Email calls Clinton 'public face of US effort in Libya'
© Getty Images

Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' Hillary Clinton: There must be a 'global reckoning' with disinformation Pelosi's archbishop calls for Communion to be withheld from public figures supporting abortion rights MORE is referred to as the “public face of the U.S. effort in Libya” in a 2012 memo written by Jake SullivanJake SullivanBiden 'confident' meeting with Putin will take place soon Will Biden provide strategic clarity or further ambiguity on Taiwan? State Department denies reports of prisoner swap with Iran MORE, 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. 


Sullivan’s April 2012 memo detailed Clinton’s role in Libya, framing her as “instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime.” 

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.