Hillary’s Haiatus?

The 2012 Benghazi attack occurred on September 11, 2012.  Islamic militants attacked the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing our U.S. Ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens and our Foreign Service Information Management Officer, Sean Smith.  A second attack several hours later at a nearby compound killed two CIA contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.  Ten others were injured.  The United States immediately increased security all over the world at diplomatic and military facilities and began an investigation into the Benghazi attack.  State Department officials, especially Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, were criticized for denying requests for more security.  Top officials first claimed the Benghazi attack was the result of an anti-Muslim video, Innocence of Muslims, but later investigations discovered there was no such protest and the attacks were premeditated. It is believed that Clinton did not listen to security warnings before the attack, which caused military support to arrive too late.  The personal journal of Christopher Stevens was recovered which told of his great concern about security in Libya months before the attack.

Republicans formed the House Select Committee on Benghazi in May of 2014 to investigate this attack.  It was revealed that Clinton’s State Department email account had no correspondence.  This prompted the State Department to ask Clinton to turn over her emails from her private server.  This began the now famous and in the news constantly, email scandal.  On the night of the attack Clinton wrote an email to her daughter under a pseudonym “Diane Reynolds”–that the attack was launched by “an Al Qaeda-like group,” not the result of a video.

Disputed issues over the attack fall into three categories: before, during and after.  The United States did not consider the security issue in Benghazi to be a serious matter.  There had been recent smaller attacks and armed militias and Al Qaeda activists were in the city.  U.S. security at our Embassy had even been scaled down.  The video mentioned earlier had insulted Muhammed and on the evening of the attack, around 3000 people had gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo.  During the attack not enough was done to defend the embassy.  We had military sources in Italy, F-16s, but they were not deployed.  Security contractors in the CIA Annex down the road asked if they could help but were ordered to “stand down.”  They were later attacked and two lost their lives.  After the attack Obama and Clinton blamed the video rather than a terrorist plot.  Internal emails blaming Al Qaeda were removed.

There have been six official investigations into the attacks and there is still no conclusion.  Before becoming Secretary of State in 2009, Hillary Clinton set up an email server at her Chappaqua, New York home and used it for all her electronic correspondence, both for work and personal during her four-year term.  She did not use a government managed email account.  She was accused of possibly violating federal requirements.  Clinton claims this was out of convenience.  Others think she had her own email system so she could have total control.  This has triggered the investigation as to what should and shouldn’t be provided to the government, as well as the Benghazi cover-up.

Hillary Clinton faced eleven hours of testimony in October 2015 before the Select Committee.  Michael Bay has come out with a current movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.  This movie could have a direct impact on the Clinton campaign for President.  

This email trail has become a big issue in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  She has fallen in the polls and has enlisted help from her husband Bill for campaign support.  Her high security emails were more susceptible to hackers because of her actions.  Clinton has maintained that no classified material was sent over her email account, but in July, the inspector general of the US intelligence community, Charles McCullough, told Congress that Clinton had sent at least four messages containing classified information.  Clinton finally agreed to hand over the private server in August to the FBI.  She deleted many emails she deemed personal.  The State Department said that more than a dozen Libyan-related messages a former aide Sidney Blumenthal had sent her were unaccounted for.  It is impossible to know whether they were deleted on purpose.

This week brings new and more serious allegations about whether Clinton mishandled classified information while serving as Secretary of State.  The State Department has said that 22 of her emails were “top secret” and this is the first time they have been classified at that level.  This classification means they can cause “exceptionally grave” damage to national security if disclosed.  The documents were not marked as classified when they were sent.  They will not be released to the public.  The Bureaus of Diplomatic Security, and Intelligence and Research are now conducting an investigation on when they were formerly classified.  Clinton has again denied the “top secret” classification and demanded all emails be released to the public.  Of the 1,582 emails Clinton sent or received, most were at the lowest level of “confidential.”  Eleven included “secret” information.  These 22 emails were not part of that number.  None of her emails were marked as classified during her office as Secretary of State, but intelligence officials say some material was clearly classified.  Again, her aides also sent and received classified information.  Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee says that Clinton cannot be trusted with the presidency and Tom Cotton, Republican Senator from Arkansas, says Clinton should face the same consequences any federal employee would face, including criminal prosecution.

This brings to mind General Petraeus.  Petraeus was one of the most distinguished officers in our military.  He devised and successfully executed the Iraq surge, was the former Director of the CIA, and was thought to be a possible candidate for the Republican Presidential race.  Petraeus made the big mistake of giving his mistress secret information, including names of covert officers and war strategy.  He reached a plea agreement with the Justice Department and received two years of probation, a $40,000 fine, and ultimately ruined his reputation.  The documents showed Petraeus had eight books of notes taken during meetings and conferences and had them delivered to his biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell.  Petraeus and now Clinton were and are accused of misusing classified emails.  Petraeus admitted his guilt, and Clinton won’t admit to her actions as wrong or tell the truth.

When classified information is leaked to our enemies, bad things can happen to our intelligence forces.  They can be captured or even killed.  It puts our nation in jeopardy.

It remains to be seen as to whether Hillary Clinton will be indicted.  This investigation has been going on for years, and it does seem to cast doubt as to her truthfulness.  And it has had an impact in the polls.

 

 

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