by Tom Fitton –
When the complete history is written of the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, the dishonesty and duplicity of the Obama White House will be an inescapable fact. As we celebrate Independence Day, Americans ought to be disturbed about the ethical quality of the men and women in high office. The signers of the Declaration of Independence would surely be aghast at the unethical, lawless leadership in Washington, D.C.
However, I’d like to think the Founders would be happy with the vigilance and persistence of Judicial Watch in holding our government leaders accountable for their misdeeds.
To that end, this week we released new State Department documents showing that Hillary Clinton and the State Department’s response to the Benghazi attack was immediately determined by top Obama White House officials, particularly Ben Rhodes, then-White House deputy strategic communications adviser, and Bernadette Meehan, a spokesperson for the National Security Council. The new documents were forced from the State Department under court order in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.
A September 11, 2012, email sent at 6:21 p.m. by State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland to Meehan, Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, and Clinton’s personal aide Jacob Sullivan, shows that the State Department deferred to the White House on the official response to the Benghazi attack. Referencing pending press statements by Barack Obama and Clinton, Nuland wrote: “We are holding for Rhodes clearance. BMM, pls advise asap.”
Meehan responded three minutes later, at 6:24 p.m.: “Ben is good with these and is on with Jake now too.”
Rhodes sent an email at 9:48 p.m. to senior White House and State officials on the issue: “We should let the State Department statement be our comment for the night.”
An email from Meehan, sent at 10:15 p.m. on September 11 to Rhodes, Nuland, Sullivan, Kennedy and Clinton aide Philippe Reines, further confirms the White House approval of Hillary Clinton’s statement tying the Benghazi terrorist attack to an Internet video: “All, the Department of State just released the following statement. Per Ben [Rhodes’] email below, this should be the USG comment for the night.”
The “USG comment” turned out to be Clinton’s notorious public statement, made hours after the initial terrorist attack, falsely suggesting that the Benghazi assault was a “response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”
Rhodes emailed Meehan, Sullivan and Reines at 11:45 p.m. on September 11, writing, “Fyi – we are considering releasing this tonight.” The next line is redacted. The email also included a “Readout of President’s Call to Secretary Clinton,” the contents of which are also completely redacted.
On September 12, the day after the attack, Meehan sent an email to Obama administration officials announcing that “to ensure we are all in sync on messaging for the rest of the day, Ben Rhodes will host a conference call for USG communicators on this chain at 9:15AM ET today.”
Think about this timeline. Obama and Hillary Clinton talk. The White House along with State then composes and issues Hillary Clinton’s statement falsely tying the Internet video to the attack. We can’t find any other government documents other than Hillary’s statement that September 11, 2012, night tying the attack to the video. This all leads me to conclude that Hillary Clinton originated the video lie in partnership with the Obama White House. And I’m willing to bet that the phone call earlier between Clinton and Obama set the whole lie in motion. As I told Fox News this week, if the details of the call were helpful, the details would be released. As they’re being kept secret, one can assume the details of the Obama-Clinton call are damning.
As if the new White House bombshells weren’t enough, the new documents show that the Obama administration engaged domestic and foreign Islamist groups and foreign nationals to push the Internet video narrative.
The day after the attack, Rashad Hussain, the Obama administration’s special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), sent an email to Ambassador Ufuk Gokcen, the OIC’s ambassador to the United Nations, and Cenk Uraz, an official with the OIC, pushing the video as the cause of the Benghazi attack. The OIC is supported by 57 nations and purports to be “the collective voice of the Muslim world.” The OIC is no friend of freedom and is an apologist for terrorism, to put it charitably. So this pernicious international body is, of course, a key ally for the Obama Benghazi disinformation campaign. The Obama envoy’s email has the subject line: “Urgent: Anti-Islamic Film and Violence” and reads in part:
I am sure you are considering putting a statement on the film and the related violence. In addition to the condemnation of the disgusting depictions, it will be important to emphasize the need to respond in a way that is consistent with Islamic principles, i.e. not engaging in violence and taking innocent life …
The resulting OIC statement, sent to Hussain by the OIC’s Uraz, linked the film, as requested by the Obama administration, to the Benghazi attack and suggested that the United States restrict free speech in response. The official OIC statement called the film “incitement” and stated that the attack in Benghazi and a demonstration in Cairo “emanated from emotions aroused by a production of a film had hurt [sic] the religious sentiments of Muslims. The two incidents demonstrated serious repercussions of abuse of freedom of expression.” The OIC’s statement referenced its own efforts to criminalize criticism of Islam. Hussain sent the OIC statement immediately to other Obama administration officials, including then-Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills, who thanks Hussain for the email.
