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Benghazi Tag

Another day, another tiny, minuscule, pin-width beam of light shining down on who knew what, when, and how during and in the wake of the 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Most recently, we saw Sid Blumenthal, having been dragged before a Congressional committee, providing investigators with a batch of then-Secretary Clinton's private e-mails that the State Department failed to hand over. The very existence of those e-mails had members of the committee convinced that their much-maligned digging is not only justified, but necessary in the effort to figure out what was in the Administration's collective hive mind in the wake of the attacks. We already knew that Clinton and Obama spoke on the night of the Benghazi attacks; what we didn't know is what they talked about. But finally! A federal court has released a new document, the contents of which have the potential to blow this whole thing wide open. The problem? The "unclassified" document is almost completely redacted: redacted clinton email 600 wide

Sid Blumenthal's testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi created even more questions about former Secretary Clinton's private email usage. Blumenthal provided the committee with 60 new emails; emails the committee says the State Department did not provide. The State Department kicked the can back to Mrs. Clinton saying they didn't turn over the Blumenthal emails because Mrs. Clinton never passed them on to the State Department. This revelation only confirms suspicions that emails relevant to the Benghazi investigation exist, but have not been handed over to either the State Department or the House Select Committee. Fox News reports:

The New York Times has extensive reporting on the first partial batch of Hillary emails released to the public regarding Libya. This is only the first batch, and of course, we don't know what was deleted from her private server. The bottom line is that the relationship with Sidney Blumenthal is as suspicious as suspected, Hillary knew the video story was a crock, and most of all, the entirety so far demonstrates why Hillary sought to hide her activities for so long. First Batch of Hillary Clinton Emails Captures Concerns Over Libya:
The Times obtained about a third of the 850 pages of emails. They appear to back up Mrs. Clinton’s previous assertions that she did not receive classified information at her private email address. But some of the emails contain what the government calls “sensitive” information or “SBU’’ — sensitive but unclassified. This includes details of the whereabouts of State Department officials in Libya when security there was deteriorating during the 2011 revolution. One email from a year and a half before the attacks that was marked sensitive but unclassified contained the whereabouts of Mr. Stevens as he considered leaving Benghazi during the uprising against the Qaddafi regime because of the deteriorating security.
That's of great interest, because foreign hacking of the home server has been a huge concern, and not just from foreign governments. How did al Quada affiliates know where Ambassador Chris Stevens would be? At least on the date of the above email they could have obtained the information from Hillary's emails. Gizmodo, part of the Gawker Media group, has a caustic take on Hillary's security lapses:

Hillary's "Blumenthal problem" just got a lot bigger. A source close to the House Select Committee on Benghazi told the AP today that the Committee has issued a subpoena to former Hillary Clinton confidant and adviser Sidney Blumenthal. The panel wants answers from Blumenthal about his communications with Clinton during her time as Secretary of State; specifically, if he had any business arrangements with her that led him to communicate with her about Libya. Tensions regarding Clinton's involvement (or, lack thereof, if you believe she ignored the danger) in the disaster at the embassy in Benghazi are compounded by the "delays" Congressional investigators have encountered in their effort to acquire e-mail documentation of Clinton's time as Secretary of State. The two issues are hopelessly commingled, giving democrats an opportunity to accuse Gowdy and other Republicans of purposefully dragging out the investigation.
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, ranking Democrat on the panel, issued a statement Wednesday assailing the committee's GOP leadership for its handling of the subpoena.

I'm struggling to concoct a scenario more damning than this. After filing a FOIA suit, thanks to a court order Judicial Watch obtained documents from the Department of Defense and Department of State which indicate the Obama administration knew al Qaeda was planning the attack in Benghazi ten days before it happened. TEN DAYS. hillary gif benghazi FOI dept state scandal judicial watch Immediately following the 9/11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in 2012, the DOD had identified the culprits and indicated the attack had been planned "ten days or more" prior.
A Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.” The document was sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council. The heavily redacted Defense Department “information report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).” The group subscribes to “AQ ideologies:”
The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.

