Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks after receiving awards from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey during a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, February 14, 2013. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
A hacker known only as “Guccifer” reportedly distributed confidential memos earlier this week between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her former political adviser Sidney Blumenthal. The documents were said to contain information shedding light on the September 11 Benghazi attack.
The catch? The memos were sent to various politicians and members of the media, but none of them wanted to share what they'd received.
Now, Russia Today is spilling part of what they received but, as Forbes writes, the information from the "propaganda arm of the Putin regime" should be taken with a grain of salt.
Russia Today begins:
The emails that RT received include four memos that Mr. Blumenthal sent to Mrs. Clinton about the attack, all marked “Confidential” and all containing references to sources speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sheer seriousness of the material. The most recent memo included in the trove is dated February 16, 2013, and includes intelligence that comes “from extremely sensitive sources and should be handled with care.”
The oldest memo sent to RT is dated September 12, 2012 — mere hours after four Americans were killed in a deadly assault on the US consulate building in Benghazi. Chris Stevens, an ambassador for the United States, was among those killed.
An image of one of the purported emails follows, detailing how the Libyan president was "shaken" by the attacks, and gave permission to security forces on the ground to fire over the heads of protesters.
(Photo via Russia Today. The hacker reportedly modified the font and background from the original document.)
But after that comes what many Americans have been curious about since September. Why did the administration seize upon a video as the cause of the attack, and why did they stick with the story for days? Well, if the memos are to be believed, it seems Mrs. Clinton may have been receiving memos blaming the video through at least September 12.
Russia Today describes alleged correspondence from the day after the attack (all subsequent emphasis added):
“A senior security officer told [interim Libyan President Mohammed Yussef] el Magariaf that the attacks on that day were inspired by what many devout Libyans viewed as a sacrilegious internet video on the prophet Mohammed originating in America,” the memo reads. “The Libya attacks were also inspired by and linked to an attack on the US mission in Egypt on the same day.”
Elsewhere in the first memo, Blumenthal tells Clinton that another source had even more to say about the assault:
“According to a separate sensitive source, el Magariaf noted that his opponents had often tried to connect him to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) through the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), a group established in opposition to former dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, which el Magariaf led in the 1980s. In the opinion of this individual el Magariaf believes that he can survive potential negative publicity in this regard, but if this situation continues to develop in this manner it will complicate his efforts to establish an orderly administration in the country. Again, he stated that the attacks on the US missions were as much a result of the atmosphere created by this campaign, as the controversial video.”
The next memos date to roughly five months later, February 16, and discuss the connection between the Amenas, Algeria and Benghazi attacks:
“This individual adds that this information provided by the French service indicates that the funding for both attacks originated with wealthy Sunni Islamists in Saudi Arabia. During July and August 2012, these financers provided funds to AQIM contacts in Southern Europe, who in turn passed the money into AQIM operatives in Mauritania. These funds were eventually provided to Ansar al Sharia and its allied militias in the Benghazi region in support of their attack on the US consulate. The money was used to recruit operatives and purchase ammunition and supplies.”
According to the Feb. 2016 memo, the source says that Algerian intelligence agency believe that al-Qaeda and their allies “will continue to strike at Western facilities in the Maghreb [northwest Africa], taking advantage of countries where the security structure is disorganized following the uprisings of the Arab Spring in 2011-2012.”
The hacker "Guccifer" has yet to be identified, but two IP addresses connected to the hacker’s online maneuvers to the Russian Federation, according to The Smoking Gun. However, this could simply be a way to mask his trail -- the emails also seem to have been sent from the (hacked) AOL account of the wife of a Hollywood actor.
Forbes concludes with a warning:
The reader should be warned that these are first and partial accounts of hacked emails that may be fabricated by someone with a hidden agenda. Time will tell whether they have any credence. The RT selection of excerpts appears to fit into Putin’s agenda. Unhappy with the overthrow of Kaddafi, Putin would want to emphasize the sinister role played by the CIA in Libya. The second memo refutes Obama’s claim of an Al Qaeda on the run by showing an increasingly coordinated pattern of Al Qaeda sponsored attacks throughout the Middle East.
- Report: Hacker Distributes Confidential Memos Sent to Hillary Clinton on Benghazi Attack, Libya
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- Author Brad Thor on Obama’s Benghazi Story: ‘If I Tried to Turn This Into my Editor, I’d Be Thrown Out of Her Office’