TEL AVIV – An email reportedly sent to Hillary Clinton by former Clinton White House staffer Sidney Blumenthal quotes an intelligence source providing information that “wealthy Sunni Islamists in Saudi Arabia” funded the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. special mission in Benghazi.
The leaked emails were published by Russia Today, which says it was forwarded the emails from Blumenthal’s AOL account by the hacker using the alias “Guccifer.”
“Guccifer” reportedly hacked Blumenthal’s email in March 2013. Guccifer has since been identified as Marcel Lazar Lehel, a Romanian hacker serving a seven-year sentence for hacking into the accounts of Romanian government officials.
The alleged memos concern information Blumenthal says he gleaned about the Benghazi attack and the January 2013 hostage crisis at a gas complex in Amenas, Algeria.
One purported Blumenthal email from Feb. 16, 2013, addressed to Clinton quoted sources “with direct access to the Libyan National Government, as well as the highest levels of European governments, and Western intelligence and security services.”
The email said the information comes from “extremely sensitive sources and should be handled with care.”
The email quotes an “individual with sensitive access” stating information provided by French security services indicated the funding for both the Benghazi and Algeria attacks “originated with wealthy Sunni Islamists in Saudi Arabia.”
Continued the purported email: “During July and August 2012, these financiers provided funds to AQIM contacts in Southern Europe, who in turn passed the money onto AQIM operatives in Mauritania.”
AQIM refers to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.
“These funds were eventually provided to Ansar Al Sharia and its allied militias in the Benghazi region” to support the attack, states the email.
Ansar Al Sharia claimed responsibility for the Benghazi attack.
The purported Blumenthal email added that the “Saudi” money was utilized to procure ammunition and supplies.
CNN previously reported a link between the Benghazi and Algeria attacks.
In May 2013, CNN quoted one source disclosing several Yemeni men belonging to Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, took part in the Benghazi attacks.
The source revealed counter-terrorism officials learned the identity of the three men and later traced them to northern Mali, where they are believed to have connected with the jihad organization led by Moktar Belmoktar.
Belmoktar, an Algerian, is a senior leader of the Islamic Maghreb. He claimed responsibility for the Algeria gas facility attack in January in which 38 people were killed during a three-day siege.
Another intelligence source told CNN that Belmoktar had received a call in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack from someone in or close to the city.
The person on the other end of the call declared, “Mabruk, Mabruk!” meaning “congratulations” in Arabic, according to the source.
With additional research by Joshua Klein.