan transitional government. Blumenthal repeatedly wrote dispatches about the events in Libya to Clinton, who often forwarded them to her aides at the State Department.
Clinton's earlier efforts to hire Blumenthal, who has spent nearly two decades working for the Clinton family, as a State Department employee had been rejected by Obama administration officials who said they feared his role spreading harsh attacks against Obama in the 2008 presidential primaries would cause discomfort among members of their new White House team.
Clinton is the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, which has heightened the scrutiny of her use of a private email account and server while serving as secretary of state.
Blumenthal's continued role was revealed in nearly 350 pages of emails, published Thursday by The New York Times, about the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Last year, Clinton gave the State Department 55,000 pages of emails that she said pertained to her work as secretary sent from the personal address she used while at the agency. The messages about the events in Libya were given for review to a special House panel investigating the attacks. They are expected to be released by the State Department in the coming days after months of delay.
The panel, which was initially formed to investigate Stevens' death, has become a vehicle to broadly question Clinton's tenure at the State Department, revealing potential ammunition for Republican attacks on the 2016 campaign trail. This week, the panel subpoenaed Blumenthal to testify on Capitol Hill.
There is nothing in the emails to suggest that Clinton was actively soliciting Blumenthal's advice or alleged intelligence information, although the documents contain few replies she may have sent to him. Her responses are polite, in one case thanking him for "useful" information.
Much of the contents deal with the internal infighting that still plagues Libya, as weak political leaders failed to disarm powerful revolutionary militias and different armed commanders battled among themselves for the nation's spoils.
The evening after the Benghazi attack, Blumenthal forwarded to Clinton an analysis of the situation from former CIA official Tyler Drumheller which purported to contain information from "sources with direct access to the Libyan National Transitional Council as well as the highest levels of European governments as well as Western intelligence and security services."
The memo said a top Libyan official, Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, had told close associates that the Benghazi attack was carried out by the militant group Ansar al-Sharia and that Libyan security officials believed the group "took advantage of cover provided by" demonstrations against the internet video seen as insulting to the Prophet Mohammed to conduct it.
The memo, citing an unidentified source passing on information from unnamed Libyan security officials, said that 21 members of Ansar al-Sharia had joined with about 2,000 demonstrators outside the Benghazi facility. Citing the same source, the memo said that some Libyan officials believed the protest was organized solely as cover for the attack.
The unidentified source cited by Drumheller said some Libyan security officials had told el-Magariaf that the group had been planning the attack for about a month.
Clinton forwarded Blumenthal's email to her deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan with the instruction, "We should get around this asap," to which Sullivan replied, "Will do." Clinton also forwarded the email to another person, whose identity is redacted, with the instruction "pls print."
Other emails to Clinton from Blumenthal in the aftermath of the attack offer additional material from similar unnamed sources describing Egyptian and Libyan governments' concerns about the situation and growing sectarian violence. They also contained rumor and speculation about various internal Libyan government deliberations.
In January 2012, eight months before the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. outpost, he tells Clinton how 2,000 disgruntled veterans, supported by students, attacked the Benghazi headquarters of Libya's struggling, post-Gadhafi government. They threw Molotov cocktails and beat government employees, he claimed, and destroyed equipment and files.
Some of Blumenthal's analysis was questioned by State Department officials and by even Clinton. Gene Cretz, Stevens' predecessor as U.S. ambassador to Libya, described one note as "odd," and saying the author appeared to have confused two individuals with similar names.
Passing on an April Blumenthal note, Clinton wrote Sullivan: "This one strains credulity. What do you think?"
The report claimed French and British intelligence services were activating long-standing contacts with tribal leaders in Libya, encouraging them to establish a breakaway, semi-autonomous area.
"Definitely," Sullivan responded, likening it to "a thin conspiracy theory."
From time to time, Blumenthal commented on the administration's political strategy. In October 2012, a month before President Barack Obama was re-elected, he also passed along a news article predicting that the Republicans might try to use Benghazi as a campaign tool in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election. Five hours later, Clinton replied to Blumenthal, saying: "Thanks. I'm pushing to the WH."
At the same time, according to the time stamp on the email, she also forwarded the article to Sullivan with the notation "Be sure Ben knows they need to be ready for this line of attack." The identity of "Ben" is not disclosed but may be a reference to Obama's deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes. Sullivan replied, "Will do," according to the emails.
In an Oct. 7, conversation chain, Blumenthal invited the secretary of state to dinner at his home at an unspecified date after the November election. "Bill can come, too, if he's in town. Whatever works." Clinton's reply to the invitation, if there was one, was not included.
-- The Associated Press


Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi! We will not forget and we will not let HER forget!!

  1. It's the latest in a string of admissions from the foundation that it didn't always abide by a 2008 ethics agreement to disclose its funding sources publicly.
  2. The State Department on Friday released 296 emails that come from a personal address Hillary Clinton used while she was secretary of state. All those emails relate to the 2012 attack on an American outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The State Department released the emails at Clinton's request. Those emails were also given to a government ...
  1. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received monthly missives about the growing unrest in Libya from a longtime friend who was previously barred by the White House from working for her as a government employee, according to emails received on her personal account. The messages show the role played ...
  2. Today the State Department has released 296 emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail account related to the Sept. 2012 terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The documents made public today were provided to the House Select Committee on Benghazi several months ago in response to its request for more information about the incident that remains the ...
  3. Today the State Department has released 296 emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton???s private e-mail account related to Benghazi. 

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