NEW YORK – The controversy over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account as secretary of state provides crucial context to an email relevant to the Benghazi investigation, indicating Clinton had an “off-the-books intelligence operation,” says noted investigative journalist Ken Timmerman.
The email to Clinton’s private email account from longtime adviser Sid Blumenthal one day after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack appears to be the origin of the White House’s story that U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were victims of a protest of an anti-Muslim video that turned violent, not a terrorist attack.
“It suggests she didn’t trust the information she was getting from official sources in the hours after the Benghazi attack but chose to rely instead on a personal adviser feeding her suspect intelligence,” Timmerman told WND.
The email surfaced publicly in March 2013 when the Romanian hacker Marcel Lazar Lehel, using the alias “Guccifer,” published in the Russian-owned television news network and website RT.com several Benghazi-related emails addressed to a private Clinton email address that he discovered after hacking into Blumenthal’s AOL email account.
In the email, Blumenthal disclosed to Clinton hearsay “intelligence” from an unnamed “sensitive source” that claimed an unnamed “senior security officer” told Libya President Mohammed Yussef el Magariaf, in a private conversation with “senior advisors, including members of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood,” that the Benghazi attack was inspired “by what many devout Libyans viewed as a sacrilegious Internet video on the prophet Mohammed originating in America.”
The question, Timmerman says in an Accuracy in Media report is: “Was the Guccifer/Blumenthal memo intended as disinformation, written after Hillary Clinton put out her statement on the night of the attacks blaming them on a YouTube video? Or was it actually the source of Hillary’s false claim about the video, written and sent by someone on the ground in Libya who was attempting to plant the story?”
According to TheSmokingGun.com, former CIA agent Tyler Drumheller played a role in crafting the Blumenthal email.
“Very disturbing is Blumenthal’s partnership with Drumheller, a known fabricator and intelligence con-man who misused his authority at the CIA during the Bush administration to plant with a political purpose intelligence he knew was false,” Timmerman said.
In his article, Timmerman noted Drumheller became infamous for several earlier pieces of disinformation.
“As European Division chief at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in 2001 and 2002, he was the one who planted the phony evidence about the Niger uranium contract that was later used by the media during the Valerie Plame affair to claim that George W. Bush had ‘lied’ about Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs,” Timmerman wrote, citing documentation he presented in his 2008 book “Shadow Warriors.” “On three separate occasions, he passed the Niger information up the food chain as validated intelligence, when the CIA had been warned that it was not.”
Timmerman further documented that Drumeller and Blumenthal “have a history together” of fabricating intelligence designed to discredit President George W. Bush over the 2003 Iraq war.
“In 2007, Blumenthal used Drumheller as a source to ‘prove’ that Bush had ‘lied’ about pre-war intelligence on Iraqi [Weapons of Mass Destruction],” Timmerman wrote. “Drumheller and Blumenthal went on to work in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008.”
With that history, Timmerman views the Blumenthal-Drumheller connection articulating what became the Obama administration’s explanation for Benghazi as equally suspicious.
“These two are a very dangerous combination together,” Timmerman explained to WND.
“Here we don’t know for sure whether Blumenthal and Drumheller are deliberately feeding false intelligence to Hillary, or whether the attempt was to feed the false intelligence to the president of Libya in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack,” he said. “Maybe the goal was to get Magariaf purportedly to say the attacks were caused by a YouTube video. But what is interesting is that Magarif never said that.”
In his 2014 book “Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi,” on pages 347-348, Timmerman writes that just before U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on CBS’s “Meet the Press,” Magarif told host Bob Schieffer in no uncertain terms that it was a premeditated terrorist attack.
Timmerman quotes Magarif as telling Schieffer, “It was planned by foreigners who arrived in Libya a few months before.”
Timmerman went on to note in “Dark Forces” that Magarif was furious when he heard Susan Rice talk about demonstrations and an Internet video.
“I’m willing to bet you that if Magarif had bought into the fiction, then Blumenthal and Hillary would have found a way to leak that memo when the cover-story first came under attack,” Timmerman told WND.
“Remember what the movie story is all about, as far as Hillary is concerned,” he continued. “Hillary was trying to blame the Benghazi attack on the Republicans by saying the Internet film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ had been promoted by right-wing pastor Terry Jones in Gainesville, Florida.”
On Sept. 11, 2012, the Atlantic published, apparently even as the protest in Cairo at the U.S. Embassy was going on, an article written by Max Fisher titled “The Movie So Offensive that Egyptians Just Stormed the U.S. Embassy Over it.” The subtitle said, “Terry Jones, the Florida Koran-burner, is helping to promote a movie vilifying Egypt’s Muslims, and the Egyptian media got ahold of some clips.”
On Sept. 12, 2012, Matt Bradley in Cairo and Dion Nissenbaum in Washington co-authored an article titled “U.S. Missions Stormed in Libya Egypt: Movie Critical of Prophet Muhammad Spurs Attack in Benghazi, Killing Ambassador; Protestors Breach Wall of Cairo Compound,” in the Wall Street Journal in which they noted the film was promoted by the Florida pastor.
In her 2014 book “Hard Choices,” on pages 387-388, Hillary Clinton directly ties Terry Jones into her discussion of the Internet film “Innocence of Muslims,” presenting as the cause for the Benghazi attack.
[The Libya protests that began with the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo the morning of Sept. 11, 2012,] was not the first time provocateurs had used offensive material to whip up popular outrage across the Muslim world, often with deadly results. In 2010, a Florida pastor named Terry Jones announced plans to burn the Quran, Islam’s holy text, on the ninth anniversary of 9/11. His threats were picked up and amplified by extremists setting off widespread protests. At that time I was surprised that one firebrand in Gainesville, Florida, with a tiny church could cause so much trouble. But the consequences of his threats were all too real. Secretary of Defense Bob Gates personally called Jones and told him that his actions endangered the lives of American and Coalition soldiers and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jones agreed to hold off, and the anniversary came and went. Then in March 2011, he went back on his word and burned a Quran. Bob’s warnings proved tragically prescient, as an angry mob in Afghanistan set fire to a U.N. office and killed seven people. Deadly protests erupted again in February 2012 after U.S. troops inadvertently burned religious texts at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. Four Americans died. Now Jones was helping promote this new video insulting the Prophet Muhammad and there was a real danger of history repeating itself.
“Hillary saw the YouTube video as a way of blaming Benghazi and the murder of four Americans on the Republicans during an election season,” Timmerman said.
Timmerman told WND he suspected the Blumenthal memo stayed hidden in Hillary’s private email cache until Guccifer hacked into Blumenthal’s computer only because the YouTube movie story unraveled.
Leaking the memo to the public then, as may have been the original intent, would only risk raising the questions about the Blumenthal-Drumheller history using falsified “intelligence information” to discredit Republicans.