The latest release of Hillary Clinton’s State Department records contains a doozy of an email in which the then-secretary of state ordered one of her top aides, Huma Abedin, to remove the identity of the author of a memo she had received.
The author? Sidney Blumenthal, Clinton’s longtime friend and off-the-books intelligence provider.
“Can you print for me w/o any identifiers?” Clinton asked Abedin, after receiving the March 9, 2011 memo from Blumenthal, a former journalist who worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
“Yes,” replied Abedin, who serves as vice chair of Clinton’s current presidential campaign.
The email is one of 60 that Blumenthal provided to the House Select Committee on Benghazi in June in response to a subpoena. That discovery prompted an inquiry to the State Department because the memo was not included in the 300 pages of Libya- and Benghazi-related emails that the agency released to the committee in February.
Included in the 60 emails were 15 that Blumenthal had sent to Clinton or received from her which she did not provide to the State Department when she handed over her records in December 2014. That finding undermined Clinton’s claim that she gave the agency all of her work-related emails.
The memo and Clinton’s response to it has received little media attention so far. The New York Times mentioned it in an article in June. But the document — and Clinton’s instructions to Abedin — has taken on new significance in light of another mysterious Clinton email released by the State Department last week.
That document dump contained a June 17, 2011 email chain in which Clinton instructed her foreign policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, to strip a set of talking points of its “identifying heading” and to send them “nonsecure.”
Sullivan had intended to send the talking points — which appear to have dealt with an intense standoff in Sudan’s oil region — via a fax line reserved for classified information. (RELATED: Bombshell Email Shows Hillary Instructed Adviser To Strip Markings From Sensitive Talking Points)
The State Department said it does not know whether the talking points contained classified information. Clinton has downplayed the revelation of the email while her critics have asserted that she may have violated federal law pertaining to the handling of classified information.
While it is not exactly clear why Clinton ordered Abedin to strip Blumenthal’s identity from the March 9, 2011 memo, the contents of the intel report provide some clues.
Entitled “Serious problems for Libyan rebels,” Blumenthal relayed information from his intelligence community sources who claimed that Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi was confident that he would be able to push back rebel forces attempting to depose him.
Clinton was one of the most ardent voices in the Obama administration for Gaddafi’s ouster. And as it turns out, Blumenthal was also heavily interested in regime change. In 2011 and 2012, it was later revealed, he was working on behalf of a defense contractor called Osprey Global Solutions which hoped to secure contracts in a post-Gaddafi Libya.
Blumenthal’s memo also touted a proposal being considered by leaders with the National Libyan Council to “consider hiring private troops (mercenaries) to support, organize, and train the rebel forces in Libya.”
He also said that his sources believed that NATO and other Western allies were hesitant to aid the rebels, putting the revolution “in danger.” He then hinted that “a small number of private troops” could turn the tide against Gaddafi.
The Blumenthal memo also contains intel on Benghazi which shed light on the security situation outside of the eventual site of the murder of four Americans.
“They continue to be concerned over this possibility, particularly in the wake of the capture of Dutch Marines west of Tripoli, and reports of British Special Forces troops being detained by rebel forces near Benghazi,” Blumenthal wrote of Benghazi.