Everything about the Clintons, both Hillary and Bubba, is a lie, including (to steal a memorable line from the author Mary McCarthy) the “a,” the “and,” and the “the.” Neither Bubba nor Hillary know how to tell the truth, but both of them are masters at spinning the lie.
The dump of some of Hillary’s official emails this week reveals just how she operated as the secretary of State, employing an old courtier to help her deceive and distort the facts about her role in hanging an American ambassador out to die in Benghazi.
Mrs. Clinton not only set up her own private communications network when she was the secretary of State, but established her own intelligence network, relying on Sidney Blumenthal, the old courtier and Clinton family field hand, a character assassin well known in Washington as “Sid Vicious.”
Mr. Vicious was a busy little bee. The New York Times reported this week that he was on the payroll of the Clinton Foundation, the front for the family’s various political and financial enterprises, while at the same time he was (1) on the payroll of several groups helping Hillary get ready to run for president, (2) being paid to “advise” several American businessmen trying to get in on making money in the chaos of the collapse of the Gadhafi regime in Libya, and (3) advising Hillary in her official position as secretary of State, and being paid, The New York Times reports, to do “research, ‘message guidance,’ and the planning of commemorative events.”
He still had time to work as a paid consultant to Media Matters, David Brock’s hit-man operation that was an early front for Hillary’s second presidential campaign. Mr. Blumenthal’s “intelligence” about Libya was duly passed on by Hillary to other State Department officers as having “come from an anonymous ‘contact’ of Mrs. Clinton’s.”
Some of Sid’s “intelligence” was more intelligent than others. The officials at the State Department to whom it was addressed treated it as stuff a man might have to treat as stuff from the boss, described as rumor, speculation and surmise that other diplomats had dismissed as worthless. Chris Stevens, who would die at Benghazi, took issue, as The New York Times reported, with one Blumenthal memo raising the prospect that a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood would make gains in an upcoming parliamentary election. But it didn’t. Another diplomat said Mr. Blumenthal confused two Libyan politicians with similar names. (But other than all that, Mrs. Clinton, his memo was correct.)
There’s more coming. For the Republicans, Hillary is the gift that keeps on giving. Sid Vicious will testify under subpoena to a congressional panel investigating the Benghazi incident and the administration’s response.
One of Mr. Blumenthal’s memos forwarded to Hillary the day after the Benghazi attack gives the lie, as if another corrective was needed, to the Obama administration’s big lie that the demonstrations that ultimately killed Mr. Stevens and three other Americans at the Benghazi legation, were set off by an obscure video made in America that Muslims regarded as insulting to Prophet Muhammad.
Mr. Blumenthal quoted a top Libyan official, one Mohammed Yousef el-Magariaf, that a militant group called Ansar al-Sharia told Libyan security officials that the demonstrations against the video were organized as a cover for the attack on the legation, and had been in the planning for a month.
Hillary forwarded this memo to her deputy chief of staff, with the notation, “we should get around this ASAP.” The deputy, Jake Sullivan, dutifully replied: “Will do.”
Nevertheless, the White House dispatched top presidential aides to the following Sunday-morning talk shows to peddle the tale that it was the video that had inflamed the easily inflamed Muslim street. The campaign to blame the video and American prejudice against Islam, which Hillary, Barack Obama and his White House knew to be false, continued for several days until the lie collapsed of its own flimsy weight.
There’s no denying, beyond the confines of the White House and Hillary’s inner circle, that all this is an enormous breach of ethics. But it might be against the law, too, specifically that Sidney Blumenthal might be in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires that anyone lobbying, defined broadly, for a foreign government must register with the U.S. attorney general. Eric Holder’s Justice Department brushed away an earlier inquiry.
This is all catnip for the Clintons. They groove on flying as close to the flame of the law as they dare. And why not? They’ve always escaped the heat. Until now.
• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.