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Judicial Watch • JW v State HRC Benghazi reply 00692

JW v State HRC Benghazi reply 00692

JW v State HRC Benghazi reply 00692

Page 1: JW v State HRC Benghazi reply 00692

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Date Created:February 10, 2017

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Tags:Morell, attacks, points, attack, rhodes, 00692, Video, Ambassador, HRC, Reply, testimony, Susan Rice, libya, al Qaeda, email, September, Hillary Clinton, Benghazi, president, Secretary, filed, Obama, State Department, White House, committee, FBI, document, FOIA, department, IRS, CIA


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Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,
Plaintiff,
U.S. DEPARTMENT STATE,
Defendant.
Civil Action No. 15-cv-692 (APM)
REPLY SUPPORT PLAINTIFF
CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
The record makes clear that Defendant has not met its burden under the Freedom
Information Act FOIA justify its limited search and its concealment the responsive
information identified Plaintiff opening brief. First, Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. Judicial
Watch correctly asserts that reasonable search must include the official agency email
accounts Secretary Clinton closest advisors who discussed the subject matter Plaintiff
FOIA request with Secretary Clinton during their term. Second, the supplemental declaration
submitted Eric Stein behalf Defendant U.S. Department State State State
Department does little justify the non-disclosure the email communication from Secretary
Clinton Jacob Sullivan concerning Ambassador Rice appearance NBC Meet the Press deliberative. The declaration reaffirms that the Secretary Clinton recommendation was
final agency decision and that its disclosure would not reveal information within the deliberative
process. And third, Defendant argument that the government misconduct exception should not
apply unconvincing. For all the reasons asserted herein and those described Plaintiff
cross-motion for summary judgment Pltf. Cross-SJM (ECF No. 43), the Court should order
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
supplemental search and disclosure the records identified Plaintiff cross-motion for
summary judgment.
ARGUMENT
Defendant search does not satisfy its obligations under FOIA.
Defendant search inadequate because excludes obvious agency systems records
that are known contain Secretary Clinton emails that are potentially responsive Plaintiff
FOIA request. Plaintiff FOIA request issue (FOIA Request seeks Secretary Clinton
emails concerning the terrorist attacks the U.S. Consulate Benghazi, Libya September
11, 2012 during which four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador. Plf. CrossSJM pp. 4-5. The State Department argues that its search the emails returned Secretary
Clinton personal attorneys December 2014, the emails returned three her high-level
staff members, Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin and Jacob Sullivan, also from their unofficial email
accounts 2015, well some Secretary Clinton agency emails recovered the FBI
August 2016 during its investigation Secretary Clinton use unsecure email system
sufficient meet its obligations under FOIA. The fallacy Defendant argument, however,
that asks this Court and the public ignore the undisputed facts that this incomplete list systems records known contain Secretary Clinton agency emails and none these
systems records contain complete set her agency emails from her time the State
Department. Id. pp. 3-6. While Plaintiff does not seek perfect search, nor does seek
duplicate efforts already undertaken other courts connection with Secretary Clinton use
While Plaintiff already stated its opening brief that does not contest Defendant response FOIA
Request misleading for Defendant state its opposition brief that, because Plaintiff diligently worked
narrow the objections wished pursue litigation, the remainder Defendant response satisfies its legal
obligations under FOIA. Defendant Opposition Plaintiff Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment Def. Opp.
(ECF No. 45) pp. 2-3. Defendant omits mention that had not yet provided all non-exempt responsive
information FOIA Request when moved for summary judgment. Plaintiff Cross-Motion for Summary
Judgment Pltf. Cross-SJM (ECF No. 43) For that reason alone, Defendant would not have been entitled summary judgment matter law when moved the Court.
-2-
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page unofficial email account, Plaintiff does demand that the State Department undertake search the most obvious systems records that contain Secretary Clinton emails for meet its
obligations under FOIA.
Defendant misleadingly and mistakenly asserts its opposition Plaintiff crossmotion for summary judgment Def. Opp. that Plaintiff does not provide statutory case law
support for its position that request for agency emails from one government official may
require searches other officials agency email accounts the normal course FOIA
request. Def. Opp. (ECF No. 45) This Circuit has clearly settled that the adequacy
agency search the normal course FOIA determined case case basis, dependent
upon the circumstances [each] case. Weisberg U.S. Dep Justice, 705 F.2d 1344, 1351
(D.C. Cir. 1983) (quoting Founding Church Scientology National Security Agency, 610
F.2d 824, 834 (D.C. Cir. 1979); citing McGehee Central Intelligence Agency, 697 F.2d 1095,
1100-01 (D.C. Cir. 1983)). Further, where multiple systems records are likely contain
potentially responsive records, the agency cannot limit its search only one record system.
Nation Magazine U.S. Customs Serv, F.3d 885, 890 (D.C. Cir. 1995) (internal citations
omitted). this case, definitely known, not just likely, that the State Department excluded
agency systems records that contain potentially responsive records from its search. undisputed that the set emails hand-selected and returned Secretary Clinton
private attorneys almost two years after the secretary tenure terminated the State Department not complete set Secretary Clinton agency emails while she was the U.S. Secretary
State. Pltf. Cross-SJM pp. 3-5. addressed Plaintiff cross-motion, FBI Director Comey
announced July 2016 that the FBI recovered thousands agency emails with Secretary
Clinton that were not returned her personal attorneys the State Department December
-3-
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
2014. Id. Since Plaintiff cross-motion for summary judgment, the FBI has revealed
that least 1,539 work-related emails directly between Secretary Clinton and Huma Abedin
their unofficial email accounts were not among the emails Secretary Clinton attorneys returned the State Department December 2014. Ex. (FBI Investigation Notes Hillary Clinton,
Part marked with Bates Stamp HRC-1002), also available online https://vault.fbi.gov/
hillary-r.-clinton (accessed February 2017).
The predicament the State Department finds itself result its own making that
the former secretary agency emails are spread over number records systems, creating
complex web the filing system her agency emails. other words, number storage
systems contain Secretary Clinton agency emails, while not one single storage system
contains all her government agency emails their entirety. Ex. Pltf. Cross-SJM pp. 3-6, One storage system that contains some Secretary Clinton agency emails the set
approximately 30,000 emails returned the State Department her personal attorneys
December 2014. Pltf. Cross-SJM pp. 3-4. Another storage system the set agency emails
returned her closest advisors with whom she regularly emailed during their tenures the
State Department. Id. These officials include Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and Jacob Sullivan
and are emails also from their unofficial email accounts. Another storage system the set
emails recovered the FBI. Id. Yet, another storage system, equally obvious the
ones already mentioned, are the official government email accounts all State Department
officials Secretary Clinton communicated with during the course her State Department tenure
for government business. Id. While such list likely more than select few
Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court take judicial notice the FBI investigation notes, which can accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably questioned. Fed. Evid.
201(b)(2).
-4-
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
such list has not yet been provided Secretary Clinton the State Department, although
has been requested Plaintiff unrelated lawsuit pending before this Court Plaintiff has
requested that the State Department search the official government email accounts only the
officials Defendant identified likely having conversed with Secretary Clinton about the subject
matter Plaintiff FOIA request: Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin and Jacob Sullivan. Id.
Their official email accounts are known storage systems systems records that contain
potentially responsive records and Defendant must search them comply with its FOIA
obligations. Defendant arguments that need not comply with FOIA are groundless.
Defendant also points the fact that the search the emails returned Cheryl Mills,
Huma Abedin and Jacob Sullivan from their unofficial email accounts and the FBI recovered
records August 2016 resulted only responsive records. This irrelevant and does not
diminish Defendant obligation search records systems knows contain potentially
responsive records. Where multiple systems records are likely contain potentially
responsive records, the agency cannot limit its search only one record system. Nation
Magazine, F.3d 890. Furthermore, Defendant description that some the records are
near duplicate also bears legal distinction and only intended distract from the real
significance Secretary Clinton email use had FOIA requests and FOIA litigants. The State
Department has also not made showing alleged that electronic search the pst files
the agency email accounts issued Chery Mills, Huma Abedin and Jacob Sullivan would
unduly burdensome. For all the foregoing reasons and those set forth Plaintiff opening
brief, the State Department must supplement its search response Plaintiff FOIA request
include the agency email accounts that were issued Chery Mills, Huma Abedin and Jacob
Judicial Watch, Inc. U.S. Dep State, (Case No. 14-1242) (RCL), Pltf. Notice Revised Discovery
Proposal (ECF No. 50) pp. 1-2, 8-11.
-5-
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
Sullivan while they were the State Department and the records the FBI most recently
announced have recovered November 2016.
Release the redacted information Doc. Nos. C05739728 and C0539722
does not disclose information within the deliberative process. response Plaintiff cross-motion for summary judgment, the State Department
produced supplemental declaration Eric Stein support its position that the
information redacted document numbers C05739728 and C0539722 protected the
deliberative process privilege afforded under Exemption The supplemental description the
redaction, however, only strengthens Plaintiff position that the information should released
forthwith does not convey agency deliberation and final agency decision. Under FOIA,
documents are deliberative they reflect[] the give-and-take the consultative process. Pub.
Citizen, Inc. OMB, 598 F.3d 865, 874 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (reversing part and remanding
part summary judgment found favor the agency the lower court) (quoting Judicial
Watch, Inc. FDA, 449 F.3d 131, 151 (D.C. Cir. 2006)).
The supplemental information provided Defendant may embodied one sentence:
The redacted information was instruction Mr. Sullivan convey Secretary Clinton
recommendation about how different federal agency should address the particular issue the
media. Supplemental Decl. Eric Stein Regarding Documents C05739728 and C05739722, Supp. Stein Decl. (ECF No. 45-2). Defendant never identifies the particular issue
the media and nowhere Mr. Stein declaration does Defendant actually allege there was
deliberative process other words, give-and-take consultation between the agencies
that particular issue. Id. Defendant also does not identify the other agency. Id. Defendant
supplemental declaration only raises more questions than answers, underscoring Plaintiff
objection the withholding.
