Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sidney Blumenthal Fathers Yet Another Clinton Scandal

My article in today's FrontPage magazine:

Sid Vicious #1 (L) and Sid Vicious #2 (R),
or is it the other way around?

Sidney Blumenthal Fathers Yet Another Clinton Scandal

By Matthew Vadum

Longtime Clinton attack dog Sidney Blumenthal is under fire over allegations that he used his connection to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to promote an unusual business scheme involving Libya and possibly the embattled Clinton Foundation.

Blumenthal, Bill Clinton’s legendary hatchet man who earned the richly deserved sobriquet “Sid Vicious” for his scorched-earth assaults on Clinton’s enemies, is now at the center of yet another percolating Clinton scandal that promises to be, like all Clinton scandals, extraordinarily messy and drawn out.

All the details of Blumenthal’s would-be transactions aren’t yet known, but at first glance his half-assed plotting bears more than a passing resemblance to the cockamamie business deal that the late Billy Carter, President Jimmy Carter’s always embarrassing brother, tried to broker in Libya decades ago.

Needless to say, congressional Republicans are more than a little interested in finding out about Blumenthal’s misconduct.

Benghazi Select Committee chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) has already subpoenaed Blumenthal for what the New York Times previously called “a private transcribed interview.” Reuters obtained a copy of the subpoena which commands Blumenthal to appear before Gowdy’s committee on June 3.

Sources in the know suggest Blumenthal, who knows as much about Libya and military strategy as Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), the lawmaker who said Guam might be in danger of becoming “so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize,” knows about geophysics, gave terrible advice to Mrs. Clinton.
Emails obtained by the Times show that Clinton took Blumenthal’s questionable advice memos very seriously.

Blumenthal possesses a robust self-esteem that in his mind allows him to weigh in on important diplomatic matters, so the fact that he wasn’t even an official State Department employee was not an obstacle. (Obama White House officials torpedoed Hillary’s request to put him on State’s payroll.)

But Mrs. Clinton, like so many other powerful politicians, values loyalty over competence so a way was found for Blumenthal to participate in the ripping apart of North Africa. As the nation’s top diplomat, Hillary forwarded her old supplicant’s amateur pontifications “to senior diplomatic officials in Libya and Washington and at times ask[ed] them to respond,” the newspaper reported. The former Miss Rodham “continued to pass around” Field Marshal Blumenthal’s “memos even after other senior diplomats concluded that Mr. Blumenthal’s assessments were often unreliable.”

The newspaper reported that the emails “suggest that Mr. Blumenthal’s direct line to Mrs. Clinton circumvented the elaborate procedures established by the federal government to ensure that high-level officials are provided with vetted assessments of available intelligence.”

It turns out that while Blumenthal was providing advice he was eminently unqualified to give, he was also on the payroll at the now-infamous Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the philanthropy whose name recently became synonymous with corruption. Foundation officials said Blumenthal helped with research, “message guidance,” and commemorative events planning.

Blumenthal simultaneously performed paid consulting work for the Brocktopus, which is a delightful neologism that refers to the growing array of sleazy non-profit organizations run by disgraced former journalist and pathological liar David Brock. The goal of these well-funded, tax-exempt slander shops like Media Matters for America, American Bridge, and Correct the Record, is to impose at all costs a second consecutive Alinskyite president when Barack Obama leaves office in 2017.

It is unclear who, if anyone, was paying Blumenthal for his non-expertise or if his on-the-fly Henry Kissinger impersonation was among his duties at the Clinton Foundation.

Of particular interest to the famously hard-driving Rep. Gowdy is a series of drivel-rich Hillary-bound emails in which Blumenthal held forth on the complexities of the situation in Libya, both before and after the ugly end of dictator Muammar Qaddafi. For all we know at this point, Blumenthal’s advice got people killed.

The New York Times reported that “Blumenthal’s involvement was more wide-ranging and more complicated than previously known, embodying the blurry lines between business, politics and philanthropy that have enriched and vexed the Clintons and their inner circle for years.”

Although the Times used more delicate wording in its account, Blumenthal appears to have been involved in a confusing, multi-layered conflict of interest, a Mr. Bean-quality spy ring, and brazen influence-peddling. A lot of the so-called intelligence about Libya that Blumenthal fed Mrs. Clinton looks like it originated with Blumenthal’s business associates who were counting on doing business with the transitional government in the North African state.

The newspaper reported that
The venture, which was ultimately unsuccessful, involved other Clinton friends, a private military contractor and one former C.I.A. spy seeking to get in on the ground floor of the new Libyan economy. The projects — creating floating hospitals to treat Libya’s war wounded and temporary housing for displaced people, and building schools — would have required State Department permits, but foundered before the business partners could seek official approval.
A State Department mouthpiece refused to say if Hillary knew about Blumenthal’s adventures in crony capitalism and Third World corruption. Although Blumenthal himself won’t spill the beans, the newspaper stated that evidence suggests “it may be difficult to determine where one of Mr. Blumenthal’s jobs ended and another began.”

Hillary is in the same situation with respect to her trusted aide Huma Abedin, her former White House intern who has generational ties to Islamic terrorism and who follows the former first lady around like a loyal puppy. Abedin herself is being investigated by the Department of State for her unusual work arrangements, which like Blumenthal, included serving Mrs. Clinton at Foggy Bottom while also rendering services to the Clintons’ foundation.

