JW Sues Obama State Department for Talking Points and Updates Given to Susan Rice Related to Benghazi Attack
JULY 23, 2013
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that on June 21, 2013, it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Obama Department of State seeking records relating to “updates and/or talking points” given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice concerning the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-00951)).
Specifically, Judicial Watch seeks the following records pursuant to an October 18, 2012, FOIA request filed with the State Department:
- Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
- Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or related to the talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.
The State Department acknowledged receiving the Judicial Watch FOIA request on October 26, 2012, and was required by law to respond within 20 working days. As of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, the department has failed to produce any records responsive to the request, indicate when any responsive records will be produced, or demonstrated that responsive records are exempt from production.
Following the Benghazi attack, which left four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya dead, Rice joined Hillary Clinton in a high-profile campaign to portray the attack as solely related to a privately produced YouTube video that Muslims reportedly found offensive. On the Sunday following the attack, Rice went on five TV talk shows, repeatedly claiming that the attack was “a spontaneous – not a premeditated response” to “a hateful video that was disseminated on the Internet.”
Shortly thereafter, on the eve of a Congressional hearing, the Obama administration was forced to admit that Rice and others had provided false information, and that the attack was neither spontaneous nor the result of an Internet video. On September 28, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence reported that their revised assessment had determined the attack to be “a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists” and that “some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to, al-Qa’ida.”
The lawsuit for the underlying talking points and updates given to Rice for her controversial media appearances is the fourth FOIA lawsuit Judicial Watch has filed in its continuing efforts to uncover the full story of what transpired within the Obama administration before, during, and after the Benghazi attack.
In response to a FOIA lawsuit, on June 6, 2013, Judicial Watch obtained the first seven photos released to the public by the State Department depicting the carnage at the Benghazi consulate.
“The Obama administration hopes that stonewalling Benghazi answers will make the scandal go away. On the contrary, there is a groundswell of Americans who want accountability for Benghazi,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This new FOIA lawsuit further highlights the Obama administration’s utter contempt for transparency.”
In January 2013, Judicial Watch highlighted Rice’s false claims about the Benghazi attack in a Judicial Watch Special Report entitled “The Benghazi Attack of September 11, 2012.”