A longtime Clinton insider who was barred from working in the Obama administration advised then-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton on Libya while working with a group of businessmen with interests there, and also while working at the Clinton Foundation and for the pro-Clinton Media Matters.
According to an explosive report from The New York Times, in 2011 and 2012, Sidney Blumenthal sent 25 Libyan intelligence memos to Clinton. Along with numerous factual errors, the memos contained suggestions and intelligence that would have benefited several Blumenthal business partners.
Trey Gowdy, the head of the Benghazi Committee, plans to subpoena Blumenthal for a private interview. Gowdy has said he hopes to subpoena Clinton for two meetings, one in private and another in public.
In Jan. 2012, months after Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was killed, Blumenthal sent Clinton a memo suggesting that Libyan stock exchange official, Najib Obeida, could help bring stability to the Libyan government through his Western ties. But as The Times reports, Obeida had ties to several of Blumethal’s business associates who were interested in forming companies in Libya.
David Grange, a retired Army major general, and Bill White joined forces in hopes that Obeida would finance their projects, one of which was a floating hospital.
According to The Times, it is unclear whether Clinton knew that Blumenthal’s sources had business interests in the war-torn country.
Though the projects did not get off the ground, approval would have had to come from Clinton’s State Department. Blumenthal’s involvement suggests that he was seen as a beneficial Clinton contact.
The revelation is not the first to show Blumenthal lobbying Clinton.
In March, Gawker reported that Blumenthal lobbied on behalf of Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Ivanishvili hoped to unseat incumbent Mikheil Saakashvili. Blumenthal’s memo to Clinton suggested that supporting Ivanishvili might help Democrats in the 2012 election.
Besides conflicts of interest, Blumenthal’s Libyan intelligence briefings were reportedly rife with factual errors and faulty analysis.
Despite that, Clinton often instructed Jake Sullivan, her deputy chief of staff, to pass Blumenthal’s briefings, which were often labeled as being sent from an anonymous source or a “friend of HRC’s,” to other State Department officials and American diplomats.
Blumenthal’s intelligence musings also found their way to Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya who was killed during the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the consulate in Benghazi.
Stevens criticized an April 2012 Blumenthal memo in which he speculated that the Muslim Brotherhood would fare well in upcoming elections. The Islamist party did not do well in the election.
In the same memo, Blumenthal mixed up two Libyan politicians who shared the same last name.
But Clinton apparently found some value in Blumenthal’s analysis. According to The Times, she would attach comments such as “useful insight” to some Blumenthal memos as she passed them to Sullivan for wider distribution.
While Blumenthal was providing intelligence to Clinton in an apparent attempt to drum up business for his cronies, he was also working for the Clinton Foundation, Media Matters, and American Bridge.
The Clinton Foundation is the Clinton family’s charity which has come under scrutiny for its relationship with wealthy donors. At the foundation, Blumenthal worked on research, “message guidance,” and event planning.
Media Matters and American Bridge were founded by rabid Clinton supporter, David Brock. They provide research to the Democratic party and will work aggressively to get Clinton elected in 2016.