Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained documents earlier this month proving that several top aides for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were aware the American consulate in Benghazi was under attack more than three years ago. This includes Clinton’s then-chief of staff and top confidant, Cheryl Mills.
Four Americans were killed in the Benghazi attack: Ambassador Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Judicial Watch is in the midst of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. State Department, the scope of which entails “any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to notes, updates, or reports, created in response to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.”
On September 11, 2012, Maria Sand, a special assistant to Clinton, forwarded an email to Mills entitled “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi is Under Attack.” Jacob Sullivan (then-deputy chief of staff for policy), Joseph McManus (then Clinton’s executive assistant), and several other special assistants in Clinton’s office also received the email. It read as follows:
The Regional Security Officer reports the diplomatic mission is under attack. Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM [Chief of Mission] personnel are in the compound safe haven. The 17th of February militia is providing security support.
Mills was also forwarded an email sent by Scott Bultrowicz, former director of the Diplomatic Security Service. Judicial Watch noted he was fired following the review of the attack. The email was sent the day of the attack at 4:38 PM.
DSCC received a phone call from [REDACTED] in Benghazi, Libya initially stating that 15 armed individuals were attacking the compound and trying to gain entrance. The Ambassador is present in Benghazi and current is barricaded within the compound. There are no injuries at this time and it is unknown what the intent of the attackers is.
At approximately 1600 DSCC received word from Benghazi that individuals had entered the compound. At 1614 RSO advised the Libyans had set fire to various buildings in the area, possibly the building that houses the Ambassador [REDACTED] is responding and taking fire.
The email had a chain of earlier updates from the same day, sent between 4:54 PM and 11:57 PM:
- “(SBU) DS Command reports the current shelter location from COM personnel in Benghazi is under mortar fire. There are reports of injuries to COM staff.”
- Update 2: (Subject: Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack (SBU): “(SBU) Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and call for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.”
- “Embassy Tripoli reports the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi has stopped and the compound has been cleared. A response team is on site to locate COM personnel.”
Later that evening, an email was sent by Senior Watch Officer Andrew Veprek to various watch officials at the State Department confirming the death of Ambassador Stevens. It was later forwarded to Mills and McManus.