In her appearance before the House Benghazi Committee today, committee chairman Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) accused former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of being more accessible to long-time confidante Sidney Blumenthal than to the late Ambassador Chris Stevens, after it emerged that Stevens did not have Clinton’s e-mail address.
Gowdy reminded Clinton that President Obama’s team had barred Blumenthal from working for the administration when he took office, and had subsequently found employment at the Clinton Foundation. From there, he sent Clinton a series of self-interested “intelligence memos” on Libya, despite having no expertise on the country — memos which Clinton had aides forward to Stevens, “Our ambassador [Stevens] was asked to read and respond to Sidney Blumenthal’s drivel,” Gowdy said during a congressional hearing. “It was sent to him to read and react to, in some instances on the very same day he was asking for security. So I think it is eminently fair to ask why Sidney Blumenthal had unfettered access to you, madam secretary, with whatever he wanted to talk about, and there is not a single, solitary e-mail to or from you, to or from Ambassador Stevens.”
Clinton told lawmakers that Stevens, unlike Blumenthal, did not have her personal e-mail address. “If Ambassador Stevens had grave concerns that he wanted raised with me, he certainly knew how to do that,” she said, adding later that “he did not” ask for her personal e-mail address.
She also argued that Blumenthal’s Libya memos had intelligence value, although she insisted that he did not advise her. “Both Chris Stevens and Gene Cretz [a career diplomat serving in Libya] found some of the information interesting, far more than I could, because they knew some of the characters who were being mentioned and they were the ones — the kind of person with the expertise that I asked to evaluate to see whether there was any useful information,” Clinton said.
— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.