What Hillary hasn't been able to cover-up on Benghazi
Byron York of the Washington Examiner has sacrificed part of his holiday weekend to plough through the tranche of Hillary Clinton private server emails released late Friday. His take is quite interesting:
The only warnings about Benghazi security in the emails are from April and June of 2011, more than a year before the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack, along with one brief mention in an email from February 2012, seven months before. The thing is, the Clinton emails just don't have much in them about the violence that would ultimately lead to the Benghazi attacks, and that in itself is a story.
Beginning in the spring of 2012, the threat — and the reality — of violence in Libya were ever-present. There was attack after attack, and warning after warning, yet none seemed to penetrate Hillary Clinton's carefully-constructed email world. Most significantly, on Aug. 16, 2012, less than a month before the attack, Ambassador Chris Stevens sent an urgent warning to the State Department saying Americans in Libya could not defend U.S. facilities "in the event of a coordinated attack, due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound." Clinton has testified under oath that she never saw Stevens' call for help.
Indeed, what is striking about Clinton's Libya-related emails is how few references there are to the violence that led to the Sept. 11 attack.
Negligence is the word that comes to mind. We all know the horrific outcome that resulted from the deliberate or inadvertent failure to answer the pleas from the late Ambassador Stevens, a man Clinton publicly called “Chris,” as if she had a personal rapport with the man she hung out to dry.
Clinton’s nonchalance is astonishing, given the documented magnitude of the threat:
Even on the day of the attack — the 11th anniversary of 9/11, and therefore a time of heightened alert for U.S. forces and officials around the world — Clinton showed no concern for security in Libya. Very early on the morning of the attack, Clinton sent an email to close aide Huma Abedin. The reason? Clinton wanted a copy of a movie about Libya made by the French celebrity intellectual Bernard Henri-Levy and produced by Clinton friend and Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein. "Can you get us a copy of Bernard Henri-Levi's [sic] film about Libya?" Clinton asked Abedin. "I think Harvey made it and showed it at Cannes last spring."
Now the lack of emails doesn’t mean there wasn’t Clinton discussion of Benghazi security, just that the evidence either not been released, or that it has been deep-sixed.
There are a few possible reasons.
1) Clinton did not turn over all Libya-related emails. It's fair to say many Republicans believe that, and statements from House Benghazi Select Committee chairman Trey Gowdy indicate that he suspects Clinton is withholding information. "There are gaps of months and months and months," Gowdy said on CBS in March. (snip)
2) Clinton's handling of the Libya crisis was largely done without email. Did the secretary address the crisis of growing violence by old-fashioned means — phone, personal meeting, paper memos? It is possible, but answering that question would require a level of cooperation from Clinton and from the State Department that neither has exhibited so far.
3) Clinton, and her top State Department aides, just weren't all that concerned about the Libya situation. Perhaps the absence of emails about dangers in Benghazi indicates that the situation simply didn't rise to a very high level of importance in Clinton's world.
Reluctantly, we have to face the possibility that, unless the erased server can be harvested for deleted emails, the smoking gun evidence of lies and cover-up over Benghazi has gone up in cyber-smoke. But that should not blind us to evidence of malfeasance of a high order that is available from what we already have.