Clinton One Day After Benghazi: ‘We Know That the Attack … Had Nothing to Do With the Film’

Rachel Hoover | July 29, 2016 | 11:50am EDT
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Then-Secretary of State Hillary

Clinton testifies before Congress

about the attack on the Benghazi

compound.  (AP) 

( -- In their "Additional Views" supplement to the House Select Committee on Benghazi report, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) conclude that "the administration misled the public about the Benghazi attack," which occurred on Sept. 11, 2012.

Specifically, the congressmen provide a timeline of the events and a timeline of public and private statements made by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Obama administration officials. "The administration made statements about Beghazi that led the public to believe the attack began spontaneously as a protest over an anti-Islamic video circulating on the Internet," they write. "It was, they said, the same video that had sparked demonstrations in Cairo earlier that day."

"The first statement came from Secretary Clinton," says the report. "More would follow, from the President, from ambassador Rice, and from others. Each seemed to blame the murders on a video and a protest. Yet, in truth, no protest had occurred in Benghazi that night. And even today no clear link between the video and the attack exists."

Instead of sharing the truth, reads the supplement, "the administration concealed it. And in doing so it misled the American people for political gain."

The timeline of public and private statements on whether the attack was a planned attack or a protest in response to an anti-Muslim video is presented below as documented in the “Proposed Additional Views of Representatives Jim Jordan and Mike Pompeo,” released on June 28, 2016.

Sept. 11, 2012

  • 3:42 p.m. Washington time: an attack begins on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
  • 6:49 p.m., Secretary Clinton calls President of Libya Mohammed al Magariaf, and does not mention a video or protest. The call sheet for this conversation also does not mention a protest or video.

  • 7:30 p.m.: An emergency call takes place between Clinton and other officials from the Department of Defense, the State Department, and CIA related to a YouTube video, the trailer for a film called The Innocence of Muslims, including an "action item" for Defense Secretary Panetta to call Pastor Terry Jones (who promoted the film, and was known for burning copies of the Koran) to ask him to take down the video.
  • 10:08 p.m., Clinton makes a public statement, saying, “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material on the Internet.”
  • 11:23 p.m., Clinton e-mails her daughter Chelsea, saying, “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Qaeda-like group.”

Then-White House Press Secretary

Jay Carney,  who discussed on Sept.

18, 2012 "what we know thus far about 

the video" and its influence in 

"Benghazi."  (AP) 

Sept. 12, 2012

  • Clinton remarks publicly, “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.”
  • President Obama is interviewed by Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes, who said, “[T]here are reports that they were very heavily armed with grenades. That doesn’t sound like your normal demonstration,” to which Obama answered, “As I said, we’re still investigating exactly what happened. … [M]y suspicion is, is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.” (Note: These remarks were deleted from the Sept. 23 broadcast, and only made public just before the November 2012 election; see below.)
  • Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and Joe Biden’s foreign policy advisor Jacob Sullivan writes in an e-mail to the embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, “[W]e are not saying that the violence in Libya erupted ‘over inflammatory videos.’
  • 3:04 p.m., Hillary Clinton tells Egyptian Prime Minister, We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack--not a protest.” (Emphasis added.) 

Sept. 13

  • Clinton makes remarks at the Opening Plenary of U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue, saying, “I also want to take a moment to address the video circulating on the Internet that has led to these protests in a number of countries.”
  • State Department Deputy Secretary Thomas Nides calls the event a “targeted attack,” according to the summary of a call between him and Egyptian ambassador to the U.S.

Sept. 14

  • 11:15 a.m.: CIA talking points state that the “the attacks in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo,” but also that “Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida participated in the attack.” The talking points underwent approximately 8 revisions over the next 24 hours, eventually scrubbing all references to Islam, al Qaeda, and other groups, and even removing the word “attacks.” The final draft states simply, “There are indications that extremists participated in violent demonstrations.” No video is mentioned in the talking points at any stage of revision.
  • 11:42 a.m.: White House Spokesman Jay Carney tells reporters at a press briefing, “We have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack. The unrest we’ve seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims, find offensive.”
  • White House Advisor Benjamin Rhodes writes an e-mail listing “goals” of Ambassador Susan Rice’s scheduled talk-show appearances, including “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
  • The father of Tyrone Woods, CIA operative who was killed in the Benghazi attack, records in his diary that, at the return of remains ceremony for his son, “Hillary … said we are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of my son.” (Emphasis added.)
  • Patricia Smith, mother of Information Officer Sean Smith, another Benghazi victim, is told by Clinton at the return of remains ceremony that “it was the fault of the video. … Yes, that’s what it was. … It was the video.” (Smith has stated this repeatedly, as reported by
  • State Department press officer e-mails colleagues from the embassy in Tripoli, Libya, saying, “[W]e must be cautious in our local messaging with regard to the inflammatory film trailer, adapting it to Libyan conditions. … And it is becoming increasingly clear that the series of events in Benghazi was much more terrorist attack than a protest which escalated into violence. It is our opinion that in our messaging, we want to distinguish, not conflate, the events in other countries with this well-planned attack by militant extremists.”

