Ex-aide Blumenthal emailed Hillary on Benghazi
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A close friend of former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Hillary Clinton: Voter suppression has led to 'crisis in democracy' in the US MORE sent her a memo initially blaming the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on an anti-Islamic video before walking that assertion back one day later, according to a batch of Hillary Clinton's emails released by The New York Times.  

Clinton received about 25 memos on Libya from Sidney Blumenthal, a former Clinton aide who had business dealings with the country’s transitional government. She forwarded some of those emails to her senior staff, in some cases asking them to act on the findings, without identifying him as the source.


One exchange between Clinton aide Jake Sullivan and Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who later died in the Benghazi attack, referred to Blumenthal only as “HRC friend.”

Blumenthal initially sent Clinton an email one day after the 2012 attacks that blamed them on “demonstrators … inspired by what many devout Libyans viewed as a sacrilegious internet video on the prophet Mohammed.” Clinton forwarded that email to Sullivan, her top foreign policy aide, calling it “more info.”

He sent a new memo the next day that told the secretary that “sensitive sources” believed it was actually a terrorist attack.

Clinton forwarded the second email to Sullivan, telling him, “we should get this around asap.”

Blumenthal, a former journalist, served in President Clinton’s White House as a special assistant to the president and has been a longtime Clinton loyalist. While Hillary Clinton wanted to bring him onto her team at State, President Obama’s top aides blocked him because of his attacks on the future president during the 2008 campaign, according to multiple reports.

Many Republican critics of the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi attacks have condemned the White House for initially blaming the attack on an anti-Islamic video.

Clinton sought to separate herself from Blumenthal’s emails during a brief media availability on Tuesday in Iowa, where she said her close friend occasionally sent her “unsolicited emails which I passed on in some instances.”

“I have many, many old friends, and I always think that it’s important when you get into politics to have friends you had before you were in politics and to understand what’s on their minds,” she said.

The latest batch of emails does not contain any evidence Clinton received classified information on her private email — the highest classification of messages was “sensitive but unclassified.” In some cases, those emails contain the location of American officials inside Libya and an email where Ambassador Stevens debated leaving Benghazi due to security concerns.

Clinton has faced significant scrutiny over revelations she used private email exclusively while serving as secretary. She turned over about half the emails on her private server to the State Department for review and release, and deleted the other half, which she deemed strictly personal 

The New York Times received about a third of the 850 emails already turned over to the House Select Committee on Benghazi by the State Department as part of its investigation. The committee has already subpoenaed a number of former Clinton aides, including Blumenthal, and Clinton is expected to testify once in front of the committee.  

Clinton called on the State Department to expedite the release of the emails on Tuesday while on the campaign trail in Iowa.

“I want those emails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do,” Clinton said, adding that the emails will help Americans learn about her time in Foggy Bottom. 

A federal judge ruled this week that the department could not wait until next year to release the email trove and, instead, must release emails on a rolling basis. That slow drip threatens to drag out the release over the months that Clinton is campaigning for president.