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Wikileaks Clinton Campaign Email: Smoke, Mirrors, Spin, Optics Behind the Benghazi Hearing Curtain

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Hillary Clinton testified in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi for 11 hours. Most people knows this, especially since at the first presidential debate the Democratic nominee cited her ability to be grilled for hours about the deaths of four Americans on her watch as one of her accomplishments while secretary of state.

Recent emails released by Wikileaks, however, highlight the strategy sessions and coaching Clinton received on what to do and say prior to the hearing to get Clinton away from defensive posturing, per campaign guru John Podesta. In one such email, Podesta attempts to frame the optics of Clinton’s Benghazi response with a positive spin for Clinton, according to the content of the email from Podesta to Cheryl Mills.

“My perspective is that we want the fight to be about Benghazi, not about servers in her basement,” Podesta wrote. “This helps move the story back in that direction.”

Clinton’s top campaign aides discuss making Clinton appear like she is going above and beyond on the issue of transparency with the House Select Committee, when in reality she is not providing any additional efforts to do so. Spin. This email illustrates, if nothing else, how even a seemingly basic strategy is kicked around behind the scenes until all actors are on board when the desired spin factor is finalized.

The public hears and sees Clinton appearing fearless of the committee’s findings, calling on committee chairman Trey Gowdy to “publicly release the hundreds of Benghazi-related emails that the State Department has already provided to the Committee.” But, behind the campaign curtain, Clinton’s carefully-crafted statement is really “intended to insert ourselves back into the offense,” according to Podesta.

The email also shows Clinton deputy communications director Kristina Schake pushing to have the strategy finalized so she can “release it mid-day tomorrow to get ahead of Sunday’s shows” of the main stream television media.

Optics. Spin. Smoke. Mirrors. What ever happened to someone simply testifying about the truth, the whole truth, so help them God?


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