Benghazi Committee Screws Up Again

Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime confidant to former President Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, arrives on Capitol Hill on June 16 to face questions from the House panel investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.Susan Walsh/AP

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Jeff Stein reports on yet another bad day for the Benghazi committee:

Already wobbling with accusations, some by its own Republican members, that it’s been running a Hillary Clinton hit squad since May 2014, leaders of the panel struggled Sunday to fend off new charges that they had mischaracterized the former secretary of state’s handling of sensitive intelligence.

Indeed, according to committee correspondence reviewed by Newsweek, the CIA did tell the panel on Saturday that it had reviewed 127 emails between Clinton and her close friend and outside adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, and none of it was deemed classified.

“The CIA reviewed the material in question and informed State that it required no redactions,” the agency informed Susan Sachsman Grooms, staff director and general counsel for the panel’s Democrats, on October 17.

What a shocker. Sidney Blumenthal didn’t have access to classified information. Who could have guessed?

Pretty much everyone, I suppose. But Blumenthal is a longtime Clinton confidante, and one of the great white whales of the Clinton inquisition of the 90s. When his name popped up, Republicans reacted like Pavlov’s dogs, panting and drooling despite the fact that there was zero chance Blumenthal had the slightest connection or insight into the Benghazi attacks. Still, it was Sidney! Gotta be a scandal in there somewhere.

But no. No scandal, no classified info, no favoritism. It was just Sidney doing what he does: offering information and advice—solicited or otherwise—to one of the Clintons. No worries, though. If it’s not Sidney, it’ll be someone else. Republicans are just sure they’ll find a blue dress in there somewhere.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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