By Bonnie K. Goodman
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton erased about 30 emails regarding the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks. Among the nearly 15,000 emails the FBI recovered from her deleted private email server, there are 30 emails relating to the terror attacks. During a hearing State Department lawyers informed U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta of the emails on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016.
The 14,900 emails the FBI discovered during their investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information were not included in the 30,000 emails Clinton handed over to the State Department in December 2014. The Benghazi emails are at the center of one of several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the department filed by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.
The State Department in their usual defense of Clinton said the email have to be evaluated to determine if they are personal as Clinton claimed or are duplicates of emails they have already. The State Dept lawyers told Judge Mehta they need until the end of September to review the emails. Mehta was upset that the department is dragging their feet, and he ordered them to update him in a week.
State Department spokesman John Kirby issued a statement about the newly discovered emails, “Using broad search terms; we have identified approximately 30 documents potentially responsive to a Benghazi-related request. At this time, we have not confirmed that the documents are, in fact, responsive, or whether they are duplicates of materials already provided to the Department by former Secretary Clinton in December 2014.”
Judicial Watch wants all the emails released before the election in November. The State Department, however, is protecting Clinton, hoping to delay the release, so that the content does not hinder Clinton chances of winning the election. Two other judges agree with Judicial Watch and want the emails released promptly. A judge in Florida is ordering the Benghazi emails to be made public on Sept. 13, while another Judge in DC wants the State Department to provide a schedule for the emails’ release at a Sept. 23 hearing.
Republican nominee Donald Trump was quick to attack Clinton on the new emails. Trump’s Senior communications adviser Jason Miller released a statement, which read, “Clinton swore before a federal court and told the American people she handed over all of her work-related emails. If Clinton did not consider emails about something as important as Benghazi to be work-related, one has to wonder what is contained in the other emails she attempted to wipe from her server.”