New State Department documents belatedly provided to the watchdog group Judicial Watch show that Hillary Clinton told different stories as secretary of state to different foreign leaders about a YouTube video that the Obama administration falsely blamed for the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks.
The documents, which Judicial Watch obtained last month, include notes of calls that Clinton had with world leaders after the terrorist attacks.
One set of notes comes from a Sept. 15 telephone call Clinton had with then-Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr. During the chat, Clinton referred to the “stupid, very offensive film” as the root cause of the Benghazi violence, which left four Americans dead.
“I have repeatedly, as has the President and other officials in our government, deplored not only the content of this stupid, very offensive film, but also intentional efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” Clinton told Amr.
“This runs counter to American history and the Constitution. But we’ve made clear that violent attacks are never justified in any religion,” she continued, adding that “we have to exercise more self-discipline.”
That call took place a day before then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on several Sunday morning talk shows to blame the “heinous and offensive video” as the impetus for the attacks.
Clinton also appeared to blame the film — “Innocence of Muslims” — in a Sept. 12 call with Afghan President Hamid Kharzi.
“We appreciate your statement in response to the video. Especially, the point that the people that make these kind of videos are a fringe group,” Clinton said during the call.
“We need to talk about religious feelings and insults and defamation,” she added.
Judicial Watch says that the State Department provided those call notes only last month in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. It is unclear why it took so long for the agency to hand over the documents.
Also unclear is why in other private conversations Clinton claimed that the video was not the spark for the Benghazi attacks.
During a Sept. 12 phone call with then-Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil Clinton said that the Benghazi attacks “had nothing to do with the film.”
“You’re not kidding. Based on the information we saw today we believe that group that claimed responsibility for this is affiliated with al-Qaeda,” Kandil responded to Clinton during their chat.
Clinton’s call with Kandil was referred to during Clinton’s Oct. 22 testimony in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. As was an email that Clinton exchanged with her daughter, Chelsea, on the night of the attack. In that email she acknowledged that an “Al Qaeda-like group” had carried out the attack.
But Clinton’s comments in those communiques were at odds with the public position that she and others in the Obama administration took in the days after the attack.
“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” Clinton said in a White House-approved statement on the night of the onslaught. “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”
Further complicating matters is Clinton’s statement during the Oct. 22 Select Committee hearing and during a Democratic debate that she believes that the video did play a role in the Bengahzi attacks.
“Congressman, I believe to this day the video played a role,” she told Ohio Rep. [crscore]Jim Jordan[/crscore] during the Benghazi hearing.
Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said that the new documents show that Clinton offered inconsistent stories about the root cause of the attacks.
“There are two scandals here,” Fitton said in a statement.
“The first is Hillary Clinton was telling different stories to different foreign leaders about the Benghazi attack — including an admission that it was a terrorist attack.”
The second, he said “is the State Department’s cover-up of these documents.”
He accused the agency of playing “whack-a-mole” with the Benghazi documents.
“It is no wonder that two frustrated federal court judges granted Judicial Watch discovery into the Clinton FOIA issues.”
This article has been updated with additional information.