-6-
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page State Department own accord, Secretary Clinton instructed Jacob Sullivan relay
the agency position about issue concerning Ambassador Rice televised appearance
discussing the terrorist attacks Benghazi. Nothing provided the record Defendant
description the emails suggest that Secretary Clinton email would reveal any give-andtake discussions between the agencies, that there even was give-and-take discussion
between the agencies. Id.; Pub. Citizen, Inc., 598 F.3d 874. Plaintiff does not seek any
information that may considered deliberative even how the other unidentified agency
responded. The plain language the email and Defendant declarations suggest Secretary
Clinton recommendation just that final disposition made agency, conveying the
State Department position that particular issue. Id. The deliberative nature the other
agency response not issue nor requested Plaintiff this case. Id. Defendant
description the information withheld strongly suggests that final disposition, giving
grounds sustain Plaintiff objection Defendant invocation the deliberative process
privilege under Exemption
Conclusory assertions Defendant that Secretary Clinton email contains information
within the deliberative process, not supported the evidence, falls short the burden
Defendant must meet lawfully withhold the contested information. Final opinions
recommendation one agency cannot exempt from disclosure because they cannot interagency intra-agency memorandums. USC 552(b)(5); Coastal States Gas Corp. Dep
Energy, 617 F.2d 854, 867-868 (D.C. Cir. 1980). also clear that the agency has the burden establishing what deliberative process involved, and the role played the documents
issue the course that process. Coastal States Gas Corp., 617 F.2d 868; NLRB Sears,
Roebuck Co., 421 U.S. 132, 153-54 (1975). minimum, the Court should review the
-7-
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
records unredacted form camera assist the Court making determination the
alleged deliberative nature the communication. Ray Turner, 587 F.2d 1187, 1195 (D.C. Cir.
1978).
The government misconduct exception applies even the information
deemed deliberative.
Even the Court were determine Secretary Clinton email Jacob Sullivan
deliberative, which Plaintiff disputes, Defendant must disclose the information because the
government misconduct exception applies this case. Defendant use excerpts from
congressional reports its opposition brief misdirected and rather confirms the continued
applicability the government misconduct exception FOIA Exemption deliberative
process privilege.
Regardless whether the misconduct issue characterized nefarious
extreme serious breach the responsibilities representative government, the
exception applies here. ICM Registry, LLC U.S. Dep Commerce, 538 Supp.2d 130, 133
(D.D.C. 2008).
Misleading the public, the eve presidential election, about terrorist
attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. ambassador, nefarious and extreme
wrongdoing. also serious breach representative government.
[W]here there reason believe the documents sought may shed light government
misconduct, the privilege routinely denied the grounds that shielding internal government
deliberations this context does not serve the public interest honest, effective
government. Sealed Case, 121 F.3d 729, 138 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (quoting Texaco Puerto
Rico, Inc. Dep Consumer Affairs, F.3d 867, 885 (1st Cir. 1995)). Plaintiff has provided
Defendant assertion that Plaintiff shopping its government misconduct exception legal argument
around the courthouse baseless they concern different records and even misconducts. Def. Opp. pp. 12-13.
The fact that the exception applies multiple cases for different records requested under FOIA not shopping, but
rather asserting legal objection that applies more than just one lawsuit.
-8-
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
more than enough reason believe government misconduct may have occurred. presented
overwhelming admissible evidence Defendant own, internal records showing clear
contradiction between what Secretary Clinton privately told least three persons and what the
public was told about the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack. Plaintiff also presented
admissible evidence again, Defendant own, internal records showing apparent plan
the highest levels the U.S. government attribute the attack spontaneous protests over
internet video. This not mere disagreement over emphasis characterizations the
attackers motives. not mere speculation. Defendant assertions the contrary are
transparent attempts distort the plain meaning these records.
The evidence Plaintiff presented evidence serious misconduct misconduct that
clearly constitutes breach the responsibilities representative government and can fairly characterized nefarious and extreme. Misleading the public the eve
presidential election about terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including U.S.
ambassador, certainly nefarious and extreme the misconduct issue other cases
which the exception was found apply. These include, for example, the U.S. Department
Justice allegedly leaking information from Office Professional Responsibility investigation
Compare, e.g., RRC Decl. (ECF No. 43-1) (Sept. 11, 2012 Call Notes between Sec. Clinton and
Libyan General National Congress President Mohammed Magariaf) [O]ur diplomatic mission Benghazi was
attacked earlier this evening there gun battle ongoing, which understand Ansar a[l]-Sharia claiming
responsibility for. Ex. (Sec. Clinton Sept. 11, 2012 Email with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton (under alias Diane
Reynolds)) Two our officers were killed Benghazi Q[a]eda-like group. and Ex. (Sept. 12, 2012
Call Notes between Sec. Clinton and Egyptian Prime Minister Kandil) know that the attack Libya had
nothing with the film. was planned attack not protest. with Secretary Clinton public statement
Sept. 11, 2012 (Pltf. SMF (ECF No. 43), President Obama public statement Sept. 12, 2012 (Pltf. SMF and Ambassador Rice public statements Sept. 16, 2012 (Pltf. SMF 3-4).
See RRC Decl. (ECF No. 43-1) Ex. (Email from Benjamin Rhodes describing goal U.S.
Ambassador Susan Rice appearances Sunday morning news programs [t]o underscore that these protests are
rooted Internet video and suggesting Ambassador Rice use the following answer questions about the attack, are not aware any actionable intelligence indicating that attack the U.S. Mission Benghazi was
planned imminent. The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations Benghazi were
spontaneously inspired protests the U.S. Embassy Cairo and evolved into direct assault against the U.S.
Consulate and subsequently its annex.
-9-
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
into Assistant U.S. Attorney the U.S. Department Defense allegedly leaking information
from Linda Tripp personnel file regarding 30-year old arrest for teenage prank. Convertino U.S. Dep Justice, 674 Supp. 97, 104 (D.C.C. 2009); Alexander Federal Bureau
Investigation, 186 F.R.D. 170, 178-79 (D.D.C. 1999). the misconduct issue here occurred the context presidential election, arguably more nefarious and extreme than the
alleged misuse the IRS issue Tax Reform Research Grp. Internal Revenue Serv., 419
Supp. 415, 426 (D.D.C. 1976), which the exception also was found apply.
Based Defendant own description the information withheld the two emails, the
information goes the heart the misconduct. Secretary Clinton encouraged the false
narrative that the attacks the U.S. Consulate Benghazi was rooted the video, after she
acknowledged her daughter and foreign heads state that the attack was terrorist attack, the
information certain shed light the government misconduct. There plainly direct
connection between the government misconduct and the documents. Convertino, 674 Supp. 104 (citations omitted).
The evidence presented Plaintiff also rises above evidence disagreement within
the governmental entity some point the decisionmaking process. Defendant who tries rebut Plaintiff compelling evidence misconduct citing select portions reports the
Select Committees Intelligence the U.S. House Representatives and the U.S. Senate,
well the report the Democratic Members the U.S. House Representatives Select
Committee Benghazi. The misconduct not whether the Administration correctly identified
the actual terrorist groups persons who led the attack, but rather, the false narrative made
the Administration persuade the public believe the eve presidential election that the
attacks were inspired protests when fact the Administration knew the highest levels
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
that four Americans were killed result terrorist attack. See e.g. Pltf. Response Def.
Supp. Statement Facts 108 (Defendant fails mention its Supplemental Statement
Facts Director National Intelligence James Clapper testimony before the Senate Committee Armed Services that agreed with CIA John Brennan statement that when the second
the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks happened, the CIA annex, unequivocally all
knew that was organized terrorist attack.. (Emphasis added.) (Director Clapper testimony only lines below the limited testimony Defendant cites). Defendant also cites the House Representatives Select Committee Intelligence highlight that intelligence gaps existed
but omits the most relevant portion just below the paragraph cites its Supplemental
Statement Facts. reads:
Various witnesses and senior military officials serving the Obama
Administration testified this Committee, the House Armed Services
Committee, and the Senate Armed Services Committee that they knew
from the moment the attacks began that the attacks were deliberate
terrorist acts against U.S. interests. witness has reported believing
any point that the attacks were anything but terrorist attacks.
Pltf. Response Def. Supplemental Statement Facts 100 (emphasis added).
Tellingly, Defendant also fails mention the Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy
statements made Congressional Staff one day after the attack. When Department State
own Under Secretary was asked whether the attack was under the cover protest,
responded: this was direct breaching attack. Again was asked believe [the
attack] was coordinated w[ith] Cairo? responded: Attack Cairo was demonstration.
There were weapons shown used. few cans spray paint. Defendant also ignores the
Declaration Kate Bailey, Ex. (Doc. No. C06059536 produced Defendant response Plaintiff
FOIA Request that was issue unrelated FOIA lawsuit, Judicial Watch, Inc. U.S. Dep State (Case No.
16-153) (RDM) Write-Up U/S Kennedy Call with Hill Libya
Id.
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
Benghazi select committee majority report, which over 800 pages long, has primary
sections, and appendices. Attached hereto Exhibit true and correct copy Section the report, entitled Internal and Public Government Communications About the Terrorist
Attack Benghazi, well bullet points prepared Plaintiff identifying key findings the
report. Among the findings Section are the following:
[Ambassador] Rice comments the Sunday talk shows were met with shock
and disbelief those closest the facts the situation. Subject matter experts
with direct knowledge the attacks expressed immediate concern about what
Rice had said the shows and potential fallout result.
Other subject matter experts within the State Department also recognized
problems with what Rice said the talk shows. State Department employees
Washington, D.C. who had spoken with those the ground Libya after the
attack were universal their condemnation Rice statements. The Senior
Libya Desk Officer, Bureau Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, wrote:
think Rice was off the reservation this one.
The Deputy Director, Office Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau Near
Eastern Affairs, State Department, responded: Off the reservation five
networks!
The Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications, Bureau Near East Affairs,
State Department, wrote: Yup. Luckily there enough her language fudge
exactly what she said/meant. also wrote: [White House] very worried
about the politics. This was all their doing.
Ex. II-131, II-132, and II-133. Section refutes Defendant argument and confirms
Plaintiff argument that the government misconduct exception must apply. anything, Section and the reports and other materials cited Defendant highlight the need for additional
information, beyond these largely partisan exercises, shed light whether, the evidence
strongly suggests, misconduct occurred.
The full report available http://benghazi.house.gov/NewInfo.
Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court take judicial notice Section the report, which can
accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably questioned. Fed. Evid.
201(b)(2).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
Defendant use excerpts from congressional reports also misdirected Plaintiff
does not have prove that government misconduct actually occurred order for the misconduct
exception apply. Plaintiff only needs present evidence that there reason believe the
documents sought may shed light government misconduct. Sealed Case, 121 F.3d
738 (citations omitted). Plaintiff has satisfied that standard. presented admissible evidence
demonstrating that grave government misconduct may have occurred, and Defendant own
descriptions the records issue demonstrate there reason believe those records may shed
light that misconduct. Accordingly, Defendant invocation Exemption deliberative
process privilege cannot sustained over the records question.
CONCLUSION
For all the foregoing reasons and the reasons set forth Plaintiff opposition
Defendant motion for summary judgment and Plaintiff cross-motion for summary judgment,
Plaintiff cross-motion for summary judgment should granted and the relevant material
should produced Plaintiff and Defendant should ordered conduct supplemental
search requested Plaintiff therein.
Dated: February 10, 2017
Respectfully submitted,
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
/S/ Ramona Cotca
Ramona Cotca (D.C. Bar No. 501159)
Judicial Watch, Inc.
425 Third Street, SW, Suite 800
Washington, 20024
(202) 646-5172
rcotca@judicialwatch.org
Counsel for Plaintiff
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,
Plaintiff,
U.S. DEPARTMENT STATE,
Defendant.
Civil Action No. 15-cv-692 (APM)
PLAINTIFF RESPONSE DEFENDANT
SUPPLEMENTAL STATEMENT MATERIAL FACTS
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc., counsel and pursuant Local Civil Rule 7.1(h),
respectfully submits this response Defendant supplemental statement material facts (ECF
No. 45-1):
Plaintiff disputes Defendant characterization Secretary Clinton public
statement issued after the attack the U.S. Consulate and another U.S. government post
Benghazi, Libya. Plaintiff disputes that the text Secretary Clinton September 11, 2012
statement available the URL provided Defendant its statement. The text Secretary
Clinton public statement was included Plaintiff Statement Undisputed Material Facts
Support Cross-Motion for Summary judgment and available https://2009-2017.state.gov/
secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2012/09/197628.htm (accessed Feb. 2017).
95.
Plaintiff does not dispute that President Barak Obama said the words quoted
Defendant, but notes that the statement not quoted its entirety. The entire statement
available online the URL provided Defendant and submitted here: https://obamawhitehouse
The paragraph numbering resumes from the end the numbering used Defendant Statement Facts (ECF
No. 40).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
.archives.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/12/remarks-president-deaths-us-embassy-staff-libya (last
accessed February 2017).
96.
Plaintiff does not dispute that U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared
September 16, 2012 the five morning news shows identified Paragraph 96: ABC This
Week, CBS Face the Nation, FOX Fox News Sunday, NBC Meet the Press, and CNN
State the Union discuss the attacks Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans that
she may have also discussed other issues that copies the transcripts from those appearances
are available the URLs provided Plaintiff Statement paragraph Plaintiff however
objects the extent that Paragraph Defendant supplemental statement material facts
includes multiple facts rather than separate, concise statement fact required LCvR
(h)(1). Plaintiff also disputes Defendant description the parenthetical following each
television news show the extent implies that only the subject matters asserted therein was
addressed and/or discussed Ambassador Rice.
97.
Undisputed.
98.
Plaintiff disputes Defendant characterization the reporting the article. The
article referenced Paragraph Defendant supplemental statement material facts does
not report violent protests Egypt, Malaysia, Bangladesh Iraq. Plaintiff last accessed
the article the URL provided Defendant February 2017.
99.
Plaintiff does not dispute that the report includes the text quoted Defendant,
but notes that the statement not quoted its entirety and/or materially incomplete.
100.
Plaintiff does not dispute that report includes the text quoted Defendant, but
notes that the text incomplete. Significantly, text just below that which Defendant cites
Paragraph 100 its supplemental statement material facts states follows: Various
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
witnesses and senior military officials serving the Obama Administration testified this
Committee, the House Armed Service Committee, and the Senate Armed Service Committee that
they knew from the moment the attacks were deliberate terrorist acts against U.S. interests.
witness has reported believing any point that the attacks were anything but terrorist acts.
Plaintiff last accessed the report the URL provided Defendant February 2017.
101-104.
Undisputed that the statements quoted Defendant are within the report
issued the U.S. House Representatives Permanent Select Committee Intelligence, but
notes text not quoted its entirety and/or materially incomplete.
105.
Undisputed that the report includes the text quoted Defendant, but notes that
the text not quoted its entirety and/or materially incomplete.
106.
Undisputed.
107.
Undisputed that the minority report includes the text quoted Defendant, but
notes that the text not quoted its entirety and/or materially incomplete.
108.
Undisputed that the text Defendant quotes included the minority report but
Plaintiff notes and objects the fact that the text not quoted its entirety and/or materially
incomplete. Nine lines below the text Defendant quoted, the Director National Intelligence
James Clapper testified when asked Senator Inhofe whether that agreed with CIA Director
John Brennan statement: Unequivocally all knew that was organized terrorist
attack. Director Clapper continued testify That the one thing that happed that had the
earmark some organization and proficiency, was the 11-minute mortar attack the annex
facility. Def. Supplemental Statement Facts Paragraph 108. Plaintiff last accessed the
report the URL provided Defendant February 10, 2017.
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document Filed 02/10/17 Page
Dated: February 10, 2017
Respectfully submitted,
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
/S/ Ramona Cotca
Ramona Cotca (D.C. Bar No. 501159)
Judicial Watch, Inc.
425 Third Street, SW, Suite 800
Washington, 20024
(202) 646-5172
rcotca@judicialwatch.org
Counsel for Plaintiff
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-1 Filed 02/10/17 Page
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-1 Filed 02/10/17 Page
Exhibit
(Katherine Bailey Declaration support Plaintiff Reply)
U.S. State Department Doc. No. C06059536 pages)
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-1 Filed 02/10/17 Page
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-1 Filed 02/10/17 Page
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-1 Filed 02/10/17 Page
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Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-1 Filed 02/10/17 Page
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
Exhibit
(Plaintiff Reply Support Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment)
FBI Investigation Notes: Documents analysis e-mail
communications between hdr22@clintonemail.com and
huma@clintonemail.com (Bates Numbered HRC-1002
HRC-1004).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
Exhibit
(Plaintiff Reply Support Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment)
Section the report, entitled Internal and Public
Government Communications About the Terrorist Attack
Benghazi, well bullet points prepared Plaintiff
identifying key findings the report.
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II: INTERNAL AND
PUBLIC GOVERNMENT
COMMUNICATIONS ABOUT
THE TERRORIST ATTACKS BENGHAZI
Two our officers were killed Benghazi Queda-like [sic]
group
The Secretary State her daughter, September 11, 2012 know that the attack Libya had nothing with the film. was planned attack not protest
Summary statement the Secretary State the Egyptian Prime Minister, September 12, 2012 underscore that these protests are rooted Internet video, and
not broader failure policy
Benjamin Rhodes, defining one the goals Ambassador
Susan Rice appearances the Sunday news programs following the Benghazi attacks, September 14, 2012 gave Hillary hug and shook her hand, and she said are going
have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death
son.
Diary entry Charles Woods, father Tyrone Woods, September 14, 2012
Email from Hillary Clinton Sec State, U.S. Dep State, Chelsea
Clinton Diane Reynolds (Sept. 11, 2012, 11:12 PM) (on file with the Committee,
C05795467).
Email from U.S. Dep State, S_CallNotes, (Sept. 12, 2012, 7:11 PM) (on file with
the Committee, C05561911).
Email from Benjamin Rhodes, Deputy Nat Sec. Advisor for Strategic Commc cs,
Nat Sec. Council, Dagoberto Vega, Special Ass the President and Dir. Broadcast Media, White House, al. (Sept. 14, 2012, 8:09 PM) [hereinafter Rhodes Memo]
(on file with the Committee, C05415285).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-2
THE SECURITY ENVIRONMENT
The attacks Benghazi did not occur vacuum. They took place
amidst severely deteriorating security situation eastern Libya
permissive environment where extremist organizations were infiltrating
the region, setting camps, and carrying out attacks against Western
targets. June 2012, State Department security officials were discussing active terrorist cell Benghazi that was planning and implementing attack operations against western interests including the U.S.
Mission Benghazi[.] That same month another security official
Libya reported Washington about the increase extremist activity
and described his fear that have passed threshold where will
see more targeting, attacks, and incidents involving western targets.
The official cited series recent attacks and noted that source had
warned group attack American facility. specifically
mentioned [t]argeting [and] attacks extremist groups particularly
the eastern portion Libya, where Benghazi located. the months leading September 11, 2012, several major security
incidents had taken place Benghazi against Western targets, including:
April 2012: Attack United Kingdom [UK] armored vehicle;
April 2012: Improvised Explosive Device [IED] attack the State Department facility Benghazi;
April 10, 2012: IED attack the motorcade the
United Nations Envoy;
April 27, 2012: IED attack courthouse Benghazi;
Fox News Insider, Father Benghazi Victim Reveals Journal Entry Documenting
Meeting With Hillary, YOUTUBE (Jan. 13, 2016),
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMx0huMabos.
