JERUSALEM – Lost in much of the news media coverage of Judicial Watch’s most recent Benghazi document disclosures is that the new materials lend weight to the argument that UN Ambassador Susan Rice deliberately misled the nation about the September 11, 2012 attacks.
On September 16, 2012, Rice infamously appeared on five morning talk shows – on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, and CNN – telling the story of protests that erupted “spontaneously” as a result of a “hateful video” offending Islam.
That morning, Rice told CBS’s Face the Nation, for example:
But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy – sparked by this hateful video.
The most recent government documents released as a result of a Judicial Watch lawsuit – materials reviewed in full by this reporter – show Rice was directly engaged in conversations with State Department employees about Benghazi while the attacks were still ongoing and Ambassador Chris Stevens was missing. The emails do not mention spontaneous protests, but instead discuss “fighting” and an “attack.”
One email chain that was forwarded to Rice and titled “Libya update from Beth Jones,” includes a report after the initial assault on the U.S. Special Compound that states, “The fighting has stopped, DCM Greg Hicks just confirmed to me.”
Another email sent at about the same time references an “attack” on the Benghazi compound.
“Jones just spoke with DCM Tripoli Greg Hicks, who advised a Libyan militia (we now know this is the 17 Feb Brigade, as requested by Emb office) is responding to the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi.”
Judicial Watch also obtained a copy of a September 12, 2012 call sheet drafted for Hillary Clinton which states, “Armed extremists attacked U.S. [special mission compound in] Benghazi on September 11, setting fire to the Principal Officer’s Residence and killing at least one American mission staff, Information Management Officer Sean Smith, on TDY from The Hague.”
Clinton’s schedule for that day included a meeting with Rice.
By September 15, 2012, however, the government’s story had changed following the crafting of controversial talking points used by Rice and other administration officials to make public declarations about the Benghazi attacks.
The new storyline was reflected in an email contained in the latest release in which Clinton deputy Jake Sullivan, and Benjamin J. Rhodes, the Obama administration’s deputy national security adviser, were involved in an exchange of messages while helping to draft the talking points.
One email with draft talking points approved by Rhodes reads:
The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.”