Ex-Ambassador Joe Wilson Was Able To Email Hillary, But Chris Stevens Wasn’t
Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens did not have Hillary Clinton’s personal email address, it was established on Thursday, but another career diplomat did: Joseph Wilson, the ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe in the Bill Clinton White House.
Wilson emailed then-Secretary of State Clinton numerous times between 2009 and 2011 to lobby her on behalf of Symbion Power, an energy company he was consulting for at the time. Some of those emails were sent by Wilson straight to Clinton’s personal email account. Others were routed through his and Clinton’s mutual friend, Sidney Blumenthal.
Email access to Clinton was a central point of focus for Republicans during her testimony to the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Georgia Rep. [crscore]Lynn Westmoreland[/crscore] forced Clinton to admit that Stevens did not have her personal email address while pointing out that Blumenthal did. Kansas Rep. [crscore]Mike Pompeo[/crscore] noted that Blumenthal sent Clinton more than 180 emails, many of them intelligence reports.
The lawmakers’ point was that Clinton received intelligence reports from non-governmental sources in Blumenthal but did not have a direct line of contact available for Stevens, who made numerous unanswered requests for improved security for the U.S.’s diplomatic posts in Libya.
Some Clinton supporters asserted that it would have been illogical for Clinton to maintain direct email relationships with the more than 200 ambassadors on the U.S.’s diplomatic roster. But as emails released by the State Department this year show, she had room in her Rolodex for at least one career diplomat in Wilson.
In a Sept. 30, 2009 email, Blumenthal informed Clinton that Wilson wanted to meet with her at an African business summit at which she was scheduled to appear. Wilson was being paid $20,000 a month to consult for Symbion, which sought energy contracts in Tanzania.
“Pls be sure I see Joe,” Clinton wrote to two of her State Department aides.
Wilson referenced the meeting in an Oct. 6, 2009 email sent through Blumenthal and then forwarded to Clinton. In that email, Wilson first mentioned his work for Symbion.
“We think the model is well adapted to Africa and have already begun work on a training center in Tanzania, where we will be bidding on all of the upcoming MCC [Millennium Challenge Corporation] financed power generation and distribution projects,” Wilson wrote.
“I tell you all this, not to tout Symbion (about which I am very enthusiastic) but let you know that we are doing much of what you have been advocating in your public comments about human capacity development,” Wilson continued.
In a Nov. 10, 2009 email sent to Clinton via Blumenthal, Wilson sought a meeting to discuss Symbion’s work in Tanzania. He also mentioned a “four minute video that Sid gave you on my behalf.”
Clinton responded directly to Wilson in a separate email chain saying that she was out of the country and would be unable to meet with him. She said she wanted to schedule another time to meet.
While it is unclear whether Clinton intervened on behalf of Wilson and Symbion, months after Wilson’s lobbying effort, the Millennium Challenge Corporation awarded the company a massive contract to build a power plant in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. (RELATED: Ex-Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s Embarrassing Emails To Hillary Are Part Of Bitter Legal Battle)
As secretary of state, Clinton chaired the Millennium Challenge Corporation at the time.
In a July 20, 2011 email sent directly to Clinton, Wilson asked his friend to intervene on Symbion’s behalf with General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt. The company was struggling to hammer out a deal with the conglomerate over equipment it needed to carry on its work in Tanzania.
“I know that you mentioned that you were going to call Jeff lmmelt after your trip,” Wilson wrote. “When you make that call, I would appreciate your telling him that Symbion, which is already operating a GE plant in [Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam] can only expand that plant to meet the challenge if GE is prepared to share some of the inherent risk with us and waives the payment guarantee requirement.” (RELATED: Hillary Clinton Intervened In Business Dispute After An Email From Joseph Wilson)
Chris Stevens did not have that level of access to Clinton. She did not intervene on his behalf.