Obama Administration Stonewalls Release of Videos and Photos Reviewed by “Accountability Review Board for Benghazi” Convened by former Secretary of State Clinton
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State seeking access to “all videos and photographs” depicting the Benghazi, Libya, Consulate between September 10 and September 13, 2012, the period leading up to, during, and immediately following the deadly attack that took the life of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Judicial Watch filed its lawsuit on February 25, 2013 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-00242)). This is one of three Benghazi FOIA lawsuits being pursued by Judicial Watch.
Specifically, Judicial Watch seeks the following records pursuant to its December 19, 2012, FOIA request: “Any and all videos and photographs depicting U.S. Consulate facilities in Benghazi, Libya (including the Special Mission Compound and the Annex) between September 10, 2012, and September 13, 2012 that were provided to the Accountability Review Board (ARB) for Benghazi and/or to any individual member of the ARB.”
The State Department acknowledged receiving the Judicial Watch FOIA request on January 4, 2013, and was required by law to respond by February 4, 2013. As of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, the department had 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.
On December 19, 2012, the Accountability Review Board (ARB) for Benghazi, convened by then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, released its report on the attack on the U.S. Consulate. According to ARB Chairman Ambassador Tom Pickering, the Board “reviewed thousands of documents and watched hours of video” during the course of its investigation. The Obama administration also reportedly shared Benghazi video with certain members of Congress. The State Department, however, has refused to comply with the Judicial Watch FOIA request seeking access to these materials on behalf of the American people.
“It has now been more than five months since the attack on America’s Benghazi consulate, and the American people still don’t know basic facts about what actually occurred,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Any video or photos will tell us more about Benghazi than Obama administration lies and spin. This latest stonewall shows that President Obama’s line, that his administration is the most transparent in history, is laughably false.”
Judicial Watch has a separate FOIA lawsuit seeking access to the controversial internal “speaking points” used by the Obama administration in the days following the attacks when administration officials advanced the false narrative that the attacks were inspired by a rudimentary Internet video perceived as anti-Muslim. Judicial Watch also sued the State Department for records detailing a nearly $400,000 contract awarded to a foreign firm for “Security Guards and Patrol Services” at the Benghazi Consulate prior to the deadly attack of September 11, 2012.