Clinton Emails Reveal Political Concerns Over Benghazi, Off-the-Books Communication With Aides

Andrew Burton/Getty Images/AFP
Andrew Burton/Getty Images/AFP

The New York Times comically buries the lead with an article entitled, “In Clinton Emails on Benghazi, a Rare Glimpse at Her Concerns.”

It was a grueling hearing. A month after the September 2012 attack on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, House Republicans grilled a top State Department official about security lapses at the outpost.

Later that day, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton tapped out an email to a close adviser: “Did we survive the day?” she wrote.

“Survive, yes,” the adviser emailed back, adding that he would continue to gauge reaction the next morning.

The roughly 300 emails from Mrs. Clinton’s private account that were turned over last month to a House committee investigating the attack showed the secretary and her aides closely monitoring the fallout from the tragedy, which threatened to damage her image and reflect poorly on the State Department.

They provided no evidence that Mrs. Clinton, as the most incendiary Republican attacks have suggested, issued a “stand down” order to halt American forces responding to the violence in Benghazi, or took part in a broad cover-up of the administration’s response, according to senior American officials.

But they did show that Mrs. Clinton’s top aides at times corresponded with her about State Department matters from their personal email accounts, raising questions about her recent assertions that she made it her practice to email aides at their government addresses so the messages would be preserved, in compliance with federal record-keeping regulations.

This reporting doesn’t “raise questions about her assertions,” it proves she was lying through her teeth when she claimed her the bulk of her official correspondence was sent to people with proper .gov email addresses, which would have made the messages appropriately visible to congressional oversight, Freedom of Information Act requests, and archiving (which we later learned wasn’t happening anyway, although the American people understandably assumed it was, this being the Information Age and all.)

As Business Insider observers, not only do these new revelations dynamite statements Clinton made just two weeks ago, they also raise more concerns about Clinton’s private, not-very-secure mail server jeopardizing national security. Security experts have already shown that, contrary to Clinton’s assertions, her personal machine was nowhere near as secure as the State Department system she was supposed to be using. Now we find out she was discussing official business using the God-knows-how-insecure personal accounts of her aides. Her best chance of escaping accountability for what she’s done is that her conduct was so sloppy and arrogant that the story of reads like a farce.

Clinton’s team is still attempting to deflect all inquiries by insisting that everyone trust her implicitly about everything, from the number of off-the-books messages she and her aides exchanged, to the electronic security of her server. (About the only thing statement she’s made that we probably can take on faith is that the physical security of the machine itself was adequately protected against any ski-mask-wearing burglars who might have tried slipping past the Secret Service to loot the basement of the Clinton estate in Chappaqua.)

The American people ought to be getting sick and tired of these lectures from our disconnected, above-the-law Ruling Class about how the peons need to take their word for everything – as if winning an election, or being appointed by someone who won an election, is the only credibility bar they’ll ever need to clear. We’re often told we must trade liberty for security. There are few greater combo threats to both liberty and security than secretive aristocratic rulers who think votes cast by an electorate they’ve bamboozled with lies and deception authorize them to exercise limitless control over our lives.

Voters in 2012 were unquestionably prevented from hearing the real story about Benghazi, and it’s costing us dearly in foreign policy disasters around the world, building up to the dawn of nuclear Iran. How can anyone look at what’s happening in Libya right now, as ISIS swarms over a beachhead festooned with severed heads and spreads through the region, while militia warlords battle the government for dominance in the flaming wreckage Obama and Clinton left behind, and say Benghazi doesn’t matter? It was the Rosetta Stone of Obama policy failure – a template of secrecy, ineptitude, and the arrogant refusal to admit error that have characterized every bumbling disaster this Administration has unleashed, both in America and abroad.

The New York Times headline makes it sound as if Clinton’s “concerns” about Benghazi are a warm and fuzzy illustration of a conscientious Secretary of State, but the opposite is true – she was “concerned” about the political damage to the Administration and herself. Later in the NYT, there’s a howler of a passage that tries to make it sound like Clinton pulled back from going all-in on the “spontaneous video protest” narrative, unlike then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, Team Obama’s primary dispenser of that fabled fraudulent narrative. Um, guys? Hillary looked the families of the Benghazi victims right in the eye and promised to get the dude who made the video. And he did indeed end up in jail.

The story of Benghazi isn’t a binary choice between “Hillary and/or Obama gave a stand-down order” and “everything’s okay.” It’s not even solely about the cover-up our Big Media gatekeepers are frantic to make us forget about, despite ample evidence that everyone spreading the phony “spontaneous video protest” line knew it was a crock on the night of the attack. (We’re now supposed to give them a pass on the deception because it only lasted for a few weeks, just enough time for Obama to crawl through what would have been a devastating news cycle in the midst of a presidential election. Under this standard, it’s not really a “cover-up” unless the conspirators are still sticking to their fabrications a couple of years later.)

The true meaning of Benghazi, the big scandal that won’t go away, is why a U.S. ambassador was sent into a terrorist beehive on the anniversary of 9/11, in the midst of a rapidly deteriorating country, with minimal protection and no assets in place for a rescue. It was a catastrophic failure by the entire White House national security apparatus and State Department, and it came about largely because they didn’t want to admit how bad Libya was getting. Obama used to tout the overthrow of Quaddafi as a brilliant success, but as with Yemen, his big success became a bloody nightmare.

The Middle East today looks absolutely nothing like what Obama’s 2012 campaign promised. It looks exactly like what his critics predicted.

What actually happened on the night of September 11, 2012 – both in Benghazi, and in the White House – was crucial need-to-know information for American voters, and it was withheld from them. In what sense are we a free republic, our government empowered by the consent of the governed, if the gigantic resources of our centralized State are employed to blind us from the truth during major election cycle? Accountability and transparency dilute power, which is good. Our Ruling Class finds even the most obvious, clearly-stated rules for accountability intolerable. That should be signal to all of us, Left and Right, that we need a dramatic change in leadership.