(…) “The deteriorating security situation in Libya generally, and Benghazi specifically, was a dominant theme in the emails. Clinton defenders have sought to insulate her from criticism of inadequate security before the attacks by suggesting that decisions about security for U.S. diplomatic personnel were made well below her level. There are many reasons to be skeptical of those claims. The emails make clear that Clinton was deeply involved in virtually every aspect of Libya policy; one internal State Department email lays out the many ways she drove administration decision-making on Libya. Was Clinton a deeply engaged, hands-on manager of every aspect of Libya policy other than security?
If Clinton wasn’t involved in security decisions, the emails make clear that she should have been. Reports that Clinton received and circulated, from both official and unofficial channels, demonstrate the dire security challenges for Americans in Libya.
It’s not just Blumenthal’s emails that raise additional questions. An email sent at 9:17 a.m. on September 15, 2012—four days after the fatal attack in Benghazi—by an aide advises Clinton that Dan Pfeiffer, the director of communications at the White House, “has some sensitive items that he would like to personally show you when he arrives.” Clinton slept in and missed the meeting and wrote back later in the morning to request that Pfeiffer return to brief her. It’s possible that these “sensitive items” had nothing to do with Benghazi. But the request for a meeting came after a flurry of emails the previous evening between officials from the White House, the State Department, and various national security agencies. Those emails concerned edits to the administration’s much-discussed Benghazi “talking points” and included strong objections from the State Department’s “building leadership” to some of the language. White House officials emailed the group to assure everyone that the objections would be addressed the following morning at a meeting of the Deputies Committee.
An email sent to several top administration officials, including top Clinton aide Jake Sullivan, at 11:08 that same morning is introduced this way: “Per the discussion at Deputies, here are the revised TPs for HPSCI [talking points for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence]. Let me know what you think.” The language in the revised talking points is redacted in its entirety.
Given what we know about the various iterations of the talking points, it’s unlikely that these redactions conceal anything not already known. But as that example suggests, what’s missing from the emails is often as provocative as the content. On April 8, 2011, Clinton forwarded a Blumenthal email to Sullivan. In the version of that email released by the State Department, most of Clinton’s note is redacted. It reads: “FYI. [Redacted].” But the same email was obtained and published by the New York Times before the State Department release, and in that version, the sentence is unredacted. It reads: “FYI. The idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered.”
Why did the State Department—or Clinton herself—want that sentence redacted? That’s unclear. And there may well be an innocent explanation. But the note raises additional questions. Did the idea of supplying arms to the Libyan opposition through private security experts receive the consideration Clinton wanted? Did it happen? Was Blumenthal involved?
Beyond these questions, the Select Committee on Benghazi notes several “inexplicable gaps” in Clinton’s email records “during key times of her involvement with Libyan policy.” There are no emails between September 14 and October 21, 2011, five weeks surrounding Clinton’s trip to Libya. (The committee notes that this was when a “now-famous picture of Clinton on her BlackBerry was taken.”) There is another gap between October 21, 2011, and January 5, 2012, “when the State Department was extending the Benghazi mission for another year.” And a third major gap occurs between April 27 and July 4, 2012, a period of “increased security” when the U.S. compound and the British ambassador were both attacked.
It’s hardly necessary to be a conspiracy-minded conservative to be skeptical of the claim that Clinton—who, by the State Department’s own account, drove Libya policy—neither sent nor received any Libya-related emails during these long stretches of heavy Libya-related policy-making.
Perhaps the most important effect of these latest emails is the simplest one. They demolish the claim that we already know the answers to the important questions about the attacks and the administration’s response.” (Read more: The Washington Examiner, 6/08/2015 ) (Archive)