A former State Department official claims that he witnessed high-ranking officials in Sec. Hillary Clinton's staff scrubbing documents tied to the Sept. 11, 2012 deadly terrorist attacks at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi before giving them over to an accountability review board.
The allegations, coming in advance of Wednesday's scheduled House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing, could have consequences for Clinton's presidential ambitions, but the liberal press has, so far, not covered it.
Former State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell told Sharyl Attkisson that he witnessed two of Hillary Clinton's top State Department officials leading a charge to remove documents that would put Clinton or her department advisors in a "bad light" before all files were turned over to the accountability review board.
In what is supposed to be an "unfettered" review of the department's handling of the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others in the U.S. compound, Maxwell's allegations could mean the independent review had been compromised. If Maxwell's statements prove to be true, Clinton could be in the midst of a scandal right before her potential bid for president in 2016.
Maxwell, who had worked for the State Department for over 21 years, had heard about an "after-hours session" that was taking place in the basement of the State Department building in Washington, D.C. Although he was uninvited, he decided to "check it out." On the Sunday afternoon when he went, he said he found stacks of boxes and documents and was told by an office director that they were sorting out information that would put Clinton's "seventh floor" at risk.
"She told me, 'Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,'" Maxwell said. "I asked her, 'But isn't that unethical?' She responded, 'Ray, those are our orders.' "
Maxwell said "seventh floor" refers to offices of Clinton and her advisers when she was the secretary of State.
It was shortly after Maxwell arrived that the two high-ranked State Department officials officials walked in. Although Maxwell did not release the names of the high-ranking officials in the Daily Signal interview, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told Fox News that the officials Maxwell is talking about were Clinton's Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief Jake Sullivan.
"People in that room directing traffic where none other than Hillary Clinton's Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan, her deputy chief of staff," Chaffetz said. "It doesn't get any more higher ranking than that."
Chaffetz said he talked to Maxwell regarding this incident over a year ago in a conversation which also included the head of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, U.S. Rep Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. Chaffetz said Maxwell's story has remained consistent.
"The story is the accountability review board was supposed to have unfettered total access to all the documents," Chaffetz said. "But, there was an operation there in the basement of the Department of State to make sure that they never did see all those documents."
Maxwell's allegation, if testimony proves to be true, could have significant ramifications for Clinton and her political future. Although this allegation could prove to be a political coverup by one of the nations' most popular political figures, there has been little national media coverage of the allegations, except for Fox News.
The liberal-leaning media has seemingly brushed off more recent Benghazi related allegations and news reports as a conservative "obsession" with Benghazi. Rather than report on Maxwell's allegations, The Washington Post reported on how extensively Fox News is covering Benghazi. One graphic accompanying the article was labled, "Fox's Benghazi Obsession."
Appearing on the Fox News' "Special Report with Bret Baier," Fox News Contributor Charles Krauthammer and Weekly Standard Senior Writer Steve Hayes said the lack of coverage is due to the "polarized media climate."
"Imagine if someone had stumbled in on the Nixon administration in a warehouse or in a basement in the State Department sorting documents. That would have been on the [Washington] Post's front page for seven days in a row," Krauthammer said.
Attkisson is an award winning investigative journalist who was fired from CBS News earlier this year because, she claims, the network did not want her to continue investigating the Obama administration. Her report was published by The Daily Signal, which is produced by The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.