Sidney Blumenthal has complied with the document requirements of the subpoena from the House Select Committee on Benghazi — and now it’s clear that others have not been as forthcoming. Blumenthal’s submission of memos and correspondence regarding Libya to Hillary Clinton includes documents not provided by the State Department or the former Secretary of State. Now the question is: whodidn’tdunit? The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt lays out the mystery:
Emails that a longtime confidant to Hillary Rodham Clinton recently handed over to the House committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, raise new questions about whether the State Department and Mrs. Clinton have complied with a series of requests from the panel.
The emails, provided by Sidney Blumenthal, a close adviser to Mrs. Clinton, include information about weapons that were circulating in Libya and about the security situation in Benghazi in the year and a half before the attacks. The committee has asked the State Department and Mrs. Clinton several times in the past year for emails from her and other department officials about “weapons located or found in” Libya and about the decision to open and maintain a diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
The early lead on the Sherlock Holmes reveal is State. The select committee has demanded documents from State about Libya in general, including the issue of arms sales and US involvement in them. Under John Kerry, the State Department has refused to comply on the basis of being too broad a demand, and has instead narrowly complied by releasing documents only related to the attack on the consulate in Benghazi in September 2012.
However, that is a problem in two ways. First, the scope of the select committee includes US policy in Libya and the entire arc of the failures that led to our lack of security and response in the attack, and not just the attack itself. Second, Congress has a legitimate oversight function on all of State’s activities, and it has assigned those oversight responsibilities to the select committee in regard to their performance on Libya. They have a requirement to comply with this demand.
As Schmidt notes, though, it might be that State simply doesn’t have the material Blumenthal gave the committee:
It is not clear whether the State Department possesses the emails between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Blumenthal and did not hand them over. It is also possible that Mrs. Clinton never provided them to the department and deleted them off the server that housed the personal account she used exclusively when she was secretary of state.
Mr. Gerlach said that the committee had not told the department which emails Mr. Blumenthal handed over and that it would take some time for officials to determine whether the department had the emails.
If State doesn’t have Blumenthal’s memos, then the culprit will be Hillary. She claimed to have turned over all e-mails relevant to her work to the State Department and then deleted more than 30,000 e-mails that she characterized as “Chelsea’s wedding plans” and other personal correspondence. (Worth noting: 30,000 e-mails in a four-year period equals more than 20 e-mails a day for four years about wedding dresses and Bill Clinton’s travel schedule, which sounds entirely nonsensical.) If State can’t find these, this would be solid evidence that she lied — and that she destroyed public records that were under subpoena from Congress.
Perhaps Blumenthal can shed some light on this mystery. The committee will depose Blumenthal today about his role in Libya and the intel private network he appeared to be leading for Hillary Clinton. That deposition will take place in private, and may not result in any public revelations immediately — but it will create more headaches for Hillary when it comes time for her to testify before the Benghazi committee. That is, it will if she ever does get around to testifying. That’s another mystery waiting to be solved.