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Federal Judge Orders Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes to Answer Written Questions about Benghazi

Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes stand at a podium.

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes to answer written questions about the State Department's response to the deadly 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth's ruling came as part of an ongoing legal battle between the State Department and Judicial Watch over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was in office.

The judge had earlier denied a request by the conservative watchdog group to make Rice and Rhodes sit for depositions, but agreed to have them respond to written questions.

Lamberth also agreed to Judicial Watch's request to depose the State Department regarding the preparation of Rice's false talking points ahead of her appearances on five Sunday talk shows on September 16, 2012.

Rice initially claimed that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was part of a "spontaneous demonstration" sparked by a "hateful" anti-Islam video. The attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans: Ambassador Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs.

"Rice's talking points and State's understanding of the attack play an unavoidably central role in this case," Lamberth wrote in a 16-page order.

Lamberth added, "State's role in the [talking] points' content and development could shed light on Clinton's motives for shielding her emails from [Freedom of Information Act] requesters or on State's reluctance to search her emails."

Asked about the judge's decision on Fox News Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said, "It's important that these people answer questions." He expressed hope that we'll learn more.

The State Department "was more concerned about politics because they were 56 days before an election," he said. "I think it's important and I'm glad the judge made the decision that he did."

We've known for years that the State Department knew the truth about what happened almost immediately but chose to peddle a false narrative to the American people in order to protect then-President Obama during the presidential election year. Judicial Watch has spent years trying to get to the bottom of the scandal.

The latest batch of documents, obtained by Judicial Watch through a 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against both the DOD and State Department, shows that the attack was actually planned days in advance with the intention of killing as many Americans as possible.

More than 100 pages of the previously classified documents reveal that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. Rahman (aka the Blind Sheikh) was serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts until his death in 2017.