In March, an investigation by ProPublica and Gawker revealed that a “secret spy network” that was not on the State Department payroll, run by longtime Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal, was “funneling intelligence about the crisis in Libya directly to the Secretary of State’s private account starting before the Benghazi attack.” Now the WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA’s clandestine service in Europe who was working directly with Blumenthal as a member of Clinton’s spy network, was concurrently working as a consultant to CBS News and its venerable news program 60 Minutes.
According to WEEKLY STANDARD sources, Drumheller was active in shaping the network’s Benghazi coverage. His role at the network raises questions about what went wrong with the retracted 60 Minutes report on Benghazi that aired in October 2013. Despite his former life as a high ranking CIA official, Drumheller was laden with political baggage, making him a curious choice to be consulting with a major news operation—especially so given that he was working directly with Sidney Blumenthal, whose primary occupation appears to be manipulating media coverage on behalf of the Clintons.
CBS does not deny that Drumheller was working with the network, though a CBS spokesman would only say, "Tyler Drumheller was not involved in any way on the Benghazi story." CBS was also asked if the network understood he was helping Blumenthal prepare reports on Libya for Secretary of State Clinton at the same time he was working with the network. Additionally, THE WEEKLY STANDARD asked CBS to clarify if Drumheller otherwise involved in the network's coverage sensitive national security issues while he was also apparently working on Hillary Clinton's behalf. Finally, CBS News was asked if they had done any internal review to determine whether Drumheller had influenced coverage in a way that may have unfairly benefited Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration, since the public revelation of his conflict of interest. CBS did not clarify whether their statement that Drumheller was not involved "on the Benghazi story" referred specifically to the controversial Lara Logan report for 60 Minutes or CBS's coverage of the Benghazi scandal generally. The network was given an opportunity to address these specific questions and actively declined to expand on their terse statement.
Drumheller left the CIA in 2005, and he quickly became a darling of the left. On departing the agency, he told a congressional committee that he knew sources the CIA were relying on to document the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were flawed. He later wrote a book portraying himself as a crusader within the CIA who tried, to no avail, to warn his supervisors that the case for war in Iraq was badly flawed. He also became a source for journalists critical of the Iraq war, including the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. In 2006, 60 Minutes broadcast a favorable profile of Drumheller, titled “A Spy Speaks Out.” From there, Drumheller’s relationship with CBS News developed into a professional arrangement.
From the beginning, there were rumblings that Drumheller’s account of what happened leading up to the Iraq war was self-serving and inaccurate. In 2007, former CIA director George Tenet—who headed the agency under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—published a memoir, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA. Tenet took several pages of the book to attack Drumheller’s claims in detail, explicitly questioning his honesty and even citing the recollections of other agency employees to poke glaring holes in Drumheller’s recounting of events.