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Benghazi Victims’ Families Ramp Up Legal Action Against Clinton
The parents of two men killed in Benghazi, Libya nearly four years ago are suing former Secretary of State and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, saying the attack resulted from her “reckless” handling of classified information.
The federal lawsuit, filed Monday, comes from Patricia Smith of San Diego, whose son Sean Smith was a U.S. State Department technology officer, and Charles Woods of Portland, Ore., whose son Tyrone Woods was CIA security contractor.
Four people, including Smith and Woods, died after an anti-American militia group attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound on Sept. 11, 2012.
Since then, Clinton and the question of what responsibility she may have had for those deaths prompted a two-year inquiry that revealed she had used a private email server for government business.
A year-long FBI investigation followed, which found no grounds on which to prosecute her.
In their lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Smith’s mother and Woods’ father cite wrongful death, defamation and negligence among other legal claims against Clinton, who became the Democratic nominee for president less than two weeks ago.
Patricia Smith has been especially vocal in her criticism of Clinton and President Barack Obama, saying both are responsible for the killings.
“I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son,” Smith said during her speech last month at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said in response to the lawsuit: “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.”
On Monday, Smith referred a call from a San Diego Union-Tribune reporter to her attorney Larry Klayman, founder of the conservative group Freedom Watch, who said that while his clients are seeking unspecified monetary damages through their lawsuit, their main goal is justice.
“While (Clinton) may think she’s above the law, the lawsuit will ensure she is not,” Klayman said in a phone interview.
“The damage has been severe, but more important than that, someone needs to put their foot down with regard to the criminal conduct of Hillary Clinton, and my clients are willing to do that,” he said.
In June, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Clinton.
But the 800-page report included sharp criticism of the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department for, as the New York Times put it, “failing to grasp the acute security risks in Benghazi, and especially for maintaining outposts there they they could not protect.”
FBI Director James Comey said in July that although there weren't grounds to prosecute Clinton, she and her aides had been “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information.
The parents contend in their lawsuit that it is “highly probable” that Clinton sent and received information about U.S. Department of State activities and covert operations in Benghazi via the email server she used during her four years as secretary of state.
“This information was compromised from the second that it left Defendant Clinton’s private e-mail server and easily found its way to foreign powers including, but not limited to, Russia, Iran, China and North Korea,” the complaint reads in part.
It goes on to say that because of the way Clinton handled such information, “Islamic terrorists were able to obtain the whereabouts of Ambassador Christopher Stevens... and subsequently orchestrate, plan and execute the now infamous September 11, 2012 attack.”
The plaintiffs also claim that Clinton lied to them and the public after the attack by saying it was the result of a reaction to “an anti-Muslim YouTube video” posted on the internet rather than Islamic terrorists.
The two parents contend that since Clinton announced she was running for president in the 2016 election, she has defamed the plaintiffs by calling them “liars” either directly or indirectly. As evidence, they point to interviews in which they say Clinton denied telling the families that the attack was a result of the video posted on YouTube.
Stevens and Sean Smith were killed at the main U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi. Smith was a San Diego native, who attended Mission Bay High School.
Tyrone Woods lived in Imperial Beach. He and fellow CIA security contractor Glen Doherty of Encinitas, both former Navy SEALS from San Diego County, died after the attack on the compound when a separate annex run by the agency was hit by mortars.
Doherty’s mother, Barbara, said Monday that she was surprised to hear that a lawsuit had been filed. She said she does not blame Clinton for her son’s death.
“She was a wonderful secretary of state,” said Doherty, an Independent from Massachusetts, adding that she preferred not to weigh in on the politics of the situation.
Tyrone Woods’ mother, Cheryl Croft Bennett, said she too preferred to stay silent on the political issues related to her son’s death. She stressed that she is not a party to the lawsuit.
“We have chosen to take the high road from day one,” she said. “to honor and respect Tyrone for his great courage.”
© 2016 The San Diego Union-Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Moments before Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia went back into the house, journalist Michael Ware said he was "pacing like a caged tiger ... almost like he was talking to himself."
"I distinctly remember while everybody else had taken cover temporarily, there out in the open on the street — still exposed to the fire from the roof — was David Bellavia," Ware told Task & Purpose on Monday. "David stopped pacing, he looked up and sees that the only person still there on the street is me. And I'm just standing there with my arms folded.
"He looked up from the pacing, stared straight into my eyes, and said 'Fuck it.' And I stared straight back at him and said 'Fuck it,'" Ware said. "And that's when I knew, we were both going back in that house."
Former Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn will plead not guilty to a charge of murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed Afghan man whom a tribal leader had identified as a Taliban bomb maker, his attorney said.
Golsteyn will be arraigned on Thursday morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose.
No date has been set for his trial yet, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
John Wick is back, and he's here to stay. It doesn't matter how many bad guys show up to try to collect on that bounty.
With John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the titular hitman, played by 54-year-old Keanu Reeves, continues on a blood-soaked hyper-stylized odyssey of revenge: first for his slain dog, then his wrecked car, then his destroyed house, then ... well, honestly it's hard to keep track of exactly what Wick is avenging by this point, or the body count he's racked up in the process.
Though we do know that the franchise has raked in plenty of success at the box office: just a week after it's May 17 release, the third installment in director Chad Stahleski's series took in roughly $181 million, making it even more successful than its two wildly popular prequels 2014's John Wick, and 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2.
And, more importantly, Reeves' hitman is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest action movie heroes in recent memory. Few (if any) other action flicks have succeeded in creating a mind-blowing avant garde ballet out of a dozen well-dressed gunmen who get shot, choked, or stabbed with a pencil by a pissed off hitman who just wants to return to retirement.
But for all the over-the-top acrobatics, fight sequences, and gun-porn (see: the sommelier), what makes the series so enthralling, especially for the service members and vets in the audience, is that there are some refreshing moments of realism nestled under all of that gun fu. Wrack your brain and try to remember the last time you saw an action hero do a press check during a shootout, clear a jam, or actually, you know, reload, instead of just hip-firing 300 rounds from an M16 nonstop. It's cool, we'll wait.
As it turns out, there's a good reason for the caliber of gun-play in John Wick. One of the franchise's secret weapons is a professional three-gun shooter named Taran Butler, who told Task & Purpose he can draw and hit three targets in 0.67 seconds from 10 yards. And if you've watched any of the scores of videos he's uploaded to social media over the years, it's pretty clear that this isn't idle boasting.
The Navy's electromagnetic railgun is undergoing what officials described as "essentially a shakedown" of critical systems before finally installing a tactical demonstrator aboard a surface warship, the latest sign that the once-beleaguered supergun may actually end up seeing combat.
That pretty much means this is could be the last set of tests before actually slapping this bad boy onto a warship, for once.
The Justice Department has accused Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of illegally using campaign funds to pay for extramarital affairs with five women.
Hunter, who fought in the Iraq War as a Marine artillery officer, and his wife Margaret were indicated by a federal jury on Aug. 21, 2018 for allegedly using up to $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.
In a recent court filing, federal prosecutors accused Hunter of using campaign money to pay for a variety of expenses involved with his affairs, ranging from a $1,008 hotel bill to $7 for a Sam Adams beer.