Has there been a Rose Mary Woods at work in Hillary Clinton’s management of her e-mails? The State Department insists that they have made public all of Hillary’s e-mails pertaining to the security of the Benghazi consulate and the Libya mission from 2012. If that’s true, The Daily Beast’s Alexa Corse and Shane Harris report, then no one on Hillary’s team — including the Secretary of State herself — bothered to communicate for two months about the rise in violence in the spring that precipitated the attack on the consulate itself at the end of the summer:
Among the approximately 2,000 emails that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has released from her private account, there is a conspicuous two-month gap. There are no emails between Clinton and her State Department staff during May and June 2012, a period of escalating violence in Libya leading up to the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
A State Department spokesman told The Daily Beast that for the year 2012, only those emails related to the security of the consulate or to the U.S. diplomatic presence in Libya were made public and turned over to a House committee investigating the fatal Benghazi assault. But if that’s true, then neither Clinton nor her staff communicated via email about the escalating dangers in Libya. There were three attacks during that two-month period, including one that targeted the consulate.
That two-month period also coincides with a senior Clinton aide obtaining a special exemption that allowed her to work both as a staff member to the secretary and in a private capacity for Clinton and her husband’s foundation. The Associated Press has sued to obtain emails from Clinton’s account about the aide, Huma Abedin.
In March, Trey Gowdy had talked about gaps for “months and months,” which Corse and Harris report. They also note that May and June of 2012 were hardly quiet months on the Benghazi front. The Red Cross got attacked in May, which Congressional testimony tied to the US mission there. In June, the consulate got directly attacked in a bombing, a precursor to the September 11 attack that nevertheless resulted in no action by Hillary or her team to bolster security.
In fact, the only e-mail that the House Select Committee has from this period was provided by Sidney Blumenthal. After Gowdy demanded an answer from State as to why that e-mail had not been provided to them, State belatedly sent its own copy. The question remains whether this gap exists in reality, post-server wipe, or whether State and/or Hillary are withholding them deliberately. The Blumenthal e-mail shows that Hillary and her team were e-mailing during that period of time, and the two-month gap would be evidence of obstruction.
For their part, Hillary’s team insists that more e-mails will be released by State that will answer these questions. We’ll see, but the e-mail gap also coincidentally covers a period of time that has long interested the Associated Press. According to TDB and Fox News, they may soon get access to that data:
Another issue raised by the e-mail gap is the status of Abedin, a longtime aide to Clinton and the wife of former New York congressman and mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. The Daily Beast reports that on June 3, Abedin was granted “special government employee” status, allowing her to remain employed by the State Department, the Clinton Foundation, a consulting firm founded by a Clinton ally, and by Hillary herself. The “special government employee” designation prevented Abedin from being subject to some ethics rules.
On Tuesday, the Daily Beast reported that State Department lawyers identified 68 pages of “potentially responsive” documents in response to a 2013 Freedom of Information Act request by the Associated Press for details about how Abedin obtained her special employee status. That was the first time the department acknowledged having any documentation about Abedin’s arrangement.
It took them two years just to admit that they had this information, even though it doesn’t involve national security. Imagine how long it will take before they admit having the e-mails from this critical two-month period.