Hillary Clinton has finally agreed to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Today, Hillary's attorney David Kendall informed Chairman Gowdy that Mrs. Clinton will testify before Congress, but only once. In a letter released to the public on March 31, the committee officially requested Mrs. Clinton's presence for questioning. Committee Chairman Gowdy requested two interviews, a "private transcribed interview related to her email arrangement as well as her public appearance before the Committee." In his response, Mrs. Clinton's attorney David Kendall wrote there was, "no basis, logic, or precedent for such an usual request," saying Mrs. Clinton would be, "prepared to stay for the duration of the Committee's questions on the day she appears." Hillary is not willing to further disclose correspondence, nor is she willing to allow a neutral third-party to inspect her email server(s). She and her counsel maintain the State Department's records should satisfy any queries the Select Committee might have. And so the record retention ball gets lobbed back into the Department of State's court. Also relevant here is the OIG report released shortly after the revelation that Hillary had her own special private email server. As we discussed back in March:
The report also concluded that State Department employees were intentionally avoiding creating official email records, “because they do not want to make the email available in searches or fear that this availability would inhibit debate about pending decisions.”

I may not be able to read Russian anymore, but I can read people. And I can smell rats. When Hillary Clinton held her tightly-controlled press conference at the U.N. regarding the email server scandal, I read right through her, and smelled a rat. I wrote that her performance reflected Hillary’s consciousness of guilt:
When I first watched Hillary’s press conference, something jumped out at me that has been bothering me since.... Hillary did something that was a dead giveaway, reflecting a consciousness of guilt. Hillary volunteered a piece of information about which she had not yet been asked and which was not critical to her explanation of why she would not turn over the server. Apparently reading from a prepared statement, Hillary volunteered that she deleted “personal” emails... Why volunteer that she deleted personal emails, and drag the red herring across the trail to lead the discussion towards Chelsea, her mother and yoga? Remember, Hillary said she would not turn over the server because it had personal emails on it, but then inconsistently said the personal emails were not on the server because she chose “not to keep” them. Hillary gave away the game at that point to me. Hillary showed a consciousness of guilt and deliberate misdirection. Get the server.
Trey Gowdy then tried to get the server, and was informed the server had been wiped clean. Fox News reports:

President Barack Obama’s administration has been one rife with scandals. Some pertain directly to the President himself and his own actions–like the recent immigration executive order that some say unconstitutionally side-stepped Congress–and some to members of his administration, like the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS and the Secret Service’s series of embarrassments. So in the spirit of March Madness and NCAA bracketology, I crafted an Obama Administration Scandal Bracket, originally published at The Cornell Review. Obama Scandal Brackets

While writers like Ben White are encouraging Hillary to kickstart her 2016 bid immediately, the House Select Committee on Benghazi is still looking for answers. Today, Gowdy sent a letter to Hillary Clinton's counsel confirming the extension of subpoena deadline to March 27, and formally requesting the former Secretary of State surrender her email servers to a mutually agreed upon third party for forensic examination. Gowdy explained Hillary's unusual and likely unprecedented email arrangement, an arrangement that made her the sole arbiter of relevant documentation. Making note that Mrs. Clinton deleted emails, Gowdy wrote, "the deletion of emails is not normal practice once any investigation, let alone litigation, commences. The fact that she apparently deleted some emails after Congress initially requested documents raises serious concerns." The House of Representatives issued the following statement this afternoon:
Washington, DC-- Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy today sent a letter requesting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turn over the server she used for official State Department business to the State Department inspector general or a neutral third party for independent analysis of what records should be in the public domain. “Though Secretary Clinton alone is responsible for causing this issue, she alone does not get to determine its outcome,” said Gowdy, R-S.C. “That is why in the interest of transparency for the American people, I am formally requesting she turn the server over to the State Department’s inspector general or a mutually agreeable third party. “An independent analysis of the private server Secretary Clinton used for the official conduct of U.S. government business is the best way to remove politics and personal consideration from the equation. Having a neutral, third-party arbiter such as the State Department IG do a forensic analysis and document review is an eminently fair and reasonable means to determine what should be made public.

