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Hillary Clinton's emails: her reaction to Benghazi attacks

NEW YORK - MARCH 10: Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to the media after keynoting a Women's Empowerment Event at the United Nations on March 10, 2015 in New York City.

Yana Paskova, Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails show her concern about the fallout from the 2012 U.S. consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya, but the emails Congress has do not suggest that she told American forces responding to the attack to stand down or that she participated in a cover-up about the Obama administration's response, the New York Times reports.

The paper did not review the approximately 300 emails Clinton turned over to the special House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks, but some of the emails were described to them by four senior government officials.

The emails show Clinton was following the aftermath of the attacks on the U.S. After an intense hearing before House Republicans a month after the attack, she emailed an aide to ask, "Did we survive the day?"

Clinton has also come under fire for failing to appear on the Sunday talk shows following the event. Critics have suggested that National Security Adviser Susan Rice became the face of the administration response in order to allow Clinton to dodge the fallout, although Rice has said that she appeared on the shows because Clinton was tired. The officials who have seen the emails told the Times that the messages do not settle the question of why Clinton did not appear.

The emails initially reveal that Clinton's team was pleased that Rice described the attacks as having begun spontaneously before evolving. Two weeks later, however, foreign policy adviser, Jake Sullivan sent Clinton an email that appeared to reassure her she had not used similar language, which was landing Rice in hot water.

"You never said 'spontaneous' or characterized their motivations," Mr. Sullivan wrote.

The Times also writes that Clinton's senior staff appeared to contact her using their personal email accounts. This is at odds with the former secretary's insistence that all of her emails to the State Department were captured for archival purposes by virtue of the fact that they were sent to state.gov email addresses.

At a press conference earlier this month in which she addressed the email scandal, Clinton said the "vast majority" of her work email went to State Department employees and were therefore captured immediately for archival purposes.

Other emails described to the Times appear to be more mundane, such as requests for aides to print articles on paper or scheduling issues.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.