by Tom Fitton –
Yesterday, I had the honor of attending part of Benghazi Select Committee hearing featuring Hillary Clinton. Joining me was Judicial Watch attorney Ramona Cotca, one of the key JW attorneys litigating the federal open records lawsuits that forced both the creation of the Select Committee and the disclosure of Hillary Clinton’s illicit email system. As the Washington Post pointed out in a not-too-friendly piece, this hearing would not have happened but for Judicial Watch:
It was Judicial Watch that sued the State Department for e-mails that found White House aides collaborating on talking points about the attack, and it was those e-mails that had prodded the Republican majority to create the select committee.
Judicial Watch supporters should know that we were able to get into the packed hearing room thanks to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who was one of few Republicans House members who attended the hearing as a spectator. Rep. Gohmert actually took the time to personally escort us into the hearing room.
The hearings were hit and miss for truth and I can’t possibly catalog all the lies and evasions of Mrs. Clinton yesterday. It was good to see Mrs. Clinton questioned on documents uncovered for the American people long ago by Judicial Watch. AND I can tell you the liberal Big Media is lying when it says that Hillary Clinton escaped unscathed. How can that be when the Committee finally released an email showing that Hillary Clinton knew on the night of the attack that it was a terrorist hit and had nothing to do with a video? Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) detailed the devastating facts (transcript via RealClearPolitics):
I want to show you a few things here. You’re looking at an e- mail you sent to your family.
Here’s what you said at 11:00 that night, approximately one hour after you told the American people it was a video, you say to your family, “Two officers were killed today in Benghazi by an Al Qaeda- like group.”
You tell — you tell the American people one thing, you tell your family an entirely different story.
Also on the night of the attack, you had a call with the president of Libya. Here’s what you said to him.
“Ansar al-Sharia is claiming responsibility.”
It’s interesting; Mr. Khattala, one of the guys arrested in charge actually belonged to that group.
And finally, most significantly, the next day, within 24 hours, you had a conversation with the Egyptian prime minister.
You told him this, “We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest.”
Let me read that one more time.
“We know,” not we think, not it might be, “we know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest.”
State Department experts knew the truth. You knew the truth. But that’s not what the American people got. And again, the American people want to know why.
Those new emails (unlawfully withheld from your JW by the Obama/Hillary operation) confirm that Hillary Clinton lied and allowed the American people to be lied to repeatedly about the Benghazi scandal. Only partisan hack would suggest that such a hearing helped Mrs. Clinton.
Our own Micah Morrison had this take in The Daily Caller:
Rep. Jordan complained of “false narratives” being constructed. “We want to know the truth,” he said. Yesterday, the Benghazi Select Committee appeared to get a little closer to it.
However, per usual, Judicial Watch got America much closer to the truth than this congressional committee.
As the hearing was underway, your JW released a September 12, 2012, cable from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) to the Department of State Command Center (DSCC) revealing that the Obama administration was informed within 24 hours that the attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound in Benghazi was “an organized operation” carried out by a “Salafi terrorism group” in retaliation for the killing of al-Qaeda’s second in command, Libyan national Abu Yahya al-Libi. The documents were forced out in response to a court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on October 16, 2014.
The lawsuit seeks “any and all logs, reports, or other records” the Washington-based Diplomatic Security Command Center produced between September 10, 2012, and September 13, 2012, relating to the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. The smoking-gun DIA cable obtained by Judicial Watch states: “The attack was an organized operation with specific information that the US Ambassador was present.”
The DIA cable was emailed to numerous State Department recipients by the DSCC at the request of the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC), further confirming that the Obama administration knew the assault was a well-organized terrorist attack before President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor Susan Rice claimed the assault was the result of an “unpremeditated… spontaneous protest” over an obscure Internet video.