If Americans ever get to see the tens of thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails that she bragged about unlawfully destroying while they were subject to a congressional subpoena, maybe people will finally learn if Mr. or Mrs. Clinton (or maybe even Chelsea) were in on whatever crooked deals Blumenthal was cooking up. Americans may also learn about the involvement of all these shady Democrats in a recently discovered alleged Obama administration-approved weapons-smuggling operation that may have run guns to Syria through Benghazi, Libya.

In 2011 the business scheme seemed to be moving forward, the Times reported.

Bill White of a company called Constellations Group, and retired Army Major General David L. Grange, now of Osprey Global Solutions, planned to put “boots on the ground to see if there was an opportunity to do business,” Grange told the newspaper.

“We were thinking, ‘O.K., Qaddafi is dead, or about to be, and there’s opportunities,’ ” White said in an interview. “We thought, ‘Let’s try to see who we know there.’ ”

Grange said Blumenthal was an advisor to Osprey, as well as to former CIA officer Tyler Drumheller and Cody Shearer, a longtime friend of the Clintons.

Apart from lying, Sidney Blumenthal’s greatest talent is character assassination.

Blumenthal helped to promote the cover story that Clinton White House intern Monica Lewinsky was a kook and for his labors the smear-job virtuoso was compelled to testify in the impeachment trial of his then-boss, President Bill Clinton. Blumenthal gave evidence in a closed-door videotaped deposition on Feb. 3, 1999. 

The prickly former journalist testified that he wasn’t the originator or even a promoter of the rumor that Lewinsky was an unstable “stalker” who made sexual demands on President Clinton, who, being a wonderful human being, rebuffed her.

Ever the prim and proper public servant, Blumenthal claimed he had nothing to do with the campaign to destroy Lewinsky. Things never got “personal” about her, he claimed. He testified that in conversations with Clinton he provided his boss a blanket warning to avoid crazy people, not a specific warning to avoid only Lewinsky.

Yet Blumenthal admitted under oath that in conversations with President Clinton he implied that Lewinsky was a “troubled” individual and urged Clinton not to “get near anybody who is even remotely crazy.” Blumenthal lamented that the president must have lied to him when he denied the seedy relationship with Lewinsky.

Of course, Blumenthal is the real liar. He is the originator of the Clinton White House’s smears of Lewinsky, so wrote his former friend, the late Christopher Hitchens,  in the Atlantic in 2003. Over a “reunion snack,” Blumenthal painted Lewinsky “as a predatory and unstable stalker.”

Hitchens recalled that during this gathering:
At the time this prompted no conclusion other than the sickening but unavoidable one that Sidney Blumenthal could be brought to believe that a President can be “stalked” in his own Oval Office (and in about three dozen incidents, according to the logs that record permission for Lewinsky to be shown in at odd moments). When asked by my wife how he could credit the stalker concept, he replied simply, “Because the President told me.”
Hitchens added that Blumenthal “twice hushed my questioning wife by saying, ‘Carol, I could go to jail for what I’m doing now.'”

Hitchens wrote that as the maliciously concocted story about Lewinsky began receiving media oxygen, “and I began to see reports that Lewinsky was indeed a blackmailing strumpet (followed in due course by claims from the White House that it had no part in the circulation of this defamation), I already knew and was also able to confirm from other reporters where this was coming from.” If left-wingers were rational, they would detest Blumenthal for his misogynistic terrorism.

With the connivance of President Clinton, Blumenthal zealously prosecuted a real-life “war on women” in order to protect his boss. Like Rules for Radicals author Saul Alinsky, the idol of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Blumenthal believed the ends justify the means.

Female victims were fair game, mere roadkill on the road to social justice.

Women like Bill Clinton’s alleged rape victim Juanita Broaddrick, and two who rebuffed Mr. Clinton, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones, were targeted and Hillary herself got personally involved in containing the so-called “bimbo eruptions” that kept happening with the seeming regularity of Old Faithful. (For what it’s worth, Hitchens believed Bill was guilty of sexual assault. Broaddrick’s “story of rape has withstood fairly rigorous challenges,” he wrote in the Atlantic article.)

Like Bill and Hillary, Blumenthal can be reckless.

On the day before the New Hampshire general primary in 2008 as Hillary battled Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, Blumenthal was charged with aggravated driving while impaired (DWI) in that state. Police clocked his car going 70 miles per hour in a 30 zone. He failed a field sobriety test and refused a Breathalyzer test.

Blumenthal’s lawyer worked out a plea bargain in March of that year and he entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor DWI charge. His sentence included a $900 fine and a 10-month suspension of his driver’s license.

He is also notoriously thin-skinned. As law professor Jonathan Turley noted, he launched “strange litigation” over allegations that he abused his wife. In 1997 the Drudge Report website ran a story about the alleged abuse and Blumenthal’s legal eagles leapt into action, seeking $30 million in damages in a proceeding that stretched out over four years.

Blumenthal’s case was so ridiculously weak that he was forced to withdraw the suit and pay Matt Drudge’s lawyers. The Democratic Party hack even had to fork over cash to Drudge in order to preempt a countersuit.

Given Blumenthal’s legal track record, don’t count on him emerging unscathed once the facts are known about the mischief he was orchestrating in Libya.

Blumenthal’s testimony before the Benghazi Select Committee next month won’t be his first time in the hot seat and it almost certainly will not be his last.

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