This deteriorating security environment discussed detail Section III the report.
Memorandum from James Bacigalupo, Regional Dir. the Near East Asia Bureau
Diplomatic Sec., U.S. Dep State, Charlene Lamb, Deputy Ass Sec for Diplomatic Sec., U.S. Dep State (June 15, 2012) (on file with the Committee, C05578316).
Email from Diplomatic Sec. Agent 24, U.S. Dep State, Diplomatic Sec. Agent
25, U.S. Dep State (June 14, 2012) (on file with the Committee,C05388987).
Id.
Id.
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-3
May 22, 2012: Rocket Propelled Grenade [RPG] attack the International Committee for the Red Cross
[ICRC] facility Benghazi;
June 2012: IED attack the State Department facility Benghazi;
June 11, 2012: RPG attack the Ambassador
motorcade;
June 12, 2012: RPG attack the ICRC;
July 29, 2012: IED found Tibesti Hotel; and
August 2012: Attack the ICRC facility.
The threat environment Benghazi was severe that September 11,
2012, the anniversary September 11, one Diplomatic Security agent Benghazi feared attack that night and was not planning going
sleep. testified:
You know, wasn going sleep that night. was probably going stay throughout the night just because, one,
September 11, you know, and what was happening Egypt. anything was happen, would happen late night, early
morning. wasn going bed. believe [Agent was
along the same mindset, but hadn ratified whether, yes, this what are doing. was just people are going stay up.
had taken weapon and ammunition and put room.
[Agent had done the same thing. And believe they had
[Agent had his weapon with him well his room.
Sean Smith, the Information Management Officer the Benghazi
Mission compound, also feared attack, telling community online
gamers shortly before the attack: [A]ssuming dont die tonight.
saw one our police that guard the compound taking pictures.
Testimony [Agent 1], Diplomatic Sec. Agent, U.S. Dep State, Tr. 49-50 (Mar. 2015) [hereinafter [Agent Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
Matt Smith, Ex-SEALs, Online Gaming Maven among Benghazi Dead, CNN (Sept. 13,
2012, 8:53 PM), http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/13/us/benghazi-victims/.
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-4 was against this backdrop that the September 11, 2012 attacks against
U.S. facilities Benghazi took place.
THE PROTESTS CAIRO Cairo, Egypt earlier that day, approximately 2,000 protestors demonstrated outside the U.S. Embassy protest that began the middle
the day. handful protestors scaled the embassy wall, tore down the
American flag, and sprayed graffiti inside the compound. Some protestors were eventually removed Egyptian police. Americans were
injured killed the event. Cairo, protests had been planned for days advance social media result video posted YouTube about the prophet Muhammad. September 10, 2012, the CIA warned social media chatter
calling for demonstration front the Embassy Cairo, and Americans the Embassy were sent home early due the impending protests.
Although the attacks Benghazi occurred later the same day, they
had little else common with the Cairo protests. Significant differences
included: Cairo, plans for the protest appeared social media well
before the actual demonstration.17 Benghazi the attacks
occurred without warnings social media;
See, e.g., Email Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador the U.N., al., (Sept. 11, 2012,
7:55 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05390691).
See, e.g., id.
Sara Lynch and Oren Dorell, Deadly embassy attacks were days the making, USA
Today, (Sept. 12, 2012, 8:36 PM),
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012/09/12/libyan-officials-usambassador-killed-in-attack/57752828/1.
See, e.g., email from Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep State, Erin
Pelton, Dir. Commc and Spokesperson, U.S. Mission the U.N. (Sept. 15, 2012,
7:18 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05622933).
Egypt Protesters Scale U.S. Embassy Wall, Take Flag, CBS/AP (Sept. 11, 2012, 5:16
PM), http://www.cbsnews.com/news/egypt-protesters-scale-us-embassy-wall-take-flag/.
Sara Lynch and Oren Dorell, Deadly embassy attacks were days the making, USA
TODAY, Sept. 16, 2012.
See, e.g., Testimony Tripoli Chief Station, Cent. Intel. Ageny, Tr. 42-45, July
16, 2015 [hereinafter Tripoli COS Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-5 Cairo, protestors did not brandish use weapons.
Benghazi, attackers were armed with assault weapons, rocket
propelled grenades, and sophisticated mortars; Cairo, protestors spray painted walls and did other minor
damage. Benghazi, the attackers burned down buildings
and pounded U.S. facilities with mortars and machine gun
fire; and Cairo, the protest was confined single location.
Benghazi, the attacks spanned nearly eight hours over two
different locations.
Diplomatic Security personnel Washington D.C. recognized differences well. 5:13 p.m. September 11, 2012 James Bacigalupo,
Regional Director for Diplomatic Security, Near Eastern Affairs Bureau,
State Department, notified all regional security officers:
Within the last few hours have had one demonstration
which protestors infiltrated the perimeter the compound
Cairo and armed attack our compound Benghazi. Both
are currently on-going and may response the release anti-Islamic documentary and upcoming demonstration
Terry Jones this evening.
The differences also were noted senior State Department officials
well. Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson, State Department, sent email 6:09 p.m. that included Jacob Sullivan, Deputy Chief Staff and
Director Policy Planning, State Department, and Patrick Kennedy,
Under Secretary for Management, State Department, among others. Nuland wrote:
See, e.g., Email Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Rep. the U.N. (Sept. 11, 2012,
7:55 PM) [hereinafter 7:55 P.M. Rice Email] (on file with Committee, C053906910).
See, e.g., Benghazi Accountability Review Board U.S. Dep State [hereinafter
Benghazi ARB].
7:55 P.M. Rice Email, supra note 19.
Benghazi ARB, supra note 20,
See, e.g., 7:55 P.M. Rice Email, supra note 19.
Benghazi ARB, supra note 20,
Email from James Bacigalupo, Regional Dir. the Near East Asia Bureau Diplomatic Sec., U.S. Dep State, DS-IP-NEA-RSO (Sept. 11, 2012, 5:13 PM) (on file
with the Committee, SCB0048896).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-6
[Please] put out two separate statements bullpen, asap.
record, me. can confirm that our office Benghazi, Libya has been attacked group militants. are working with the Libyans
now try restore security. Cairo, can confirm that Egyptian police have now removed the demonstrators who had entered our Embassy grounds
earlier.
For [press] guidance, pressed whether see connection between these two. have information regarding connection between these
incidents.
WHAT BENGHAZI REPORTED DURING THE ATTACKS
All five Diplomatic Security agents the Benghazi Mission spoke with
the Diplomatic Security Command Center while the attacks were ongoing. Agent the Diplomatic Security agent who was with Smith and
Ambassador Libya Christopher Stevens during the attack, recounted
his story:
Okay, the evening started with [Agent 4], [Agent and sitting table near the pool the end the night. Ambassador
Stevens had come and said, going bed. Sean Smith said
the same thing and went, you know, went inside the villa, and
were just sitting out kind relaxing the end the night.
While were talking, started hearing some kind chanting,
thought was. told the others, you know, told the other
two, hang on. Just listen for minute. And what heard was
chanting. And was impression that was coming closer.
You know, immediately when realized, you know, that this potential security incident, potential something, said,
you know, get your gear, right now. ran into Villa where the
Email from Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep State, Elizabeth Dibble,
Deputy Ass Sec the Bureau Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Dep State, al.
(Sept. 11, 2012, 6:09 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05578255).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-7
Ambassador and Sean Smith were and the other two ran different direction. remember hearing the chants. mean, they were fairly close already. mean, yelling distance, which pretty close especially city setting. impression that don have much
time. ran right room, you know, put helmet on,
put vest on, grabbed weapons, additional weapons,
and turned lock the gate, and basically, was jail cell door
with three locks it. locked all three locks.
And about that time, Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith
were coming out their rooms. Sean Smith was already, you
know, donning his helmet and vest. guided them both into the
safe haven, and set myself the safe haven with was
holding M4. had pistol, radio, shotgun, and when
were, you know, when were there, radioed the other guy,
hey, are all the safe haven. could hear outside explosions, yelling, chanting, screaming,
gunfire, and reported all this the radio just saying, this
what senses are telling me. Then people started banging
the doors the building, reported that. Hey, there banging the doors. They are trying come in, you know, need
immediate assistance. And there wasn any response the radio. Shortly after that, recollection, the doors were blown
open. And about individuals, you know, rushed into the building, all them carrying AK-47s, grenades, RPGs, you know,
mixture throughout everyone. Different there were couple
different assault rifles.
And with the number individuals that came into the building
versus me, chose just stay the shadow that was in.
was partially the safe haven, partially outside the safe haven.
This area was, you know, there was big shadow where was
sitting, and view through the jail cell door was into the common area. could see where everybody was going, and they
began breaking everything. could just hear glass breaking.
could hear stuff being thrown around. could hear furniture being moved. may just back little bit. When made into the safe
haven, handed cell phone the Ambassador. said, call
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-8
everybody cell phone. Call everybody that you know that
can help us. one point, handed Sean Smith the shotgun, but
just like and everybody else that was the safe haven,
were scared. But security professional with military
training and agent training, trained remain more calm
than non-security professional. took the weapon back from him seeing that was visibly
shaken. And just waited see what was unfolding. was
the radio the whole time updating, you know, whispering.
Turned the volume way down, you know, hey guys, they are
the building. Shortly after that, two individuals came the
jail cell door and took out their AK-47s, and they are beating
the jail cell door. They also had grenades them. And thought
they were going take the grenades off and pit them the
locks and blow the locks. tuned the Ambassador, and said, you know, they take
their grenades off the door and put them the locks, going start shooting. And when down, pick the gun, and keep
fighting. Thankfully, they didn put the grenades the locks.
And they just kind turned away, and walked different, you
know, part the house that couldn really see.
And then slowly, people started kind trickle out. And then
the lights started kind dim. initial response initial
thought was, well, they just knocked out the generators. You
know, have regular city power but also have backup generators. flickering would likely, you know, cause this.
