The Washington Examiner is presenting emails released six months ago as new to falsely claim that Hillary Clinton “is only now facing questions about how she characterized” the 2012 terror attacks on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi.
On November 30, the State Department published 7,800 pages of Clinton's private emails. Reporting on those emails under the headline “New Clinton emails contradict Benghazi testimony,” the Examiner reported:
A new batch of Hillary Clinton's emails made public Monday by the State Department indicate the former secretary of state was worried about whether she had overplayed the administration's Benghazi narrative, blaming the attack on a demonstration over a YouTube clip, less than two weeks after four Americans at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi were killed.
More than three years after the attack, Clinton is only now facing questions about how she characterized the raid.
The Examiner cites a September 24, 2012, email from Clinton aide Jake Sullivan to Clinton two weeks after the Benghazi attack in which he provides her with a compilation of her statements on the attacks and notes that she “never said spontaneous or characterized the motives” of the attackers but was instead “careful in your first statement to say we were assessing motive and method.”
Unfortunately for the Examiner, that email isn't news. In fact, it was released by the Select Committee six months ago and was reported at the time by Reuters, Los Angeles Times, The Hill, New York Post, MSNBC, and CNN, among others.
And despite the Examiner's attempt to scandalize the email, it's not surprising that Clinton had sought to determine if her public statements on the attacks had been accurate given evolving assessments made by the intelligence community in the weeks following the attack.
Initial intelligence suggested that the Benghazi attacks had grown out of protests against an anti-Islam YouTube video, resulting in a set of CIA talking points released to congressional and administration officials on September 15 that stated 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 diplomatic post.”
Then-National Security Advisor Susan Rice was heavily criticized for using those talking points during a series of September 16 media interviews. But the intelligence continued to evolve and on September 24 -- the day of the Sullivan email -- the CIA changed its assessment, finding based on video footage and FBI interviews that no protest had occurred outside of the Benghazi facility.
The November 30 Examiner article also offered a second false attack on Clinton, claiming that an email that is actually newly released contradicts Clinton's October 22 testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
The Examiner cited a single email forwarded to Clinton on the night of the Benghazi attack as contradicting her testimony to the Benghazi Committee that she “conducted the majority of her work outside of email”:
Email sent the night of the attack indicate Clinton did indeed receive updates about the unfolding violence in Benghazi via her private, unsecured email network, contrary to her testimony in an Oct. 22 hearing before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Clinton argued last month that she had conducted the majority of her work outside of email and that she had been receiving live updates about the attack in person, not on her private server. When describing her modes of communication she used on the night of the attack, Clinton cited secure phones and the SCIF, or sensitive compartmented information facility used for viewing classified material, in her home.
But Clinton defended the lack of Benghazi updates among her private emails by arguing that most of her communications did not take place over email.
This argument makes no sense. By definition, Clinton conducting “the majority of her work outside of email” and “arguing that most of her communications did not take place over email” suggests that some communication did take place over email. At no point in her testimony did Clinton state that she received no email communications on the night of the attack. (In fact, she did testify that beyond secure phones she used “other equipment that kept [her] in touch with the State Department at all times.”)
And while the Examiner wrote that Clinton said she conducted most of her work outside of email in order to “defend the lack of Benghazi updates among her private emails,” her testimony actually indicates that she made that remark while explaining why she did not have emails concerning an April 2012 attack on an U.N. convoy in Benghazi.
That hasn't stopped Hugh Hewitt, the Salem Radio host who serves as a panelist on CNN's Republican primary debates, from trying to badger CNN anchor Chris Cuomo with the Examiner report as “evidence crucial to” the election:
She testified though that she did not use her server on night of attack. Turns out she did. https://t.co/6uDqd1K8Jq
-- Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) December 1, 2015
-- Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) December 1, 2015
During a subsequent appearance on Cuomo's New Day program on December 1, Hewitt suggested that the GOP candidates should use the next debate to “point out that yesterday, for example, new e-mails showed up that make it abundantly clear that Mrs. Clinton lied during her testimony before the Benghazi committee about not receiving e-mails on her private server the night of Benghazi.”
Conservatives have made so many fraudulent Benghazi attacks that they are starting to lose track of them.