The latest batch of Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails include some from the night of the Benghazi attacks that indirectly led to public discovery of her private email system.
Clinton and her daughter Chelsea Clinton exchanged emails after 8 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012, with Chelsea Clinton using the alias “Diane Reynolds.” Clinton invited her daughter to call, saying she is in the office late because of attacks on U.S. facilities in Egypt and Libya.
Apparently they did not speak, but Clinton delivered this news after 11 p.m.
“Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like group: The Ambassador, whom I handpicked and a young communications officer on temporary duty w a wife and two young children. Very hard day and I fear more of the same tomorrow. Let's try again later.”
Clinton appears to be ascribing the attack to a terrorist group, although the Obama administration later described it as the result of a spontaneous protest. Families of some of the four Americans killed in Benghazi have previously complained that the Clinton emails appear to show her passing along information about the attacks that they claim was denied to them.
The batch of more than 3,000 new pages was released just before 2 a.m. Friday, a week late. They were supposed to have been part of the batch released on Dec. 31 under a court directive that the State Department produce redacted versions of the emails each month. At that time, officials said they were too overworked and understaffed to release the messages on time. There was no explanation Friday for why the delayed batch appeared at 2 a.m. instead of sometime between 6 and 10 p.m. Thursday, as originally scheduled. With Friday’s addendum, the State Department has now released 82 percent of Clinton’s email correspondence as secretary of state.
The latest release includes 66 documents that were determined to contain classified material. All but one of those documents contained material later determined to be “confidential” level, and one was labeled “secret.”
The material was not marked classified at the time the emails were sent. As with previous releases, the State Department and intelligence agencies “upgraded” the material after the fact, while reviewing it for release under the Freedom of Information Act.
On Feb. 27, 2011, Clinton was forwarded an email from someone named John Godfrey, whom an aide described to Clinton as "one of our most knowledgeable officers on Libya." Godfrey's email included a lengthy analysis of a post-Gaddafi Libya, including a section that State Department reviewers withheld from public release due to their assessment that it includes classified information.
Clinton responded, "Who does he work for now?" and close aide Jake Sullivan responded, "Us." Clinton ironically then replied with the following, showing a clear understanding that most State Department officials were expected to use their official government accounts to conduct public business: "I was surprised that he used a personal account if he is at State."
There are more examples of Clinton’s staff keeping her informed of news events, personnel comings and goings and the odd bit of political intel.
Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills passed on a memo dated Aug. 7, 2012, noting that then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was looking for "work" in Haiti close to his cruise ship’s path through the Caribbean.
His staff had suggested he could tour "projects" near Cap Haitien, Clinton’s staff notes.
“His staff has always indicated that he wanted to do some 'work' while his family was on a cruise in the Caribbean,” the memo said. “We've asked about the trip and have been working with his staff on the trip, but this is as much as they've commented on. It is worth noting that Cantor has not generally expressed a strong interest in foreign policy matters.”
Clinton’s staff suggested that a briefing for the Virginia Republican or his staff “couldn’t hurt.”
Rosalind Helderman and Carol Morello contributed to this report