The slow drip-drip of scandal begins to take its toll.
The left-wing media establishment is turning against Hillary Clinton.
It’s happening long after the rest of us understood that Mrs. Clinton bore a unique responsibility for the tragic and avoidable disaster in Benghazi that cost the lives of four brave Americans, so please: there is no need for applause. After all, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS Sixty Minutes, and NBC News are just doing their jobs. Finally.
Well, almost doing their jobs. For most of these, the Clinton “story” is all about process. As more emails turn up that Hillary “overlooked” when she scoured her personal server, the New York Times wonders if any serious discrepancy will emerge, and gives Hillary’s spokesperson’s effort to bury the story far more credit than he deserves.
Here is Hillary’s problem: not only did she conduct official business on a private server, apparently with the blessing of a key lackey, Undersecretary for Management, Patrick Kennedy; but as copies of those emails surface, key elements of the story she has tried to suppress from Day One are emerging.
First, there is the matter of who “lost” Libya. The email traffic released nearly two years after House Democrats claimed the State Department had provided everything there was to know about Benghazi to Congress, shows that Hillary was desperate to hide her responsibility for U.S. policy toward Qaddafi and the jihadi-dominated rebel alliance that overthrew his regime.
We now have multiple emails, none of which was produced until recently, showing that when Libya was going well, Hillary wanted to be seen as the architect of the “lead from behind” and “zero footprint” strategy that allowed the Obama administration to claim a foreign policy victory without engaging U.S. troops.
Jake Sullivan, her top political advisor, drafted a glowing “talking points” memo on the Libya success story on August 21, 2011, which the Clinton team later realized had become an embarrassment and needed to be suppressed. It was only just recently produced.
Now we learn that an important player behind Hillary’s grandstanding was none other than long-time Clinton consigliore, Sid Blumenthal.
Until just two months ago, the State Department pretended that Blumenthal’s emails to Secretary Clinton didn’t exist, even though Mrs. Clinton forwarded them to her inner circle, often at their official state.gov addresses.
Then, faced with a subpoena from Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the Benghazi Select Committee, State finally produced 300 emails previously withheld by Clinton, including “intelligence” memos sent by Blumenthal to Hillary’s private email account.
Gowdy could see the smoke, and issued another subpoena, this time to compel Blumenthal to testify under oath. At that closed-door hearing two weeks ago, Blumenthal produced an additional fifteen memos to Secretary Clinton that the State Department claims it can’t find. Like so much else.
Among the latest missives were Blumenthal’s comments on the Jake Sullivan Libya success statement. “First, brava!” he wrote Mrs. Clinton the next day. “This is a historic moment and you should be credited for realizing it. When Qaddafi himself is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation house. You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment. The important phrase is, ‘successful strategy.’”
But seeing Blumenthal revert to his role as Clinton spin-meister is just eye candy. Far more important was his role in urging Mrs Clinton to support jihadi rebels against Qaddafi. Because he was not a member of her official inner circle, he could deliver advice Mrs. Clinton felt she could keep from public scrutiny – even now.
In his testimony before the House Benghazi Committee on June 19, Blumenthal revealed that he hadn’t even written the so-called “intelligence” memos. Instead, he merely copied and pasted memos written by former CIA clandestine operative Tyler Drumheller, who got called out by his former boss for fabricating and misrepresenting intelligence.
Blumenthal acknowledged he had partnered with Drumheller and retired Major General David Grange in an effort to win lucrative business contracts in post-Qaddafi Libya.
Their main project was a “humanitarian-assistance idea for medical care in which I had little involvement, [that] [n]ever got off the ground, in which no money was ever exchanged, no favor sought and which had nothing to do with my sending these emails,” Blumenthal told reporters later.
General Grange’s company, Osprey Global Solutions, advertises a lot more than “humanitarian assistance” projects. According to their website, they “deliver global, full-spectrum medical, construction, security, training, armament services, and products.” Just the type of things a poorly trained, poorly equipped jihadi rebel force would need. General Grange told the New York Times that his job was to put “boots on the ground to see if there was an opportunity to do business,” once Blumenthal and his associates opened the doors in Libya.
Which brings us to the next dirty secret Hillary Clinton is intent on keeping from public scrutiny: her role in arming the rebels in Libya and Syria. The ongoing trial in Arizona of licensed arms broker, Mark Turi, promises to reveal new details of the former Secretary of State’s initiatives in helping select U.S. contractors deliver U.S. weapons to foreign governments such as Qatar, who then distributed them to their favorite jihadi groups. All without a word to Congress, let alone the public.
These policies were horribly misguided. As I wrote in Dark Forces: the Truth Behind What Happened in Benghazi, in a chapter titled “John Brennan’s Iron Claw,” they included allowing jihadi operatives transport 800 SA-7 missiles looted from Qaddafi’s arsenal to Agadiz, Niger, where they were upgraded with Egyptian gripstocks and CIA-designed batteries, then transferred to jihadi groups throughout the Middle East.
A separate set of emails, obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act, reveals another scandal Clinton has been desperately trying to avoid: her responsibility for peddling the vicious smear that the Benghazi attacks were “caused” by a “hateful video,” not a failure of policy.
The first official statement by the Obama administration about Benghazi was issued by Mrs. Clinton at 10:08 pm Washington time on the night of the attacks.
This was after the State Department had confirmed the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and his communications officer, Sean Smith, but before the final mortar attack on the CIA Annex that took the lives of former Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Ty Woods.
The Judicial Watch emails include a message from State Department spokesperson Victory Nuland to Clinton’s inner circle that referred to the draft statement they were circulating. “We are holding for [Ben] Rhodes clearance.”
Ben Rhodes, of course, was President Obama’s top political operative, the same who quarterbacked the neutering of the CIA talking points prepared for Susan Rice later that week.
Rhodes signed off on the draft, which has not yet been released, three minutes later, and sent a follow-on message at 9:48 pm to senior White House and State Department officials. “We should let the State Department statement be our comment for the night,” he wrote.
There continue to be huge gaps in the record, which is why Rep. Gowdy correctly is refusing to hear Mrs. Clinton’s testimony until the record is complete.
One significant gap is the huge hole in Sid Blumenthal’s correspondence with Clinton. In the documents he produced to the Benghazi Select Committee, he sent a steady stream of Libya-related emails to Clinton up through Aug. 27, 2012. The next we hear from him in September 12, 2012 – just after the attacks, which he mistakenly wrote had occurred the afternoon before.
What else were the two discussing before the attacks? Was the State Department aware of the “hateful video” before it became a cause célèbre? Was Sid Blumenthal aware of it?
Significantly, his September 12, 2012 email to Mrs. Clinton focused on the video, and informed her that he had moved the story into the U.S. media, thanks to a outrageous, lie-packed article penned by his own son, left-wing hack Max Blumenthal.
Democrat Elijah Cummings, Gowdy’s counterpart on the Benghazi Select Committee, likes to claim that all the important questions about Benghazi have been “asked and answered.”
The only question that really fits that bill is this: Did Hillary Clinton lie about Benghazi? The answer, of course, is a resounding, yes.