Ever since the Benghazi attack that killed an American ambassador and three other Americans, Hillary supporting liberals have been calling the incident a non-issue but facts are stubborn things. They'll undoubtedly give the same white wash to the fact that the Clinton Foundation has accepted donations from foreign governments. Yet even MSNBC's Chris Matthews has acknowledged that these issues are serious. Video via the Washington Free Beacon:

The Obama Administration may think the Benghazi controversy is settled, but for House Republicans, the fight for transparency has just begun. House Speaker John Boehner announced today that Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) will continue to chair the Select Committee on the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, during the next session of Congress. From the Speaker's Office:
“On September 11, 2012, four Americans were killed in a brutal terrorist attack in Libya. Two years later, the American people still have far too many questions about what happened that night – and why. That’s why I will reappoint Rep. Trey Gowdy and the Republican members of the House Select Committee to investigate the events in Benghazi in the 114th Congress. I look forward to the definitive report Chairman Gowdy and the Select Committee will present to the American people.”
This move comes in the wake of backlash suffered by the House Intelligence Committee, whose recently declassified report claims that Obama Administration officials were not directly responsible for the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Although Democrats say that the Benghazi committee is redundant given the contents of the report, Republicans in both chambers are convinced there's more to the story:

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's new book, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace, was released yesterday, and what it reveals has the media gaping---Democrats scrambling for a distraction. Panetta's memoir focuses on several aspects of Obama's foreign policy, but the section that's causing the most chatter highlights the complete lack of leadership shown after the attack on our embassy in Benghazi:
On the deadly 2012 siege of the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, Panetta said the administration had no indication of an attack coinciding with the Sept. 11 anniversary. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the violence. Panetta, who also served as director of the CIA, said he questioned "from the beginning" the CIA's initial assessment that the attack was the work of a mob of protesters rather than an organized assault. "It seemed to me that most spontaneous demonstrators don't arrive for a protest carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers," he said. But Panetta defended the intelligence agency, saying such work is difficult and often contradictory. "It was not clear at the time that there were two separate incidents, separated by distance and by several hours," he said.
"I didn't have any specific information, but the fact was, when you bring grenade launchers to a demonstration, there's something else going and. And I just---from the very beginning sensed that this was an attack...that this was a terrorist attack on our compound."

The House Committee tasked with uncovering what really happened when Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were murdered at the U.S. embassy in Benghazi held its first hearing today, reigniting the firestorm surrounding the State Department's alleged mishandling of diplomatic security in the region. Via ABC News:
Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina vowed to pursue the facts wherever the lead him. Opening his committee's first public hearing since its establishment four months ago, he stressed the thoroughness of the task ahead, not the need to reach immediate conclusions. "Given the gravity of the issues at hand, I am willing to risk answering the same question twice rather than risk not answering it once," said Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor leading Congress' eighth investigation of the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack in eastern Libya. Congress is still seeking documents from the Obama administration related to the attack, he said. More witnesses are being interviewed and individuals who've participated in congressional investigations will be questioned again. The special investigation was created to "find all of the facts, and I intend to do so fully," Gowdy said.
Highlighted at today's hearing was the testimony of Todd Keil, who raised concerns about out-of-date security protocols governing diplomatic security. Keil, who is a member of the Independent Panel on Best Practices, ripped into the State Department for ignoring the Panel's advice and continuing on with ineffective methods of protecting diplomats overseas:

We've seen so many Benghazi bombshells to date that have been deep-sixed by the media or flopped (60 Minutes), that I'm skeptical that this new report will damage Hillary. There will be Clintonesque attacks on the whistleblower and spin of the story as part of a vast right wing conspiracy. But if it's true, the inevitability of Hillary is seriously in doubt. From Sharyl Attkinsson, at The Daily Signal, Benghazi Bombshell: Clinton State Department Official Reveals Details of Alleged Document Review:
As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.....

Despite the high number of still unanswered questions about what happened in Benghazi, most of the media has been all too willing to ignore the story. Last night on FOX News, Bret Baier presented a special investigation called 13 Hours: The Inside Story. The title is taken from a book about what happened that night which was written by men who were there. Bret provided a preview on his blog this week:
Behind the Scenes: 13 Hours--The Inside Story I  wanted to share a few photos from my 4.5 hour interview with the men behind our special--13 Hours: The Inside Story. For the documentary, Fox News was granted exclusive access to the yet to be published book "13 HOURS: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi"  by New York Times bestselling author Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team. The book is available September 9th-- It was a pleasure getting to know these men and to hear their story--this is a firsthand account of what the annex security team witnessed and experienced in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. Their story is one you won't want to miss--they have been through a lot and say they are now as close as brothers.
Here's a promo video: