The revelation that Hillary Clinton forwarded an email containing the name of one of the CIA’s top Libyan intelligence assets has triggered a scathing response from two former CIA officials.
Clinton’s longtime friend and adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, sent her the troubling email on March 18, 2011, according to South Carolina U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. The then-secretary of state then forwarded the email to someone else at the State Department.
“She is exposing the name of a guy who has a clandestine relationship with the CIA on her private, unprotected server,” John Maguire, a former CIA officer who worked in the Mideast, told Yahoo Politics.
Gowdy highlighted the email in a recent letter to Maryland U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings. In the 13-page document, he also provides excerpts of emails which indicate that Blumenthal was advancing his own business interests in a private defense contractor called Osprey Global Solutions.
Gowdy also informed Cummings that he plans to release that email — and another 1,500 that the State Department belatedly gave the Committee last month — into the public domain within the next few days.
“Tyler spoke to a colleague currently at CIA, who told him the agency had been dependent for intelligence from [redacted due to sources and methods],” Blumenthal’s email states, according to Gowdy’s letter.
“Tyler” is Tyler Drumheller, a former CIA official who provided Blumenthal with much of the intelligence that he forwarded directly to Clinton’s personal email account, which was maintained on a private server. He also shared financial interests in Osprey with Blumenthal.
Gowdy asserts in his letter that the redacted information in the email was “the name of a human source” and that it is “some of the most protected information in our intelligence community.”
“Armed with that information, Secretary Clinton forwarded the email to a colleague,” Gowdy continued, thus “debunking her claim that she never sent any classified information from her private email address.”
Clinton has said numerous times that she did not send or receive information that was “marked” classified when it was originated.
The troubling email should prompt the CIA to request a “crime report” from the Justice Department in order to find out who provided the name of the CIA officer to Drumheller, according to Maguire.
One of the CIA’s former top attorneys also criticized the email.
“Unless Tyler was blowing smoke, it’s an unauthorized disclosure of information,” John Rizzo, a former general counsel at the CIA, told Yahoo Politics. “And it’s the most sensitive kind of classified information — the identity of a human source.”
Rizzo said that Clinton should have told Blumenthal, “delete this — and don’t send me that again.”
“And then she should have reported it to State Department security,” he said.
Clinton has defended her correspondence with Blumenthal, saying that her friend’s emails were “unsolicited.” That claim has been undermined, however, by emails Clinton has sent urging Blumenthal to provide intelligence reports.
While the email in question may not have been “marked” classified, many national security experts have pointed out that top U.S. officials are generally trained to spot classified information regardless of if it is marked as such.
On top of that, the State Department requires officials to sign an agreement acknowledging that classified information is classified regardless of if it is marked or unmarked.
The CIA declined TheDC’s request for comment on the matter.
A spokesman for the State Department said that the agency has not completed its review of the emails it gave to the Benghazi Committee two weeks ago. But the agency has advised the panel to treat the records as if they could contain classified information.
“We have not yet reviewed a large majority of the Libya-related emails provided to the Committee last month, though some were released in the latest monthly FOIA production,” State Department spokesman Alec Gerlach told TheDC.
“We wanted to get these emails to the Committee ahead of the upcoming hearing. So when we provided them to the Committee two weeks ago, we advised them to treat them as though they could potentially contain classified material until we have reviewed them. However, as noted, we have not completed that review yet.”
A spokesman for the Benghazi Committee tells TheDC that the State Department will have the opportunity to review the emails before they are provided to Committee members for use during questioning during Clinton’s hearing, scheduled for Oct. 22.
It is still not clear when the new emails will be released to the general public, though the State Department has said that they will be included in the mass releases that are scheduled for the end of each month.
Gowdy pointed to a slew of other troubling new details contained in the emails. The records show that Blumenthal pushed Clinton hard for regime change in Libya. He also urged Clinton to push for the establishment of no-fly zones in the north African nation in order to speed up the removal of dictator Moammar Gaddafi. Once the no-fly zone was put in place, Blumenthal pressed Clinton to arm rebel forces.
The purpose of that appears to be that Osprey sought contracts with Libya’s Transitional National Council to provide private security forces and medical services.
In at least one email, Clinton appeared to comply with Blumenthal’s request that she advance the company’s interests in a meeting she was set to attend in Turkey.