But reality, was smoke. And took about, you know,
two three seconds after that determine that was smoke. soon realized was smoke, turned the Ambassador
and Sean Smith and said, are moving the bathroom. And
that time, grabbed the Ambassador, Sean Smith was right behind
him and started crawling towards the bathroom. about
three- four meter crawl. And only took seconds for
reach reach the hallway that the bathroom was in. But
that time seconds later, the smoke had already filled the entire
room and began basically army crawling like belly, and
breathing though hands like this, the last, you know, centimeter air that was left.
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-9
And soon became that thick, light was visible from the
lights that were fully on. The sounds were, you know, crackling
and breaking things from heat. And lead them the
bathroom, was saying, Come guys, follow me. And was
slapping hands the floor, you know, hitting stuff with hands felt anything. Like come on, you guys, follow me.
Come on. are going the bathroom. make the bathroom and nobody follows in. The
whole time was slapping and saying, come on, follow me.
intention going the bathroom because made the
bathroom, know there window that can open. what would into the bathroom, close the door, wet towels the floor and open the window. And could last, you know
probably much longer the bathroom than anywhere else the
house.
But because nobody followed in, wasn going close the
door. thinking about how can better the situation, open the
window. And thought that that could you know, provide some,
you know, the lights the bathroom. could provide some light, could provide, you know, someplace with air and they could
see that. But opening the window, stood open the window, and thought face was fire. And opened the window anyway and just became chimney and all the smoke
started, you know, pouring out the window and being sucked direction.
Because that point that started pass out. could feel myself becoming weak and just overcome with smoke and heat. got back the floor, took off M4, because crawling with
slung weapon extremely difficult. was getting hung
things, and didn want stuck that building because M4. threw the bathroom, just left there and started
crawling towards bedroom. And when decided that,
was very clear anybody else who could hear me, moving bedroom. Come guys, moving bedroom. The
whole time hitting the floor, slapping, yelling. Come on,
guys. Come on, you can it. Let go. Let go. are moving bedroom. crawled bedroom. And soon passed the threshold bedroom, you know, had seconds left life, essen-
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-10
tially. And quickly went over window and started
crank open the metal shutters, but was cranking the wrong way. had turn back and crank the other way. Then had
open the glass window, and then had pull pin and push
out this big metal gate. And soon did that, collapsed little patio area.
And around the patio area was, you know, maybe 2-1/2-foot
tall cinderblock wall. And soon went out there, just
started taking fire immediately. remember hearing explosions,
which equate grenades. remember feeling the cement exploding and hitting the face. And remember the sounds. after catching breath, jumped back into the building and searched for the Ambassador and Sean Smith. went far threshold, and reached out into the into the area had just
come from see could feel anybody. But the smoke and heat
were intense that, mean, the smoke was coming though eyes, even though they were closed. was coming
through nose. And stayed there until could --physically
couldn any more.
When was the Navy, they engrain you, 110 percent. And
most people don think you can 110 percent, but part character. 110 percent and stayed there until until
physically could not and mentally could not stay there any
longer. went back out the building, caught breath the patio
again, immediately taking rounds, the same stuff, whizzing, you
know, jumped back into the building, and had intentions you
know, was just thinking any way that could possibly signal
them let them know where was besides yelling and slapping
and hitting stuff.
And remembered that had lamp room, and went
over lamp and turned lamp, thinking that they
could see the smoke. But didn turn on. And held eye see was working, and remember seeing
very faint glow when was this close. remember feeling the
heat the lamp, and could just barely see the actual light from
it.
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-11
That how thick the smoke was. And went back threshold, searched around, still yelling, still saying, Come guys,
you know, bedroom. response. Nothing. went back
out and caught breath again, still taking rounds. And went
back one two more times try and find them, and
couldn The last time went out, you know, decided that
went back into the building that wasn going come back out.
The smoke and heat were way too powerful, and way too strong,
and was extremely confusing feeling way smoke-filled
building. And didn want get lost, and decided climb the ladder the roof. climbed the ladder, and pulled the ladder behind and
that the moment that knew that Ambassador Stevens and
Sean Smith were probably dead. Immediately, upon getting
the roof, started radioing for colleagues, you know, telling
them the situation, you know, telling them situation, you
know, exhausted. completely exhausted. gave everything had. And still thinking ways help, still thinking ways get the guys out. remember that have skylight the top the building,
and you know, had little stash gear the roof. went over and grabbed magazine and climbed this little platform which near the window. But protected these metal bars. And couldn break the window. But remember yelling and hitting hard possibly could.
The bad guys saw there, started shooting again.
remember seeing tracer fire right over head. remember
hearing the whizzing the rounds going past me. And
climbed, you know, back down off the ledge and just got the
radio. Hey, guys, frying pan. This thing hot. The
smoke coming out the building and going right the
roof. pick head getting shot at, and can
can this forever.
Finally, over the radio, [Agent says, [Agent 5], are coming get you. You know, that time couple seconds were
gone, and was like, Hang on. Hang on. are coming get
you don know how long was the roof, but for
was while.
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II-12
Finally, the other guys came over fully-armored vehicle and
parked right the base kind location and set small
perimeter, called down off the roof. climbed down and
there were all amazed see still alive. Just condition
was, you know, face was black. eyeballs were black.
nose was black. Everything had was black. But security
professional, said, Give gun. [Agent gave 9millimeter pistol which was little unhappy about, but took
anyway and stood stood position the outside.
And [Agent [Agent and [Agent tried inside the
building and find them, but shortly after that, their report was
way too hot, way too smokey. You know, are going get
lost there. Somebody going die keep this up.
[Agent 3], Diplomatic Security agent charge the Benghazi Mission
compound, testified was constant contact with the Diplomatic Security Command Center: was the best position see the attacks happen, unfold. was the TOC [Tactical Operations Center] the special mission
compound. manned the cameras. You guys have seen the video. Any time you see the camera moving, thats me. Subsequently, was also position review the cameras and aware
all the situational awareness the second compound, all
which have shared. Much the attack was passed real-time
through phone command center.
[Agent also testified about what saw: was 9:42 night, and was wrapping work and had some
emails. shift should have been done three four hours earlier. the TOC office the TOC building. hear several,
three four, gunshots and explosion that seemed substantially closer than what heard earlier, which was the fireworks. The
fireworks kind expected happen every night about 9:30
give take. Initially thought they were just little bit late.
Testimony [Agent 5], Diplomatic Sec. Agent, U.S. Dep State, Tr. 123 (Apr.
2015) [hereinafter Agent Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
Testimony [Agent 3], Diplomatic Sec. Agent, U.S. Dep State, Tr. (Oct.
2013) [hereinafter Agent Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-13 get up. the window, which actually covered two
bookcases and has sandbags the outside, not see anything, but actually hear little better the window.
think heard the shots explosions first and then something
more subsequent than that, either additional explosion additional gunfire, that sounded very close. turn. glance maybe
second, probably less, the surveillance camera monitors and
see large group personnel coming on. Theyre already the
compound, effectively the middle compound Right
where this small roundabout is, theres camera pole there.
And saw large group. original assessment was
armed men, couple them with banners[.]
Agent testified this information was being relayed back the Diplomatic Security Command Center [DSCC]: are relaying what going via the cameras, where slowly
the barrack buildings [Villa C], which one the villas the
compound the map, set fire, and then slowly those forces migrate over our side, where they pin in, basically,
both our locations, Villa and the TOC building, where
they proceed gain entry into Villa and attempt kick the
door the TOC building for minutes. [t]he situation the ground was rough out there. There was heavy weapons. Some guys have grenades that have already gone off. Everybody armed with either pistol long gun. Somebody
shows some point with, like, bazooka. tough.
Diplomatic Security agent Agent called the DSCC when attackers were
attempting break into the room where and another agent had barricaded themselves. testified: You mentioned earlier that you used your BlackBerry call
the Command Center. When did you first call the Command Center during this sequence events? before they breached, when they made the first attempt,
the first attempt they didn breach into the room yet. But was
imminent that they were going breach and they were going
Id. 135-136.
Id. 145-146.
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II-14
come in. that point bunkered and started proceed
making calls. [Agent was calling Tripoli and called the
Command Center. believe was minutes after the attack.
Diplomatic Security agent Agent also spoke with the DSCC during the
attacks. testified: stayed the roof that building for the majority the night. made several phone calls back and forth the Command
Center D.C. relaying information. also made phone calls
one the Ambassador contacts try get some atmospherics about what was going the rest the city, should
need ground evac.
Agent told the Committee was providing general situational
awareness the DSCC they could make accurate decisions. testified: Yeah. wanted know the status the accountability
the Americans who were post, specifically the Ambassador,
what information had. There were also additional reports
coming that the Ambassador might have been hospital
burn unit and were trying verify the validity those
claims. And then just general situational awareness for the
Command Center D.C. your sense kind your what you were doing there
was kind giving ongoing things were unfolding that
they would have the information help assess how continue
responding? Yes. intent was provide them the information that had they had timely information they could make accurate decisions.
Diplomatic Security agent [Agent testified was his job immediately contact the DSCC the event attack. testified about the
beginning the attack:
Agent 1Testimony 62.
Testimony [Agent 2], Diplomatic Sec. Agent, U.S. Dep State, Tr. 100 (Mar.
19, 2015) [hereinafter Agent Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
Id. 102.
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-15 Would then accurate description describe the attack sort stealth attack? was very sudden. had mentioned, the only warning that had that something was amiss was that kind that cry that
heard the main gate. was very sudden.
Agent also testified the attack: No, never told them that there was protest. Was your assessment that there was protest? No. you believe there was protest? don the Diplomatic Security Command Center, Charlene Lamb, Deputy
Assistant Secretary for International Programs, State Department, was
monitoring the situation real time and was aware the reports coming from the agents under attack Benghazi. She testified she was
constant contact with the agents the ground and had almost fulltime connection them: was office, and received phone call, dont remember was directly from the command center was
from the desk officer, but received phone call that notified
that there was problem. And thats what they said, was problem? Did they elaborate? Did they tell you anything more? They said that they had the RSO the phone and that the
compound was under attack. And didnt ask any more questions. believe notified Scott Bultrowicz, [Principal Deputy
Testimony [Agent 4], Diplomatic Sec. Agent, U.S. Dep State, Tr. (Mar.
