On Friday the State Department released 296 of Hillary Clinton’s emails from her private account during her time as Secretary of State. In looking at the time period directly surrounding the September 11, 2012 attack on the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, the question remains why the narrative that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to the Youtube video “The Innocence of Muslims” was spun when one of Clinton’s closest advisers was saying otherwise.
In the hours following the Benghazi attack, which left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead, Sidney Blumenthal–a close Clinton advisor–emailed Clinton and relayed what sources on the ground were telling him:
As previously reported, confidant Sidney Blumenthal fired off two memos in the two days after the attack. But the full email release shows he gave a highly detailed picture of what “sources” said had happened that night. Initially, on Sept. 12, he sent Clinton an email linking the attacks to anger over an anti-Islam Internet video which had triggered protests across the region.
But the next day, he sent Clinton an email with very different information, saying officials believed the attackers were with the Islamist militia Ansar al-Sharia. He wrote that officials thought the attackers “prepared” for the strike and “took advantage of the cover” from demonstrations over the video. Further, he cited sources saying roughly 21 fighters left from a base in East Benghazi and “infiltrated the crowd” and began opening fire on the U.S. consulate. Libyan officers, he wrote, said the attacks were “planned” for roughly one month.
The more detailed Blumenthal memo was deemed important enough to be retouched to remove any mention of its source–important considering Blumenthal was considered persona-non-grata with the Obama Administration–and Jacob Sullivan, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, was told “We should get this around asap.”.
So the question remains how, if not for political considerations, did Ambassador Susan Rice come to the conclusion she would say on “Meet The Press” on September 16, 2012, a transcript of which was immediately sent to Clinton:
But putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of– of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video. What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. They came with heavy weapons which unfortunately are readily available in post revolutionary Libya. And it escalated into a much more violent episode.