Two days after the 9/11/2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, the United States embassy in Tripoli, Libya, was warning the State Department via email not to conflate the Innocence of Muslims YouTube video with the attacks.
The email, released by the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Saturday, was sent by a Tripoli embassy official to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s staffers in Washington, D.C., at 6:43 a.m. on September 14, 2012.
That is the day Clinton declared at the transfer of remains ceremony, “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.”
It was two days before Susan Rice appeared on five Sunday talk shows to blame the violence in Benghazi on the video.
Colleagues, I mentioned to [redacted] this morning, and want to share with all of you, our view at Embassy Tripoli that we must be cautious in our local messaging with regard to the inflammatory film trailer, adapting it to Libyan conditions.
Our monitoring of the Libyan media and conversations with Libyans suggest that the films not as explosive of an issue here as it appears to be in other countries in the region. The overwhelming majority of the FB comments and tweets we’ve received from Libyans since the Ambassador’s death have expressed deep sympathy, sorrow, and regret. They have expressed anger at the attackers, and emphasized that this attack does not represent Libyans or Islam. Relatively few have even mentioned the inflammatory video.
So if we post messaging about the video specifically, we may draw unwanted attention to it. And it is becoming increasingly clear that the series of events in Benghazi was much more terrorist attack than a protest which escalated into violence. It is our opinion that in our messaging, we want to distinguish, not conflate, the events in other countries with this well-planned attack by militant extremists. I have discussed this with [redacted] and he shares PAS’s view.
Select committee spokesman Matt Wolking said the email was referenced in the hearing last week and was released publicly for the first time on Saturday.
Via Fox News:
“This email shows that State Department staff privately raised serious concerns about conflating the terrorist attacks in Benghazi with a video,” he also said in a statement, “even as the secretary of state and other Obama administration officials continued to do so publicly.”
Wolking also argued that a former CIA chief said intelligence analysts never said the video was a factor.
“So while Secretary Clinton may use the ‘fog of war’ as a convenient excuse for why she said one thing in private and something else in public, the reality is that’s just another smokescreen,” Wolking said.