By Monica Crowley, Wednesday, March 18, 2015
We all know that the only reason you would deliberately and premeditatedly set up a private email address and server is to have total control over your communications — to keep people away from those communications and to retain the ability to edit and delete your content.
In Hillary Clinton’s case, given her long history of concealment and duplicity, total control was the system’s purpose, not to keep track of Chelsea’s bridal gift registry.
A story originally reported in 2013 (and little-noticed at the time) may offer a deeper dimension to the reasons she wanted this control — and it leaves us with many new, unanswered questions.
First, a step back: In order to understand this Hillary scandal, you must understand her pattern in past scandals. And you must understand the man at the center of so many of them: Sidney Blumenthal.
Mr. Blumenthal is the Clintons’ longtime and fiercely loyal political hit man. He orchestrated many of the sleaziest attacks on Clinton opponents, including smearing Monica Lewinsky as a “stalker” at Mrs. Clinton’s request. His mastery of the dark arts was so notorious that it may have been the reason Mr. Obama pointedly denied Mrs. Clinton’s request to appoint him to a special, official role in her State Department.
But Mrs. Clinton has never been one to take “no” for an answer. It now appears that despite Mr. Obama’s order, Mr. Blumenthal may have still served Mrs. Clinton’s political and policy needs, but in a shadowy, non-official capacity.
Mr. Blumenthal apparently sent numerous emails to Mrs. Clinton immediately after the Benghazi attack on Sept. 11, 2012. Those emails were hacked allegedly by the hacker Guccifer (whom some claim is actually Romanian intelligence) in March 2013.
Guccifer released a screenshot of what it claimed is Mrs. Clinton’s private email inbox, chock-full of emails from Mr. Blumenthal to her firstname.lastname@example.org address. The website Gawker then published the screenshot, complete with subject lines and dates of the Blumenthal emails. Gawker noticed that Mrs. Clinton was using a private account and alerted the State Department.
Interestingly, given concerns about the vulnerability of her server, The Russian Times then published four lengthy emails from Mr. Blumenthal to Mrs. Clinton. Perhaps they are neither real nor accurate, but they should be investigated.
In true Clintonian fashion, the story then disappeared.
But take a closer look. The hacked emails from Mr. Blumenthal to Mrs. Clinton, assuming they are authentic, show some of the following subject lines:
• 9/12/12 Magarif and the Attack On U.S. In Libya (day after attack)
• 10/6/12 Libya Cabinet Meeting
• 12/8/12 Intel Badie, Morsi, Opposition (Note: Badie was the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt)
• 12/10/12 Libya, Benghazi, Oil
• 12/11/12 Latest Benghazi Intel
• 12/18/12 Latest Intel Morsi
• 1/4/13 HIGHLY IMPORTANT: Comprehensive Intel Report On
• 1/15/13 Latest Libya Intel, Government Discussions At High Levels
• 1/19/13 Latest French Intel On Algeria Hostage
• 2/16/13 Algeria/Libya/Terrorism
It appears that Mr. Blumenthal had moved from handling matters of stained dresses to matters of national security. He suggests he is in contact with the highest levels of foreign intelligence, including in Libya, Algeria and France.
What was the Clintons’ hatchet man really doing? How did he cultivate such sensitive intelligence sources, and on whose orders? Why was he apparently hip-deep in intelligence matters while his close friend was secretary of state?
Was the real reason Mrs. Clinton created a private communications system because she planned to run her own intelligence operation via Mr. Blumenthal, away from the prying eyes of the president, his White House, the intelligence and diplomatic communities, Congress, the press and the American people?
Was she essentially freelancing some national security policy, operating outside normal channels?
Did she set up this private system because she didn’t trust the Obama team to provide the intelligence that she needed or wanted?
Further, was it arranged so she could run her own intelligence operations? After Benghazi, it was reported that she had been so obsessed with overthrowing Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi that Mr. Obama simply gave her the Libya portfolio. Her role in the result — Gadhafi’s assassination and the subsequent Islamist-induced chaos, leading to the Benghazi attack — would likely be something she’d want under her control. And if it proves true that Ambassador Christopher Stevens was overseeing a covert gunrunning operation from Benghazi to Syrian rebels on Mrs. Clinton’s watch, wouldn’t she want to keep that under her control, too?
The Russian “reset” was also her portfolio. Was Mr. Blumenthal running secret back channels with Moscow for her? And with Tehran over the nuclear negotiations?
If Mr. Blumenthal were, in fact, overseeing this operation, how was he compensated? By Mrs. Clinton privately, by the Clinton Foundation, or by some other murky source?
Did Mrs. Clinton turn over the Blumenthal emails to the State Department, or were they among the deleted?
Is Mr. Blumenthal on anyone’s subpoena list?
His messages to her secret email account seem to indicate that she was using it for something more than arranging her yoga schedule.
These questions need answers.
If she did not circumvent the president, our intelligence and diplomatic agencies, and the law, then she should be ready, willing and able to reveal all.
But if she did, that might explain why she’s been so dodgy and defensive.
What say you, Mrs. Clinton? What were you and your personal El Sid really up to?
• Monica Crowley is online opinion editor at The Washington Times.
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