The State Department withheld communications on September 12, 2012, between Hillary Clinton’s senior aide Huma Abedin and Rashad Hussain about an article passed by him about how “American Muslim leaders” were tying the video to the Benghazi attack. At the time of the Benghazi attack, Abedin had been double-dipping, working as a consultant to outside clients while continuing as a top adviser at State. Abedin’s outside clients included Teneo, a strategic consulting firm co-founded by former Bill Clinton counselor Doug Band. According to Fox News, Abedin earned $355,000 as a consultant for Teneo, in addition to her $135,000 “special government employee” compensation.
The State Department also disclosed a document, dated September 13, 2012, entitled “USG Outreach and Engagement Post Benghazi Attack.” This record details how the Obama administration reached out to domestic groups, foreign groups and governments in a full-court press to tie the video to the Benghazi attack. The document “captures USG efforts to engage outside voices to encourage public statements that denounce the attack make it clear that the anti-Muslim film does not reflect American [sic].” The document highlights the use of Hillary Clinton’s statement tying the terrorist attack to an Internet video. The “outreach” document also highlights “Special Envoy’s engagement” with the OIC and the “Saudi Ambassador.”
The documents show that the Internet video was raised in a September 15 discussion between Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The “eyes only” “secret” document was partially declassified. Davutoglu “called the controversial anti-Islam video a ‘clear provocation,’ but added that wise people should not be provoked by it.” The next line is blacked out and the markings show that it will not be declassified until 2027, more than 12 years from now.
Another email, evidently from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), sent to Meehan and other top White House and administration officials, shows that the administration took no action to deploy military assets almost five hours after the attack begun:
OSD has received queries asking if military assets are being sent to either location [Libya and Egypt]. Have responded “not to our knowledge.”
The State Department referred Judicial Watch to documents in the batch of 55,000 emails allegedly turned over by Hillary Clinton and searched in response to the court order in this lawsuit. These emails were published on the State Department’s web site, but are also available here. In addition, the State Department produced new documents containing Hillary Clinton emails. In one such email (September 11, 2012, at 11:40 p.m.) from Clinton to Nuland, Sullivan and top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, with the subject line “Chris Smith,” Clinton writes: “Cheryl told me the Libyans confirmed his death. Should we announce tonight or wait until morning?”
Nuland responds: “We need to ck family’s druthers. If they are OK, we should put something out from you tonight.” Mills then replies to Nuland, “Taking S [Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] off.” (Sean Smith, not “Chris Smith” was one of four Americans killed at Benghazi.)
On September 13, 2012, Politico’s Mike Allen sent then-National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor an Independent.co.uk news article entitled “America was warned of embassy attack but did nothing.” The story reported that “senior officials are increasingly convinced” the Benghazi attack was “not the result of spontaneous anger.” Vietor forwarded the story to other top White House and State Department officials, but Vietor’s accompanying comments and the comments of other top Obama appointees are completely redacted. The administration also redacted several emails of top State officials discussing a statement by a Romney campaign spokesman criticizing the “security situation in Libya.”
In April 2014, Judicial Watch first obtained smoking-gun documents showing that it was the Obama White House’s public relations effort that falsely portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.”
The documents include an email by White House operative Ben Rhodes sent on Friday, September 14, 2012, with the subject line: “RE: PREP CALL with Susan, Saturday at 4:00 pm ET.” This “prep” was for Ambassador Susan Rice in advance of her appearances on Sunday news shows to discuss the Benghazi attack and deflect criticism of the administration’s security failures by blaming the attack on spontaneous protests linked to the video.
The email listed as one of the administration’s key talking points:
“Goal”: “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”
So the goal is not to tell the truth. Just so we’re clear on that much.
What we have uncovered in just the past few days is part of a larger continuum.
Documents released by our team last month further confirm that the Obama administration, including Hillary Clinton, Rice and Obama immediately knew the attack was an al-Qaeda terrorist attack.
These latest documents show the Obama White House was behind the big lie, first promoted by Hillary Clinton, that an Internet video caused the Benghazi terrorist attack. Top White House aide Ben Rhodes, Hillary Clinton and many key Obama officials pushed others, including Islamist terror allies, to tie the Internet video to the attacks. How disturbing it is that the Obama administration would use Islamist radicals to push the false Benghazi story in a way that would abridge free speech. It is little wonder that Mrs. Clinton and the entire Obama administration have fought so hard to keep these documents from the American people. All evidence now points to Hillary Clinton, with the approval of the White House, as being the source of the Internet video lie.
