Jun 8, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 37 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
A little more than three hours after the State Department released 848 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails, the Daily Beast had seen enough to render its judgment: “Sorry GOP. There’s No Smoking Gun In Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Emails.” The subhead: “Conspiracy-minded conservatives, be warned: The trove of Clinton emails doesn’t prove much about her culpability for the infamous 9/11 anniversary attacks.”
It’s the media version of Frank Drebin: Please disperse, there’s nothing to see here. Trey Gowdy, pack your bags and go home.
Of course, no one actually believed that this batch of emails would produce a smoking gun on Benghazi. Hillary Clinton has sought to avoid public scrutiny of her emails since before she was sworn in as secretary of state. When she did turn over some of her emails to the State Department, it was Clinton and her lawyers who decided which ones they would make available and which they would withhold. While it might be useful for Clinton defenders to pretend otherwise, there was no expectation that Clinton would voluntarily share incriminating emails, especially now, in the first weeks of her presidential campaign.
Yet for journalists interested in reporting on Clinton’s emails rather than hastily exonerating their author, the hundreds of pages released last week included a number of disclosures, some of them inadvertent, that raise new questions about Hillary Clinton, the State Department, Libya, the Benghazi attacks, and presidential politics. The good news: Some journalists are looking for answers. And so are the investigators who work for the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Sidney Blumenthal is at the heart of those new questions. A noted conspiracy monger and longtime Clinton confidant, Blumenthal provided Clinton a steady stream of outside intelligence on Libya while she was secretary of state. Some of his information was accurate and some of it was not, but Clinton thought enough of Blumenthal to circulate his reports to top State Department advisers, sometimes with notes ordering them to take some kind of action in response. Clinton downplayed the Blumenthal emails as “unsolicited” thoughts from an old friend. That doesn’t quite capture the dynamic.
For Blumenthal, friendship with the Clintons came with considerable benefits. Blumenthal had been banned from State Department employment by the Obama administration, and it appears that if he couldn’t collect a government check for advising the Clintons, he would collect one from the Clintons directly. Politico’s Ken Vogel reports that Blumenthal was paid $10,000 a month as an employee of the Clinton Foundation from 2009 to 2013 and the same sum as a consultant after he left the payroll in 2013 through March 2015. According to the New York Times, Blumenthal had access to private intelligence on Libya because he was advising “business associates . . . as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government.”
The deteriorating security situation in Libya generally, and Benghazi specifically, was a dominant theme in the emails. Clinton defenders have sought to insulate her from criticism of inadequate security before the attacks by suggesting that decisions about security for U.S. diplomatic personnel were made well below her level. There are many reasons to be skeptical of those claims. The emails make clear that Clinton was deeply involved in virtually every aspect of Libya policy; one internal State Department email lays out the many ways she drove administration decision-making on Libya. Was Clinton a deeply engaged, hands-on manager of every aspect of Libya policy other than security?
If Clinton wasn’t involved in security decisions, the emails make clear that she should have been. Reports that Clinton received and circulated, from both official and unofficial channels, demonstrate the dire security challenges for Americans in Libya.
7:52 AM, May 27, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Kentucky senator Rand Paul says the "hawks" in the Republican party helped create and grow the Islamic State terrorist group. Paul, who is running for president, appeared Wednesday morning on MSNBC, where host Joe Scarborough asked him about fellow senator Lindsey Graham's own likely White House bid.
"Graham would say ISIS exists because of people like Rand Paul who said, 'Let's not go into Syria.' What do you say to Lindsey?" said Scarborough.
3:27 PM, May 22, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Hillary Clinton was forwarded an article a month after the terrorist attack on Benghazi that killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens that quoted Stevens's father. In the October 14, 2012, Bloomberg article, Jan Stevens, the late ambassador's father, was quoted saying that it would be "abhorrent" to make his son's death a political issue in the presidential campaign.
8:44 AM, May 21, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
A small batch of newly released Hillary Clinton emails show that the then-secretary of state was exchanging sensitive information on her home brew server.
"The Times obtained about a third of the 850 pages of emails. They appear to back up Mrs. Clinton’s previous assertions that she did not receive classified information at her private email address," the New York Times reports.
Midwifing democracy is not an Obama priority.May 11, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 33 • By ANN MARLOWE
‘Why does the United States fight terror in Syria, Iraq, and Africa but not in Libya?” Idris al Magreibi, 40, a tall, lightly bearded member of Libya’s House of Representatives in Tobruk, was pacing the floor in the offices of the Libyan Mission to the United Nations as he raised the question. He spoke in Arabic, and a member of the mission served as interpreter.
5:55 PM, Apr 20, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Bill de Blasio is trying to insert himself into the foreign policy arena. The New York City mayor, more specifically, has commented on the deaths of refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
"Drowning deaths off Libya are a man-made tragedy. EU must get serious about tackling the problem at the root and caring for those at home," de Blasio says on Twitter.
1:48 PM, Jan 28, 2015 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Two gunmen entered the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli Tuesday morning. When their shooting rampage was over, at least ten people had been killed. For jihadists in Libya, the hotel was an inviting target. Foreign diplomats, Western tourists and officials from Libya’s rival governments are known to frequent it. Indeed, the victims were five foreigners, including an American, and five Libyans.
10:51 AM, Dec 19, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Concerned Veterans for America has launched a new video series on the failures of the Obama administration's foreign policy doctrine of "leading from behind." The launch begins with Libya as a case study in what's gone wrong with U.S. foreign relations. Watch the video below:
An ongoing intelligence failure Dec 15, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 14 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES and THOMAS JOSCELYN
After a long day on November 13, 2013, Speaker of the House John Boehner walked down the marble hallways of the Longworth House Office Building to the personal office of Representative Devin Nunes for a drink, a cigarette, and maybe a brief reprieve.
Hosted by Michael Graham.2:45 PM, Sep 17, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on the House Select Committee on Benghazi's hearings, and the status of U.S. policy on combatting ISIS.
8:04 AM, Sep 11, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
A largely overlooked posting on the White House's Twitter account the very day of the assault on the U.S.
Or is it a U.S. 'residential compound'?8:13 AM, Sep 1, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Here's video reportedly of Libyan rebels swimming (and doing a belly-flop) in the U.S. embassy pool in Tripoli:
And here's the raw video from the embassy:
4:46 PM, Aug 27, 2014 • By WHITNEY BLAKE
With lawmakers ratcheting up pressure on Obama to take action in Syria, few in the administration have been paying close attention to Libya, apparently.
6:00 AM, Aug 1, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
A key figure in the security failures surrounding the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya is fighting alongside members of Ansar al Sharia, which is one of the terrorist groups responsible for the assault on the U.S. mission and annex that night.