16, 2015) [hereinafter Agent Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
Id. 144.
Id. 155.
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-16
Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, State Department]
and both went down the command center.
*** And once you learned the attack, then what did you do? had liaison officer that worked for who had employees
that worked the Annex there, immediately called him way down the command center and asked him join the command center. And when went there, initially
tried assess the situation the best could, and then started working trying identify security assets who could help
them with the situation that was unfolding. And what assets would those have been? Assets that were the Annex facility. made phone calls Stuttgart, AFRICOM [United States Africa Command] and
EUCOM [United States Europe Command] see they had
any assets theater that were nearby that could possibly
drawn for additional support. And did you discuss those assets and deployment with PDAS
[Principal Desputy Assistant Secretary] Bultrowicz Under
Secretary Kennedy? Yes. PDAS Scott Bultrowicz was the room, was the
phone with Pat Kennedy and Eric Boswell, and was relaying
information. were getting information in, would relay them
*** And was the command center your only source information that night were you constant contact with the Annex well via your liaison? Yes. liaison had constant contact with the Annex. had
almost full-time connection the agents that were the
ground, and then were you know, towards the end, were
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-17
getting information off Twitter and public media. those
were our primary sources information. senior watch officer the DSCC described the events full
attack against our compound. The same individual also said there was
zip, nothing nada when asked there was any rioting Benghazi reported prior the attack. 6:34 p.m. September 11, 2012, the DSCC sent terrorism event
information the Office the Secretary. The update noted that host
nation militia forces have responded the U.S. Consulate Benghazi
and were engaged with the attackers.
Lamb testified information received the DSCC directly from all
the agents the ground was relayed Kennedy. None the Diplomatic Security agents the ground reported anything about protest Benghazi. None the Diplomatic Security agents the ground reported anything about video.
Kennedy testified that passed information from the DSCC directly Secretary State Hillary Clinton: stayed office, except for the SVTC [Secure Video Teleconference] the chairman referred to, monitoring telephone,
monitoring emails, and making telephone calls coordinating activities were required. went several times brief
the Secretary the latest information that was receiving from
Diplomatic Security, which was receiving from the ground.
Testimony Charlene Lamb, Deputy Ass Sec for Diplomatic Sec., U.S. Dep
State, Tr. 14-16 (Jan. 2016) [hereinafter Lamb Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
Email from Diplomatic Sec. Agent 27, U.S. Dep State, svcSMARTCrossLow
(Sept. 2012, 10:20 AM) (on file with the Committee, C05389586).
Email from Diplomatic Sec. Agent 27, U.S. Dep State (Sept. 18, 2012, 1:16 PM)
(on file with the Committee, C05390678).
Email from U.S. Dep State S_SpecialAssistants (Sept. 11, 2012, 6:34 PM) (on
file with the Committee, C05578699).
Id.
Lamb Testimony 15.
Testimony Patrick Kennedy, Under Sec for Mgmt., U.S. Dep State, Tr.
119 (Feb. 2016) [hereinafter Kennedy Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-18
KNOWLEDGE SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS 4:06 p.m. Washington D.C. September 11, 2012, minutes
after the attacks began Benghazi, the State Department Operations
Center issued widely disseminated email Department officials, including the Office the Secretary, indicating attack was occurring.
With the subject U.S. Diplomatic Mission Benghazi Under Attack,
the email stated:
The Regional Security Officer reports the diplomatic mission
under attack. Embassy Tripoli reports approximately armed
people fired shots; explosions have been heard well. Ambassador Stevens, who currently Benghazi, and four COM
[Chief Mission] personnel are the compound safe haven.
The 17th February militia providing security support.
Forty eight minutes later, 4:54 p.m. update email stated:
Embassy Tripoli reports the firing the U.S. Diplomatic Mission Benghazi has stopped and the compound has been
cleared. response team site attempting locate COM
personnel. 6:07 p.m. update email with the subject Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack stated:
Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility Facebook and Twitter and has called for attack Embassy Tripoli.
Gregory Hicks, Deputy Chief Mission Tripoli, was the United
States highest ranking official Tripoli the time the attacks
Benghazi. Hicks testified that talked with Ambassador Stevens moments after the attack started:
Email from OpsAlert@state.gov S_Special Assistants, al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 4:05
PM) (on file with the Committee, C05272001).
Email from OpsAlert@state.gov S_SpecialAssistants, al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 4:54
PM) (on file with the Committee, C05272001).
Email from OpsAlert@state.gov S_SpecialAssistants, al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 6:07
PM) (on file with the Committee, C05272001).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-19 punched the number that did not recognize and called
back, call back, and got Chris the line. And said,
Greg, are under attack. And walking outside, trying
get outside, because have notoriously bad cell phone connectivity our residence, and usually its better outside. say, response is, Okay, and about say something else,
and the line clicks. try reach him back the begin walking immediately
our tactical operations center, because knew that everybody
would gathering there, and could then also summon everybody that needed the begin the process responding. And trying call back those numbers reconnect,
and not getting either not getting signal not getting response. And did you ever make connection with the Ambassador
again? No. never did. That was the last you spoke him? That was the last spoke him.
Hicks also testified that Stevens would have reported protest had one
occurred prior the attack:
Absolutely, mean, talking about both security officers
who know their trade, even though they are brand new, and one the finest political officers the history the Foreign Service. You know, for there have been demonstration Chris
Stevens front door and him not have reported unbelievable. And secondly, had reported it, would have been out
the back door within minutes any demonstration appearing
anywhere near that facility. And there was back gate the facility, and, you know, worked.
Testimony Gregory Hicks, Deputy Chief Mission U.S. Embassy Tripoli,
U.S. Dep State, Tr. 18-19 (Apr. 11, 2013) [hereinafter Hicks Testimony] (on file
with the Committee).
Id. 81-82.
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II-20
Throughout the course the evening, Hicks was the phone with
Elizabeth Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary State, Near Eastern Affairs, State Department,who was Washington D.C. the time, updating her about the events the ground Benghazi. Jones testified: sat down and called Greg Hicks and said, Tell what going
on. have this report from special assistant, from the
op[erations] center; whats going on? said, talked Chris minutes ago. Chris called me. said, Were under attack. said, What you mean were under attack? said there are
people firing guns us, firing weapons, firing us. And said,
Where Chris? said said that the RSO [Regional Security Officer] told
him that they had taken that Chris had said, Were going the
safe haven, and the regional security officer Tripoli have reported, yes, the security officers Benghazi had taken the ambassador the safe haven. said, Okay. You talked him minutes ago. Call him again. said, Ive been trying. doesnt answer the phone. asked, Who else was the the building, where was Chris
exactly, who else was the building. explained that Sean
Smith was, thats the communicator, that there were three RSOs
there and that they would they were moving the two the safe
haven and that the others were trying protect the building. immediately notified email many people could think off the top head the Seventh Floor [senior State Department leaders], that had spoken Greg, that this what the
situation was, that that would continue stay touch with
him. the meantime, had secure call from CIA counterpart saying the same thing, Were hearing that Benghazi under
attack. said, your annex under attack, which knew
few minutes away. said, No. And continued touch with him, the
CIA colleague and staff. decided not work out office initially but work closer where the secure phone is, which the other end the suite and stayed very close touch
with Greg essentially all night long till the next morning.
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II-21
The what did the second phone call, believe was with
Greg, said, Okay. Who are you talking the Libyan government? said, Ive talked Ive forgotten, the chief staff various the senior people. said, Talk the President, talk the Prime Minister, dont just
stay with the chief staff. Talk the senior people yourself and
ask them for help. Tell them theyve got get their people
there, not get their people there over the compound render assistance get the get the attackers out there, and kept asking, Have you heard from Chris? Have you heard from
Chris?
No, cant find him. No, hes not no, hes not answering. That
was the first. And dont remember the timeline anymore.
seemed like forever, but probably w[as]nt that long.49
Jones testified that she spoke with Hicks throughout the evening, almost
every ten minutes: Okay. the night wore on, was the phone just essentially
left almost permanent communication with Tripoli? Yes. mean, you have that capability that you have open line
that just essentially stays open, this calling every minutes? just curious how that works. Yeah. No, thats good question. didnt have open line. did two things. stayed office with front office
team and with staff assistants and with [Agent was there.
We, the same time, started task force the Operations Center, the Libya desk officers were there helping manage
some the more routine issues, getting the evacuation going,
working with [logistics] those kinds issues and sort
Testimony Elizabeth Jones, Acting Ass Sec U.S. Dep State, Tr. 39-40
(July 11, 2013) [hereinafter Jones Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-22
doing the helping with the nuts and bolts implementing
the things that were deciding that needed do.
Because kept the open Diplomatic Secretary kept open
line actually, dont know that was open line. They had
communication directly with the RSO. basically worked primarily with Greg Hicks his cell phone because that worked
better terms Embassy communications and could reach
him wherever was wherever was the compound when was moving around. communicated office manager dialing him directly his cell phone. was not open line, but was dont know that
talked every minutes, but seemed like was every
minutes. was close that.
After some Jones discussions with Hicks, assistant from the Office the Secretary drafted emails about Jones conversations with Hicks.
These emails were disseminated senior officials within the State Department, including Sullivan, Nuland, and William Burns, the Deputy
Secretary State. 4:49 p.m., just over hour after the attacks began, assistant the
Office the Secretary wrote:
Beth Jones just spoke with DCM Tripoli Greg Hicks, who advised Libyan militia (we now know this the 17th Feb brigade, requested Emb[assy] office) responding the attack
the diplomatic mission Benghazi. The QRF [Quick Reaction
Force] the compound, engaging the attackers, taking fire,
and working its way through the compound get the villa,
where Ambassador Stevens safe haven for extraction. The
ARSO [Assistant Regional Security Officer] also there the
compound. Greg spoke with Amb Stevens phone minutes
before call (which was about ten minutes ago). Greg will talk the Prime Minister Chief Staff, and then speak with the
Id. 79-80.
