Hillary Clinton finally faced the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Thursday, operating in full damage-control mode.
That’s political speak for distorting the truth, relying on pedantic technicalities, and lying in order to take as little responsibility as possible for the events of Sept. 11, 2012.
Here are five of her best lies — and probable lies:
“(Sidney) Blumenthal was not at all my advisor” on Libya.
The former secretary of state insisted that Sidney Blumenthal, a former aide, was merely an “old friend” who sent her “unsolicited” emails. However, as Benghazi Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy noted during the hearing, Blumenthal is far and away the most frequent contact in Clinton’s emails when it comes to Libya.
There is also evidence to suggest that not only were Blumenthal’s emails very much solicited, but that he was also being paid to send them. While Clinton was in the State Department receiving “unsolicited” emails from her “old friend,” that friend was receiving a monthly salary from the Clinton Foundation.
“I did not conduct most of the business I did on behalf of our country on email.”
This was Clinton’s response when she was asked about the lack of emails between State Department officials concerning the deteriorating situation in Libya. One might pray this is true, considering her private email server’s vulnerability to hackers. But it would be odd if she went to extra, and possibly illegal, lengths to have her own email server and not use it to conduct her daily business.
This begs the question, then, about whether there was actually an abundance of State Department emails regarding the situation in Libya. But these were among the thousands of emails that Clinton had destroyed, emails that never made it to the House Committee. Even if she didn’t do most of her business by email, so what? She sent plenty of emails. This is a red herring.
“There was no actual intelligence on that date or before about any sort of planned attack on that compound.”
It is impossible to suggest that Hillary Clinton was unaware that the compound in Benghazi, and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, were at grave risk. As Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., pointed out in the hearing, there were repeated intelligence briefings in the months leading up to the attack — briefings Clinton had daily access to — detailing the rising threat from Islamist militant groups in Libya.
Moreover, security contractors warned the State Department of the compound’s vulnerability three months prior to the attack. And there were repeated requests for increased security made by Stevens, requests that the State Department denied.
Finally, we now know that Libyan security officials warned American diplomats of possible violence in Benghazi days before the attack, and that the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security issued an alert regarding a potential attack against U.S. interests in Libya 48 hours prior to it, according to The Independent.
“I did not send nor receive information that was marked classified at the time that it was sent or received.”
Clinton’s basic claim is that any classified information transmitted via her private email server was unclassified at the time it was sent or received, and only classified retroactively by authorities.
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However, in examining Clinton’s available emails, members of the State Department as well as the intelligence community have found what they claim to be classified information — information they say would have been classified at the time of transmission. And Clinton is being intentionally misleading here. Surely she knows that information marked classified cannot be transferred to a private server.
“The accountability review board did not pull a single punch.”
The truth is the the ARB Clinton set up was little more than a show. A State Department-controlled investigation into State Department misdeeds can hardly be said to be impartial.
The entire ARB proceedings were a farce. The “investigators” were chosen personally by Clinton, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell admitted to walking in on Clinton aides attempting to conceal particularly damaging emails from the investigation.
The idea that the ARB was even remotely impartial, let alone that it “did not pull a single punch”, doesn’t pass the most generous smell test.