Conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch has uncovered new documents that show that members of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's staff knew immediately that the 2012 attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi was a terror attack and not a result of a protest over a YouTube video.
Judicial Watch obtained emails sent by Clinton's senior staff through a Freedom of Information Act request.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the September 11, 2012 attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 23, 2013.Credit: AFP/Getty Images
At 4:07 p.m. ET on the day of the attack, Clinton's special assistant sent an email saying, "Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well."
At 4:38 p.m., another email forwarded to Clinton's staff cited a phone call from someone in Benghazi saying that "15 armed individuals were attacking the compound and trying to gain entrance."
At 6:06 p.m., an email said that Ansar al-Sharia, a group affiliated with Al Qaeda, had claimed credit for the attack.
At 11:57 p.m., another email said that Diplomatic Security was reporting that the Benghazi facility was under mortar fire.
However, even though her staff had been notified about the details of the attack and Ansar al-Sharia's claim of responsibility, Clinton issued a statement saying the incident may have been “a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”
For the Record senior investigative correspondent Sara Carter sat down with Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton to discuss the emails and what they could mean in a new podcast. Listen to the podcast on the For the Record page on Soundcloud or below.