The crony in question is Sid Blumenthal, former White House advisor to Bill and longtime hatchet man for the pair. We already knew Blumenthal was running his own off-the-books intelligence operation for the Secretary of State. We also knew that he’d put a friend representing a pro-Putin pol in Georgia in touch with Hillary to lobby her on behalf of the Georgian opposition. And the reason we knew those things isn’t because Hillary Clinton voluntarily turned over Blumenthal’s communications to State as part of routine recordkeeping protocols. We know it because a hacker infiltrated Blumenthal’s e-mail account a few years ago and lifted his copy of his chats with Hillary. If not for that, the Clinton/Blumenthal communiques might be a secret to this day, sent into the ether after Hillary mass-deleted “personal” e-mails from her time in office that were stored on her private server. Unless those deleted e-mails are retrieved, we may never know the extent of their exchanges.
But the Georgia connection is the least of it. As Tim Carney puts it after reading this NYT bombshell, “Hillary Clinton helped push us into an illegal war in Libya, and her advisor was making money off regime change.” Well, he was trying, if the Times is to be believed. And he was doing it as — ta da — an employee of the Clinton Foundation.
While advising Mrs. Clinton on Libya, Mr. Blumenthal, who had been barred from a State Department job by aides to President Obama, was also employed by her family’s philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation, to help with research, “message guidance” and planning of commemorative events, according to foundation officials. During the same period, he also worked on and off as a paid consultant to Media Matters and American Bridge, organizations that helped lay the groundwork for Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government. The venture, which was ultimately unsuccessful, involved other Clinton friends, a private military contractor and one former C.I.A. spy seeking to get in on the ground floor of the new Libyan economy…
Some of Mr. Blumenthal’s memos urged Mrs. Clinton to consider rumors that other American diplomats knew at the time to be false. Not infrequently, Mrs. Clinton’s subordinates replied to the memos with polite skepticism.
The emails suggest that Mr. Blumenthal’s direct line to Mrs. Clinton circumvented the elaborate procedures established by the federal government to ensure that high-level officials are provided with vetted assessments of available intelligence.
So the Smartest Woman in the World, the most powerful diplomat on Earth, was not only consuming half-baked intel assessments being fed to a Clinton Foundation crony by business associates with a financial interest in ousting Qaddafi (and who themselves had little experience in Libya, the Times emphasizes), she was circulating it among her staff — sometimes without naming Blumenthal as the source — for maximum impact. And she did this knowing that Obama’s own team loathed Blumenthal so deeply for his tactics against them during campaign 2008 that they refused to let Hillary hire him at the State Department. They didn’t want him influencing U.S. foreign policy. Hillary let him do it anyway. Oh, and among the State Department officials known for his skepticism of Blumenthal’s intel: Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was proved right when the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood fizzled, contra Blumenthal’s expectations, in voting for the new parliament.
Trey Gowdy reportedly wants to subpoena Blumenthal to find out, for starters, who was paying him to write those Libya memos. Were they freebies for his pal Hillary? Paid work from his business pals eyeing contracts in the new Libya? Or did his duties at the Clinton Foundation include producing dubious intel for the head of the State Department against the White House’s wishes? Another question: How’d the NYT get hold of these Blumenthal memos? According to reporter Nick Confessore, only a few of the documents procured by the NYT are duplicates of the stuff produced by the hacker who broke into his e-mail archives. Lots of it is new. Where’d the Times get it? Did Gowdy’s Benghazi committee get it first and leak it to them?
Lots of questions, but Hillary being Hillary, there’ll be few answers. Exit quotation:
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) May 18, 2015
Update: Nice catch by the GOP, noting that some of Hillary’s exchanges with Blumenthal come from the e-mail address “.” Two months ago, Hillary’s office issued a statement claiming that she only used one e-mail address during her time at State, the “hdr22” address. Her lawyer, in response to a specific question about the “hrod17” e-mail address, claimed flat out that that address didn’t exist until after she’d stepped down as secretary. Today’s e-mail revelation proves him wrong. Did Hillary lie to her staff and her attorney about that or did they lie for her? How many other “nonexistent” addresses did she use to try to keep her communications away from State Department and GOP investigations?