Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appeared on Capitol Hill Thursday at Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s portrait unveiling and claimed an “epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda” perpetrated the internet, but many wondered if Clinton pushed out one of the greatest fake news items following the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
“Let me just mention briefly one threat in particular that should concern all Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike — especially those who serve in our Congress: the epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year. It’s now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences. This isn’t about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk. Lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities. It’s a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly,” Clinton said.
She added, “Bipartisan legislation is making its way through Congress to boost the government’s response to foreign propaganda, and Silicon Valley is starting to grapple with the challenge and threat of fake news. It’s imperative that leaders in both the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy, and innocent lives.”
However, Clinton herself disseminated what many and Clinton herself now know to be fake news following the terrorist attack in Libya against Americans.
Three days after the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Clinton blamed an online video critical of Islam for the terrorist attacks on the American compound that killed an American ambassador, a U.S. diplomatic officer, and two former Navy SEALS.
“We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with,” Clinton said during remarks at the transfer of remains ceremony. “It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable.”
Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan called Clinton out on her claim during a House hearing 3 years later pointing to an e-mail where she specifically said that the video did not have anything to do with the attack.
Jordan read Clinton’s email to the Egyptian Prime Minister back to her, “‘We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack—not a protest. State Department experts knew the truth. You knew the truth. But that’s not what the American people got. And again, the American people want to know why. Why didn’t you tell the American people exactly what you told the Egyptian prime minister?”
Clinton would now only blame the “conflicting” and “fluid information” but not the video she and President Barack Obama previously held accountable as the cause of the terrorist attack.
“Well, Congressman, there was a lot of conflicting information that we were trying to make sense of. The situation was very fluid. It was fast-moving. There was also a claim of responsibility by Ansar al-Sharia,” Clinton said. “And when I talked to the Egyptian prime minister, I said that this was a claim of responsibility by Ansar al-Sharia, by a group that was affiliated — or at least wanted to be affiliated — with Al Qaida.”
The creator of the video, California resident and Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley, was immediately arrested by Los Angeles authorities following the attacks in Benghazi on unrelated fraud charges. He most recently lived a quiet life in an L.A. homeless shelter looking to put the pieces of his life back together again.