The last month has been filled with new revelations regarding Hillary Clinton’s secret email servers. The nation has been alerted to the security risks Hillary Clinton and her staff exposed our government to, they have been told about the secrecy with which team Clinton operated while representing America abroad through the State Department, and finally it was exposed that Clinton had run an entire intelligence operation without the knowledge of the United States Government. The American Public is sick of the secrecy and the opinion of certain elites regarding the rule of law and whether it applies to them.
Most of all, the people want answers. Answers about Clinton’s time at State. Answers about her private spy network. And finally, answer to what happened in Benghazi.
The Select Committee on Benghazi has focused primarily on Clinton’s email arrangement, just this week the Committee, lead by [mc_name name=’Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000566′ ], sent a letter to Clinton, “requesting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to appear before the Committee for a transcribed interview regarding her use of private email and a personal server for official State Department business.”
This is all well and good, and I sincerely hope Rep. Gowdy gets some solid leads from this inquiry, but perhaps they should follow the lead of Veterans for a Strong America (VSA) on this if they want to actually get answers rather than further obfuscation from Clinton and her minions.
Nearly 8 months ago I reported here that Veterans for a Strong America had submitted a FOIA request with the State Department which asked for “all records created, received and/or maintained by [State], including all cross-references, constituting e-mails and telephonic records regarding the attacks against U.S. Government facilities and personnel in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.”
I bolded that portion about phone records because it is extremely important. While the news of a private email network and deleted emails is juicy stuff, ultimately those records are controlled by Clinton and her people. What Clinton cannot control are the phone records. If Gowdy were to direct his subpoena powers in the direction of Clinton’s personal phone logs during the 36 hour timeframe which surrounded the Benghazi attack, the committee might find more leads to direct them in their investigation.
This is why VSA and its Chairman, Joel Arends, a Major in the US Army Reserve and Bronze Star recipient, filed suit against the State Department in the District Court for DC yesterday. Since the FOIA request from last summer by VSA for the Clinton phone and email records surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi, State has missed deadlines to acknowledge the request and ultimately admitted it didn’t have the request, despite VSA having received a written confirmation of receipt after its original submission.
A quick read of the 10 page complaint will reveal just how incompetent, or uncooperative, the FOIA department was at State, but the complaint itself is rather self explanatory. Essentially VSA charges that State had information relevant to its FOIA request and withheld that information:
This is an action under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552, et seq., as amended, for the disclosure of agency records constituting e-mails and telephonic records regarding the attacks against U.S. Government facilities and personnel in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. The records were improperly withheld from plaintiffs Veterans for a Strong America and Joel Arends by the defendant Department of State.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Joel Arends and Veterans for a Strong America by Mark Zaid, who, as Sarah Westwood at the Washington examiner noted in her article last month, “rose to prominence for his role in several high-profile cases, including a legal victory against the government of Libya for the 1988 terrorist bombing of a Pan Am flight that netted a nearly $3 billion settlement.”
While most of the news outlets, and the other entities with legal action pending against State, have focused solely on Clinton’s private email network, whether or not the data has truly been deleted, and the broader scope of Clinton’s time at State, VSA and Zaid are more concerned with the phone logs specific to the timeframe surrounding the tragic events in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.
“Equally as much as any relevant e-mails stored on her family’s private server, the existence of which has caused such an uproar, the details of Secretary Clinton’s phone logs represent an impermissible gap in the record of events.” Zaid said in a statement via email.
Zaid went on to say that, “At a time of extreme chaos and confusion, when lives were at stake, the need for clear and consistent lines of communication with the Secretary of State was paramount. To leave unresolved the question of who was communicating information both to and from Secretary Clinton in those critical hours, and whether those actions were sufficient, risks the possibility that the mistakes that cost four Americans their lives will be repeated elsewhere.”
The American public deserves to know what happened during Hillary Clinton’s time at the State Department. As we move headlong into the 2016 Presidential cycle, which it is assumed Clinton will be entering as a candidate, it becomes more important than ever that we be allowed to see how Clinton reacted to a terrorist attack on a U.S. Embassy post that resulted in the death of four Americans serving their country.
Hopefully Rep. Gowdy and the Select Committee on Benghazi will broaden their focus to include all personal phone records of former Secretary of State, and Democrat heir apparent for POTUS, Clinton. Combining these records with the knowledge of secret email and spy networks should lead to further revelations about what actually happened September 11, 2012 when four Americans were killed in a terrorist attack on our embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
**Disclosure: Aaron Gardner is the principle at Huckleberry Ltd and provides consulting services to Veterans for a Strong America**