Warning: This Debunked Benghazi Myth Is Back On Fox

Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge recycled House Republicans' discredited, year-old allegation that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed off on reducing security at the Benghazi compound ahead of the 2012 attack there, scandalizing a State Department cable bearing her signature.

Fox Resurrects Tired Hoax: Clinton's Signature Shows She “Personally” Approved Security Reduction

Herridge: “Mrs. Clinton Personally Signed Off On Reducing Security” In Benghazi, According To Letter From House Republicans. On the July 31 edition of America's Newsroom, Herridge promoted House Republicans' accusation that Clinton's signature on an April 2012 State Department cable proves that the then-Secretary “personally signed off on reducing security” in Benghazi:

HERRIDGE: And while the State Department and Mrs. Clinton have said the security decisions were made by mid-level managers, this letter to the president from the five chairmen of the House committees investigating Benghazi describes a cable, which Fox News understands was never produced to the intelligence committee, where Mrs. Clinton personally signed off on reducing security. And that letter reads, in part, quote, “An April 19, 2012, cable bearing Secretary Clinton's signature acknowledged requests for additional security but nevertheless ordered the withdrawal of security assets to proceed as planned.” [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 7/31/14]

Herridge: 2013 Letter Says Clinton Approved Reduction Of Security, Though “Democrats Say” That's “Misleading.” Herridge continued scandalizing Clinton's signature on Happening Now, describing a “2013 letter” that claimed Clinton approved a reduction of security in Benghazi. Herridge then gave the caveat, “Democrats say ... that the cable had an automated signature”:

HERRIDGE: [T]his 2013 letter to the president describes a cable Mrs. Clinton signed off on, reducing security. And the letter reads in part, quote, “An April 19, 2012, cable bearing Secretary Clinton's signature acknowledged requests for additional security but nevertheless ordered the withdrawal of security assets to proceed as planned.” But Democrats say Republicans are being misleading, that the cable had an automated signature and there is no evidence Mrs. Clinton personally reviewed or signed off on the request. [Fox News, Happening Now, 7/31/14]

Experts And Fact Checkers: No Evidence Clinton Was Personally Aware Of Cable, As Secretary's Signature Is Protocol On All Cables

Wash Post Fact Checker: “Absurd” To Claim Clinton's Signature On Cable Shows She Personally Approved Security Reduction. Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler, who spent nine years covering the State Department, awarded four Pinnochios to the claim -- made in 2013 by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Fox News -- that Clinton's signature is evidence that she had personal knowledge of the security reduction. He dismissed the notion as a “whopper”:

[E]very cable from an embassy bears the “signature” of the ambassador -- and every cable from Washington bears the “signature” of the secretary of state. 


[E]very single cable from Washington gets the secretary's name at the bottom, even if the secretary happens to be on the other side of the world at the time.


At this point, Issa has no basis or evidence to show that Clinton had anything to do with this cable -- any more than she personally approved a cable on proper e-mail etiquette. The odds are extremely long that Clinton ever saw or approved this memo, giving us confidence that his inflammatory and reckless language qualifies as a “whopper.” [The Washington Post, Fact Checker, 4/26/13]

Independent State Dept. Investigator: It's “Total Bullshit” To Claim Signature Shows Clinton Personally Signed Cable. Richard Shinnick, a former foreign service officer and member of the independent State Department Accountability Review Board that investigated the Benghazi attacks, told Media Matters' Joe Strupp:

“Every single cable going out is signed 'Clinton,' it is the normal procedure,” Shinnick said. “Millions of cables come into the operation center every year, not thousands, millions. And they are all addressed Hillary Clinton.”

“So you can make a story that Hillary saw a cable and didn't act on it or sent a cable out; it's all bullshit, it's all total bullshit,” Shinnick stressed. “I can't be any clearer than that. I read those stories and fortunately or unfortunately the people on the ARB understood that. If you don't want to believe that, then go chase a story.” [Media Matters, 4/25/13]

Foreign Policy: Secretary Clinton's Signature Appeared on “Every Single Cable.” In 2013, Foreign Policy magazine cited a State Department official who explained that as a matter of protocol, Clinton's signature is added to every correspondence with American embassies and outposts the world over:

It's not clear who in the State Department sent the April 19 response. But as a general rule, “every single cable sent from Washington to the field is sent over the secretary of state's name,” a former State Department official noted, adding, “Though they are trying to make this new, it's not. After 30+ hearings and briefings, thousands of pages, this has all been addressed.” [Foreign Policy, 4/23/13]

For more on how right-wing media have promoted this long-discredited Benghazi hoax, click here, here, and here.