The previously Secret document includes the following information:
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. A Salafi group (NFI) is believed to be responsible for the 11 September, 2012, attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The attack was in retaliation for the killing of an Al Qaeda operative. The Salafi group attended the [initial] protests and returned at night using overwhelming firepower to overtake security forces of the Consulate.
2. (U) The general atmosphere in Benghazi .and Tripoli, Libya, relevant to the attack on the US Consulate, on 11 and 12Sept12, is that of shock and disbelief. A Salafi group is reported to be behind the attack. The Salafi group responsible for the violent [sic] are believed to be the same group who defaced the Islamic shrines and old historic monuments. Some business owners are siding against the Salafi group, believed to be the culprits, and hoping for international intervention to assure stability and justice. A majority of the local population is reported to hold anti-Salafi views.
3.(U/FOUO) The attack was an organized operation with specific information that the US Ambassador was present. The Salafi group attended the protest at or near the US Consulate earlier on 11 September, 2012, and then returned at 2300 firing small arms weapons and between 25 to 30 RPGs at the Consulate and other unknown targets (NFI). The local police tried to defend the Consulate but were out matched by the group’s size and their superior firepower.
4.(U/FOUO) The attack was in [sic] carried out in retaliation for the killing of the Al Qaeda’s number two man, Abu Yah Ya ((A1 LIBI)).
COMMENTS: (Source Comments) 1. (U/FOUO) [REDACTED]
2.(U/FOUO) There has [sic]been no reports of any continuation of the protests or violence, but source suspects there could be additional violence since the attack seemed well coordinated. The majority of the population is against these violent actions, but will not openly condemn them as it will align them with those who support the creation and promulgation of the anti-Muhammad/Islamic video or view. It is believed that most of the businesses and population would support this as the majority hold anti Salafi views and are against such violence. [REDACTED]
3.(U/FOUO) There was a plan to protest in Tripoli on 11Sep12, but law enforcement officials squashed the protest with roadblocks and enforcement efforts.
4.(U) One business owner was heard expressing, “l hope the building has cameras,” to help catch the ones responsible.
(Field Comments) 1. (U/FOUO) To aid collection efforts, analysts are encouraged to send evaluations and additional source directed requirements (SDRs) via HOT-R. lf HOT-R is unavailable, please send evaluations and SDRs to DIRNAVCRIMINVSERV QUANTICO VA//0025//. For foreign disclosure and release of information contained in this IIR, submit a request for information (RFI) via the NCIS Homepage at: [REDACTED] …
The records are in line with other Defense Department documents uncovered through Judicial Watch litigation that also almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. (The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.)
These new smoking-gun documents show that intelligence tied the Benghazi attack to terrorists not to any videos. It is now inescapable that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice knowingly lied about the Benghazi terrorist attack. We would hope that the Benghazi Select Committee will try to get some accountability from Hillary Clinton for her deadly dishonesty. And, frankly, it is disgraceful that it is only Judicial Watch, not costly congressional investigations that is getting out these key documents for the American people. As Investor’s Business Daily pointed out in an editorial:
While the media were focused on all the fireworks that went off at Thursday’s Benghazi hearing on Capitol Hill, they missed a key part of the Benghazi story that took place nearby. Just a few blocks south of the Capitol, the office of Judicial Watch announced on the day Hillary Clinton went before the House Select Committee on Benghazi that it had found “new smoking-gun documents” related to the attacks.
I couldn’t believe it when Hillary Clinton kept insisting to the Committee that she still thought, based on intelligence reports, that the video had something to do with attack (which video, you will see below, is an open question). Where is this intelligence? It does not exist and Mrs. Clinton knows it. The “intelligence” is the material we’re reporting to you here. Both the Select Committee hearing and Judicial Watch’s latest revelations show that Hillary Clinton (and Barack Obama and all of his appointees) lied about the Benghazi attack.
As a supporter of Judicial Watch, you can take credit for this victory for accountability. Without you and Judicial Watch, there would be no Select Committee, no Hillary Clinton testimony, nor revelations that we are still forcing out about this awful Benghazi scandal.
