Only one new Benghazi email in 15,000 docs recovered from Clinton server, State Department says
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Only one email from the batch of 14,900 new documents the FBI found from Hillary Clinton’s private server directly references the Benghazi attacks — and that was a letter of praise from an ambassador, the State Department said Wednesday.
The State Department is reviewing the large trove of documents recovered from Clinton’s server and last week said that as many as 30 exchanges could be related to Benghazi. But the department told a federal court Wednesday that all but one had been previously released.
The newly published exchange is an innocuous note from former U.S. ambassador to Brazil Tom Shannon, praising then-Secretary of State Clinton on her performance at a 2013 Senate hearing on the Benghazi attacks.
“Please extend to the Secretary my congratulations for her testimony today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I watched with great admiration as she dealt with a tough and personally painful issue in a fair, candid, and determined manner,” Shannon wrote in the email sent January 23, 2013, to Cheryl Mills, a top Clinton aide.
State also issued parts of two other conversations that were previously released with the exception of “Pls print” instructions from Clinton. One is from Clinton thanking State workers for their work on Benghazi and another from a former advance man in the Clinton White House, Rick Jasculca, praising Clinton’s performance.
Wednesday’s release by the State Department is a response to a lawsuit brought by the conservative group Judicial Watch, and is limited to emails determined to be related to the 2012 Benghazi attacks in which four Americans were killed. Judicial Watch and State lawyers are scheduled to meet later this month regarding other emails the FBI has turned over.
The State Department said the “email does not change the facts that have previously been made clear about the Benghazi attacks.”
“In response to a Benghazi-related FOIA request, after completing its review of the set of documents previously identified as potentially responsive, State has determined that there is one responsive document that is not a duplicate of the documents provided by former Secretary Clinton in December 2014 and that had not been previously provided to Judicial Watch in this case,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.
The Clinton campaign and Judicial Watch both claimed victory Wednesday in competing assessments of the email release.
“As we suspected, it appears these emails were almost entirely redundant with ones she had produced previously,” Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said it was further proof that Clinton emails were wrongfully scrubbed from her private server. The group said it will continue fighting in court for the release of all 30 emails, saying they include new metadata not in previous releases.
“These new Benghazi-Clinton emails prove that Hillary or her lawyers deleted material which proved to be responsive to federal court orders and congressional subpoenas,” Fitton said in a statement. “Clinton’s email cover-up scheme is as plain as day.”