There is a two-month gap in Hillary Clinton’s emails that coincides with violence in Libya and the employment status of a top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin.
Among the approximately 2,000 emails that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has released from her private account, there is a conspicuous two-month gap. There are no emails between Clinton and her State Department staff during May and June 2012, a period of escalating violence in Libya leading up to the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
A State Department spokesman told The Daily Beast that for the year 2012, only those emails related to the security of the consulate or to the U.S. diplomatic presence in Libya were made public and turned over to a House committee investigating the fatal Benghazi assault. But if that’s true, then neither Clinton nor her staff communicated via email about the escalating dangers in Libya. There were three attacks during that two-month period, including one that targeted the consulate.
That two-month period also coincides with a senior Clinton aide obtaining a special exemption that allowed her to work both as a staff member to the secretary and in a private capacity for Clinton and her husband’s foundation. The Associated Press has sued to obtain emails from Clinton’s account about the aide, Huma Abedin.
The status of Clinton’s emails has become an explosive political issue ever since The New York Times revealed that the then-Secretary of State was using a private email server to handle her official correspondence. Cybersecurity experts believe the homebrew system opened Clinton and her colleagues to targeting from online spies. The State Department and Intelligence Community Inspector Generals have asked the Justice Department to look into possible disclosure of classified information.
Regarding the security situation in Libya, there was plenty for Clinton and her team to discuss via email. On May 22, 2012, the International Red Cross’s Benghazi office was hit by rocket-propelled grenades.
“The attack on the International Red Cross was another attack that also involved us and threats to the compound there in Benghazi,” testified Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, a senior State Department security chief in Libya (PDF) before the House Oversight Committee in October 2012.
Then, on June 6, an improvised explosive device detonated outside of the U.S. consulate, ripping a 12-foot-wide hole in the compound’s wall and prompting officials to release a public warning on “the fluid security situation in Libya.”
Yet the State Department has not produced any emails to or from Clinton about the improvised bomb.
Republicans on the House committee investigating the Benghazi attack have called the absence of any email communication noting the explosive attack at the U.S. consulate “inexplicable.”
“There are gaps of months and months and months,” Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, said in a March 8 interview.
“The State Department transferred 300 messages exclusively reviewed and released by her [Clinton’s] own lawyers,” Gowdy added in a May 22 statement noting gaps in the email records. “To assume a self-selected public record is complete, when no one with a duty or responsibility to the public had the ability to take part in the selection, requires a leap in logic no impartial reviewer should be required to make and strains credibility.”
Since then, the Benghazi committee has recovered one email, largely about business interests in Libya, from June 2012 after subpoenaing Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal. The email from Blumenthal does not mention threats to the U.S. consulate, and there is no response from Clinton. The State Department subsequently gave the committee its copy.
Read more: thedailybeast.com