Hillary Clinton may have come out relatively unscathed from the recent House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing, but new emails released by the State Department suggest that she may have lied during her testimony — or at the very least misremembered some key details:
Newly released emails conflict with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 11-hour testimony before the Benghazi Select Committee, according to a review of the transcripts and public records.
One of the conflicts involves the role played by Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal.
Regarding the dozens of emails from him, which in many cases were forwarded to her State Department team, Clinton testified: “He’s a friend of mine. He sent me information he thought might be of interest. Some of it was, some of it wasn’t, some of it I forwarded to be followed up on. He had no official position in the government. And he was not at all my adviser on Libya.”
But a newly released email from February 2011 shows Blumenthal advocated for a no-fly zone over Libya, writing, “U.S. might consider advancing tomorrow. Libyan helicopters and planes are raining terror on cities.” The email was forwarded by Clinton to her deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan with the question, “What do you think of this idea?”
British Prime Minister Tony Blair subsequently advocated for a no-fly zone via an email to Clinton in March 2011, and she gather the support for it to be implemented.
A second email suggests that Blumenthal gathered intelligence for Clinton:
In another email from March 5, 2012, Clinton appears to use Blumenthal as what is known in intelligence circles as a “cut out,” a type of intermediary to gather information, allowing the policymaker plausible deniability. In this case, the emails focused on the increasingly chaotic and fragmenting political landscape in Libya after dictator Muammar Qaddafi was removed from power.
In the one-page document, Blumenthal writes that Jonathan Powell, a former senior British government adviser to Blair, is “trying to replicate what we did in Northern Ireland by setting up secret channels between insurgents and government, and then, where appropriate, developing these negotiations.” This type of backchannel discussion helped bring about the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland.
Clinton responded two hours later. “I’d like to see Powell when he’s in the building,” with her staff responding, “Will follow up.” In both instances, Clinton’s actions further undercut sworn testimony to the Select Committee that Blumenthal was “not at all my adviser on Libya.”
During her testimony, Clinton also told Rep. Mike Pompeo (R- Kan.) that the more than 600 security requests for diplomatic security never reacher her. However, the newly released emails show that a request for humanitarian aid sent by Ambassador Chris Stevens — who was killed in Sept. 11, 2012 attacks — did reach Clinton:
With the overthrow of Qadaffi, Stevens wrote that the Libyan opposition, known as the TNC, would soon release a statement saying it would “insure the delivery of essential services and commodities (esp. addressing the acute shortages of fuel, children’s milk, and medication for blood pressure and diabetes).”
Seventeen minutes later, Clinton responded, “Can we arrange shipments of what’s requested?”
While the request for humanitarian aid from Stevens did reach her office, during her testimony, Clinton emphasized, “Chris Stevens communicated regularly with the members of my staff. He did not raise security with the members of my staff. I communicated with him about certain issues. He did not raise security with me. He raised security with the security professionals.”
It looks like someone’s memory is failing her.