By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
The mainstream media appear eager to distract from the substantive issues raised by the email scandals continuing to plague Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. One example is the media’s focus on the timeline surrounding a Select Committee on Benghazi subpoena for her emails, and when those emails were deleted. As I recently argued, the media wish that these stories about Mrs. Clinton were not true. Most reporters cannot fathom, or will not acknowledge, that she routinely lies to the public about her activities—and those of the Clinton Foundation—while stonewalling both the press and the public.
The repeated revelations that Mrs. Clinton has been lying are apparently affecting her standing in the polls. Politico is now reporting that in the past couple of months she has dropped from having the support of 60% of Democrats, to now having just 51%. And that is before Vice President Joe Biden enters the race, which many signs indicate may happen in the not-too-distant future.
Ron Fournier of The National Journal captured the sentiment of many journalists in his recent letter to Mrs. Clinton, which, he writes, is based on interviews with those who are close to her. “Which brings us to the matter of trust,” he writes in their voice. “Hillary, this makes us want to cry. We can’t figure out why you would compromise the most important commodity of leadership over such banalities.” Fournier continues on to discuss the Clinton Foundation’s inexcusable conflicts of interest and the email scandal.
But while, according to Fournier, some of Clinton’s supporters may have decided that Mrs. Clinton is her own main obstacle to gaining the presidency, the media continue to attempt to salvage her campaign by whatever means possible. Andy McCarthy, writing for National Review, said that “when Benghazi came up in a one-on-one media interview setting, CNN couldn’t bring itself to call Mrs. Clinton on an obvious lie.”
“Plus, it was [Brianna] Keilar who brought up the subject of the subpoena, so one has to assume she did a modicum of research—which is all it would have taken to be ready to challenge Clinton’s false assertion,” writes McCarthy. “Yet, in the context of being asked about her destruction of emails from her private server, Clinton was permitted to tell the public she had not been subpoenaed. …she was able to frame suspicions that she has willfully obstructed probes of the Benghazi Massacre as outlandish.”
The Washington Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler awarded Mrs. Clinton three Pinocchios for stating on CNN that “Everything I did was permitted by law and regulation.” However, like so many in the media, Kessler focused on minutiae, the technical details of whether government regulations permitted Mrs. Clinton to use private email exclusively.
The real implications of Clinton’s email scandal are not whether government regulations allowed her to use her own private email account, exclusively or otherwise. Rather, Mrs. Clinton’s actions demonstrate that she unilaterally flouted a transparency process designed to provide the public with the ability to hold her accountable for her work as Secretary of State. In the process, she jeopardized national security and may have hidden pay-for-play schemes involving the Clinton Foundation. Plus, in light of the recent revelations about the cyber-hacking of the government’s Office of Personnel Management, it is very likely that the Chinese or the Russians, or both, have possession of every one of Mrs. Clinton’s emails.
The UK Guardian writes that Cherie Blair’s emails to Mrs. Clinton show that Mrs. Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, “appears to be acting directly as a fixer for the Qatari ruling dynasty.”
“Three years after the successful lobbying effort a Qatari-government backed telecommunications [firm] donated an undisclosed amount to Mrs. Blair’s own charity for women,” reports Raf Sanchez for The UK Telegraph.
“Meanwhile, the Qatari government was also giving millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, Bill Clinton’s global charity,” writes Sanchez. “Charity records show that Qatar gave between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation while the controversial committee behind Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid donated up to $500,000 further.”
Jennifer Rubin, writing for the Post, says that her emails expose Mrs. Clinton as “immersed in a web of cronies and hacks.”
“She solicits Sid Blumenthal for advice, and not just on Libya,” continued Rubin. An August 9, 2009 email from Blumenthal appears to pass along a suggestion for a Clinton Global Initiative forum by Shaun Woodward, UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Blumenthal writes that he has already gotten Bill Clinton’s approval, and asks Hillary to “let me know how to move this forward.”
Blumenthal received $10,000 a month from the Clinton Foundation starting that year.
A couple of months earlier Blumenthal writes regarding Woodward that “he told me things you would in my judgment want and need to hear because they will likely involve your personal role.”
“I think you should step in and ask him to tell you directly,” Blumenthal continues.
“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email,” Mrs. Clinton told the press this spring.
To the contrary, at least 25 of the emails that Mrs. Clinton did not delete have been upgraded to classified status by the State Department.
While technically that may not constitute having sent or received classified information through the personal email server located at her home in Chappaqua, New York, it does reveal that she certainly trafficked in sensitive information. We also learned recently that she had edited some of the emails that were handed over to the State Department, long past due. And she hadn’t handed over other emails that were clearly State Department-related business, though she had claimed that she had. That was discovered through the additional emails Blumenthal provided to the Select Committee on Benghazi when he testified before the Committee last month.
In addition, Mrs. Clinton has publicly acknowledged having self-selected and deleted approximately 30,000 emails that she deemed personal, and had the server wiped clean so that it could not be independently verified that they all were, in fact, personal. Who wouldn’t trust Hillary?
It’s impossible to know what information has been withheld by the State Department. However, here are just a couple of topics discussed in those emails containing now-classified information:
- Background for a call to America’s international allies discussing the May 24, 2009 North Korean nuclear test;
- Discussions with family members of journalists detained in North Korea; and
- A readout from a call with Tony Blair while he was still representing the Quartet, which mediates the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Mrs. Clinton’s ongoing efforts at deception have become so commonplace that perhaps reporters don’t believe that her lies and conflicts of interest deserve regular front-page treatment. Instead they write articles about how the GOP is trying to “vilify” her using her own falsehoods. The drive-by media may be disappointed in their attempts to save Hillary because the slow drip, drip release of her emails will repeatedly force them to confront these real issues, like it or not.
