The public conversation in the media has largely moved past the Benghazi attack in favor of a focus on President Trump. However, the 2012 incident–which resulted in the death a US ambassador and three other Americans–is now receiving renewed attention.
A lawsuit by the watchdog group, Judicial Watch, is forcing the release of documents related to the Benghazi attack. The redacted emails indicate that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were immediately aware of the premeditated terrorist nature of the assault–despite their initial claims that it was a spontaneous response to a video about Islam.
In May, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered that the US State Department will provide Judicial Watch with “eight identical paragraphs” of previously redacted emails of Obama administration communication relating to the Benghazi incident.
The emails in question had the subject line “Quick Summary of POTUS Calls to Presidents of Libya and Egypt,” and were summaries of phone calls made by Obama to Egyptian and Libyan leaders immediately following the Benghazi attack.
Judge Jackson ordered the handover of documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the US State Department in September 2014. The State Department had failed to produce Benghazi-related documents that Judicial Watch was authorized to request under FOIA.
The original request by Judicial Watch for documents from September 11-15 of 2012 was as follows:
“All records related to notes, updates, or reports created in response to the September 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. Consulate 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.”
Although Judge Jackson ruled in the watchdog group’s favor, the State Department has been slow to follow-through with commitments to produce documents, Judicial Watch has reported. As a result, they have petitioned the judge to issue an additional order to the State Department.
The likely explanation for the slow-moving nature of the State Department is that the emails highlight Obama and Secretary Clinton’s intention of misleading the public about the nature of the Benghazi attack.
State Department officials repeatedly pressured their own internal staff and the FBI not to label the emails “classified,” in order to conceal from the public the fact that the emails–found on Clinton’s private server–contained high-level national security information.
CNS News reports that the United States House Select Committee on Benghazi discovered Clinton statements confirming her knowledge of the truth surrounding the Benghazi attack–in which US Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens was killed. Clinton said, “We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack–not a protest.”
Despite this knowledge, both Obama and Clinton maintained the narrative of the attack being the result of a video–a move to protect Obama’s reputation during the 2012 presidential election.
Fox News reports that the Coptic Christian filmmaker who made the video, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, now lives in a homeless shelter after the accusations by the Obama administration destroyed his reputation. Nakoula stated, “I don’t believe in democracy anymore. I don’t think there is such a thing as freedom of speech.”
Even under President Trump, the State Department, currently staffed by large numbers of Obama-era holdovers, continues to protect Clinton and Obama. It remains to be seen whether the new president will reverse this course.