By Ben Kamisar
Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonOvernight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Clinton’s email troubles deepen Wasserman Schultz fights to keep her job MORE is referred to as the “public face of the U.S. effort in Libya” in a 2012 memo written by Jake Sullivan, a top Clinton aide at the State Department.
The email was written months before the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans.
It notes Clinton’s role in those efforts, including her work lobbying for United Nations sanctions against the dictator and working with coalition forces around the NATO mission to intervene in the Libyan civil war.
One of those accomplishments is the March appointment of Ambassador Chris Stevens to Benghazi, one of the four Americans killed in the attack.
The memo highlights the shift in perception of America’s role in Libya between the successful removal of dictator Moammar Gadhafi and the Benghazi attacks. Before those attacks, many saw Clinton’s work in Libya as one of her crowning achievements at State. But that’s since been overshadowed by Benghazi, which has sparked intense criticism from her Republican foes, and the ongoing turmoil in Libya.
The State Department released the email as part of the first release of messages from Clinton’s private server.
Republicans have chastised her for exclusively using a private email address housed on a personal server while at State, accusing her of trying to circumvent future disclosure and potentially putting sensitive information at risk.
Clinton lauded the release of the emails during a brief media availability on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. But Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) called the emails part of a “self-selected public record” because Clinton’s team deleted thousands of emails it deemed personal from the server before turning the rest over to State.