This NY Post Op-Ed Attacking Clinton Aide Cheryl D. Mills Is Riddled With Inaccuracies

The New York Post ran an op-ed pushing falsehoods and reckless speculation to attack Cheryl D. Mills, the former counselor and chief of staff to Hillary Clinton during her time at the State Department, in order to accuse her of having a “long track record of hiding Clinton documents.”

NY Post Op-Ed Attempts To Smear Clinton Adviser Cheryl Mills

NY Post Op-Ed Claims Hillary Clinton's “Consigliore” Cheryl Mills Has “A Long Track Record” Of Covering Up Scandals. In a May 17 op-ed in the New York Post, Paul Sperry called on Hillary Clinton's former chief of staff and counselor Cheryl D. Mills to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, accusing Mills of helping to cover-up the former secretary of state's scandals and having a “long track record of hiding Clinton documents.” [New York Post, 5/17/15]

But Phony Attacks Rely On Falsehoods And Baseless Speculation

CLAIM: Court Accused Mills Of “Loathsome” Conduct, Implicating Her In Orchestration Of Email Cover-Up. The NY Post op-ed suggested that Mills had been implicated by a federal judge who called her conduct “loathsome” in an opinion, speculating that she was involved in the orchestration of a cover-up regarding missing emails from former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton:

At the same time, a federal judge ruled that Mills “failed miserably” to take proper steps to search for and recover 1.8 million Executive Office of the President and Office of the First Lady emails under subpoena in the Monica Lewinsky and Filegate scandal investigations, after computer contractors discovered them mysteriously missing from the automated White House archiving system. Mills, who was in charge of finding the lost email, conveniently made “the most critical error” in recovering them, US District Judge Royce Lamberth concluded in a 63-page opinion, adding that he found her actions “loathsome.” [New York Post, 5/17/15]

FACT: Court Found “Simply No Evidence That [Mills Was] Motivated By An Intent To Engage In A Conspiracy Or To Obstruct Justice.” But Sperry failed to acknowledge the fact that the same federal court determined there was “simply no evidence” that Mills was involved in a conspiracy or attempt to obstruct justice. [United States District Court for the District of Columbia, accessed 5/17/15]

CLAIM: Mills Was Accused Of Obstruction Of Justice. The Post op-ed sensationalized a demand from Republicans on the House Oversight Committee to charge Mills with obstruction of justice for having “concealed” a series of “subpoenaed emails and other documents detailing allegedly illegal fundraising activity between the White House and the Democratic National Committee”:

In another scandal, Mills “concealed” so many subpoenaed emails and other documents detailing allegedly illegal fundraising activity between the White House and the Democratic National Committee -- specifically, Hillary's illegal integration of White House and DNC computer databases -- that staff lawyers for the House Government Oversight Committee in 1998 sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department demanding federal prosecutors charge Mills with obstruction of justice and perjury. [New York Post, 5/17/15]

FACT: Partisan Republican Lobbed “Unsubstantiated” Accusation At Mills. Republican Rep. David McIntosh (IN) from the House Oversight Committee accused Mills of obstruction of justice in 1998, and a subsequent report from Democrats on the Committee explained that “the majority makes unsubstantiated accusations that smear the reputation” of Mills and that the allegations against her were not supported by the record. The report concluded:

All of the majority's allegations relating to Ms. Mills essentially boil down to a disagreement between the majority and the White House about the relevance of two documents. Disputes between lawyers over the relevance of documents are commonplace and legitimate. What is extraordinary is the majority's attempt to elevate this run-of-the-mill document dispute into a federal criminal case. Not only do the majority's accusations lack foundation in fact, but they also set a dangerous precedent: that to disagree with Mr. McIntosh on the relevance of documents is to risk being publicly smeared and called a criminal. [House Report 105-828 accessed 5/17/15]

CLAIM: Mills “Sorted Through Key Benghazi Documents And Decided Which Ones To Withhold From An Independent Review Board.” Sperry accused Mills of having personally sorted through documents related to the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya in order to decide which ones she would turn over to the State Department's Accountability Review Board (ARB) for investigation. [New York Post, 5/17/15]

FACT: Baseless Claim That Mills Withheld Documents Is Based Solely On Speculation From Discredited Journalist, Disgruntled Employee. In September 2014, discredited investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson baselessly suggested that Cheryl Mills had removed damaging documents on Benghazi rather than turn them over to the Accountability Review Board for investigation, a claim denied by the State Department and based solely on speculations from a disgruntled employee after he was disciplined for his “lack of leadership” and engagement by the ARB. [Media Matters For America, 9/15/14]

CLAIM: Mills “Leaned On” Benghazi Witness And Tried To Intimidate Him With “An Angry Phone Call To Stop Cooperating With Investigators.” The Post op-ed claimed that Cheryl Mills attempted to intimidate Deputy Ambassador to Libya Gregory Hicks into not cooperating with Benghazi investigators with “an angry phone call”:

She also leaned on witnessses. Deputy ambassador to Libya Gregory Hicks testified before Congress in 2013 that Mills told him in an angry phone call to stop cooperating with investigators. [New York Post, 5/17/15]

FACT: Benghazi Witness Admitted He'd Received No Direct Criticism Or Reprimand From Mills. While being questioned before Congress by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Hicks elaborated on the phone call he received from Cheryl Mills, at the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's chief-of-staff. Hicks clarified that he had received no direct criticism from Mills. It was the “tone of the conversation,” he testified, that led him to believe Mills was unhappy with him. [Media Matters for America, 5/11/13]