With its Friday dump — on Memorial Day weekend, no less — the State Department ensured that Hillary Clinton’s 296 Libya-related emails would receive limited news coverage.
But the records are well worth reviewing because they contain important insight into Clinton and her top aides’ views on Libya and Benghazi leading up to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, which killed four Americans.
Here are the 13 most interesting exchanges.
‘The public face of the U.S. effort in Libya’
If one email chain comes back to haunt Clinton on the campaign trail it would be an April 4, 2012, message top aide Jake Sullivan sent touting Clinton’s “leadership on Libya.”
“HRC has been a critical voice on Libya in administration deliberations, at NATO, and in contact group meetings — as well as the public face of the U.S. effort in Libya,” Sullivan wrote. “She was instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime.”
While deposing Gaddafi was seen as a major U.S. victory at the time, the attack at Benghazi and its vulnerability to Islamist groups like ISIS calls Clinton’s and the Obama administration’s intervention there into question.
Clinton overslept and missed a national security briefing days after the Benghazi attack
Clinton missed a President’s Daily Brief meeting on the morning of Sept. 15, 2012, just days after the Benghazi attack, because she overslept.
Monica Hanley, a Clinton aide, sent an email to Clinton at 9:17 a.m. stating that a briefer “has some sensitive items that he would like to personally show you when he arrives.”
Clinton responded at 10:43 a.m., stating “just woke up so i [sic] missed Dan. Could he come back after finish my calls?”
Interested in a movie on morning of the Benghazi attack
Early on the morning of Sept. 11, 2012, before the attack on Benghazi, Clinton had a movie on her mind. But she wasn’t thinking of “Innocence of Muslims,” the short film that the Obama administration initially falsely blamed for the Benghazi attack. Instead, she emailed aides Philippe Reines and Huma Abedin seeking a copy of “The Oath of Tobruk,” a documentary about the Libyan civil war directed by French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy and produced by her friend, Harvey Weinstein.
Clinton was interviewed for the film, which Weinstein claimed depicted the secretary’s “leadership” in Libya.
Confused the names of two Americans killed at Benghazi
After Clinton learned that ambassador Chris Stevens and Sean Smith, a Foreign Service officer, had been killed at Benghazi, she sent an email to several top aides asking if she should issue a statement that night or the following day.
The only problem was, Clinton flubbed the two murdered Americans’ names. Her email was entitled “Chris Smith.” None of the aides on the email chain — Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan and Victoria Nuland — corrected the mistake.
Clinton’s aides prepared her speech for a Clinton Foundation event
Emails from Sept. 22, 2012, just 10 days after the Benghazi attack, show that Clinton was concerned with a speech she was set to give on behalf of her family charity, the Clinton Foundation.
Her aide, Jake Sullivan, wrote that “Megan is working on a development speech but please read the below if you can this afternoon.”
“Please let me know your thoughts,” he added.
Clinton instructed another aide, Oscar Flores, to print off the speech, which is redacted in the emails.
State Department and White House officials asked YouTube to block video
One email shows an all-hands-on-deck effort to ensure YouTube and its parent company, Google, continued to block “The Innocence of Muslims” from appearing online.
The Obama administration falsely blamed the movie for sparking the attacks on Benghazi.
On Sept. 27, 2012, Denis McDonough, then the deputy national security advisor, sent an email to several State Department officials which listed contact information for Google’s and YouTube’s CEOs.
Nora Toiv, who worked in Clinton’s office, contacted others within the department stating that the video would be blocked until at least the following Monday, Oct. 1.
Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s then-chief of staff, forwarded the email chain to Clinton.
While it was known that the Obama administration had asked YouTube and Google to block the movie, the emails show that the effort was far more involved that previously reported.
Clinton received now-classified information on her private email account
Shortly before the State Department released Clinton’s records, the FBI redacted portions of a Nov. 18, 2012, email because the information was classified. The email appears to have included names of individuals suspected of carrying out the Benghazi attack.
Clinton and her team have repeatedly denied that she sent or received classified information on her personal email account. The FBI’s re-classification raises questions over whether the agency would have marked the information as classified if Clinton had turned her records over to the State Department as she was required to do when she left the agency in Feb. 2013.
‘3 a.m. call’
On Oct. 3, 2012, Clinton received an email from Cheryl Mills which included a link to a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Benghazi was Obama’s 3 a.m. call.”
The Journal article pinned the Benghazi attack on Obama’s “policy and worldview” and did not criticize Clinton’s role in the fiasco.
The 3 a.m. reference was to a campaign ad Clinton ran against Obama in Feb. 2008. The ad, which was roundly criticized when it aired, asserted that Obama did not have the chops to handle international crises.
Clinton discussed her “cracked head” and health
Emails Clinton sent to aides show her discussing a concussion she reportedly suffered in Dec. 2012.
Clinton fainted before she was to testify in front of Congress about Benghazi. As many questioned whether she actually suffered a fall, Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren interviewed Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain who said that he believed Clinton. Clinton emailed Mills on Dec. 20 telling her that someone should call Van Susteren to thank her for “knowing the truth” about her injury.
Clinton sent another Dec. 20 email to aides Williams Burns and Thomas Nides. In the message Clinton joked she was unable to make a meeting on Capitol Hill because “I’ll be nursing my cracked head.”
Clinton aides sought to reassure her about her Benghazi video comments
In a Sept. 24, 2012, email Sullivan reassured Clinton that she had never blamed the “Innocence of Muslims” video for the Benghazi attack.
“You never said spontaneous or characterized the motives, in fact you were careful in your first statement to say we were assessing motive and method. The way you treated the video in the Libya context was to say that some sought to *justify* the attack on that basis,” Sullivan wrote.
Other administration officials had publicly blamed the video for the uprising which led to the four American deaths at the consulate.
Sid Blumenthal tells Hillary about planting an anti-Romney story
On Oct. 1, 2012, longtime Clinton insider, Sidney Blumenthal, emailed Clinton to share an article another jounralist published at Salon entitled “GOP’s October Surprise.”
Blumenthal’s email was entitled “Romney’s last gambit. Got done and published.” According to Bloomberg News, this is an indication that Blumenthal planted the story with Salon.
The article cited a “highly reliable source” who claimed that the Romney campaign was planning to roll out a “Jimmy Carter strategy” in which it planned to paint Obama as weak because of the Benghazi failure.
Clinton aides’ jokes about a fawning reporter and about FOIA
In an Oct. 2012, email, State Department communications director Caroline Adler sent an email to Clinton aides Philippe Reines and Thomas Nides poking fun at Wall Street Journal reporter Monica Langley for gushing over Clinton during an interview.
“This will be exciting when it’s FOIA’d…but will give you a sense of the interaction,” Adler wrote.
Reines described the scene when Langley pulled up a chair to sit extremely close to Clinton. He wrote that he didn’t “think you see that behavior among any type of mammal.”
Perhaps as noteworthy as emails Clinton and her staff did send are those that they did not. As the Washington Examiner noted, the team only sent 35 Libya- and Benghazi-related emails between January 2012 and the Sept. 11 attack at Benghazi.