Judicial Watch Reacts to Speaker Boehner’s Support for Select Committee on Benghazi
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement today in response Speaker John Boehner’s decision to have the House vote on forming a Select Committee on Benghazi:
I applaud Speaker Boehner’s decision today to finally move toward a Select Committee on Benghazi in response to revelations from Judicial Watch. This is long overdue. Judicial Watch is pleased that its work uncovered the “smoking gun” Rhodes email that led to this important step. Five House Committees have failed for nearly two years to get to the bottom of the Benghazi mess and have been trifled with by a stonewalling administration. We stand ready to assist Congress in any investigation of this important issue.
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request on October 12, 2012, to gain access to documents about the controversial talking points used by then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice for a series of appearances on television Sunday news programs on September 16, 2012. The email was produced in response to a court order in Judicial Watch v. State, No. 1:13-cv-00951.
The Rhodes email was sent on sent on Friday, September 14, 2012, at 8:09 p.m. with the subject line: “RE: PREP CALL with Susan, Saturday at 4:00 pm ET.” The documents show that the “prep” was for Amb. Rice’s Sunday news show appearances to discuss the Benghazi attack.
The document lists as a “Goal”: “To underscore that these protests are rooted in and Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”
Judicial Watch is the leading organization investigating the Benghazi attack of September 11, 2012 which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. We have filed 12 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with various government agencies and have three on-going lawsuits. This is all in the effort to force the government to provide more documents and transparency on this overlooked tragedy. Judicial Watch is also seeking to acquire additional information from the survivors of the attack. If there are any Benghazi secrets to uncover or corruption to expose, you can count on Judicial Watch to lead the way.
Judicial Watch even produced a Special Report: The Benghazi Attack of September 11, 2012: Analysis and Further Questions from a Diplomatic Security Service Regional Security Officer and Special Agent closely examining the Obama administration’s actions before, during, and after the assault, as well as the State Department’s commitment to protect overseas diplomats. The new report contains in-depth analysis, conducted exclusively for Judicial Watch by former State Department Security Special Agent Raymond Fournier, examines the critical time period leading up to the Benghazi attack, when repeated requests for increased security were shunned by top State Department officials. It also examines the Obama administration’s official claim that “an obscure Internet video” triggered the attacks, as well as apparently false claims that four top State Department officials had resigned in response to the Department’s December 18 Accountability Review Board report on the attack. And it raises questions as to the internal problems within the Department that may continue to leave overseas diplomats without adequate security.
On February 14th, 2013 we sued the Director of National Intelligence seeking access to records detailing the attack. Specifically, Judicial Watch is seeking a controversial “speaking points” memo indicating that intelligence officials believed from the outset that terrorists were behind the attack despite public statements to the contrary issued by Obama administration officials, including UN Ambassador Susan Rice and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. You can read the lawsuit here: Judicial Watch v. Office of the Dir. of National Intelligence (No. 13-0198)
On February 25th, 2013 we filed another FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State seeking access to “all videos and photographs” depicting the Benghazi, Libya, Consulate between September 10 and September 13, 2012, the period leading up to, during, and immediately following the attack. You can read that lawsuit here: Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-00242)). Specifically, Judicial Watch seeks the following records pursuant to its December 19, 2012, FOIA request: “Any and all videos and photographs depicting U.S. Consulate facilities in Benghazi, Libya (including the Special Mission Compound and the Annex) between September 10, 2012, and September 13, 2012 that were provided to the Accountability Review Board (ARB) for Benghazi and/or to any individual member of the ARB.”
We filed our third FOIA lawsuit on March 5th, 2013 against the U.S. Department of State seeking access to records concerning a contract totaling nearly $400,000 that was awarded to a foreign firm for “Security Guards and Patrol Services” at the Benghazi Consulate prior to the deadly attack of September 11, 2012. The contract was signed on February 17 and May 3, and, at the time, identified only as “Award ID SAQMMA12COO92”. At first the State Department denied hiring security guards, then admitted having provided false information after this WIRED magazine expose. You can read the lawsuit here Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-00243).
Judicial Watch obtained the first seven photos from the Department of State depicting the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on U.S. diplomatic and CIA facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Judicial Watch obtained the documents pursuant to a Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the State Department on February 25, 2013 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1-13-cv-00242)). These are the first Benghazi photos released by the State Department. See the photos and read the press release here: http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-obtains-first-photos-from-state-department-depicting-aftermath-of-benghazi-attack/
Judicial Watch announced on June 21, 2013 it has begun an additional (FOIA) lawsuit in the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Obama Department of State seeking records relating to “updates and/or talking points” given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice concerning the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-00951)) Read the press release here: http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-sues-obama-state-department-for-talking-points-and-updates-given-to-susan-rice-related-to-benghazi-attack/
You can see all filed FOIAs and Lawsuits below under “Official Legal Documents”
To read more about our lawsuits or FOIA requests, please click on the respective press release under “Press Room” below.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton moderated a Benghazi panel discussion with Congressman Frank Wolf (VA — 10) and Judicial Watch Director of Investigations and Research Christopher Farrell. The panel focused on the American public’s unanswered questions regarding the attack. Rep. Frank Wolf detailed his efforts calling for a bipartisan House Select Committee to fully investigate the terrorist attack. Also, Charles Woods, the father of Benghazi victim Navy SEAL Ty Woods, asked us to read a special statement.
