JERUSALEM – Published excerpts of the Benghazi chapter in Hillary Clinton’s forthcoming book, “Hard Choices,” contain misleading statements about the deadly attack and the then-secretary of state’s personal role in the decision-making process, WND has found.
While the full 34-page chapter will not be available until the book is released June 10, Politico last week unveiled tidbits that raise major questions about the accuracy of Clinton’s claims.
Denying a personal role in the decision-making process regarding security of the compound, Clinton writes that she did not see the cables requesting additional security.
She claims cables related to the security at the compound were only addressed to her as a “procedural quirk” and didn’t actually land on her desk.
Clinton writes: “That’s not how it works. It shouldn’t. And it didn’t.”
However, the Senate’s January 2014 report on the Benghazi attack reveals lawmakers found that the Benghazi facility required special waivers to be legally occupied, since it did not meet the minimum official security standards set by the State Department. Some of the waivers could only have been signed by Clinton herself.
Some of the necessary waivers, the Senate affirmed, could have been issued at lower levels within the State Department. However “other departures, such as the co-location requirement, could only be approved by the Secretary of State,” reads the Senate report.
The “co-location” requirement refers to the unusual housing setup in Benghazi in which intelligence and State Department personnel were kept in two separate locations.
Clinton would have a lot of explaining to do if she signed waivers allowing the facility to be legally occupied without reviewing the U.S. special mission’s security posture.
Further, the Senate found it was Clinton’s top deputies, including officials known to be close to the Clintons, who were responsible for some major denials of security at the compound.
In one example, it was Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy who canceled the use in Tripoli of a DC-3 aircraft that could have aided in the evacuation of the Benghazi victims.
Kennedy also denied permission to build guard towers at the Benghazi mission and approved the withdrawal of a Security Support Teams, or SST, special U.S. forces specifically maintained for counterattacks on U.S. embassies or threats against diplomatic personnel.
For some lawmakers, it defies logic that Clinton was not informed, especially since she was known to have taken a particular interest in the Benghazi facility. She reportedly called for the compound to be converted into a permanent mission before a scheduled trip to Libya in December 2012 that eventually was canceled.
Meanwhile, according to Politico, in defending the White House’s claim that an anti-Islam YouTube video provoked the attack, Clinton writes that the video also sparked a protest at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo the same day.
However, the Cairo protests were announced days in advance as part of a movement to free the so-called blind sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is serving a life sentence in the U.S. for conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Rahman’s son, Abdallah Abdel Rahman, even went so far as to threaten to storm the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and detain the employees inside.
In fact, on the day of the Sept. 11, 2012, protests in Cairo, CNN’s Nic Robertson interviewed the son of Rahman, who described the protest as being about freeing his father. No Muhammad film was mentioned. A big banner calling for Rahman’s release can be seen as Robertson walked to the embassy protests. No such banners were seen in protest of the Muhammad film.
Clinton, however, writes that the New York Times later proved in an investigation the Muhammad video was “indeed a factor” in what happened in Benghazi.
“There were scores of attackers that night, almost certainly with differing motives,” she writes. “It is inaccurate to state that every single one of them was influenced by this hateful video. It is equally inaccurate to state that none of them were. Both assertions defy not only the evidence but logic as well.”
Clinton was referring to a Dec. 28, 2013, New York Times piece by David D. Kirkpatrick titled “A Deadly Mix in Benghazi.”
WND released a series of articles questioning the veracity of Kirkpatrick’s piece, showing that details were negated by the U.S. government, Benghazi victims and numerous other previous news reports. Kirkpatrick’s piece is contradicted by his own previous reporting, WND found.
Kirkpatrick claimed, for example, there was “no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.”
That claim is directly contradicted by Kirkpatrick’s own previous reporting from Benghazi. An Oct. 29, 2012, New York Times article co-authored by Kirkpatrick and titled “Libya Warnings Were Plentiful, but Unspecific” documents “Al-Qaeda-leaning” Islamic extremist training camps in the mountains near Benghazi.
Kirkpatrick’s claim is also contradicted by a Library of Congress report– released one month before the Benghazi attack – which detailed that al-Qaida established a major base of operations in Libya in the aftermath of the U.S.-NATO campaign that deposed Muammar Gadhafi and his secular regime.
The report documented that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations were establishing terrorist training camps and pushing Taliban-style Islamic law in Libya while the new, Western-backed Libyan government incorporated jihadists into its militias.
Fox News reported the U.S. mission in Benghazi convened an “emergency meeting” in August 2012 to discuss al-Qaida training camps nearby.
In the released excerpts, Clinton defended the actions of then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, who on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, infamously appeared on five morning television programs to offer the official Obama administration response to the Benghazi attack. In nearly identical statements, Rice asserted that the attack was a spontaneous protest in response to a “hateful video.”
Writes Clinton: “Susan stated what the intelligence community believed, rightly or wrongly, at the time. That was the best she or anyone could do. Every step of the way, whenever something new was learned, it was quickly shared with Congress and the American people. There is a difference between getting something wrong, and committing wrong. A big difference that some have blurred to the point of casting those who made a mistake as intentionally deceitful.”
Clinton’s claim the intelligence community believed the attacks were a spontaneous protest in response to a “hateful video” is called into question by numerous revelations.
The U.S. immediately had surveillance video from the mission that showed there was no popular protest at all on Sept. 11, 2012.
Gregory Hicks, the No. 2 U.S. official in Libya at the time of the attack, testified that he knew immediately it was a terrorist attack, not a protest turned violent. According to Hicks, “everybody in the mission” believed it was an act of terror “from the get-go.”
The CIA’s station chief in Libya reportedly emailed his superiors on the day of the attack that it was “not an escalation of anti-American protest.”
The claim of a popular protest also defies logic. Spontaneous protesters do not show up with weapons, erect armed checkpoints surrounding the compound and demonstrate insider knowledge of the facility while deploying military-style tactics to storm the U.S. mission.
Nor do spontaneous protesters know the exact location of a secretive CIA annex, including the specific coordinates of the building that were likely utilized to launch precision mortar strikes. Spontaneous protesters are not thought to be capable of mounting a fierce, hours-long gun battle with U.S. forces stationed inside the annex.
Ironically, Clinton writes that in the Benghazi affair there has been a “regrettable amount of misinformation, speculation, and flat-out deceit by some in politics and the media.”