State Department Ordered to Release Benghazi Emails
A federal judge has ordered a redacted portion of Hillary Clinton’s emails that deals with the administration’s reaction to the 2012 Benghazi attack to be released in response to a lawsuit by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, announced Friday, ordered the State Department to turn over “eight identical paragraphs” of redacted material that detailed phone calls made by President Barack Obama to the leaders of Libya and Egypt in the days following the attack, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The two emails, titled “Quick Summary of POTUS Calls to Presidents of Libya and Egypt,” had been sent from Hillary Clinton’s private email server on Sept. 13, 2012. The emails could prove that the administration didn’t believe its own narrative about an anti-Muslim YouTube video being responsible for the attack.
When Judge Jackson ruled on March 20 that the State Department must turn the documents over to Judicial Watch, the State Department asked her to reconsider, arguing that the emails were classified information and hadn’t been labeled as such because of a “mistake.”
If the emails were classified, they would be subject to a “deliberative process” exemption to the Freedom of Information Act.
But in her ruling, Jackson wrote that the classification wasn’t a mistake, but instead a “deliberate effort by the State Department to protect Clinton and the agency by avoiding identifying emails on Clinton’s unofficial, non-secure email server as classified,” according to the Washington Examiner.
In her ruling, the judge said that “the two records, even if just barely predecisional, are not deliberative. (The State Department) has pointed to very little to support its characterization of these two records as deliberative, and the Court’s in camera (private) review of the documents reveals that they do not fall within that category.”
The import of these emails cannot be understated. As of Sept. 13, 2012, both the president and Secretary Clinton were still busy hawking the narrative that a poorly-made YouTube video was responsible for fomenting a spontaneous demonstration that led to the Benghazi attack.
Yet, we now know that Hillary had privately told her daughter Chelsea that the attack was a result of “Al-Qaeda-like group.”
What the administration knew and when they knew is still relevant, and these emails could go a long way to proving both Obama and Hillary were under no illusions about what really happened in Benghazi that day.
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