During today’s House committee investigation probing the events surrounding a 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she frequently chatted with her friend Sidney Blumenthal about Libya via e-mail, but her “friend” Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya who was killed during the Benghazi attack, didn’t even have her email address.
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) pushed Clinton to answer for this discrepancy with a pretty hard-hitting exchange:
WESTMORELAND: Just to follow up on one thing about Ambassador Stevens. You got a lot of e-mails from Sidney Blumenthal. And you say that Mr. Blumenthal was a friend of yours. And he had your personal e-mail address.
You say Chris Stevens was a friend of yours. He asked numerous of times for extra protection. Now, if I had been Mr. Stevens — and I think anybody out there — anybody watching this would agree.
If I had been Mr. Stevens and I had had a relationship with you, and I had requested 20 or more times for additional security to protect not only my life but the people that were there with me, I would have gotten in touch with you some way.
I would have let you know that I was in danger, and that the situation had deteriorated to a point, I needed you to do something. Did he have your personal e-mail?
CLINTON: Congressman, I — I do not believe that he had my personal e-mail.
The emails that Clinton did surrender show she chatted with Blumenthal a lot about Libya in 2011 (she even sent him classified information over e-mail), but that her interest in the conflict-laden country tapered off in 2012, when threats to American lives increased.
“I bet there are a lot of Sid Blumenthal’s emails in there from 2011…[but] most of my work was not done on emails,” @HillaryClinton says
— Amy Chozick (@amychozick) October 22, 2015
While Clinton admits that she did indeed e-mail Blumenthal about affairs in Libya more often than anyone else, she failed to bring up the context surrounding those conversations.
You mean the emails where Sid was pushing for her to help enrich a shady mercenary outfit in Libya? Those emails? https://t.co/6nwPpu7Fqo
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) October 22, 2015
Remember: Blumenthal was pursuing business opportunities in the country while working for the Clinton Foundation and sharing private intelligence reports with information gathered in Libya.
“He was a friend who sent me information he thought might be helpful,” Clinton said about the reports Blumenthal shared with her.
Their friendship is indeed rather odd, and Clinton’s statements today seem to be an attempt to distance herself from their relationship. The actual content of her e-mails, however, tells another story:
Clinton on Blumenthal: “I did not ask him to send me the information that he sent me.” She did, at times, ask him to “keep them coming.”
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) October 22, 2015
Yes, she really did say that. In fact, the two were in constant contact with one another. It appears she frequently confided in him about many things, including her position as secretary, which she felt insecure about under President Obama. Although she stated during her testimony that Blumenthal was not an official adviser of hers, Hillary Clinton failed to mention the reason why: the Obama administration explicitly banned Sidney Blumenthal from working for the administration in any capacity whatsoever. The reason Clinton never hired him to be an official State Department adviser is that she was prohibited from doing so. That’s why she was so careful to delete his name from e-mails he sent her before forwarding them on to other State Department officials.
Oh, and let’s not forget those late-night phone chats.
To: Sidney Blumenthal
Date: Oct. 8, 2009; 10:35 p.m.
Subject: Are you still awake?
Body: I’ll call if you are
While it seems Hillary paid very close attention to the information Blumenthal shared with her and valued their late-night chats, it appears she didn’t pay close attention to the concerns of the top U.S. diplomat serving under her. She admitted today that she was unaware of 18 of the 20 requests for additional security made by U.S. officials in Libya before the attack.
Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton’s alleged ignorance of a majority of those requests make sense if Stevens was never told how to contact Clinton directly. It’s not like he was a donor to the Clinton Foundation or anything.
Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist, explained during a segment on “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson,” that the disparity in the level of attention Clinton gave to Blumenthal compared to what she gave Stevens is apparent in her emails.
“These really do raise questions about the level of engagement that Mrs. Clinton had, in terms of the actual situation on the ground in Libya, and who she was actually listening to regarding what was going on there,” Domenech said. “She seemed to have plenty of access when it came to Sid Bluementhal, Tyler Drumheller, and others. But when it came to Chris Stevens — as you said before — he didn’t even have her personal email.”