If the motives to wipe the hard drive on Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server weren’t already crystal clear, a new development last night put it in Ultra HD. Gawker’s Jeff Girth and Sam Biddle uncovered a secret, private intelligence network run by Sidney Blumenthal for Hillary’s benefit, apart from the State Department’s own Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Hackers got e-mails that went through Hillary’s private server between her and Blumenthal, e-mails that show her own private intel group was also warning her that Libya was collapsing in the weeks and months prior to the sacking of the consulate in Benghazi:
Starting weeks before Islamic militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, longtime Clinton family confidante Sidney Blumenthal supplied intelligence to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered by a secret network that included a former CIA clandestine service officer, according to hacked emails from Blumenthal’s account.
The emails, which were posted on the internet in 2013, also show that Blumenthal and another close Clinton associate discussed contracting with a retired Army special operations commander to put operatives on the ground near the Libya-Tunisia border while Libya’s civil war raged in 2011.
Blumenthal’s emails to Clinton, which were directed to her private email account, include at least a dozen detailed reports on events on the deteriorating political and security climate in Libya as well as events in other nations. They came to light after a hacker broke into Blumenthal’s account and have taken on new significance in light of the disclosure that she conducted State Department and personal business exclusively over an email server that she controlled and kept secret from State Department officials and which only recently was discovered by congressional investigators.
It also seems that Hillary’s private intelligence operation penetrated other intel groups, including those of allies. On one level, one could be impressed with the organization of such an effort — if it had led to better choices. Instead, the hacked e-mail trail here has Hillary’s own network warning her of a string of terrorist attacks in Benghazi three weeks before the attack on our consulate. By that time, of course, the US facility had already been hit by a bomb attack two months prior to these warnings, yet Hillary and Patrick Kennedy did nothing to boost security or get American personnel out of harms’ way. Why, with these warnings ringing in her ears, did she allow US Ambassador Chris Stevens to come to Benghazi at all?
By the way, the e-mails also speak to the “YouTube video” cover story, and makes it clear that Hillary’s own private network had discounted the claim 48 hours after the attack:
On September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, Blumenthal sent a memo that cited a “sensitive source” saying that the interim Libyan president, Mohammed Yussef el Magariaf, was told by a senior security officer that the assault was inspired by an anti-Muslim video made in the U.S., as well as by allegations by Magariaf’s political opponents that he had CIA ties.
Blumenthal followed up the next day with an email titled “Re: More Magariaf private reax.” It said Libyan security officials believed an Islamist radical group called the Ansa al Sharia brigade had prepared the attack a month in advance and “took advantage of the cover” provided by the demonstrations against the video.
So, according to both Hillary’s spy network and the CIA, everyone knew by September 14th that this was a planned attack and not a spontaneous demonstration gone awry. Yet for the next two weeks, the Obama administration and Hillary herself kept up the pretense that this was not a terrorist attack, even lying to the families of the dead about the central role of the YouTube video. Why?
This goes beyond cover stories, though. What was a Secretary of State doing in running her own private intelligence service — and providing so little security for its communications? It’s getting very obvious why 32,000 e-mails got deleted from a four-year period, something like 21 e-mails every day in every year. It wasn’t just notes to Bill or discussions of Chelsea’s wedding plans that got wiped, but the records of Clintons’ clandestine network of operatives.
Hugh Hewitt interviewed Chuck Todd on last night’s show about this revelation, and what it means for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In this excerpt, Todd tells Hugh that “nothing involving Sidney Blumenthal surprises me”:
CT: Well, and this is the pattern of Hillary Clinton, something I brought up last week. The pattern of her political career is when she is front and center, the polarizing view of Hillary Clinton comes into focus. And when she is off the front pages and is sort of a player but on the sidelines, like when she was a Senator or when she was Secretary of State, her numbers go up. And as a presidential candidate, and when she’s at the center, you know, I think all of a sudden, there is, and she might blame that press, that the press has old habits die hard, they only cover her like she’s a Clinton from the 90s, and so it doesn’t matter. But all of a sudden, I think this is such a big challenge in the email story, is not the email story itself, it’s the idea that it creates the ‘oh, there they go again, this is the 90s all over again.’ And if Clinton fatigue, which is already a disease in the press corps, actually becomes a problem with the voting public, and these polls, maybe this is the first time that it’s becoming a problem, that is doom for her.
HH: It is a rumbling drum in the background. Now the Blumenthal story is different. I thought until today, actually earlier this week when I began to get wind of this, that Blumenthal would send her emails and she would write him back, and it was the kind of thing where you had a former aide, a hanger-on, and you stay in touch with everyone. No. He’s running a private intelligence operation on the Libyan-Tunisian border through former CIA operatives. Chuck Todd, if W. had done that, or actually, Condi Rice or Colin Powell would be the appropriate analogy…
HH: …people would be tearing their hair out.
CT: And yet I have to say nothing involving Sid Blumenthal surprises me. Zero. And I agree. I think this, I saw this Gawker stuff. You know, you’ve got, it’s Gawker and all this stuff, but I’ve learned over the years, nothing involving Sid Blumenthal is surprising. And you know, for some reason, they’ve had, he’s blindly loyal to them, and I think the Clintons have always had a blind spot with him, because he skirts the rules.
Later, though, Hugh and Todd both drive the point home about private intel networks, wiped drives, and Congressional investigations:
HH: But Sid Blumenthal is known as Sid Vicious for a reason, and none of those people, to my knowledge, ran a foreign private intelligence operation, because it raises, Chuck Todd, and this would go…
CT: Well, I don’t know about Nixon. Don’t forget ol’ G. Gordon. But when he was around…
HH: Well, he was domestically, domestically. But here’s what it raises. If they’ve got a private server and a private citizen collecting private intel, it is highly likely it’s compromised going into the Secretary of State’s server. I mean, it’s just going to raise all sorts of fun. If there was on the right someone with the chops of some of the famous investigative reporters for the New Yorker, this would be keeping them up all night.
CT: I think, and look, I think all things Sid are going to become a big part of our, I think this is going to get a lot of attention. And I don’t think it’s a right, left, right, center. And you know, this is going to be, I think, the more explosive part of the first time she testifies on Benghazi. I mean, I think the Blumenthal stuff is going to be the stickiest wicket for her.
Small wonder Hillary had the hard drive wiped after the Benghazi select committee began demanding data from it. When Richard Nixon had the “plumbers,” we nearly had an impeachment (a process in which a young Hillary Clinton worked, as it happens). This is blatantly Nixonian, and it’s just a taste of what we can expect if the Clintons come back into the White House.