New State Documents Show Quick White House Effort to Link Benghazi to Internet Video
Even as the Benghazi Committee has its first major hearing three years after the attack, it is clear that the Benghazi scandal is worsening, not receding. Just as Hillary Clinton prepared to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Judicial Watch uncovered documents that raise more questions about the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission at Benghazi, Libya. The documents show the White House contacted YouTube over an Internet video as one of its first moves after the initial attack.
The documents, from the agency’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, were provided to Judicial Watch in response to a court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on October 16, 2014, (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01733)). This lawsuit seeks “any and all logs, reports, or other records” the Washington-based Diplomatic Security Command Center produced between September 10, 2012, and September 13, 2012, relating to the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya.” If you want to know how it is we get these documents and Congress can’t? The simple answer is because we’re in federal court and Congress is not.
We still don’t know the full truth behind the terrorist attack against U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya that took place on September 11, 2012 that resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. Two brave CIA contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, lost their lives in a second attack and 10 others were injured.
Our new information is that only three hours after the initial attack on U.S. personnel in Benghazi, the White House contacted YouTube in an apparent effort to initially blame the assault on an obscure “Pastor John video,” rather than filmmaker Nakoula “Mark” Basseley Nakoula. The administration falsely claimed that Nakoula’s video, “Innocence of Muslims,” provoked the attack. The Obama White House seemingly was confused which video to falsely blame for the terrorist assault.
The email also references the involvement of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Judicial Watch, through separate litigation, previously uncovered documents that show Obama White House officials set Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi response):
Sent: September 11, 2012 9:11 PM
To: DSCC_Managment_Team; DSCC_Watch Team
Subject: (S//NF) [REDACTED] Libya
Per Ambassador Mull [Stephen Mull, then Executive Secretary of the State Department] after SVTS [Secure Video Teleconference System] conference:
DOD is looking at various resources.
S [then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] expected to make statements one of which may confirm KIA, notification of next of kin is pending confirmation. DCM The Hague was to call OPS when completed.
White House is reaching out to U-Tube to advise ramifications of posting of the Pastor Jon video.
(The “Pastor Jon” reference may have been to a rarely viewed video by Oregon-based Pastor Jon Courson entitled God vs. Allah, a low-key exposition of the Biblical book of Kings.)
The documents also include a previously Secret “Attack Timeline,” dated September 12, 2012, which raised additional questions about the Obama administration’s response to the attack. Sure enough, the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security makes no mention of any spontaneous demonstration or Internet video in describing the Benghazi assault:
At 1549 hrs, DSCC was notified that U.S. Mission Benghazi was under attack. At 1600 hrs, DSCC [Diplomatic Security Command Center] was notified by Regional Security Officer
(RSO) Benghazi that armed individuals had entered the compound, and at 1614 hrs RSO Benghazi reported that an armed group had set fire to buildings inside the compound. The US Ambassador was visiting post from Tripoli, and as of 1614 hrs it was suspected that one of the buildings that had been set on fire was the building where the Ambassador was sheltering. [Redacted] Quick Reaction Force (QRF) responded from their off-compound Annex, but was turned back due to heavy hostile fire.
As of 1700 hrs, [REDACTED] QRF and host nation militia (17 February Brigade) have redeployed to the compound. One Assistant RSO (ARSO) suffered injuries from smoke inhalation. This agent was in the Principal Officer’s Residence with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and Information Program Officer (IPO) Sean P. Smith. All three moved to the safe haven when the attack began, but had to relocate to the roof as the building caught on fire. The agent reached the rooftop but lost contact with the other two. The agent reentered the residence and found the IPO killed in action (KIA), and was unable to locate the Ambassador. The agent had given his cell phone to the Ambassador.