See, e.g., Email from U.S. Dep State Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S.
Dep State, al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 5:32 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05391036).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-23
Foreign Minister Embassy sending medical assistance
Benghazi stand-by. More updates follow. 5:13 p.m. new email was sent the group. stated:
Just spoke again with Greg Hicks, who confirmed the party includes Ambassador Stevens plus three, not plus four. Hicks
hasbeen contact twice with the Libyan President office and
twice with the Libyan [Prime Minister office; their offices assured him they are fully engaged and consider themselves
personal friends Ambassador Stevens. Hicks has been coordinating with the [CIA] who has learned from the QRF about the
status the compound currently they are clearing the compound and working access the party. also urged Libyan Ambassador the U.S. Aujali engage this immediately the
highest level. email 5:32 p.m., the first the chain sent Cheryl Mills, Chief
Staff and Counselor, State Department, stated:
The fighting has stopped, DCM Greg Hicks just confirmed
me. also confirmed one fatality: Sean Smith TDY from
The Hague has died. His body has been recovered. The five
ARSO are accounted for, but they still trying find the
Ambassador. The Principal Officer residence still fire
with toxic smoke. have spoken A/S [Assistant Secretary]
Gordon and Liz Dibble contacting the Charge The Hague, inform them. 5:55 p.m. email the same chain sent assistant the Office
the Secretary stated: just spoke again Greg Hicks, who himself spoke again the
offices the Libyan President and Prime Minister, asking them
Email from U.S. Dep State William Burns, Deputy Sec State, U.S. Dep State, al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 4:49 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05391036).
Email from U.S. Dep State Jacob Sullivan, Deputy Chief Staff and Dir.
Policy Planning, U.S. Dep State, al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 5:13 PM) (on file with the
Committee, C05391036).
Email from U.S. Dep State Cheryl Mills, Chief Staff the U.S. Sec
State, U.S. Dep State, al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 5:32 PM) (on file with the Committee,
C05391036).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-24 provide firefighting equipment the Benghazi compound.
said the shop Embassy Tripoli has found postings Facebook indicating that the Tripoli Council plans carry out
attack Embassy Tripoli. said was promised increased
police protection but had not yet materialized.
Greg said his team reports that the extremist group Ansar
Sharia has taken credit for the attack Benghazi. heard reports that the February Brigade currently engaged running battle with Ansar Sharia; asked the offices the
President and pursue Ansar Sharia. working locate Ambassador Stevens, the RSO team and
militia are still compound, which acres Greg expressed
the hope that Ambassador Stevens hiding somewhere the
compound. The residence still fire.
These emails consistently used the term attack. None these emails
mentioned anything about protest. None these emails mentioned anything about video.
Hicks also spoke directly with the Secretary while the attacks were still
ongoing. testified: No. really didnt get you know, about 2:00 a.m. [8:00 p.m. Washington D.C.], the Secretary called Okay. along with her senior staff was the Okay. you recall who was that call? was Wendy Sherman, Cheryl Mills, Steve Mull, Beth
Jones, Liz not sure whether Liz Dibble was the phone not that time. know Beth Jones was. Jake Sullivan.
And briefed her what was going on, talked about the situation. And 2:00 a.m., course, Chris [Stevens] the hospital, although the Libyan Government will not confirm that hes
Email from U.S. Dep State Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson, U.S. Dep
State, al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 5:55PM) (on file with the Committee, C05391036).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-25 the hospital. All they will tell hes safe place, they
will imply that hes with the [Annex] facility, which,
course, have feed back them and say, no, dont know
where is. constant conversation, and still talking
the same people.
The Vice Minister the Interior chimes sometime before
midnight. And pressing him get their firefighters the
building put the fire out, assuming that they put the
fire out, that they will send some security people with the firefighters protect the firefighters. tried everything that
could. brief her whats going on. She asks, How can help?
And said, Well, could use some reinforcements. And
have know have wounded. And What was the answer? The answer was that the FAST team Rota was being mobilized come Tripoli, and there would medevac flight
coming down pick wounded.
And then discussed also whether were going they
asked were going stay the residential compound.
And said, no, needed consolidate our facilities here, because basically sent everybody have protect Tripoli rescue them. To? Benghazi. Sorry. Benghazi. Apologies. And they said,
good. And how long does that call last? Ten minutes.
None the information coming directly from the agents the ground Benghazi during the attacks mentioned anything about video
protest. These first-hand accounts made their way the Office the
Hicks Testimony 32-34.
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II-26
Secretary through multiple channels quickly: through the Diplomatic
Security Command Center; through the State Department Operations
Center; through emails recounting Jones phone calls with Hicks;
through Kennedy, who briefed the Secretary directly; and through Hicks
himself during phone call with the Secretary.
THE SECRETARY STATEMENT
The principal public statement from the U.S. government the night the
Benghazi attacks, September 11, 2012, came from the Secretary State
and was issued 10:08 p.m. stated full:
Statement the Attack Benghazi condemn the strongest terms the attack our mission
Benghazi today. work secure our personnel and facilities, have confirmed that one our State Department officers was killed. are heartbroken this terrible loss. Our
thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered this attack.
This evening, called Libyan President Magariaf coordinate
additional support protect Americans Libya. President
Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and
pledged his government full cooperation.
Some have sought justify this vicious behavior response inflammatory material posted the Internet. The United
States deplores any intentional effort denigrate the religious
beliefs others. Our commitment religious tolerance goes
back the very beginning our nation. But let clear:
There never any justification for violent acts this kind. light the events today, the United States government
working with partner countries around the world protect our
personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide.57
Press Release, U.S. Dep State, Statement the Attack Benghazi (Sept. 11,
2012), http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2012/09/197628 htm [hereinafter September Statement].
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-27
The decision for the Secretary issue the statement appears have
been made earlier that evening during 7:30 p.m. secure video teleconference [SVTC], meeting hosted the White House, that included
senior officials from the State Department, Intelligence Community, and
Defense Department discuss the events unfolding Benghazi.
Rough notes from the White House meeting describe ten specific action
items. One these action items stated:
The Secretary will issue statement tonight condemning the attacks and stating official American was killed. may issue
another statement distance the United States from the Pastor
Jones video.
The Secretary did not, however, issue two statements that evening. She
issued one. And that single statement condemned the attack, stated
American was killed, and distanced the United States from internet
video. doing so, the statement specifically the language [s]ome
have sought justify this vicious behavior response inflammatory material posted the Internet appeared connect, least conflate, the attacks Benghazi with the video. This connection between
the attacks and the video continued for over week, leading the public
believe that video-inspired protest led the attacks that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty.
The 7:30 p.m. White House meeting was convened discuss the Benghazi attacks and included the Secretary State and other high level
officials from the State Department, Defense Department, and White
House. The meeting, however, contained great deal discussion regarding the video. Matt Olsen, Director, National Counterterrorism
Center, was participant the meeting. testified: Was there any discussion sort the video and Benghazi
being linked the call? don remember specifically, you know, how talked
about it. sure that did, right, because were the fact
that came the discussion taking the video down was part
Email from Watch Officer, U.S. Dep State, P_StaffAssistants
D(N)_StaffAssistants (Sept. 11, 2012, 9:46 PM) (on file with the Committee,
C05562037).
September Statement, supra note 57.
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-28 our conversation this call that was really focused what
was going Benghazi.60
Olsen also said:
And own mind, the time, recall linking the two, you
know, that this were thinking about what had happened
Cairo, were thinking, okay, now this seems happening Benghazi, and worried about other, obviously, other
diplomatic posts the Middle East and North Africa. that particular issue, one thing that recall thinking, again,
sort preparing for coming here, sort trying recollect
much possible, one the issues that Denis [McDonough]
asked and think Nick Rasmussen, deputy, was there
well was see could work with could contact
Google talk with them about enforcing their terms service,
which was the way that often thought about offensive
problematic content.
Five the ten action items from the rough notes the 7:30 p.m. meeting reference the video including item mentioning Leon Panetta,
Secretary Defense, and Martin Dempsey, Chairman the Joint
Chiefs Staff, reaching out Pastor Jones directly. For nearly two
years the White House had been issuing public statements the wake
actions committed Pastor Jones, although connection the
time linked Pastor Jones the video the Benghazi attacks.
Testimony Matthew Olsen, Dir., Nat Counterterrorism Center, Tr. 17-18 (Feb.
16, 2016) [hereinafter Olsen Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
Id. 18.
Email from Watch Officer, U.S. Dep State, P_StaffAssistants and
D(N)_StaffAssistants (Sept. 11, 2012) (on file with the Committee, C05562037).
See, e.g., Krissah Thompson and Tara Bahrampour, Obama renews call for religious
tolerance after Koran-burning canceled, WASH. POST, Sept. 10, 2012 Obama denied
that his administration forceful intervention Defense Secretary Robert Gates made personal appeal the Gainesville pastor, the Rev. Terry Jones had unnecessarily
drawn attention the pastor plans. and Obama criticizes Quran burning, Afghan
attacks, NBC News, April 2011, www nbcnews.com/id/42396945/ns/world_newssouth_and_central_asia/t/obama-criticizes-quran-burning-afghan-attacks/#.V1oSrvkjrJaR least people have been killed and injured the southern Afghan city Kandahar, officials said Saturday, second day violent protests over the actions
extremist Christian preacher Terry Jones religion tolerates the slaughter and beheading innocent people, and there justification for such dishonorable and deplorable act, Obama said.
