Top U.S. State Department officials, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were warned in an email not to blame the obscure “inflammatory” Internet video for the 2012 attack on Benghazi.
That email was sent from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya three days after the September 11 attack, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and two days before then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice blamed the event on the video while speaking to five Sunday talk shows, according to Fox News.
“The film’s not as explosive of an issue here as it appears to be in other countries in the region,” the unknown sender wrote. “And it is becoming increasingly clear that the series of events in Benghazi was much more a terrorist attack than a protest, which escalated into violence.
“It is our opinion that in our messaging, we want to distinguish, not conflate, the events in other countries with this well planned attack by militant extremists.”
Fox News reported:
The email — released by the GOP-led House Select Committee on Benghazi — was sent from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, to the State Department, which Clinton led from 2009 to 2013. But the names of the exact sender and receiver have been redacted.
The official writes the suggestion to Washington was based on monitoring the Libyan media, comments on such social media sites as Facebook and Twitter and talking to residents, who expressed “sorrow” about the attacks and “anger” toward the attackers.
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attacks.
Clinton, now the front-running 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, has testified at least twice before Congress on the Benghazi matter, including earlier this month before the select committee.
Select committee spokesman Matt Wolking told Fox News Saturday that the email was not part of the batch released Friday by the State Department.
“This email shows that State Department staff privately raised serious concerns about conflating the terrorist attacks in Benghazi with a video,” he also said in a statement, “even as the secretary of state and other Obama administration officials continued to do so publicly.”
This email confirms a report from a former CIA chief intelligence analysts that never mentioned the video as a factor in the attack, Wolking said.
“So while Secretary Clinton may use the ‘fog of war’ as a convenient excuse for why she said one thing in private and something else in public, the reality is that’s just another smokescreen,” Wolking said.
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