WASHINGTON: The US State Department released on Friday 296 emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, showing that she did use her private account for receiving information about the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
These are only a tiny proportion of more than 55,000 pages Mrs Clinton turned over to the State Department since leaving office. The State Department intended to release all the documents in January 2016 but last week a Washington court ordered them to release some this week and also issue a timeframe for future releases.
A congressional committee is investigating why Mrs Clinton used her own email account and whether the archive she turned over to the State Department was complete.
The emails released on Friday cover the period from January 2011 through December 2012. They showed that the information she exchanged with her senior aides were not considered classified when released. But parts of at least two emails were later declared “classified” by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. The State Department redacted those portions while releasing the emails on Friday.
There are 25 memos about Libya from Sidney Blumenthal, a former employee of the Clinton Foundation.
The memos include an assessment of Libyan rebels and their strength and weaknesses.
She forwarded these messages to her aide, Jake J. Sullivan.
Parts of two emails she exchanged with Mr Sullivan were later declared `classified’ by the FBI.
“FBI in Tripoli is fully involved,” he writes to Mrs Clinton. “This could lead to something operationally, or not.”
In another email, Mrs Clinton expresses concern about a statement she had issued on the Sept 11, 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.
“You never said spontaneous or characterised the motives, in fact you were careful in your first statement to say we were assessing motive and method,” Mr Sullivan assures her.
“The way you treated the video in the Libya context was to say that some sought to justify the attack on that basis.”
The documents made public on Friday were provided to the House Select Committee on Benghazi several months ago in response to its request for more information about the incident that remains the most troubling moment in Secretary Clinton’s tenure.
Her Republican rivals hope to use the emails to shoot down her 2016 bid for the White House.