Computers stolen in Benghazi attack are ‘huge deal’; State Dept. double-talk is head-spinning

Computers stolen from the U.S. Consulate during the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack may have contained sensitive information, jeopardizing the lives of locals and allowing classified material to fall into the wrong hands.

Sources in Washington and Libya told Fox News on Tuesday that the marauders got away with computers with hard drives that included the names of all the users, among other information.

A Libyan eyewitness said the terrorists took computers, computer devices, M-16 rifles and a suitcase, Washington investigators confirmed to Fox News.

Former CIA officer Charles Faddis called the theft a “huge deal” and “a front-burner thing,” saying the thieves could easily retrieve “the stored messages – all kinds of things: phone lists, contact lists, lists of personnel.”

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf could not say whether recent terrorist threats to locals were related to the stolen information.

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“But I can say that during the evacuation of the special mission compound to the [CIA] Annex, all classified computers were safely removed by the DS [Diplomatic Security] agents,” she said. “No classified information was compromised.”

That explanation seemed at odds with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s contention that the Consulate’s anemic security was “because there was no classified processing at the diplomatic compound, there were no Marines posted there.”

Asked to reconcile the conflicting accounts, Harf was decidedly unclear.

“I said no classified computers had gone missing in Benghazi. I think where the little bit of confusion lies here is, when we talk about classified information, these weren’t classified documents,” she said. “If there were small classified computers, that’s different than handling classified documents or materials. I think from a security perspective, we look at those a little differently.”

Click here to watch the Fox News report.

Richard Berkow

Former political news reporter Richard Berkow lost his idealism in the Kennedy years, and his innocence in Vietnam, Lebanon, and the Soviet Union. He hasn’t mellowed since, and can be harassed at [email protected]

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