New documents obtained by Judicial Watch raise questions about the role of Clinton Inc. in the Benghazi debacle, particularly the involvement of Bill Clinton and longtime Clinton hatchet man Sidney Blumenthal.
Mrs. Clinton, seeking to ease concerns about her ties to the Clintons’ powerful political machine, famously pledged as secretary of state-designate not to “participate personally and substantially” in matters relating to the Clinton Foundation or the Clinton Global Initiative. We now know that promise was swiftly broken. Blumenthal—a man so hated by the Obama White House that it banned the State Department from hiring him—was secretly put on Mrs. Clinton’s payroll in an arms-length arrangement funded by the Clinton Foundation and Clinton ally David Brock. Judicial Watch and the New York Post documented the deep ties between the Clinton State Department and Blumenthal here.
Blumenthal was active in Libyan affairs. He privately urged Mrs. Clinton to take a more aggressive military role in country and to claim more credit for Muammar Gaddafi’s downfall. He also promoted a Libya deal sought by U.S. defense contractor Osprey Global Solutions. Among Blumenthal’s many memos to Secretary of State Clinton are several that claim to possess an inside track to the thinking of the new Libyan president, Mohammed Magariaf.
According to the new Judicial Watch documents, while the Benghazi facilities were under attack on September 11, Clinton phoned Magariaf at 6:49 p.m. Washington time, asking the president “to provide additional security to the compound immediately as there is a gun battle going on, which I understand Ansar as-Sharia is claiming responsibility for.”
Three hours later, Clinton issued a statement blaming the attack on an Internet video: “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”
An hour later, at 11:11 pm, Clinton emailed her daughter: “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like group.”
Shortly after midnight, Clinton received a “Confidential” email from Blumenthal titled “Magariaf and the Attacks on Libya.” Citing intelligence gleaned from unnamed “senior advisers, including members of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood,” Blumenthal said Magariaf had been told the Benghazi and Tripoli attacks were inspired by a “a sacrilegious internet video on the prophet Mohammed.”
Blumenthal devotes most of the lengthy memo to defending Magariaf and weaving an elaborate conspiracy theory. Magariaf has “growing concerns,” he writes, about “current covert efforts by his political opponents to link him directly to foreign intelligence services. According to a separate sensitive source, el Magariaf noted that his opponents had often tried to connect him to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) through the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), a group…Magariaf led in the 1980s.”
According to this source, Blumenthal writes, “the attacks on the U.S. missions were as much a result of the atmosphere created by this campaign [to connect Magariaf to the CIA], as the controversial internet video.”
Magariaf is a Libyan patriot. He spent thirty years in exile, most of it in the United States, leading the NFSL, the main opposition group to Gaddafi. If he wasn’t closely connected to the CIA, somebody at Langley should be fired for dereliction of duty. But what master is Blumenthal serving here? Why carry water for the CIA–suggesting that Magariaf’s position is shaky because of his earlier putative loyalty to the agency–when the fires are still burning in Benghazi?
The day after the Benghazi killings, the Clinton Foundation received a sudden request. A senior Magariaf aide, Fathi Nuah, emails Amitabh Desai, the foundations director of foreign policy. Magariaf will be in New York for the UN General Assembly and wishes to “meet President Clinton and participate at the Clinton Global Initiative.”
Dr. Nuah also spent decades in exile in the United States, working in opposition to the Gaddafi regime. According to a recent biographical note, Dr. Nuah is “engaged in developing major business” in the Libyan “education, oil, construction and commerce sectors.” Was he also one of Blumenthal’s unnamed sources?
The Clinton Foundation’s Desai emails senior Clinton aide Cheryl Mills: “Would USG have concerns about Libyan President being invited to CGI? Odd timing, I know.”
Mills replies, copying to another senior Clinton aide, Jake Sullivan: “we would not have issues.”
Five days later, sounding a note of caution, Desai emails Mills and Sullivan again. Magariaf is seeking a private meeting with Bill Clinton. “Would you recommend accepting or declining the WJC meeting request?”
The email chain, first uncovered by Judicial Watch as the result of a federal court order in ongoing Freedom of Information Act litigation, is linked here.
The State Department apparently had no objection to the private meeting with the former president. On September 26, Desai emailed Mills, “He had a v good meeting with Libya.” Separately, in New York for the Clinton Global Initiative, Secretary of State Clinton met with Magariaf on September 24.
Sidney Blumenthal, recall, was a Clinton Foundation employee. What role did he play in brokering the meeting between Bill Clinton and the CIA-connected new Libyan president? What was discussed at the meeting? Why the sudden request from Magariaf the day after the Benghazi attacks, hours after Blumenthal’s memo went out to Mrs. Clinton?
Blumenthal also was a key advisor to the secretary of state. The Magariaf meetings in New York and Blumenthal’s Libya connections are further evidence that despite the Clintons’ pledges, there was no sunlight between Clinton Inc. and the Hillary Clinton State Department. Expect more of the same if Mrs. Clinton makes it to the White House.
First published at Judicial Watch’s Investigative Bulletin, April 21, 2016