When asked about her interactions with Sidney Blumenthal during her tenure as Secretary of State, especially on Libya, Hillary Clinton told reporters that she always valued input from trusted friends:
“I have many, many old friends, and I always think that it’s important when you get into politics to have friends that you had before you were in politics and to understand what’s on their minds. He’s been a friend of mine for a long time—he sent me unsolicited emails, which I passed on in some instances, and I see that that’s just part of the give-and-take,” she said.
“When you’re in the public eye, when you’re in an official position, I think you do have to work to make sure you’re not caught in the bubble and you only hear from a certain small group of people, and I’m going to keep talking to my old friends, whoever they are.”
Apparently, she put her money where her mouth was when it comes to “value.” During the period in which Blumenthal reportedly operated a private intel network for Hillary, the Clinton Foundation paid Blumenthal $10,000 a month as a full-time employee, Politico’s Ken Vogel reports:
Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant of Bill and Hillary Clinton, earned about $10,000 a month as a full-time employee of the Clinton Foundation while he was providing unsolicited intelligence on Libya to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to multiple sources familiar with the arrangement.
Blumenthal was added to the payroll of the Clintons’ global philanthropy in 2009 — not long after advising Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — at the behest of former president Bill Clinton, for whom he had worked in the White House, say the sources.
Vogel reminds us that this wasn’t Blumenthal’s only income. At the same time, he drew income from Media Matters and American Bridge, two organizations run by David Brock which are operating on behalf of Team Clinton, if a bit sotto voce for tax purposes. This is almost a perfect nexus between public authority, personal wealth, and campaign activism. It’s certainly not just taking occasional calls from a friend offering free advice.
The arrangement at the Clinton Foundation rubbed staffers there the wrong way, as they wondered what value Blumenthal added to a supposed charity, Vogel reports. Nevertheless, it stretched on for about four years, coincidentally (or not) ending in March 2013 just after Hillary left the State Department. Either the change from SecState to nascent candidate ended Blumenthal’s usefulness at the Clinton Foundation, or more likely, the expected increase in scrutiny made the arrangement less than desirable — and less than defensible.
If nothing else, this renders laughable the notion that Hillary engaged with Blumenthal out of a sheer desire to be outside a “bubble.” The Clintons used their family foundation to run a private intel network, one that had a significant connection to activist political organizations involved in the upcoming presidential election, and did so through a private communications network designed to avoid Congressional scrutiny and FOIA compliance. Let’s not forget that we wouldn’t even know about the Blumenthal nexus unless hackers hadn’t exploited the comically poor security employed by Hillary on her e-mail server — this connection was supposed to go unnoticed. On top of that, how anyone can claim to have hired Sidney Blumenthal to get outside a bubble surpasses all comprehension. Blumenthal, along with Brock and other Clinton cronies, spend almost all of their time constructing bubbles to deflect any scrutiny or criticism of the Clintons.
The slush fund of the Clinton Foundation looks slushier and slushier every day, no? The only think missing here is G. Gordon Liddy and the name “plumbers.”