A Hillary Clinton confidante and informal adviser used his direct access to the then-secretary of state to promote his business interests in Libya during that country’s 2011 unrest, newly released documents reveal.
According to a letter from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), chairman of the House panel investigating the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, Clinton internally raised the possibility of employing American security contractors, one of which Sidney Blumenthal had a direct financial interest in.
In a letter last week to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), the ranking Democrat on the Benghazi committee, Gowdy also reveals that Blumenthal, who frequently emailed Clinton regarding the security situation in Libya, sent an email to Clinton’s personal address containing the name of a Central Intelligence Agency source in Libya.
"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," Gowdy wrote.
"Armed with that information, Secretary Clinton forwarded the email to a colleague—debunking her claim that she never sent any classified information from her private email address," Gowdy noted.
That apparent breach of sensitive information and Blumenthal’s attempts to get Clinton on board with efforts to secure Libyan government contracts for his company "raise the likelihood that the Committee will need to bring back Sidney Blumenthal to reopen his deposition," Gowdy wrote.
The new revelations were contained in a batch of 1,500 emails from Clinton provided to the committee last month. According to Gowdy, 500 pages of those emails were to or from Blumenthal.
Blumenthal frequently emailed Clinton with intelligence reports on the situation in Libya gleaned through what has been described as an off-the-books "spy network."
"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," Gowdy wrote.
Among the newly revealed emails were a pair of messages from July 2011 in which Blumenthal described efforts to secure Libyan government contracts for Osprey Global Solutions, a company in which Blumenthal has admitted to having a financial interest.
Blumenthal warned Clinton that French companies were looking to scoop up security contracts from the Transitional National Council, the revolutionary government of the Libyan resistance, and plugged Osprey’s ability to be an American counterweight.
"It puts Americans in a central role without being direct battle combatants," Blumenthal wrote of Osprey’s TNC contract. He described his efforts in "putting this arrangement together through a series of connections, linking the Libyans to Osprey and keeping it moving."
Clinton forwarded that message to Jake Sullivan, her deputy chief of staff, and asked to discuss it later.
Emails also show that Clinton actively promoted security arrangements that might have benefitted 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."
Gowdy shared that information in an effort to defend the Benghazi Committee’s work in the wake of comments from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) that, Democrats claim, suggests political motivations for the committee’s investigation into Clinton and activities concerning the Benghazi attacks.
Gowdy slammed Cummings in his letter for reversing his calls for all of Clinton’s relevant emails to be made public by failing to join the committee in its attempts to make sure that none of the emails were missing.
"Only in Washington, D.C. can both the author of the emails and the ranking member of a committee call for the disclosure of all relevant emails and then complain that all relevant emails were disclosed," wrote Gowdy.
Gowdy said that his Democratic colleagues on the committee have a "complete lack of interest in gathering any facts whatsoever."
"Your Democrat colleagues and you have contributed nothing substantively to the committee’s investigation over the past seventeen months—you have not requested a single new witness interview nor have you made one single document request to any Executive Branch agency," wrote Gowdy.
Gowdy also charged that Democratic committee members rarely show up for witness interviews, and stay "only long enough to apologize to the witness, ask questions about Secretary Clinton, and then address the media."
Gowdy acknowledges that Cummings is "under extreme pressure" from Democrats to "act as an apologist and defense attorney for this Administration."
"Your duty as Ranking Member of this Committee has not been to the American public, but to your Democrat colleagues and to the Administration, including former Secretary Clinton," wrote Gowdy.
"I was hopeful that we could rise above the din of partisanship and show America that Congress can in fact serve American interests in the aftermath of tragedy," wrote Gowdy. "But it takes two to accomplish that objective, and your continued actions as a defense lawyer for the Administration have rendered my hope false."
Although Gowdy doubts that Cummings will change course, he called on Cummings to "rise above" political pressures.
"You may, and no doubt will, attempt to continue characterizing our motives however you feel may be politically expedient for the Democrats," wrote Gowdy.
"I hope you are finally able to rise above the political pressures you face and remember why we are here: the promises we made more than a year ago to the families of our fallen heroes."