The new timeline also confirms prior Judicial Watch disclosures that the State Department received intelligence that Ambassador Stevens may have been alive after the attack:
The QRF and friendly militia forces were unable to locate the Ambassador, and pull back to the off-compound Annex. All classified material on the compound is secured by RSO [REDACTED] personnel. Embassy Tripoli receives a phone call from the injured ARSO’s cell phone (which had been left with the Ambassador) from a male caller saying he is at the hospital with an unresponsive male who matches a physical description of the Ambassador. [REDACTED MATERIAL]. Tripoli charters an airplane and sends it to Benghazi with six personnel onboard as a response team.
The document also raises questions about whether a delay of personnel sent to Benghazi led to additional deaths:
At 2215 hrs, Benghazi ARSO called DSCC to report that the [REDACTED] response team has been on the ground in Benghazi for approximately 60 minutes, but are waiting for the 17 February Brigade to escort them to [REDACTED]. DS Seniors ask ARSO about the identity of the reported white male in the hospital. [REDACTED MATERIAL] hospital for about two hours. Henderson will call him after this call.
The timeline later details that the team did not leave for the airport for another 45 minutes and did not arrive at the Annex until 2313 hrs, nearly two hours after the team first arrived. The timeline then details the second attack, which takes place only 17 minutes after the response team arrives:
• At 2332 hrs, ARSO reports that they are under mortar attack, with 3 to 4 rounds hitting the Annex. There are [REDACTED] injured and [REDACTED] the need for medical evacuation. The response team is on site and either inside or deployed to the roof. The agents are sheltering in place with 45-minutes to sunrise.
• At 2349 hrs, DS Special Agent [REDACTED] was reported hit during the mortar attack, which has since ceased. [REDACTED MATERIAL] All other DS agents are accounted for.
Outrageously, the documents that more than six hours after the initial terrorist assault, there remains only one plane available to evacuate injured and other personnel from Benghazi. The documents detail that the plane takes off, leaving some personnel behind, including those killed in action. Those remaining behind initially have to wait for the one plane to return from Tripoli, but are eventually rescued several hours later by a Libyan Air Force C-130 airplane.
The attack timeline also includes a section labeled “Causes and Responsibility,” which is redacted completely. Believe me, if the information was helpful, the Obama gang wouldn’t be withholding it from the American people.
Other timelines are included in the State Department materials. These documents make no mention of Internet videos or demonstrations, for example one declassified timeline details:
1550 The Diplomatic Security Command Center (DSCC) receives word that US Mission Benghazi is under attack by 15-20 armed hostiles.
1615 RSO Benghazi advises hostile individuals setting fire to buildings on compound, including the one housing Ambassador Stevens, IPO Sean Smith, and ARSO [REDACTED] responds with a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) and takes fire from hostiles. QRF returns to Annex to regroup with host militia and redeploys.
The documents also reveal that at the time of the attack, the Department of Defense apparently had two government contractors in Benghazi working on weapons removal without the knowledge of the Department of State. As you may know, the handling of weapons in Libya is a major unresolved issue related to the Benghazi cover-up.
This in one document release, in a sane world, would require multiple appearances by Hillary Clinton before multiple congressional committees (and maybe a grand jury). You have to ask yourself what the administration would be able to get away with without the heavy lifting of JW.
Judicial Watch has now filed 40 FOIA requests, a Mandatory Declassification Review, and at least 12 lawsuits against the Obama administration relating to the Benghazi terrorist attack. Currently, Judicial Watch is the only non-governmental organization in the nation litigating in federal court to uncover information withheld by the Obama administration about the events that transpired before, during, and following the Benghazi massacre.
These documents show the Obama White House rushed to tie yet another video to the Benghazi attack, even before Ambassador Stevens was accounted for. The Obama White House, evidently, was confused as to which Internet video to falsely blame for the Benghazi terrorist attack. These documents show that the Obama White House should have been focused on rescuing our people under fire. These records also detail delays and lack of support that raise questions about whether American lives were needlessly lost and put at risk during the Benghazi attack.
