September 15, 2014

Sharyl Attkisson may have left CBS, but she hasn't left Benghazi! Now employed as a senior featured writer for the Heritage Foundation's bogus journalism project, she gets to write whatever she wants about the bogus Benghazi non-scandal, whether it's true or not.

Attkisson is also trying to recycle old news into a new scandal, and Fox News is perfectly willing to help with that. Today's mouthpiece is Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

Media Matters:

A new report from discredited investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson baselessly suggested State Department staff removed damaging documents on Benghazi instead of turning them over to the Accountability Review Board (ARB) for investigation. But Attkisson's claims have been denied by the State Department and are based solely on speculations from a disgruntled employee after he was disciplined for his "lack of leadership" and engagement by the ARB.

In a September 15 report for The Daily Signal, a publication of the conservative Heritage Foundation, Attkisson reported that a former State Department diplomat alleges that "Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to 'separate' damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya." The Daily Signal described this as a "Benghazi Bombshell."

Attkisson reported that the diplomat, Raymond Maxwell, a former deputy assistant secretary responsible for North Africa, says that in late 2012 he observed an "after-hours session" at which a State Department office director "close to Clinton's top advisers" directed staff to separate out Benghazi documents "that might put anybody in the Near Eastern Affairs front office or the seventh floor in a bad light" from "boxes and stacks of documents." Attkisson notes that "'seventh floor' was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors." Maxwell told Attkisson that while he was present, Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan "appeared to check in on the operation and soon left."

Speculating that potentially missing, possibly damaging documents made it impossible for the ARB's investigation to be thorough, Attkisson reported that Maxwell said "he couldn't help but wonder if the ARB--perhaps unknowingly--had received from his bureau a scrubbed set of documents with the most damaging material missing."

Raymond Maxwell was one of the three State Department employees placed on administrative leave and subsequently terminated as a result of the ARB report pointing to negligence on the part of State Department personnel. Shortly after he was put on leave, he reached out to the Daily Beast in order to "restore his honor".

Maxwell has testified under oath before the House oversight committee investigating Benghazi, and never before mentioned any of this. Also this, from Media Matters: reported that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) had confirmed "that Maxwell told him and other lawmakers the same story when they privately interviewed him last year." The claim is absent from the House Oversight Committee's Benghazi Attacks: Investigative Update Report on the Accountability Review Board, which was based in part on Maxwell's 2013 testimony.

Attkisson and her new benefactors at the Heritage Foundation have serious political reasons to try and smear Hillary Clinton as well as this administration. You would think that this "bombshell" evidence would have been brought before the committee via his written statement or oral testimony, but there was nothing.

So either Chaffetz thought it would be cute to overlook the claim in the first round of hearings to sandbag now in advance of the midterm elections and upcoming 2016 election season, or there's really nothing there.

I suspect it's both. There's nothing there, but a disgruntled and angry diplomat who wants his "good name" restored is willing to invent it to assist the investigators who desperately want dirt on their political opponents.

It's pretty pathetic, actually. The only bombshell in this report is the one that explodes in Attkisson, Chaffetz and Fox News' face.


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