Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, has told Elijah Cummings, his Democratic counterpart on the committee, that he will soon release 1,500 pages of new Hillary Clinton emails concerning Libya that the State Department recently turned over. A “small number” of them pertain to the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. compound, Gowdy said.
In his letter to Cummings, Gowdy also revealed that many of the emails in question involve Sid Blumenthal.
The contents of some of Hillary’s correspondence with Blumenthal, as described by Gowdy, help us understand (1) why she wanted to conduct State Department related business on a private server, (2) why she didn’t want to turn her emails over to the State Department when she left office, and (3) why the State Department withheld these particular documents from Gowdy’s committee for so long.
If Gowdy’s letter is correct, the latest batch of emails suggests that Clinton used her office to advance Blumenthal’s business interests in Libya. It also shows that she both received and sent (on her private server) an email that revealed the identity of a CIA source in Libya. Finally, it thereby confirms that, contrary to her insistence, she used the private server to send out classified information.
As to the first point, Gowdy states:
At the same time that Blumenthal was pushing Secretary Clinton to war in Libya, he was privately pushing a business interest of his own in Libya that stood to profit from contracts with the new Libyan government—a government that would exist only after a successful U.S. intervention in Libya that deposed Qaddafi.
We already knew about this from prior email exchanges. Blumenthal had a financial interest in Osprey Global Solutions, a security company that hoped to obtain contracts from a post-Qaddifi government. In addition, we already knew that Blumenthal was pushing Clinton for U.S. intervention in Libya knowing that such intervention would help produce a post-Qaddifi government with which Osprey might be able to do business.
But what’s new (as far as I know) is that Clinton apparently assisted Blumenthal in his effort to advance this financial interest. According to the Washington Free Beacon:
Emails. . .show that Clinton actively promoted security arrangements that might have benefited Osprey. Blumenthal told Clinton in an April 2011 email that Libyan revolutionary leaders were “considering the possibility of hiring private security firms to help train and organize their forces.”
Clinton forwarded that email to Sullivan, adding, “the idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered.”
To be sure, this constitutes only limited support. Moreover, Clinton might genuinely have thought that using private security experts was a good idea.
But Clinton’s favorable comment about private security can easily be viewed as an attempt to scratch the back of a person she has described as an old friend. Indeed, it seems unlikely that Clinton would have offered an opinion on this subject — which wasn’t yet ripe and isn’t within her area of expertise (as the Benghazi attack showed) — but for a desire to help her old friend “Sid Vicious.”
No wonder both Clinton and the State Department wanted to keep these emails under wraps.
The second new problem for Clinton is that, according to Gowdy’s letter, Blumenthal sent an email to Clinton’s personal address containing the name of a CIA source in Libya. Hillary then passed the email along to a colleague, using her private email system.
As Gowdy puts it: “This information, the name of a human source, is some of the most protected information in our intelligence community, the release of which could jeopardize not only national security but also human lives.” I agree with Ed Morrissey that this breach is worse than the disclosure during the Bush administration that Valerie Plame was with the CIA. Plame was basically a Washington, D.C. socialite. The CIA’s source in Libya was, in effect, a spy who faced the very real risk of being killed if his or her status became known.
Finally, the fact that Clinton passed along an email identifying a CIA source by name destroys whatever might be left of her claim that she never sent classified information from her private email address. It also destroys her fallback defense that she never sent information she had reason to know was classified at the time of transmission.
The identity of CIA human sources is classified and obviously so. Clinton certainly knew this.
One reason why Gowdy sent his letter to Cummings was to regain momentum for the hearings following Kevin McCarthy’s comments linking the Benghazi panel to Clinton’s falling poll numbers. Hillary Clinton is running for president; Kevin McCarthy is no longer even trying to become Speaker. Nor, as far as we know, is there an FBI investigation into possible wrongdoing by McCarthy.
It seems likely that before long, the focus will return to Hillary and her server.