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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.

A Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.” The document was sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council. The heavily redacted Defense Department “information report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).” The group subscribes to “AQ ideologies:”

The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.

According to the DIA report:

The leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset ((AZUZ)), AZUZ was sent by ((ZAWARI)) to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya. It was stated that AZUZ was not a charismatic leader but rather just a violent radical. He is also a member of the Abu Slim Martyrs Katiba, run by Fati (((AGIB)). Within the last year AZUZ established the Al-Tawheed (Oneness of God) college in Derna, the estabilshment of this college was authorized by the Ministry of Education with the approval of the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Fathi ((AL-KA'ARY)), a member of the Muslim brother hood [sic] movement… where they have large caches of weapons. Some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock. They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS… they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”

The DOD documents also provide confirmation that shows the Obama administration was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria.

According to a heavily redacted October 2012 report, weapons from the former Libyan military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam in Syria.

The weapons were shipped during late August in 2012 and included sniper rifles, RPGs, and 125mm and 155mm howitzer missiles.

Another DIA report, written in August 2012, warned of the rise of ISIS in Syria and predicted "dire consequences" in Iraq due to the Obama administration's failed policy of regime change in Syria.

The opposition to the Syrian regime was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist Muslim groups, the report stated. “The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:

This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

Some of the “dire consequences” are blacked out but the DIA presciently warned one such consequence would be the “renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena.”

General Michael Flynn, who was the DNI chief at the time of the report, was fired by Obama for insubordination in 2014.

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement:

These documents are jaw-dropping. No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them. If the American people had known the truth – that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials knew that the Benghazi attack was an al-Qaeda terrorist attack from the get-go – and yet lied and covered this fact up – Mitt Romney might very well be president.

And why would the Obama administration continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood even after it knew it was tied to the Benghazi terrorist attack and to al Qaeda? These documents also point to a connection between the collapse in Libya and the ISIS war – and confirm that the U.S. knew remarkable details about the transfer of arms from Benghazi to Syrian jihadists. These documents show that the Benghazi cover-up has continued for years and is only unraveling through our independent lawsuits. The Benghazi scandal just got a whole lot worse for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.