Judicial Watch announced today that on November 2, 2015, it obtained documents from the Department of State confirming that, at 11:00 on the night of the deadly assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton informed her daughter by email that the attack had been staged by an “Al Qaeda-like group,” rather than as the result of “inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” as Mrs. Clinton had claimed in her official public statement one hour earlier. The documents were produced in response to lawsuits filed by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of the Information Act (FOIA). Mrs. Clinton’s email to Chelsea Clinton was first produced to the Select Committee on Benghazi on October 20 and publicized on the day of Mrs. Clinton’s testimony, October 22, but court filings in Judicial Watch litigation show that the email was only produced after two federal court judges ordered the State Department to produce more Benghazi-related records to Judicial Watch.
The State Department’s records include a September 11, 2012, late-night email that Mrs. Clinton sent to her daughter Chelsea, who wrote under the pseudonym “Diane Reynolds” when using the Clinton email server:
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 11:11 PM
To: Diane Reynolds
Subject: Re: I’m in my office
Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Qaeda-like group. The Ambassador, whom I handpicked and a young communications officer on temporary duty w a wife and two young children. Very hard day and I fear more of the same tomorrow.
Yet, in and earlier message, at 10:08 p.m. on September 11, Mrs. Clinton issued an official State Department press statement placing the blame for the attack on an obscure Internet video critical of the Islamic religion. At no point did she reference terrorist activity at or near the Consulate:
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.
In addition to the admission by Mrs. Clinton that the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack, the email exchange between the Clintons also included an apparent attempt by Chelsea Clinton to equate Islamic terrorism with life in the United States before “modernism” was allowed “to take root:”
From: Diane Reynolds, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 11:07 PM
Subject: RE: I’m in my office
I am so sorry about the State Department officer killed in Libya and the ongoing precariousness in Egypt and Libya. Such anathema to us as Americans – and a painful reminder or [sic] how long it took modernism to take root in the US, after the Enlightenment, the 14th, 15th, 16th 19th amendments, removal of censorship norms and laws, etc.
Ironically, the Obama administration’s efforts to falsely blame an Internet video rather than al Qaeda for the terrorist attack in Benghazi included outreach to Islamist radicals who seek to censor criticism of Islam. The producer of the Internet video was also subsequently jailed by the Obama administration on a supposed probation violation.
The State Department first produced the smoking-gun Hillary Clinton email to her daughter to the Benghazi Select Committee on October 20. But the document was disclosed only after Judicial Watch pressed in litigation for additional searches of State Department records. Judges Amit P. Mehta and Amy Berman Jackson in two Judicial Watch cases ordered the State Department to disclose the newly found material to Judicial Watch. The court orders are dated July 31, 2015, October 9, 2015, and October 20, 2015. In fact, on October 8, the State Department knew that it was going to be required to provide a report by October 22 regarding the number of responsive documents in Mrs. Clinton’s 30,000 emails, and specify how many responsive records pre-dated December 31, 2012.
The Select Committee on Benghazi subpoenaed records only through the end of 2012, however, a Judicial Watch lawsuit filed in May 2015 seeks records through the end of Mrs. Clinton’s term as Secretary of State, to January 31, 2013. In July, the State Department had represented incorrectly that the document production up through December 2012 was complete. But in responding to this request, the State Department says it found 242 additional emails from 2012, which the agency would later disclose included the email Mrs. Clinton wrote to her daughter on the night of the Benghazi attack. The State Department has yet to produce 87 records it found from Mrs. Clinton’s account from January 2013. (A status hearing in this case is set, over the objections of the State Department, for today, November 13, 2015, at 9:30 a.m. before Judge Amit P. Mehta.)
“This key email shows that Hillary Clinton knowingly lied about the terrorist attack on Benghazi,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And once again, it was Judicial Watch lawsuits – not Congress – that forced the production of this smoking-gun email into the open for the American people. I have no doubt that the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton knew this email was out there and illegally stonewalled its release to Judicial Watch, the courts, and Congress.”
The new emails were produced to Judicial Watch in two separate Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuits. The first lawsuit, filed on September 4, 2014 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01511)), seeks:
Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to notes, updates, or reports created in response to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. This request includes, but is not limited to, notes taken by then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or employees of the Office of the Secretary of State during the attack and its immediate aftermath.
The second FOIA lawsuit, filed on May 6, 2015, (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00692), seeks:
Any and all emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton concerning, regarding, or relating to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The timeframe for this request is September 11, 2012 to January 31, 2013.
Judicial Watch has now filed more than 40 FOIA requests, a Mandatory Declassification Review, and 11 lawsuits against the Obama administration relating to the Benghazi terrorist attack. Judicial Watch is the only non-governmental organization in the nation currently litigating in federal court to uncover information withheld by the Obama administration about the events that transpired before, during, and following the Benghazi massacre.
In April 2014, Judicial Watch forced the release of documents showing then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes and other Obama administration public relations officials attempting to orchestrate a campaign to “reinforce” President Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.” Other documents showed that State Department officials initially described the incident as an “attack” and a possible kidnap attempt. Judicial Watch’s release of the Rhodes email, which had been withheld by the Obama administration from Congress, caused the House of Representatives to approve the Select Committee on Benghazi, which is now led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). (Those documents were obtained by Judicial Watch in a June 21, 2013, FOIA lawsuit filed against the Department of State (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-00951)).
Source and special thanks: Judicial Watch