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-29
Avril Haines, Deputy Counsel the President for National Security Affairs, held conference call after the 7:30 p.m. meeting. Rough notes
from the call stated:
There likely statement from S[ecretary Clinton] this
evening addressing the violence and distancing the USG [United
States government] from the videos that are believed have instigated (at least part); while one sure the cause, exactly, there reportedly new Terry Jones video threatening
burn Korans and second film that includes number insulting statement about Mohamed.
The fact the 7:30 p.m. White House meeting, which took place while
Ambassador Stevens was considered missing and before Tyrone
Woods and Glen Doherty were killed, was about the attacks Benghazi but much the conversation focused the video surprising
given direct link solid evidence existed connecting the attacks
Benghazi and the video the time the White House meeting took place.
The State Department senior officials the White House meeting had
access eyewitness accounts the attack real time. The Diplomatic
Security Command Center was direct contact with the Diplomatic Security Agents the ground Benghazi and sent out multiple updates
about the situation, including Terrorism Event Notification. The
State Department Watch Center had also notified Sullivan and Mills that was setting direct telephone line Benghazi. There was
mention the video from the agents the ground. Hicks one the
last people talk Stevens before died said there was virtually
discussion about the video Libya leading the attacks.
That did not, however, deter participants theWhite House meeting
led Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor the President from extensively discussing the video. result the White House meeting, the Secretary State issued
Email from Attorney, U.S. Dep State, Harold Koh, Legal Advisor, U.S. Dep
State, al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 10:40 PM) (on file with the Committee, C05528017).
Email from Command Center DSCC_C Seniors, DSCC_E TIA/PII,
DSCC_E TIA/ITA, and DS-IP (Sept. 12, 2012, 5:05 AM) (on file with the Committee,
C05389586).
Email from U.S. Dep State Jacob Sullivan, Deputy Chief Staff and Dir.
Policy Planning, U.S. Dep State, al. (Sept. 11, 2012, 4:38 PM) (on file with the
Committee, C05561866).
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II-30
statement about the attacks later that evening. Rather than relaying
known facts from those experiencing the attacks firsthand, however, the
Secretary statement created narrative tying the events Benghazi
the video, despite dearth actual evidence. This was done mentioning the video and the attacks the same sentence: Some have sought
justify this vicious behavior response inflammatory material posted the Internet.
Sullivan testified about the decision include that sentence the statement: you recall whose idea was include that sentence? believe that was idea include that sentence. was
either mine Toria [State Department spokesperson]
combination the two us, but thought was important
include that sentence. And why that? Well there are two aspects this. One was didn know
the motivation the actual attackers Benghazi, didn
want say they did because the video, and chose the
words very carefully say that some have sought justify
that basis.
But thought was really important for able express
our views the video and say there never any justification
for violent acts this kind, well say deplore efforts denigrate the religious beliefs others because was deeply
concerned that could potentially face attacks our embassies elsewhere. And, unfortunately, that exactly what happened.
Sullivan did not say why would not have been equally even more
important denounce the video when began circulating the Middle
East days earlier, after the protests Cairo where the link the video
was clear. Sullivan testified:
Id.
Testimony Jacob Sullivan, Deputy Chief Staff and Dir. Policy Planning, U.S.
Dep State, Tr. 220 (Jan. 12, 2016) [hereinafter Sullivan Testimony] (on file with
the Committee).
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II-31 thought very hard about exactly how formulate this. didn
want say the attackers did this because the video. That
why chose use the phrase justify, because just wanted
talk more generally about people who might justify the attack
the basis the video. Who would those people be? They would the kind people that would try gin protests elsewhere, whether Benghazi again Tripoli anywhere else
around the region.
And first concern getting this out was everything
could try prevent further violence from happening. And
really thought was important for the Secretary get the
record this issue. And the days that followed, thought
was important for her continue getting the record this issue, especially dealt with these assaults our embassies
across the region. thought hard about this paragraph. thought hard about
making sure formulated way that was accurate say
that just some had sought justify it. Obviously, have all
seen lot public reporting linking things well. this,
me, was important paragraph include this statement.
Sullivan apparently did not engage nearly much thought about the
video when first appeared online, even when the U.S. Embassy was
breached protestors Cairo earlier September 11, 2012. Where
there was known connection the video, Sullivan was silent. Where
the video was not connected even scintilla reliable evidence the
time, Sullivan thought important enough include.
Dan Schwerin, Speechwriter, Department State, helped draft the
statement that went out that evening. Schwerin told the Committee the
statement was intended speak global audience. testified: You talked about speaking global audience. What did you
mean that? mean any time the Secretary State speaks, the world
listening. had was period unrest across the Middle
East, North Africa, and beyond; specifically, the Muslim
Id. 221.
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II-32
world, which was source concern; and how lower that
temperature and speak that situation was important issue. Was that focused the video? The video was the source that unrest across the world
that period. And so, you know, lowering the temperature that
situation was one our goals.70
While protests around the Middle East flared the following days,
the time the Benghazi attacks the protest Cairo represented the only
instance unrest.
Megan Rooney, Speechwriter, Department State, also worked the
statement and told the Committee that was commonsense conclusion that the video somehow sparked what happened Benghazi, because had done Cairo. She testified: Right. you sit here today, you recall anything generally
about the conversation specific the video that night? No. Only that thought belonged the statement. you recall why you thought belonged the statement?
*** believed that played role sparking the events that
night. And that any sort conversation about what had happened, and what has happen now would have taken into
account some way. Okay, just understand, was your view that night that the
video should referred the statement because your
mind, the video had played some role the attack Benghazi? Yeah, sparking them triggering them motivating some the people that night. Yeah, yes.
Testimony Daniel Schwerin, Staff Assistant and Speechwriter, U.S. Dep
State, Tr. (Oct. 2015) [hereinafter Schwerin Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-33 And you were kind going back your point about one the goals for this speech was explain the American people what had happened. For that reason you wanted refer
the video. that fair? Yeah. would say thats fair. And best you can, could you just tell what you based
that conclusion on, that opinion that the video somehow
sparked what occurred Benghazi? Well, the time seems like the commonsense conclusion.
You know, there was this incident happening the same not
far from Benghazi, just few countries the well, shoot, one
country the east. God, failing the geography nearby
country, Cairo, Egypt, the same day there was this protest that
seemed that was similarly targeting American facility that
similarly had our facility breached this alarming way. And
that seemed very clearly connected this video since,
again, believe that not long before that protest broke out, the
video had been broadcast Egyptian news. So, you know,
was learning about what was happening Egypt, and oh, look,
the same day, something happening American facility
not far from there.
The gist is: statement connecting the video with the Benghazi attacks
was included speechwriter because the thought half world
away was that commonsense dictated it. But that same commonsense
would not dictate listening and following the real time information
being provided eyewitnesses who survived the initial attack and were
preparing for subsequent attacks.
Benjamin Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor the President
for Strategic Communications, spoke with Sullivan about the statement
before was released. Rhodes testified the sentence Some have sought justify this vicious behavior response inflammatory material
posted the Internet was not about Benghazi but served respond
Testimony Megan Rooney, Policy Advisor and Speechwriter, U.S. Dep State,
Tr. 48-51 (Oct. 2015) [hereinafter Rooney Testimony] (on file with the Committee).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-34
the general events taking place the region whole. also said: Again, our concern one our concerns was that saw efforts utilize the video incite protests, including the type
violent protests that saw Cairo. And recall that
wanted have messaging the statement that sought reduce
tensions associated with the video. was this sentence not meant convey anything regarding
Benghazi and Libya? No, dont believe so. You dont think this sentence was not about Libya any
way, shape, form? Again, believe that was intended address the broader
context the region. thats what has wondering. Then was there vicious behavior other places that day? Yes. Certainly Cairo. But mean, Pat Kennedy described Cairo spray paint
and rocks. Obviously, Benghazi was much different. youre
saying that vicious behavior applies Cairo but doesnt apply
Benghazi? Again, think applies generally the fact that had indications that there were individuals who might seek use this
video justify violence? asking about the two terms: vicious behavior. You said
this sentence doesnt apply Libya general sense Benghazi specific sense, but does apply other events the region; namely, Cairo. that accurate?
Testimony Benjamin Rhodes, Deputy Nat Sec. Advisor for Strategic Commc cs,
Nat Sec. Council, Tr. 50-51 (Feb. 2016) [hereinafter Rhodes Testimony] (on file
with the Committee).
Case 1:15-cv-00692-APM Document 46-2 Filed 02/10/17 Page 188
II-35 Again, this taking place the context where have
protest that turned violent our Embassy Cairo, and have
the attacks Benghazi. The situation fluid. There are indications that are getting from the State Department that there are
other actors who are seeking incite people related this video. And one the objectives our messaging was have
statement that, again, sought minimize our association with
this video. And understand you conveyed that one your objectives,
but specifically, again, just for the record, asking that sentence you said does not apply, not meant any way convey
anything about Libya, its about Cairo and the rest the region. Again, its not intended assign responsibility for what happened Benghazi. Its meant describe the context what
happened, whats happening the region. You mentioned context couple times here. When look context, look this document. The heading Statement
the Attack Benghazi. Paragraph one: condemn the
strongest way the attack our mission Benghazi. are securing personnel and facilities. One our officers was killed
Benghazi. Next paragraph: have talked the Libyan President. everything this document about Libya and Benghazi except youre saying this sentence doesnt apply Libya and Benghazi. Again, look this statement, recollection one
the objectives was convey that were doing everything
could secure our diplomats facilities around the world.
you look, for example, the last sentence the statement, its
intended about that general principle that will work
with partner countries around the world protect our personnel,
our missions, and our American citizens.73
Id. 61-64.
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Moreover, Rhodes direction, the Secretary statement was the only
statement issued behalf the United States government that night.
This put additional emphasis its contents. Rhodes told the Committee: You know, recall telling staff that that would our
comment for the night. the people who work for the
NSC press office, you know, everybody was being asked respond inquiries, and remember determining that, you know, would just have that one statement our comment for the
night. What was the thinking behind that, have that one statement
coming from the State Department the sole statement from the
U.S. Government? Again, recollection that this was attack that had targeted