Monday, June 22, 2015

Hillary Clinton caught not turning over all work emails

The Select Committee on Benghazi today released emails it uncovered to and from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that should have been, but were not, turned over in response to committee requests. The emails came to light as part of a document request to Sidney Blumenthal, who was recently deposed by the committee after it was discovered nearly half of Secretary Clinton's public record regarding Libya and Benghazi pertains to emails from Sidney Blumenthal.

Chairman Trey Gowdy requested the State Department provide the House their copies of these emails by the end of the day, if they have them.

“Once again the Benghazi Committee uncovers information that should already be part of the public record but was not made available to the American people or congressional investigators,” said Gowdy, R-S.C. “These emails should have been part of the public record when Secretary Clinton left office and at a bare minimum included when the State Department released Clinton’s self-selected records on Libya. For that reason, the committee has made the decision to release the latest set of Clinton’s public records unearthed by the committee.”

Gowdy pointed out the revelation of these new Clinton emails, some of which fall in the gaps of time previously identified by the committee, raises fresh questions about whether Clinton’s self-selected record is complete and State’s failure to ensure the public and Congress have a complete record of the former Secretary’s time in office. Gowdy also noted that had the committee not called Blumenthal, it is questionable whether the public would have gained access to this set of information.

“It is significant our top diplomat was directly receiving unvetted intelligence information, which may have come from sources with financial interests in Libya,” Gowdy said. “Nearly half of the entire public record of Secretary Clinton’s regarding Benghazi and Libya is either from Mr. Blumenthal or discussion about Mr. Blumenthal’s emails. This correspondence far and away dominates all other emails we have from Secretary Clinton regarding Benghazi and Libya. Given this fact, there was no question we would need to speak with him and assess the reliability of the information he was providing to the Secretary. Questions about what influence, if any, Mr. Blumenthal had on our US policy toward Libya can only be answered by Secretary Clinton and her State Department senior staff. It is clear from these emails Secretary Clinton encouraged Mr. Blumenthal to send them in some instances calling into question her previous characterization of them as ‘unsolicited.’”

“We established the fact Mr. Blumenthal did not author a single intelligence memo, but rather forwarded them on to the former Secretary. He did provide candid advice about political matters and assisted in messaging her belief that our policy in Libya was a glowing success.”

Gowdy went on to note the committee found the unvetted Libyan intelligence memos odd because State Department has its own intelligence bureau, in addition to the all-source intelligence analysis done by the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency.

Chairman Gowdy also announced that at this time the committee would honor its policy of not releasing transcripts from interviews to encourage full witness participation. He is scheduling a non-business meeting for Members to discuss the matter further in private.

“There are people who have appeared and will appear before the Select Committee who are not as politically connected as Mr. Blumenthal,” Gowdy said. “Those individuals deserve the confidence of knowing all committee transcripts will be treated the same without regard to the political connections of the witness.”

Several emails calls into question whether the intelligence and advice provided by Mr. Blumenthal was in fact unsolicited. These emails include:

BLU- 99:          Secretary Clinton solicits additional information before a meeting with TNC leaders

BLU- 130:        Secretary Clinton writes in response to memo: “This strains credulity based on what I know. Any other info about it?”

BLU- 142:        Secretary Clinton writes “Greetings from Kabul! And thanks for keeping this stuff coming!”

BLU- 151:        “Another keeper—thanks and please keep ‘em coming.”

BLU- 152:        Secretary Clinton notes, in response to an intel memo on the Libyan Prime Minister, “Fascinating. I had a very good call w[ith] him.”

Mr. Blumenthal not only passed along intelligence memos he did not author, but also qualified the information in them, despite the fact he never vetted the credibility of the sources or information. He also passed along candid advice about diplomatic matters and messaging strategy, in addition to planting stories regarding the Secretary’s role in Libya policy and the aftermath of the attacks in Benghazi. These emails include:

BLU-30:           “Cody . . . simply picked up the phone . . . and had a conversation with one of the key figures in the Libyan National Council that seeks to become an interim government . . .  Someone should contact Mahmoud Jipreel [sic].”

BLU-94:           “When Qaddafi himself is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation house . . .  The most important phrase is: ‘successful strategy.’”

BLU-107:         “H: Per our conversation. Jamie writes editorial… Sid”

BLU-165:         “H: Got done and published. Sid”

BLU-172:         “H: Got all this done. Complete refutation on Libya smear. Philippe can circulate this links. Sid”

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