Herridge: Admin Withholding Emails on Report That Contradicted Benghazi Claims
The Obama administration is said to be withholding emails in which officials apparently discussed how to respond to media coverage in the weeks after the Benghazi attack. The email chain, which included top White House officials Denis McDonough, John Brennan, and Ben Rhodes, was dated Sept. 27-28, 2012 and is believed to have referenced a report by Fox News' chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge.
Herridge wrote the following on Gretawire today:
Fox news learning new details of a seven page email — circulated at the highest levels of the white house – apparently to come up with a media strategy to deal with a fox news report- is being withheld by the state department, citing executive branch deliberations.
The report, which is the subject line of the emails, “Fox News: US officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours, sources confirm” was circulated September 27th and September 28th 2012 concluded the intelligence community knew Benghazi was terrorism within 24 hours.
On the email chain, among others, Denis McDonough, the president’s deputy national security adviser during Benghazi, John Brennan former White House counterterrorism adviser and now CIA Director, then deputy director of the CIA Michael Morell, and presidential aide Ben Rhodes who sent the email September 14th 2012, critics say, attempted to shape the public discussion of Benghazi.
Chris Farrell with Judicial Watch which is suing for the documents, including the email related to the Fox News report, said “A 7-page dialogue concerning one Fox News report to me uh demonstrates um an alarm bell situation where they are reacting to and trying to shape a response or commentary to react to or to shut down reporting.”
“The reporting itself would appear to be at odds or at least to challenge strongly the White House position that had been announced. And so this report from Fox News would run counter to what the Obama administration was attempting to put out there as their position.”
Herridge reported the latest details on The Real Story this afternoon and went over the next steps of the newly formed House Select Committee. Watch the report above.
Earlier today, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reacted to the news that additional emails are being withheld by the administration. He believes the White House is now trying to "conceal" documents by labeling them classified so the truth does not come out about their attempt to "manipulate" the Benghazi story to help the president politically.
Graham also highlighted a promise by the White House to release all relevant information on Benghazi in exchange for Congress confirming Brennan as CIA Director.
Jon Scott noted that after the raid that killed Usama bin Laden, classified information about the operation was leaked to the New york Times, along with the release of a photo showing President Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and other top officials in the Situation Room watching the raid in real-time.
"If they are willing to leak classified information to make themselves look good, would they withhold it to keep from having to talk about a failure? They've got a propensity here to play politics with national security matters and I think it caught up with them in Benghazi," said Graham, adding that in contrast to the bin Laden raid we still don't know Obama's whereabouts during the Benghazi attack.
"To me, he was virtually AWOL as commander-in-chief."
Watch the full interview below: