New emails made public Friday night suggest that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was happy to advocate for a U.S. intervention in Libya, even though Clinton has recently downplayed her personal role in pushing the U.S. to get involved in that country.
For example, in one exchange from October 2011, Clinton's aides discussed an upcoming article titled "Clinton's key role in Libya conflict" that indicated Clinton personally persuaded President Obama to approve the use of military force to overthrow Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
The conversation between Philippe Reines, a longtime Clinton spokesman, and aides Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills was partially redacted by the State Department.
"Clinton, ignoring the advice of the State Department's lawyers, convinced Obama to grant full diplomatic recognition to the rebels," read an excerpt from the unpublished Washington Post story Reines sent to Clinton in 2011.
The story indicated Clinton actively sought to "secure crucial backing from Arab countries" before stepping into the civil conflict.
However, when pressed on the issue in the first Democratic debate last year, Clinton defended the intervention by arguing European allies were "blowing up the phone lines begging us to help them" and that the U.S. "had the Arabs standing by our side saying, 'we want you to help us deal with Gadhafi.' "
Clinton's characterization of the Libyan intervention, now widely regarded as a foreign policy mistake, has been one of passive and reluctant participation in the administration's goals as she struggled to shed her image as a hawkish Democrat.
But emails made public over the course of the past nine months have painted a picture of a secretary of state eager to take credit for her "leadership" and "ownership" of the Libyan engagement.
Another email released Friday shows Clinton's staff worked behind the scenes at the time to promote a carefully-crafted image of the country's involvement in overseas media.
"We want to ensure that the optic internationally is not of a U.S.-led military operation, but an international effort comprising Europeans and Arabs," wrote Michael Ratney, a State Department official focused on international media, wrote in a March 2011 email that was forwarded to Clinton.
To date, the State Department has classified 1,729 emails that were transmitted on Clinton's unsecured server. Many of the classified emails discussed Libya.
Officials released 562 Clinton emails Friday evening, just hours before the Democratic Nevada caucus. Clinton holds only a slim lead over her progressive rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.