By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
Accuracy in Media
Exclusive to Accuracy in Media
Until Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) revealed last week that his Benghazi Select Committee was investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for her official State Department communications, no one had a good explanation for why none of the Congressional committees that had previously investigated Benghazi had ever cited a single Hillary Clinton email in their reports.
Congressional Democrats had been pooh-poohing Gowdy’s investigation, claiming that all the important questions about Benghazi had been “asked and answered” by previous committees.
Now the best that Gowdy’s counterpart, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), can do is object to subpoenas (especially when they are issued to Hillary Clinton in person, through Counsel), and to huff and puff about the investigation becoming a “surrogate” for the “Republican National Committee.”
What a change a single revelation can bring.
We now learn that Hillary Clinton not only used a private server, maintained at her Chappaqua, New York home for official communications, but that she never used a government email at all. Not once.
No [email protected], or [email protected] or anything of the kind. Just multiple accounts on her family server, clintonemail.com, including [email protected], the same address used by former Clinton White House aide Sidney Blumenthal to communicate with her on Benghazi and related matters.
Federal prosecutors recently finished up their case against former CIA Director David Petraeus, who was conveniently forced to resign just three days after the November 2012 elections, before he could clarify what he knew about Benghazi. (Given that Petraeus had just returned from a September 2, 2012 trip to Ankara, Turkey, where he had been trying to tamp down publicity due to an arms shipment from Benghazi to the Syrian rebels, he certainly knew a lot.)
In a widely criticized decision, they forced him to plea bargain one count of a misdemeanor in exchange for dropping more serious charges. The full extent of the FBI’s case against Petraeus involved him sharing personal, hand-written notebooks with his biographer.
Prosecutors noted that the CIA had installed a SCIF—a specialized high-security area—in his Arlington, Virginia home where he could safely store classified materials brought home from the CIA. That facility was dismantled by the CIA without incident two months after Petraeus resigned from the Agency.
The prosecutors never accused Petraeus of improperly storing U.S. government classified materials either in the SCIF or elsewhere. Nor did they accuse him of sending classified materials over an unsecure server.
If they could prosecute Petraeus on one count of improperly handling classified material (he kept those personal notebooks in a rucksack in his attic), one can only speculate how many thousand counts of mishandling classified information could be brought against Mrs. Clinton. Of course, she denies having sent classified information over her personal server, but in that case how did she communicate on classified matters with her envoys and subordinates?
Was the private server at her residence designed, installed, and maintained by a U.S. government security agency? Was it connected to the government’s Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) and physically separated from the open Internet?
The Sid Blumenthal memos, sent from his AOL account to Hillary’s private email server, suggest that this was not the case. If so, the former Secretary of State was breaking the law—big time.
When the memos first surfaced in 2013—posted to the Internet by a Romanian hacker known as “Guccifer” —neither the State Department nor their purported author acknowledged their authenticity. Given that they initially surfaced on the website of Russia Today, Vladimir Putin’s reliably anti-American TV network, that was enough to consign them to oblivion as yet another Internet hoax.
Now we learn that former CIA official Tyler Drumheller apparently helped to gather the “intel” that Blumenthal sent to Hillary on the Benghazi attacks and other political developments inside Libya.
This is extremely significant because the initial memo sent by Blumenthal, dated September 12, 2012, cites “a sensitive source,” who purportedly met with Libyan President Magarief shortly after the attacks began and claimed that a YouTube video sparked the “protest” against the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
Magarief himself never said such a thing, although the memo is worded to suggest that he did. He blew up when he heard Susan Rice make that claim on the Sunday talk shows after the attack, as I write on pages 347 and 348 of Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi.
Drumheller became infamous for several earlier pieces of disinformation. As European Division chief at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in 2001 and 2002, he was the one who planted the phony evidence about the Niger uranium contract that was later used by the media during the Valerie Plame affair to claim that George W. Bush had “lied” about Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs. On three separate occasions, he passed the Niger information up the food chain as validated intelligence, when the CIA had been warned that it was not (see page 63 of my book Shadow Warriors).
Then-CIA Director George Tenet was so fed up with Drumheller that he spent seven full pages in his memoir debunking claims by Drumheller regarding the defector known as CURVEBALL that Tenet said were simply untrue.
Drumheller and Sid Blumenthal have a history together. In 2007, Blumenthal used Drumheller as a source to “prove” that Bush had “lied” about pre-war intelligence on Iraqi WMD. Drumheller and Blumenthal went on to work in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008.
So was the Guccifer/Blumenthal memo intended as disinformation, written after Hillary Clinton put out her statement on the night of the attacks blaming them on a YouTube video? Or was it actually the source of Hillary’s false claim about the video, written and sent by someone on the ground in Libya who was attempting to plant the story?
Many reporters, myself included, have submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the State Department, asking for all documents and communications that would show how Mrs. Clinton’s statement came to be worded as it was finally released. Where are all the drafts? Who commented on them? What did it say initially? How was it changed? By whom?
We have much of that information for the Susan Rice talking points, but nothing at all for Hillary Clinton’s statement on the evening of the attacks.
Given that there is not a single mention of a protest or the YouTube video in all the documents released to Congress, which included real-time communications from Tripoli and Benghazi from the State Department and CIA that night, exactly how Mrs. Clinton came up with that idea could provide key insight into what actually happened in Benghazi, and why.