Sidney Blumenthal, the former Bill Clinton White House aide who provided Hillary Clinton with off-the-books intelligence memos when she was secretary of state, is still giving the Democratic presidential candidate campaign advice.
That’s according to Politico, which reported Monday that the Clinton campaign is looking at overhauling its staff after the New Hampshire primary.
The Clintons are reportedly frustrated with the campaign’s messaging, which has failed to unify around a central theme and has struggled to overcome the grassroots support for Vermont Sen. [crscore]Bernie Sanders[/crscore]. As Politico reports, the campaign’s information flow has “functioned sloppily.”
The Clintons are “absorbing off-the-books advice – even strategy memos – from family friends and advisers like Sidney Blumenthal, branding expert Gary Spence, ex-Virginia Rep. Don Beyer, current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and even Penn, who speaks exclusively to the former president, according to multiple sources,” Politico reported.
Ironically, Blumenthal is at the center of the issue responsible for much of the campaign’s scattered approach. The former journalist was one of Clinton’s most frequent email correspondents when she served as secretary of state.
Blumenthal frequently sent Clinton advice and strategic memos about geopolitical happenings during her tenure. In many cases the memos contained information that the State Department has been determined to be classified. Blumenthal was also among those who pressured Clinton to intervene in Libya to remove president Moammar Gaddafi. Citing former CIA operatives as his sources, Blumenthal often made the case for no-fly zones and the use of private security forces. It turned out that Blumenthal, who also worked for the Clinton Foundation at the time, had a vested interest in an American defense contractor seeking business in post-Gaddafi Libya.Clinton was forced to distance herself from Blumenthal last year after her emails with him were revealed. She claimed that his emails to her were “unsolicited,” though that notion was quickly disproved when other emails surfaced showing her requesting additional advice and information from Blumenthal.
The revelation was especially embarrassing for Clinton because it showed that she was still in frequent contact with Blumenthal even though the Obama White House had blocked him from taking a job at the State Department because of his underhanded campaign activities during the 2008 primaries.
Politico’s report is the first to confirm that Blumenthal is still in contact with Clinton.