Ex-Clinton aide didn't write Benghazi memos

Ex-Clinton aide didn't write Benghazi memos

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe road not taken: Another FBI failure involving the Clintons surfaces DHS cyber agency to prioritize election security, Chinese threats ABC chose a debate moderator who hates Trump MORE's close adviser Sidney Blumenthal did not personally author or verify any of the memos he sent her about Libya or the Benghazi siege, according to the head of a House panel investigating the 2012 attacks.

"What we learned today is he’s not the author of a single one of those memos. He was passing on information authored by someone else and he has no idea about the credibility or reliability of any of the sources," House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyRising star Ratcliffe faces battle to become Trump's intel chief Cummings announces expansion of Oversight panel's White House personal email probe, citing stonewalling Pelosi says it's up to GOP to address sexual assault allegation against Trump MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters on Tuesday.

"So, the information passed on to the secretary of State, he didn’t vet and we don’t know if anybody vetted it," he added.

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Gowdy's comments came after the panel finished a nearly nine-hour deposition of Blumenthal.

The chairman said the closed-door interview revealed that the information came from a single source, who was also known to Clinton.

However, he declined to identify that person or what their position might have been. Gowdy said the panel "might" call that individual in to testify.

Tyler Drumheller, a former CIA officer, was identified as an author of some of the memos Blumenthal forwarded in reports by Politico and Bloomberg.

Reading from a prepared statement to reporters minutes later, Blumenthal said he “testified about sending some reports written by a respected former high ranking CIA official I thought might be informative to the secretary for her to use or not as she saw fit.”

He declined to answer questions about the person’s identity.

Blumenthal's attorney, James Cole, also did not answer a question about whether Drumheller authored any of the memos.

The new revelations come after Blumenthal last week handed over nearly 60 previously undisclosed emails between himself and Clinton to the congressional panel.

The State Department last month released nearly 300 emails from Clinton’s private server that showed she received about 25 memos from Blumenthal regarding Libya while she was secretary of State.

Gowdy said Tuesday that Blumenthal was “simply and merely a conduit of someone who, it’s still unclear, but very well may have had business interest in Libya.”

The formal federal prosecutor hammered away at the fact that while Clinton may have known the author of the memos, she may not have known how the individual compiled his or her intelligence.

Gowdy said that Clinton should have forward the emails to the Central Intelligence Agency, instead of sending them on to staff or replying with statements that encouraged Blumenthal so send more missives.

“There were several instances where she said, 'keep it coming,' 'good stuff,'" Gowdy said.

For his part, Blumenthal said he also testified about a “humanitarian assistance idea for medial care in which I had little involvement, never got off the ground, and which no money was ever exchanged, no favor sought and which has nothing to do with my sending these emails.”

He said he was also asked about his work with the Clinton Foundation, “which also has nothing whatsoever to do with my emails to my friend."

Blumenthal said the developments were “mostly old news” as his personal email was hacked two years ago.

“My testimony has shed no light on the events at Benghazi nor could it because I have no firsthand knowledge of what happened there,” he told reporters.

Blumenthal said that many of the questions had to do with politics, in some cases dating back as far as the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.

“I am longtime friend of Hillary Clinton. It seems obvious that my appearance before this committee was for one reason, and one reason only, and that reason is politics,” he said.

Blumenthal's remarks capped a long day where panel Democrats repeatedly called on the GOP to make public the latest batch of documents, as well as the transcript of his deposition.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the panel's ranking member said the memos contained "no smoking gun," a characterization Gowdy took umbrage with.

“It’s not a gun case, why would there be a smoking gun?” he said. “I don’t understand that colloquialism. Is that the only reason you talk to somebody is because you’re looking for a smoking knife or a smoking gun?

“Can you just not build a mosaic, build a record to make things as complete as possible?” Gowdy added.

Gowdy said he was “open-minded” about releasing the emails immediately but resisted tying that decision to the transcript, noting the select committee had not done so in previous depositions.

Democrats also repeated their charges that the panel’s investigation is now solely meant to hamstring Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“If this witness weren't close to the Clintons, there's no way he'd be here today. This is all about GOP efforts to try to attack a likely Democratic nominee for president,” said Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: YouTube disables 200+ accounts over Hong Kong misinformation | Lawmakers sound alarm over Chinese influence efforts | DHS cyber agency details priorities | State AGs get tough on robocalls | DOJ busts online scammers Nadler asks other House chairs to provide records that would help panel in making impeachment decision YouTube disables over 200 accounts amid protests in Hong Kong MORE (Calif.), who also serves as ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee.

“I fail to see how we’re playing politics by talking to someone who sent a large number of memos to the top diplomat we had during the relative time period,” Gowdy countered.

He said he had “no opinion” on if Tuesday’s proceedings would influence voters’ view of the Democratic frontrunner.

“My interest is in the past, not the future. I’m trying to figure out what happened to four Americans in Benghazi,” Gowdy said.

This story was updated at 9:23 p.m.