Obama and Hillary Clinton failed the nation, and most terribly, U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, who were both killed in the Benghazi terrorist attack on September 11, 2012. Several hours after the initial assault, a second terrorist attack took place targeting a different compound located just one mile away. Two CIA contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were killed in this second attack and 10 others were injured. The Obama gang failed those two heroes, as well.
We aim to vindicate them and that’s why we are happy to do the work of an AWOL Congress, media and federal bureaucracy in ferreting out the truth about this continuing scandal.
Supreme Court Considers
Racial Favoritism Challenge
After the constitutional horror show of last week, the Supreme Court acted appropriately this week in granting cert in a case that could further the end of pernicious racial favoritism in college admissions. Your JW, in partnership with our frequent amici brief partner, the Allied Educational Foundation (AEF), filed an amici brief earlier this year supporting the request to the Court to take up the issue again.
Since 2005, the University of Texas at Austin has used race in its admissions process, purportedly to achieve greater diversity in its student body. Applicants to the university are currently required to complete and submit a standardized “Apply Texas” application, which requires applicants to identify themselves by race, and state whether they are of “Hispanic or Latino” ethnicity.
Abigail Fisher was denied admission to UT in 2008. She filed suit, alleging that the university had discriminated against her and co-plaintiff Rachel Multer Michalewicz because of their race.
In January 2011, the Fifth Circuit Court ruled in favor of UT, prompting Fisher to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. In June 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Circuit had failed to apply “strict scrutiny” to the university’s race-based admissions policy, remanding the case to the circuit court, which on July 15, 2014, again ruled in favor of UT. This brings us to the present moment, as the Supreme Court will once again review the Fifth Circuit’s rubber-stamping of UT’s race-based admissions program.
Of course, liberals at the Supreme Court helped created this racialist approach to education opportunity. In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that race-based admissions policies at the University of Michigan School of Law were constitutional. I hope that decision will be subjected to fresh scrutiny when the current Supreme Court considers the Fisher case during the term that begins in October 2015.
The Supreme Court can’t act soon enough. As we argued in our most recent brief:
Human race and ethnicity are inherent ambiguous social constructs that have no validity in science. Invoking race and ethnicity to promote diversity relies on racial and ethnic stereotyping of individuals’ viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences. Admission policies, such as the policy enacted by the University, which seek to classify applicants by crude, inherently ambiguous, and unsound racial and ethnic categories to promote diversity, but which instead promote racial and ethnic stereotyping, can never be narrowly tailored to promote a compelling government interest…
By repeatedly refusing to uphold the basic right to equal protection under the law, the Fifth Circuit Court is attempting to turn pseudo-science into settled law, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling to the contrary. The University of Texas should focus on educating its students rather than running a divisive and unlawful racial spoils program. The admissions policies of the University of Texas at Austin are at odds with the Constitution and promote racial theories that have no basis in science. It is time for the Supreme Court to apply the U.S. Constitution and law so as to put an end to this unlawful practice.
Happy Independence Day
On July 4th, 1776, our Founding Fathers took the extraordinary step of not only declaring American independence from the British Empire, but also laying the groundwork for a nation in which every citizen was equal in the eyes of the law. The Declaration of Independence, along with our Constitution, represents the best of the American spirit – a commitment to freedom, representative government and the rule of law.
As you take time to celebrate Independence Day this weekend, I hope you’ll join me in reflecting on the blessings of our liberty, the sacrifices of those who have died to win and preserve it, and the need to every day remain vigilant, safeguarding that liberty against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
However, these freedoms come at a price, one that millions of Americans throughout our history have paid with their blood. In fact, since the American Revolution, more than one million American service men and women have given their lives in defense of the United States, and hundreds of thousands more have been injured in the line of duty, many times in ways that fundamentally change their lives. Their sacrifices will never be in vain, however, because what they have fought for is nothing less than the cause of liberty. I hope you get the chance to thank a veteran or two this weekend – they are the reason why the American experiment birthed by Washington, Jefferson and the rest of our Founding Fathers remains alive and well today.
That American experiment, however, will always need to be defended by citizens, not just its brave military members. Though we enjoy the freedoms I mentioned earlier, there are those who constantly seek to limit those freedoms, or take them away altogether. So I close with some of the words that gave birth to our nation, from the Declaration of Independence, words that highlight our God-given rights and warn despots that use of government to usurp those rights won’t be tolerated:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
As I implied in the Benghazi report above, you can count on Judicial Watch to fight the “long train” of Big Government “abuses and usurpations.” Thank you for your support in our effort to preserve our nation and inalienable rights. On behalf of all of us here at Judicial Watch, I wish you and yours a wonderful Independence Day.
God bless you and the United States of America.
Tom Fitton – President
And the www.NationalWritersSyndicate.com as well!