Judicial Watch says Obama Still Withholding Documents on Benghazi

On May 6, Judicial Watch released a 17-page draft Vaughn Index document obtained from the U.S. Department of State on May 1, revealing that the Obama Administration is still refusing to provide the full details of communications among top officials in the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Though the State Department document repeatedly describes the material as Unclassified or Sensitive But Unclassified, it nonetheless justifies scores of extensive redactions and exemptions on the basis of a so-called “deliberative process privilege.”

The material obtained by Judicial Watch included the following descriptions related to redacted or exempted material:

Document C05415305 is a seven-page inter-agency e-mail exchange consisting of sixteen messages between State Department and other U.S. Government officials [Rhodes, Brennan, McDonough…] on Sept. 27 and Sept. 28, 2012, with an original subject line: “Fox News: U.S. officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours, sources confirm.” Subsequent e-mail subject lines were redacted. The document was originally designated “Sensitive but Unclassified.” The Department withheld comments, opinions, and assessments related to the formulation of a media strategy with respect to an ongoing sensitive matter under Exemption 5 pursuant to the deliberative process privilege.

This document is particularly important because it involves three of Obama’s immediate White House aides.

Document C05415752 is a one-page intra-agency e-mail exchange, consisting of three messages, that is dated Sept. 11, 2012, and bears the subject line: “UPDATE: Clashes at U.S. consulate in eastern Libyan city (Reuters).” The Department withheld an opinion offered in response to an update regarding the Benghazi attack under FOIA Exemption 5 pursuant to the deliberative process privilege.

Document C05415756 is a four-page intra-agency e-mail exchange consisting of ten messages between State Department officials, dated Sept. 11, 2012, with the subject line “Libya update from Beth Jones. (Jones was Assistant Secretary of State to Hillary Clinton at the time of the Benghazi attack.)

Beth Jones is known to have reported that the attack was carried out by Ansar al-Sharia.

Document C05415286 is a three-page intra-agency e-mail exchange, consisting of three messages, dated Sept. 15, 2012, between various State Department personnel. This document gives a readout and comments on an internal video conference held by U.S. Government officials on Sept. 15.

Document C05415951 is a three-page intra-agency e-mail exchange, consisting of six messages, between State Department and other U.S. Government officials, dated Sept. 28, 2012 and originally designated “Unclassified.” The subject line of the first five messages is “Statement by the Director of Public Affairs for National Intelligence Shawn Turner on the intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.”

Document C05415969 is a three-page intra-agency e-mail exchange, consisting of six messages, dated Sept. 29-30, 2012. The subject line of the messages is “Benghazi Draft Response Letter-v14.” The Department withheld candid comments, opinions, and assessments made during internal strategy discussions related to the drafting of an official response letter under FOIA Exemption 5 pursuant to the deliberative process privilege.

The Vaughn Index released on May 1 is thus a guide to the Obama Administration’s Benghazi coverup and undoubted contains documents which will be subpoenaed by the new Select Committee to investigate Benghazi.

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