Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was telling two different stories on the reason for the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya less than 24 hours after they occurred, according to State Department documents
obtained by Judicial Watch.
The documents, which the conservative watchdog group obtained under a Freedom of Information Act court ruling, contain phone call notes of telephone calls between Clinton and world leaders, including then Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil.
According to the transcript, the call with Kandil was made on the afternoon of September 12, 2012, the day after the attacks that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. In the call, Clinton tells Kandil, "We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack–not a protest."
That was the exact opposite of what Clinton's office was saying publicly, Judicial Watch notes.
The night before the call to the Egyptian prime minister, Clinton issued an official State Department statement blaming the attack on an Internet video made in the United States that was insulting to Islam.
"Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet," the statement read. "The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."
By September 15, Clinton had returned to the video-as-blame narrative, saying in a phone call to then-Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr, that a "stupid, very offensive film" was what lit the fuse.
"I have repeatedly, as has the President and other officials in our government, deplored not only the content of this stupid, very offensive film," she said. "But we have to exercise more self-discipline… otherwise we’ll be in a vicious downward circle against everyone who has ever felt offended, particularly on the internet."
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton also accused the State Department of heel-dragging in releasing the transcripts, which it initially argued were not related to the group's request for documents related to the Benghazi attacks.
"There are two scandals here. The first is Hillary Clinton was telling different stories to different foreign leaders about the Benghazi attack – including an admission that it was a terrorist attack," Fitton said. "The second is the State Department’s cover-up of these documents. The State Department is forcing Judicial Watch to play 'whack-a-mole' with Clinton and Benghazi documents. It is no wonder that two frustrated federal court judges granted Judicial Watch discovery into the Clinton FOIA issues."
Though the State Department had not released the call notes, the Kandil notes were released by the Select Committee on Benghazi
during Clinton's testimony before the committee in October.
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