The September 11, 2012, Benghazi attack was a coordinated attack against two United States government facilities in Benghazi, Libya by members of the Islamic militant group Ansar al-Sharia.
The attack began at 9:40 p.m the terrorists attacked the American diplomatic compound which resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador killed since Adolph ‘Spike’ Dubs, Ambassador to Afghanistan was kidnapped and murdered in 1979.
Around 4:00 a.m. on September 12, the terrorist group launched a mortar attack on a CIA annex about one mile away from the compound killing CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, as well as wounding ten others.
The attacks were initially described as the result of a spontaneous protest triggered by the anti-Muslim video, Innocence of Muslims. Subsequent investigation showed that the attack was premeditated.
State Department officials have been heavily criticized for denying requests for additional security at the consulate prior to the attack. Hillary Clinton took responsibility for the security lapses.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have been made since the attack. Judicial Watch filed an FOIA request to the Department of State on December 19, 2012. The State Department failed to respond to the request and a lawsuit prompted the release of seven photographs of the aftermath of the attack.
On May 30, 2013 it was reported that the Republican National Committee filed a FIA for “any and all emails or other documents containing the terms ‘Libya’ and/or ‘Benghazi’ dated between September 11, 2012 and November 7, 2012 directed from or to the U.S. Department of State employees originating from, or addressed to, persons whose email addresses end in either barackobama.com or dnc.org.
On April 18, 2014 Judicial Watch released over 100 pages of documents obtained through the FOIA lawsuit. One email, dated September 14, 2012, stated “Goals: … To underscore that these protestes are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy…” When asked about whether the attack was linked to the video, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said she “could not confirm a connect as [they] simply don’t know- and [they wouldn’t] know until there was an investigation.”