New Benghazi allegation puts spotlight on Hillary Clinton confidants, alleged after-hours document review.
In a report Monday by Sharyl Attkisson at the Daily Signal, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: people in Hillary’s circle were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board. The documents reportedly reveal details about security lapses surrounding the terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi on the Sept. 11, 2012.
Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were murdered during the Benghazi attacks. As this news breaks, the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week.
Attkisson reports that according to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story. At the time, Maxwell was a leader in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), which was charged with collecting emails and documents relevant to the Benghazi probe. Maxwell later became one of four State Department officials singled out for discipline, Maxwell says he was a scapegoat. He was later cleared for the security lapses leading up to the attacks.
Maxwell described the weekend document session saying it was held in the basement of the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters in a room underneath the “jogger’s entrance.” Clinton’s top advisers were there amidst boxes and stacks of documents.
She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors.
I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’
A few minutes after he arrived, Maxwell says in walked two high-ranking State Department officials.
Did Hillary Clinton aides withhold damaging Benghazi documents?
Maxwell says the two officials, close confidants of Clinton, appeared to check in on the operation and soon left.
Maxwell says after those two officials arrived, he, the office director and an intern moved into a small office where they looked through some papers. Maxwell says his stack included pre-attack telegrams and cables between the U.S. embassy in Tripoli and State Department headquarters. After a short time, Maxwell says he decided to leave.
I didn’t feel good about it,” he said.
Attkisson tried to reach out to Clinton, but she denied an interview or comment. A State Department spokesman calls the implication that documents were withheld “totally without merit.” Spokesman Alec Gerlach says “The range of sources that the Accountability Review Board (ARB) investigation drew on would have made it impossible for anyone outside of the ARB to control its access to information.
Maxwell says he has been privately interviewed by several members of Congress in recent months, including Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of the House Oversight Committee.
The select Benghazi Committee holds its first open hearing Wednesday. The committee’s 12 members — seven Republicans and five Democrats — intend to employ broad congressional powers to answering lingering questions
“There are still facts to learn about Benghazi and information that needs to be explained in greater detail to the American people,” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., the committee chairman and a former federal prosecutor, said earlier this month. “And this committee will do just that.”
Fox News report …