Fact Check

Cheryl Mills Called Benghazi Dead 'Idiot Soldiers' in Leaked E-Mail

There is no leaked e-mail in which longtime Clinton aide Cheryl Mills called the Benghazi dead "idiot soldiers" and expressed that she was glad they were tortured.

Published Oct. 24, 2016

A leaked e-mail revealed Clinton aide Cheryl Mills calling the men who died in Benghazi "idiot soldiers" and saying she was glad they were tortured.

In October 2016, the above-reproduced e-mail screenshot began circulating on social media, purportedly capturing a message from longtime Clinton aide Cheryl Mills to Hillary Clinton in which Mills expressed a need to "hide" that requests for help made by the four U.S. personnel who died in the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi had been denied, and in which Mills referred to those dead personnel as "idiot US soldiers [who] deserved to die":

From: Mills, Cheryl D. <millscd@state.gov>
Sent: July 26, 2012 2:11 PM
To: H
Subject: Re: Benghazi

We need to hide all traces of the denied requests for help. Those idiot US soldiers deserved to die and I'm glad they were tortured.

But if anyone finds out we are toast.

Black Power!


The header of that screenshot matched some communications found in WikiLeaks' "Hillary Clinton Email Archive," published on 16 March 2016:

clinton idiot soldiers

However, a search of the term "idiot US soldiers" in the entirety of WikiLeaks' releases (including the July 2016 DNC Leaks, the October 2016 Podesta e-mails, and the March 2016 Clinton archive) returns zero results.

Moreover, the attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi occurred on 11 September 2012, but the clearly fabricated e-mail that referenced it was dated 26 July 2012, over two months before that attack occurred.

The "idiot soldiers" e-mail was not the first time falsified documents were passed off as authentic leaked e-mails. A Newsweek misinterpretation of WikiLeaks' releases led to claims the leaks were fabricated, faked e-mail screenshots suggested Clinton called supporters of Bernie Sanders a "bucket of losers" and swing state voters "white trash," and legitimate e-mails mocking a conspiracy theory about Clinton being involved in a plane crash were reframed as a "shocking leak."

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.