Then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

Susan Rice, who told the public that

"what happened" in "Banghazi" was 

"a direct result of a heinous and

offensive video that was widely

disseminated." Sept. 16, 2012. (AP) 

Sept. 15

  • President Barack Obama gives a weekly address, saying, “This tragic attack takes place at a time of turmoil and protest in many different countries. … We stand for religious freedom. And we reject the denigration of any religion--including Islam.”
  • Clinton’s call with the Prime Minister-Elect of Libya makes no mention of a protest or video.

Sept. 16

  • Ambassador Susan Rice tells Chris Wallace of Fox News, “The information, the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video.” (Emphasis added.)
  • Rice says on NBC’s Meet the Press that, “what happened in Benghazi was … almost a copycat of--of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video.” (Emphasis added.)
  • Rice says on CNN’s State of the Union, “There was a hateful video that was disseminated on the internet. … That violence is absolutely unacceptable, it's not a response that one can ever condone when it comes to such a video. And we have been working very closely and, indeed, effectively with the governments in the region and around the world to secure our personnel, secure our embassy, condemn the violent response to this video.”
  • Rice tells ABC’s Jake Tapper, “What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi and many other parts of the region was a result, a direct result, of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated.”  (Emphasis added.)
  • Embassy Tripoli Media Report states that, “evidence suggests … some degree of organization. This goes against statements that the attacks were not carried out by a single group but by an angry multitude protesting.”

President Obama at the U.N., Sept. 25,

2012, claims "a crude and disgusting video

sparked outrage throughout the

Muslim world."  (AP) 

Sept. 17

  • In an e-mail discussion, Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) press officer suggests telling the public that “[t]he currently available information suggests the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault.” The Senior Libyan Desk Officer and the Deputy Director, Office of Maghreb Affairs, express disapproval of the language, leading to an e-mail exchange on Rice’s Sept. 16 TV appearances (listed above). The NEA officials say in the discussion that it is “[t]ough to walk back” from Rice’s statements, but “[l]uckily there’s enough in her language to fudge exactly what she said/meant.” The Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications comments that the White House is “very worried about the politics. This was all their doing.”

Sept. 18

  • White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a press briefing, “I would point you to what Ambassador Rice said and others have said about what we know thus far about the video and its influence on the protests that occurred in Cairo, in Benghazi, and elsewhere.” (Emphasis added.)
  • Deputy Director of CIA Michael Morell tells the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that “the analysts considered this a terrorist attack from the very beginning.”
  • State Department security officers comment to each other in an e-mail exchange on a news article entitled “White House sees no sign Libya attack premeditated,” expressing disbelief and stating there was no rioting reported in Benghazi before the attack.

Sept. 19

  • Hillary Clinton sends a message to all U.S. embassies drafted by Deputy Chief of Staff Jacob Sullivan, saying, “The proximate cause of the violence was the release by individuals in the United States of the video trailer for a film that many Muslims find offensive.” (Emphasis added.)

Sept. 20

  • In a Univision Town Hall interview, President Obama says in response to a question about whether Iran or al Qaeda were behind the protests, “What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.” (Emphasis added.)

President Obama’s interview with Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes airs, but without the statements quoted above (Sept. 12).Sept. 23

Sept. 25

  • President Obama appears before the U.N. General Assembly and says that “a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.” (Emphasis added.)

Nov. 4

  • The remainder of President Obama’s interview with Steve Kroft is released by CBS, two days before his re-election.

The four Americans murdered in Benghazi, Libya, Sept. 11, 2012.  

(FNC screenshot.)



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