Did Hillary Clinton use her position as Secretary of State to benefit her unofficial aide in Libya? According to a letter sent from Benghazi select committee chair Rep. Trey Gowdy to Elijah Cummings, newly released e-mails from Hillary’s server strongly suggest she did — and may have exposed a source of human intel in Libya at the same time. Lachlan Markay reports on it for the Free Beacon:
According to a letter from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., Okla.), chairman of the House panel investigating the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, Clinton internally raised the possibility of employing American security contractors, one of which Sidney Blumenthal had a direct financial interest in.
In a letter last week [actually dated October 7 — Ed] to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), the ranking Democrat on the Benghazi committee, Gowdy also reveals that Blumenthal, who frequently emailed Clinton regarding the security situation in Libya, sent an email to Clinton’s personal address containing the name of a Central Intelligence Agency source in Libya.
“This information, the name of a human source, is some of the most protected information in our intelligence community, the release of which could jeopardize not only national security but also human lives,” Gowdy wrote.
“Armed with that information, Secretary Clinton forwarded the email to a colleague—debunking her claim that she never sent any classified information from her private email address,” Gowdy noted.
Stephen Hayes notes the same potential abuse of power for the Weekly Standard, and Gowdy’s anger that these e-mails got withheld for so long:
According to a letter from Chairman Trey Gowdy to Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, at least once Clinton sought to aid Blumenthal’s business interests in Libya. …
“These messages should have been made public when the State Department released Secretary Clinton’s other self-selected records on Libya and Benghazi, but there was a clear decision at the time to withhold this information from the American people and the Committee,” reads the letter. “The State Department has now made these messages available, and the Committee intends to question Secretary Clinton about them during her appearance.”
At the time, Blumenthal was pushing for an American military intervention, but not exactly for altruistic reasons. His first point in his argument, and his fifth point out of five as well, was a 2011 Quinnipiac poll showing Obama down 41/50 for re-election. “No time for panic,” Blumenthal wrote, “[t]ime to prevent panic.” Blumenthal further argued that stopping a massacre in Benghazi wouldn’t be enough to win an election, because “seeking gratitude from people … soon reaches a counter-productive point.” Blumenthal then tells Hillary this:
At this point, Gowdy notes in his letter, Hillary forwards this to Jake Sullivan, saying that “I agree about the need to keep the attack tempo up.” Note that this exceeded the stated mission for the US and NATO in Libya, transforming it from a genocide-prevention operation to a full-blown war of regime change on Qaddafi. The motivation, at least as expressed to Hillary and then forwarded by her to her team, appears to be entirely related to the need to look tough for the re-election campaign.
At one point, Blumenthal transmits the name of a CIA intelligence source to Hillary on her unsecured e-mail, which she then blithely forwarded from her private account:
Recall the furor over the leak of Valerie Plame’s status as a CIA employee? This is exponentially worse. Both Blumenthal and Hillary put the identity of an intelligence agent in unsecured communications. If anyone hacked this, the information would have easily cost the source his life.
Did the server get hacked? The Associated Press reports that it was targeted by hackers in three different countries, although it’s not yet clear whether these were intelligence operations or just ordinary hackers:
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private email server, which stored some 55,000 pages of emails from her time as secretary of state, was the subject of attempted cyberattacks originating in China, South Korea and Germany after she left office in early 2013, according to a congressional document obtained by The Associated Press.
While the attempts were apparently blocked by a “threat monitoring” product that Clinton’s employees connected to her network in October 2013, there was a period of more than three months from June to October 2013 when that protection had not been installed, according to a letter from Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. That means her server was possibly vulnerable to cyberattacks during that time.
Johnson’s letter to Victor Nappe, CEO of SECNAP, the company that provided the threat monitoring product, seeks a host of documents relating to the company’s work on Clinton’s server and the nature of the cyber intrusions detected. Johnson’s committee is investigating Clinton’s email arrangement.
Those are only the attempts we know about. If any of this got out, it might have cost lives — and certainly would have violated 18 USC 793 even if it didn’t get hacked.