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Benghazi returns to haunt Hillary; parents sue her for wrongful death, defamation

August 09, 2016 10:08 IST
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Benghazi has returned to haunt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton once again after parents of two Americans killed in the 2012 attack on a United States diplomatic mission in Libya filed a lawsuit against the then US secretary of state, saying that her ‘extreme carelessness’ in handling confidential and classified information contributed to the conditions that led to their sons’ deaths.

In a petition filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia by Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, and Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods -- both of whom were killed during the Benghazi attack -- Hillary is accused of having made “false and defamatory statements negligently, recklessly and purposefully and/or intentionally with malice” in her public comments, including those about the connection between the attack and an anti-Muslim YouTube video.

The petition says, "Islamic terrorists obtained the information sent and received by Clinton about the location of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and thus the US Department of State and the covert CIA and other government operations in Benghazi and used it to plan, orchestrate, and carry out the horrific and devastating attack on the American diplomatic compound."

"Immediately after the attack, Clinton, in an effort to save the re-election chances of President Barack Obama, and in turn, her own chances at the 2016 presidency, lied to the plaintiffs (victims' families) and the public at large that the Benghazi attacks were caused by Islamic reaction over an anti-Muslim YouTube video that had been posted on the internet.

"These lies were perpetrated despite the fact that she knew immediately that this video was actually not the cause of the attack—information that she shared with the prime minister of Egypt and her own daughter, Chelsea Clinton, but hid from plaintiffs and the public at large. Defendant Clinton even promised plaintiffs that the person responsible for the video would be arrested. Woods recorded the conversation with Clinton contemporaneously in his diary, which he has recorded in for many years.

"Now, Clinton, in an attempt to save her reputation and intimidate Plaintiffs and their surviving family members into silence as she attempts to be elected President in the November, 2016 election, has gone on a defamatory smear campaign to paint the Plaintiffs as liars in the public eye in order to discredit them, who have been vocal about Clinton's pattern and practice of dishonesty regarding what caused the Benghazi attack, its aftermath, and the death of their sons."

Responding to the charges, Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton, said in a statement, "While no one can imagine the pain of the families of the brave Americans we lost at Benghazi, there have been nine different investigations into this attack and none found any evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing on the part of Hillary Clinton."

In an interview last week on Fox News Sunday, Clinton had denied telling family members of those killed that the attack was sparked by an anti-Islam video, and was not terrorism.

She instead suggested the family members misunderstood her because they were overwhelmed by grief.

"I understand the grief and the incredible sense of loss that can motivate that," Clinton said. "As other members of families who’ve lost loved ones have said, that's not what they heard. I don't hold any ill feeling for someone who, in that moment, may not fully recall everything that was or wasn't said."

Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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