WASHINGTON Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was keenly interested in the events in Libya before and after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed the U.S. ambassador there and three other Americans, emails released by the State Department Friday show.
The emails, from the personal account Clinton kept while at State, showed she and her staff tracked the political fallout from the attack, including claims she had tried to misrepresent the cause of the raid on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
On the campaign trail in New Hampshire on Friday, Clinton noted that the House Benghazi committee has been in possession of the emails for several months and said she is pushing the State Department to publicly release “all of them as soon as possible.”
Friday’s release contained 296 emails that are all of the Benghazi- related emails Clinton sent from her personal account. The messages include a series of routine exchanges, such as reactions to news stories and preparations for hearings. The documents also are heavily redacted.
The emails provide some insight into the Clinton camp’s response to charges she and others in the administration had tried to downplay the fact that the attack was a pre-planned terror attack, instead blaming worldwide protests over an anti-Muslim video.
“The emails we release today do not change the essential facts or our understanding of the events before, during, or after the attacks,” the State Department said in a tweet before the emails were released.
That is unsurprising, said Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who chairs the House Benghazi panel that is investigating the matter, because the emails were selected and vetted by Clinton’s own attorneys. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, seconded this view.
Clinton’s office said she turned over to the State Department about 30,000 emails, a little less than half the 62,000 total she sent as secretary of State. The rest she deemed personal, and they were deleted.