A new report claims advisers to Hillary Clinton helped sift documents related to the Benghazi attack before they were handed over the review board tasked with investigating the incident.
The story by Sharyl Attkisson is based on an interview with former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs Raymond Maxwell. Maxwell was one of four individuals who were eventually placed on administrative leave, the only accountability that ever took place for the failure to secure the Benghazi compound which ultimately resulted in the deaths of four Americans.
When the Accountability Review Board began collecting documents related to the incident, Maxwell learned that there was a Sunday night work session being held in the basement of the State Department headquarters. Though he worked in the division tasked with collecting the documents, Maxwell was not invited to the session. He decided to go anyway.
What he saw was stacks of documents and an office manager with ties to Hillary Clinton. The office manager told Maxwell, “Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might
put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh
floor in a bad light.” When Maxwell asked if doing so was ethical the officer manager replied, “Ray, those are our orders.” Seventh floor is shorthand for then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top advisers.
Moments later, as Maxwell describes the scene to Attkisson, Clinton’s two most senior advisers entered the sorting room. Clinton’s Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan apparently came to check on progress. Mills immediately wanted to know who Maxwell was. Jake Sullivan then gave her Maxwell’s name and title and she responded, “Well, okay.”
Maxwell spent a short time looking through documents sent from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and then left. He tells Attkisson, “I didn’t feel good about it.”
The report eventually issued by the ARB was criticized for failing to hold accountable any high level State Department employees. Maxwell tells Attkisson it was, “a shoddily executed attempt at damage control.” While he can’t say for certain what the ARB reviewed, he believes documents turned over for the investigation had all been scrubbed in that basement office to protect Mrs. Clinton.
The State Department tells Attkisson that Maxwell’s allegations were “totally without merit.” Neither Hillary Clinton nor her former advisers Cheryl Mills or Jake Sullivan would comment for the story.
No one ever explained to Maxwell why he was disciplined for the
incident. He believes he was chosen as a scapegoat. After he was put on administrative leave he tried to get a meeting with the State Department’s ombudsman to explain why. The ombudsman told him he should just relax. According to Maxwell (as reported by Attkisson) she said, “You’re not harmed, you’re still getting paid. Don’t watch TV. Take your
wife on a cruise. It’s not about you; it’s about Hillary and 2016”
Maxwell retired from the State Department. The other three individuals who had been placed on paid leave–Charlene Lamb, Scott Bultrowicz and Eric Boswell–have all returned to jobs in the State Department having never missed a paycheck.