Committee Already Had Some of Released Benghazi Emails, State Department Says

By Meredith Dake
Posted June 22, 2015 at 11:07pm
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Emails provided to the Select Committee on Benghazi by Sidney Blumenthal, an adviser to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, were released to the public Monday, following his deposition on June 16 in front of the committee. State Department Spokesman John Kirby said the department had already provided some of the same emails to the committee. “T here’s some overlap. I don’t have, again, I don’t have the complete audit,” Kirby said. Read a transcript of the exchange below, via CQ.com: QUESTION: Do you have any update on whether or not the State Department has been contacted by the Select Committee on Benghazi, or any response to Chairman Gowdy’s comments today about the finding of new e-mails? KIRBY: Have we been in touch with? QUESTION: Has the committee been in touch with the State Department, sorry, regarding the e-mails given to them by Blumenthal? KIRBY: Yes, there has been communication between the subcommittee and the State Department over these — the Blumenthal e- mails. I think you’ve probably seen that many if not all of them, I think the committee posted, and we’re working through that right now to determine if there are e-mails in that batch that we either didn’t have or may have not provided. And again, I would remind you that what was specifically asked from the State Department was Benghazi-related material. So… QUESTION: Do you think they’re moving the goalposts? KIRBY: Did I answer your question? OK, go ahead. QUESTION: Do you think that the committee is moving the goalposts, and when they say like, this — the State Department didn’t give us these specific e-mails, well that’s because the e-mails — it seems to be that the committee is widening their probe not just from Benghazi, but from U.S. policy in Libya in its totality, and I’m wondering if that makes your job more difficult, if you think that they’re kind of moving the goal-posts of the type of correspondence that they’re looking for from you? KIRBY: Well, it’s up to the select committee to determine what they want to examine. That’s — our mandate is pretty clear, and that’s — and Secretary Kerry’s been very clear that we’re going to cooperate with them to the best of our ability. And we continue to do that. But this is for them to speak to in terms of what they want to get to. Now I will say at least that the more that is asked for in terms of scope, the more resources it will consume here at the State Department, and the more time it will take. There’s no doubt about that. But I — you know, it’s up to them to determine what they want to look at. QUESTION: But they are in kind of widening their ask of what they asked for initially. It seems as if what they’re asking for you now or having had expected from you now is different than their initial ask. KIRBY: The initial request that we operated under and through which we provided those 300, was for specific Benghazi-related material. QUESTION: And now they’re asking for wider stuff? KIRBY: I’m not aware of any new requests you know, for wider stuff. But again, if the task list grows bigger, then obviously the resources it consumes and the time it takes also grows longer. QUESTION: Well, but did the e-mails that they put out today, do you have any reason to believe that they were in fact in your possession of the State Department prior to Mr. Blumenthal giving them to committee, and if they were, whether or not it was a mistake they were — for whatever reason, they were not sent to the committee? Do you — what you’ve seen — so there’s two bits here. KIRBY: Yes. You lost me on the second one. QUESTION: Did you have the e-mails — these specific e-mails that they released today, before? And two, if you did, why weren’t they sent to the committee before he gave them to the committee? Did they not meet what you understood to be the guidelines? KIRBY: Right. QUESTION: Or was it an error, or was it some kind of attempt to hide something? KIRBY: We’re still working our way through those e-mails. I don’t h