Two of Hillary Clinton's top aides ran interference while the 2012 Benghazi terrorism attacks were going on, the former secretary of state's emails, obtained through a Judicial Watch federal lawsuit, reveal.
The aides named were Clinton's main gatekeeper, Philippe Reines, and Cheryl Mills, who has worked with Clinton for years, reports Fox News. They
mainly show Mills' role in how the events rolled out publicly.
"Cheryl Mills was instrumental in making sure the big lie was put out there," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.
While the assault was happening that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and several other embassy staff, Mills told then-State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland to quit answering reporters' questions about Stevens' status, the emails show.
Further, the emails contained references to a "Benghazi Group," which a diplomatic source told Fox News was a inside code name for Mills' task force, which handled damage control.
Judicial Watch has not received emails to or from Clinton herself from the night of the attack, Fitton said.
“You have to wonder whether these aides went offline and were using secret accounts to communicate with her about the Benghazi attack," he said.
The emails are emerging while Clinton, the frontrunner among potential 2016 Democratic nominee candidates, is being criticized over revelations that she used a personal email account through a private server during her entire tenure as secretary of state.
She has asked State to make thousands of emails she has turned over to the department public, reports Fox.
The State Department said Friday it will review the emails but denied being pressured to remove politically damaging revelations ahead of her likely presidential run.
Clinton, the presumed Democratic frontrunner for 2016, found herself in a political furor this week when it was revealed she conducted her official email business from a personal account on a private email server connected to her New York home.
Pressure has mounted, particularly from Republican adversaries, for Clinton to release the entirety of her email correspondence.
Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf acknowledged the agency was reviewing the emails "for public release," in accordance with the guidelines of formal US Freedom of Information Act requests.
Harf was vague about whether reviewers intended to report sensitive but unclassified material in their findings should they come across such detail in the emails.
"I'm not going to speculate on what might happen in that situation," she said.
"I'm not going to prejudge the outcome of the review for release of the 55,000 pages."
Asked whether there was political pressure from the White House, or those in Clinton's orbit, to scrub information that could potentially damage a Clinton campaign, Harf said: "No. No."
Team Clinton has been barraged by Republican accusations that she set up the private system to prevent politically sensitive material from going public.
Former New York governor George Pataki, a potential 2016 Clinton rival, called it "outrageous" behavior and poor judgment from a national figure.
"We don't know what sort of classified information that Clinton may have... shared with others," Pataki told CNN.
Harf declined to provide details when pressed whether the State Department made efforts to improve the security of Clinton's email server at her home, or provided strict guidance to Clinton for keeping her emails secure.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives panel investigating the deadly attacks in Benghazi announced it had issued subpoenas for Clinton's emails, prompting accusations by Democrats that Republican leaders were "targeting secretary Clinton for political reasons."
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