Last week JW joined forces with surviving Benghazi family members, U.S. military leaders and other top conservatives to call House Speaker John Boehner on the sad and pathetic job he’s doing investigating the tragedy.
Please continue to read our actions here: http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2014/01/outrage-over-republican-leadership-compels-release-of-benghazi-docs/
On October 18, 2012, JW filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request with the Department of State seeking the following:
1) Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
2) Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.
The State Department failed to make a determination or notify JW whether it will comply with the FOIA request within the time allowed by the Act. As a result, JW filed suit against State on June 21, 2013, for failure to comply with the Act and requesting Defendant’s production of non-exempt responsive documents.
To date, two batches of documents have been produced. The first consists of 1192 pages of daily press clips from the United States Mission to the United Nations, dated September 12-28. The documents were released in full and contain nothing beyond published news stories. The second production consists of 67 pages of emails. The majority of the content is withheld as deliberative process and/or attorney-client privilege, aside from three prepared talking points sent to members of Congress on September 15, 2012 (quoted below).
“–The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US diplomatic post in Benghazi and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.
–This assessment may change as additional information is collected and analyzed and as currently available information continues to be evaluated.
–The investigation is on-going, and the US Government is working with Libyan authorities to bring justice to those responsible for the deaths of US citizens.”
The emails for be viewed here: http://www.judicialwatch.org/document-archive/ricetalkingpoints/
According to an unclassified map obtained by Judicial Watch, the U.S. military had a multitude of forces in the region surrounding Libya when terrorists attacked the Special Mission in Benghazi and murdered four Americans.
Please see our blog post here: http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2014/02/jw-gets-map-of-military-fleet-positions-during-benghazi-attack/ and the documents can be seen here: (http://www.judicialwatch.org/document-archive/navymapbenghazi/
Judicial Watch Seeks the “Speaking Points” Intelligence Memo Referencing Link to Terrorism that was Allegedly Scrubbed by Obama Administration Officials
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence seeking access to records detailing the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Specifically, Judicial Watch seeks a controversial “speaking points” memo indicating that intelligence officials believed from the outset that terrorists were behind the attack despite public statements to the contrary issued by Obama administration officials, including UN Ambassador Susan Rice and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The lawsuit was filed on February 14, 2013 (Judicial Watch v. Office of the Dir. of National Intelligence (No. 13-0198)).
Judicial Watch seeks the following records pursuant to its October 19, 2012, FOIA request:
Any and all memoranda, assessments, analyses, and/or talking points regarding the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and/or the killing of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence between September 11, 2012 and September 20, 2012. This request includes, but is not limited to, the “speaking points” memorandum referred to by Senator Dianne Feinstein during a televised interview on October 17, 2012, (see http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/10/17/ feinstein-intelligence-flaw-lax-security-to-blame-for-libyan-terror-attack/).
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged receiving JW’s request on October 19, 2012, and was required by law to respond by November 26, 2012. As of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, the agency has failed to produce any records responsive to the request, indicate when any responsive records will be produced, or demonstrated that responsive records are exempt from production.
Regarding the “speaking points” memorandum requested by Judicial Watch, according to the CBS Affiliate in San Francisco: “When asked by CBS 5 if there was an intelligence flaw, the senior California senator [Feinstein] who hails from San Francisco replied: ‘I think what happened was the director of intelligence…put out some speaking points on the initial intelligence assessment. I think that was possibly a mistake.’”
Former CIA Director General David Petraeus reportedly testified before Congress that the initial speaking points produced by the CIA “stated there were indications the attack was linked to al Qaeda,” and suggested the terrorism reference was removed sometime during an interagency review process.
In the days and weeks following the Benghazi attacks, the Obama administration blamed the incident on a rudimentary Internet video deemed offensive to Muslims. This false claim was repeated by both Ambassador Rice and Secretary Clinton in multiple public statements and press interviews. For example, at a September 14, 2012, event honoring the four victims of the Benghazi attack, Secretary Clinton made the following statement: “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen the rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful video that we had nothing to do with.”
Later, when asked about the alleged discrepancy between the intelligence community’s assessment and the Obama administration’s public statements during congressional testimony, former Secretary of State Clinton shouted, “What difference does it make?” “I personally was not focused on talking points,” she stated.
“With all of the Benghazi lies coming out of the Obama administration, the only way to get at the truth is to release these records immediately,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “From the beginning, the Obama White House has been more concerned with self-protection than to disclosing the truth about Benghazi. The Obama administration’s lawless Benghazi cover-up is a disgrace and an insult to the victims of the attacks and their families. The Obama Benghazi scandal makes Iran-Contra seem like patty-cake by comparison.”
In December, Judicial Watch released its special report, “The Benghazi Attack of September 11, 2012: Analysis and Further Questions from a Diplomatic Security Service Regional Security Officer and Special Agent.” The report closely examined the Obama administration’s actions before, during, and after the assault, as well as the State Department’s commitment to protect overseas diplomats.
In addition to Judicial Watch’s Benghazi investigation, Congress also seeks answers from the Obama administration. Republicans in the Senate have indicated they plan to put a hold on the nomination of John O. Brennan, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, who is President Obama’s pick to serve as Director of the CIA, until the Obama White House releases more details on the Benghazi attacks, including the speaking points memos.