For better or for worse, Hillary Clinton will forever be linked to the attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi. This week, it was better for the former secretary of state.
A federal appeals court agreed to dismiss claims against her by parents whose sons died in the 2012 attacks. The U.S Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said Clinton was acting within her office at the time and was not a proper defendant.
In Smith and Woods v. Clinton and the United States of America, the parents claimed Clinton defamed them and lied about the attack. The appeals panel said she just disagreed with them.
Eleven years to the day after the attack on New York City and Washington, D.C., militants attacked the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyronne Woods and Glen Douherty died in the gunfire that day.
Patricia Smith and Charles Woods, the parents, met with Clinton on Sept. 14, 2012. Clinton told them the attack resulted from an "anti-Muslim YouTube video that had been posted online," they said.
In their lawsuit, they blamed Clinton for using her private email for government business, and alleged it allowed the militants to plot their attack. A trial court dismissed the case, and the appeals court affirmed.
"Regardless of whether or not these activities were conducted properly or lawfully, those types of communications fall within the heartland of her duties as secretary of state," the DC Circuit said.
No False Light
The parents also said Clinton placed them in a false light because she disputed their account of the meeting, according to reports.
"Because Clinton merely disagreed with Smith and Woods' recollection of events and couched this disagreement in sympathy, no reasonable person could conclude that Clinton's statements put Smith and Woods in a 'highly offensive' false light," the opinion states.