The Select Committee on Benghazi rose from the dead Thursday with a tough but largely respectful 11-hour grilling of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Yes, there was plenty of kabuki theater — Democrats denounced GOP political motivations, Republicans pounded the table, fireworks flew over Sidney Blumenthal and emails — but significant new details emerged and new documents continue to surface.
In recent weeks alone, according the Chairman [crscore]Trey Gowdy[/crscore], the committee obtained more than 1,500 new pages of Mrs. Clinton’s Libya-related emails and 1,400 pages of emails of Ambassador Chris Stevens. Charts and committee questioning underlined the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Benghazi and Stevens’ fruitless attempts to obtain additional resources. Earlier investigations were dissected.
One highlight of the day: new emails and documents that shed light on the Obama administration claim that the Benghazi attack had been spurred by a protest against an incendiary YouTube video, “Innocence of Muslims.”
Committee Republicans were quick to note that the new documents were sharply at odds with the official line from the State Department and White House. The night of the Benghazi attack, Mrs. Clinton issued a statement saying that “some have sought to justify the vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.” The Obama administration stuck to its video story, sending then- U.N. ambassador Susan Rice to the Sunday news shows to make the case. “Goal,” says a White House planning email uncovered by Judicial Watch last year: “To underscore that these protests are rooted in and [sic] Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”
The new documents tell a different story. In an email to her daughter, who was using the pseudonym Diane Reynolds, the night of the Benghazi attack, Mrs. Clinton wrote,”Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like group.”
The night of the attack, according to the new documents, Mrs. Clinton told the prime minister of Libya that the terror group “Ansar al-Sharia is claiming responsibility.”
Within twenty-four hours, according to another new document, Mrs. Clinton advised the prime minister of Egypt,”We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack — not a protest.”
“You tell the American people one thing,” Rep. [crscore]Jim Jordan[/crscore] (R., Ohio) sharply noted. “You tell your family an entirely different story.”
Rep. Jordan complained of “false narratives” being constructed. “We want to know the truth,” he said. Yesterday, the Benghazi Select Committee appeared to get a little closer to it.
Micah Morrison is chief investigative reporter for Judicial Watch.