The Obama White House has decided to turnover documents related to the attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, according to news reports on Friday evening. But a non-government organization is continuing its lawsuit against Obama's Office of National Intelligence to access the documents for itself.
Despite continuous cover-up allegations, misstatements, verbal gymnastics and other evasions, a top public-interest, watchdog group on Thursday announced that its officials had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against President Barack Obama's Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The FOIA lawsuit seeks access to records regarding the Sept. 11, 2012, attack by Islamists on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
During the violent terrorist attack, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were brutalized and murdered by radical Muslims associated with al-Qaeda. The documents requested from the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper include emails between top national security officials showing the debate within the administration over how to describe the attack and as well as other documents.
The non-profit, non-partisan Judicial Watch is seeking a questionable “talking points” memo indicating that intelligence officials believed from the outset that Islamic terrorists perpetrated the vicious attack despite public statements issued by Obama administration officials, including UN Ambassador Susan Rice and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that attributed the attack to a response to a YouTube anti-Mohammad video.
Judicial Watch seeks the following records in its FOIA request:
Any and all memoranda, assessments, analyses, and/or talking points regarding the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and/or the killing of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence between Sept. 11, 2012 and Sept. 20, 2012. This request includes, but is not limited to, the “speaking points” memorandum referred to by Senator Dianne Feinstein during a televised interview on Oct. 17, 2012.
According to Judicial Watch, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged receiving the group's FOIA request on Oct. 19, 2012, and was required by law to respond by Nov. 26, 2012. But the DNI so far has neglected its duty to produce any records responsive to the request.
Regarding the “speaking points” memorandum requested by Judicial Watch, according to the CBS Affiliate in San Francisco: “When asked by CBS 5 if there was an intelligence flaw, the senior California senator [Feinstein] who hails from San Francisco replied: ‘I think what happened was the director of intelligence…put out some speaking points on the initial intelligence assessment. I think that was possibly a mistake.’”
Former CIA Director David Petraeus reportedly testified before Congress that the initial speaking points produced by the CIA “stated there were indications the attack was linked to al Qaeda,” and suggested the terrorism reference was removed sometime during an interagency review process.
In the days and weeks following the Benghazi attacks, the Obama administration blamed the incident on an Internet video deemed offensive to Muslims. This false claim was repeated by both U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on national television news shows and by Secretary Hillary Clinton in multiple public statements and press interviews.
For example, according to Judicial Watch, at a Sept. 14, 2012, event honoring the four victims of the Benghazi attack, Secretary Clinton made the following statement: “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen the rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful video that we had nothing to do with.”
Later, when asked about the alleged discrepancy between the intelligence community’s assessment and the Obama administration’s public statements during congressional testimony, former Secretary of State Clinton shouted, “What difference does it make?”
“With all of the Benghazi lies coming out of the Obama administration, the only way to get at the truth is to release these records immediately,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “From the beginning, the Obama White House has been more concerned with self-protection than to disclosing the truth about Benghazi. The Obama administration’s lawless Benghazi cover-up is a disgrace and an insult to the victims of the attacks and their families. The Obama Benghazi scandal makes Iran-Contra seem like patty-cake by comparison.”
In December, Judicial Watch released its special report, “The Benghazi Attack of Sept. 11, 2012: Analysis and Further Questions from a Diplomatic Security Service Regional Security Officer and Special Agent.” The report closely examined the Obama administration’s actions before, during, and after the assault, as well as the State Department’s commitment to protect overseas diplomats.
In addition to Judicial Watch’s Benghazi investigation, Congress also seeks answers from the Obama administration. Republicans in the Senate had indicated they there is a hold on the nomination of John Brennan, former deputy national security advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, who is President Obama’s pick to serve as director of the CIA, until the Obama White House releases more details on the Benghazi attacks, including the speaking points memos.