Secretary of State Hillary Clinton downplayed State Department emails that show the White House was alerted that a militant group had claimed responsibility for the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on the day of that attack.
“The Independent Accountability Review Board is already hard at work looking at everything, not cherrypicking one story here or one document there,” Clinton said at the Wednesday press conference. “But looking at everything, which I highly recommend as the appropriate approach to something as complex as an attack like this.”
Reuters reported late Tuesday that a series of State Department emails sent from Libya on Sept. 11 alerted national security officials including those at the White House that a militant group had claimed responsibility for the attack at the U.S. Consulate.
“Posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence,” Clinton said Wednesday.
White House press secretary Jay Carney made similar remarks earlier Wednesday during press time aboard Air Force One, emphasizing that the White House had received many emails about the attack.
“There were emails about all sorts of information that was coming available in the aftermath of the attack,” Carney said. “The email you are referring to was an open source email referring to an assertion made on an assertion made on a social media site that everyone in this room has access to and knew about instantaneously.”
An “estimated 300 to 400 national security figures” received the emails, according to Fox News; recipients included the White House situation room and the Director of National Intelligence.
One of the emails was subject lined, “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack,” and reported, “Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.”