If anyone thinks the Benghazi scandal is “over” with the conclusion of Hillary Clinton’s testimony, one look at what we found this week will convince them otherwise.
JW Uncovers Draft Hillary Clinton Indictment
If one wants context on how to judge Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the Benghazi Select Committee, it helps to know history. And Hillary Clinton has a history of lying under oath. Earlier this week, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in the U.S. District Court for District of Columbia seeking access to draft indictments of Hillary Clinton of the Whitewater scandal. The National Archives confirmed that draft indictments of Mrs. Clinton exist but refused to release the records, evidently in order to protect Mrs. Clinton’s alleged privacy in these law enforcement records. I suspect you agree with us that Hillary Clinton’s “privacy” trumps your right to know.
On March 9, 2015, Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request seeking all draft indictments of Mrs. Clinton in the files of Hickman Ewing, Jr., who served as Deputy Independent Counsel from September 1994 – January 2001. In 1999, Ewing testified that he wrote a draft indictment of Mrs. Clinton in 1996. Here’s what happened next.
On March 19, the National Archives admitted locating records responsive to the request, confirming that it found 38 pages of responsive records in a folder entitled “Draft Indictment,” and approximately 200 pages of responsive records in a folder entitled “Hilary Rodham Clinton/Webster L. Hubbell Draft Indictment.” But our request was denied in full under Exemption (b)(7)(C), which, if used appropriately, provides protection for law enforcement information, the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Getting ahold of these records would only be an “unwarranted invasion of privacy” in some alternate universe, not in the reality where Hillary Clinton is most famous woman in America and seeking the presidency.
Following the rules, we administratively appealed the denial on May 14. Literally on the day we prepared to file the lawsuit (five months later), we finally received a response from the National Archives that acknowledges receipt of the administrative appeal, but makes no determination on the refusal to release the draft indictments. Five months and the result of the “administrative” appeal? No answer! You can see why we are now in court.
It is our understanding that the Hillary Clinton indictment records include an evolving set of draft indictments, written between 1996 and 1998. The draft indictments reportedly arose out of the Office of Independent Counsel investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in an allegedly fraudulent transaction, Castle Grande, involving the assets of Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan.
Mrs. Clinton was alleged to have drafted an option agreement that concealed from federal bank examiners a fraudulent $300,000 cross-loan to the Castle Grande project. Mrs. Clinton’s grand jury testimony – and her alleged concealment of her role in this fraudulent transaction, including the hiding of her Rose Law Firm billing records concerning her legal work for Madison – reportedly became the subject of an obstruction of justice and perjury investigation.
In March 1999, Ewing testified that three years prior he had drafted and circulated but abandoned an indictment of Mrs. Clinton. The New York Post reported:
Ewing said he “had problems” with some of her statements to investigators in April 1995 and drafted an indictment shortly after September 1996. He said he showed it to other prosecutors in Starr’s office but went no further.
Our discovery of the Clinton draft indictment in the National Archives (“America’s attic”) caused Mrs. Clinton to blow a gasket. Her spokesman went into attack mode (via Politico):
Clinton’s campaign dismissed the request as a cheap ploy.
“Trey Gowdy’s discredited investigation is forcing right-wing groups to resort to the ultimate of dead horses from the Ken Starr era to keep up their partisan attacks on Hillary Clinton,” Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said.
Judicial Watch isn’t partisan, and the Clinton gang knows this. Lies to cover lies. If the draft indictment is baseless, then I suppose Mrs. Clinton will waive her alleged privacy interests and endorse its release so the American people can judge for themselves. This is unlikely.
Hillary Clinton’s privacy doesn’t trump the public’s interest in knowing more about whether she obstructed justice and lied to a federal grand jury.
We’ll keep you updated as our federal court case progresses.
Tom Fitton – President