‘Unsolicited?’: Emails Show Blumenthal Drafted Speech Hillary Gave In 2009
Far from providing just “unsolicited” advice to Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal appears to have authored a draft of at least one of the Democratic presidential frontrunner’s speeches during her time as secretary of state at her behest.
Blumenthal has drawn controversy for the stream of emails he sent to Clinton during her time as secretary of state, especially those providing supposed intelligence on Libya. After serving as an adviser during Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, Blumenthal was barred by the Obama administration from working with Clinton when she was confirmed as secretary of state.
But, according to new emails released by the State Department, Blumenthal sent a draft of a speech to Clinton and her chief of staff Cheryl Mills on July 9, 2009.
A separate email from Blumenthal commenting on the draft sent on the same day suggests he was modifying a previous draft of a speech that was sent to him by Clinton or one of her aides.
Blumenthal’s draft speech has many parallels with a speech Clinton gave on July 15, 2009 to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. Indeed, in the second email Blumenthal sent accompanying his draft speech, he confirms that that’s the speech he was working on.
While the text of the speech Clinton gave on July 15, 2009 was clearly modified, it appears Blumenthal’s draft was used as a guidepost, with language sometimes appearing verbatim.
“A central purpose of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review that I announced last week is to explore how to effectively design, fund, and implement development and foreign assistance as parts of a broader foreign policy,” Clinton said in her July 15 speech.
Here is what Blumenthal wrote is in his draft:
In her July 15 speech, Clinton said: “As we seek more agile, effective, and creative partnerships for development, we will focus on country-driven solutions such as those we are launching with Haiti on recovery and sustainable development and with African states on global hunger.”
Here is what Blumenthal sent her:
In her July 15 speech, Clinton said: “Just as we would never deny ammunition to American troops headed into battle, we cannot send our civilian personnel into the field under-equipped. If we don’t invest in diplomacy and development, we will end up paying a lot more for conflicts and their consequences. As Secretary Gates has said, diplomacy is an indispensable instrument of national security, as it has been since Franklin, Jefferson and Adams won foreign support for Washington’s army.”
Here’s what Blumenthal drafted in his July 9 email to the secretary of state:
Near the end of her speech, Clinton said, “More than 230 years ago, Thomas Paine said, ‘We have it within our power to start the world over again.'”
Near the end of Blumenthal’s draft, he wrote:
The draft speech Blumenthal sent Clinton on July 9 was certainly edited before Clinton delivered it, likely by someone on Clinton’s speechwriting team. But major portions of his draft were clearly incorporated into the speech.
The second email accompanying Blumenthal’s draft also makes it clear that Blumenthal was asked by Clinton or her people to modify an existing draft of the speech, casting doubt on Clinton’s repeated claims that Blumenthal’s advice was always “unsolicited.”
A request for comment from Hillary Clinton’s campaign wasn’t immediately returned.
This article has been updated.