The media and Democrats quickly declared Hillary Clinton the big winner of October's Benghazi hearings, tongue-wagging about her poise and demeanor under sustained questioning. They obsequiously deflected attention from two 'smoking gun' documents produced by the Select Committee, proving that Mrs. Clinton was explicitly aware of the nature of the attack ("we know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack—not a protest") within hours of its occurrence. Yet days later, Clinton and other key administration figures were still downplaying the politically-problematic truth, pushing the spontaneous protest/online film fable for public consumption. Family members of three separate victims have stated that then-Secretary Clinton repeated the false video claim to their faces at a memorial event on September 14, 2012. By that point Clinton had already told written to her daughter that Benghazi was a terrorist attack carried out by an Al Qaeda offshoot, and told a top Egyptian official that the bloodshed had "nothing to do with the film."
As we've written previously, "the former acting CIA chief said the video protest fable did not originate from the intelligence community. David Petraeus testified that the US government knew Benghazi was a premeditated attack 'almost immediately.' State Department documents confirm this. And Amb. Chris Stevens' second-in-command testified that the obscure online film was a 'non event' on the ground in Libya." But none of that substance could be permitted to interfere with the "Hillary's big day" narrative -- nor could her notably evolving definition of what constitutes 'work-related' correspondence, her invented assertions about the State Department's access to her emails, or her obvious deflections about her relationship and interactions with political hatchet man Sidney Blumenthal. In case anyone in the prestige press is still paying attention, Fox News' Catherine Herridge reports that newly-released emails appear to highlight further contradictions in Mrs. Clinton's sworn testimony:
Regarding the dozens of emails from him, which in many cases were forwarded to her State Department team, Clinton testified: "He's a friend of mine. He sent me information he thought might be of interest. Some of it was, some of it wasn't, some of it I forwarded to be followed up on. He had no official position in the government. And he was not at all my adviser on Libya." But a newly released email from February 2011 shows Blumenthal advocated for a no-fly zone over Libya, writing, "U.S. might consider advancing tomorrow. Libyan helicopters and planes are raining terror on cities." The email was forwarded by Clinton to her deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan with the question, "What do you think of this idea?" ...In the end, Clinton advocated for the no-fly zone and was able to gather support within the Obama administration to implement it. In another email from March 5, 2012, Clinton appears to use Blumenthal as what is known in intelligence circles as a "cut out," a type of intermediary to gather information, allowing the policymaker plausible deniability. In this case, the emails focused on the increasingly chaotic and fragmenting political landscape in Libya after dictator Muammar Qaddafi was removed from power...In both instances, Clinton's actions further undercut sworn testimony to the Select Committee that Blumenthal was “not at all my adviser on Libya.”
Hillary's claim that Blumenthal's off-the-books advice and intel, which she regularly forwarded to other officials after deleting its dubious sourcing, was all "unsolicited" is discredited by her own words. Blumenthal was a Clinton adviser who enjoyed special access, despite the White House's wishes. Herridge's report concludes with a reminder that hundreds of emails sent through Clinton's improper, unsecure private email server -- regarding Libya and a host of other subjects -- were classified:
At this point, between 600 and 700 emails have been identified containing classified information. An intelligence official familiar with the review says there is no such thing as "retroactive classification," the information is born classified, and the State Department only has the right to declassify information it produced.
Clinton told reporters in March that "no classified material" passed through her server, a claim that she's been forced to alter three times, as evidence has disproven previous iterations. I'll leave you with a flashback to the thorough timeline pieced together by MSNBC's Morning Joe over the summer: