Jeff Gerth and Sam Biddle at Gawker write that Hillary’s private email server acted as portal to a private intelligence network that included retired members of special operations, former CIA clandestine personnel and foreign informers. Acting in some indeterminate capacity over it was Sidney Blumenthal, former aide to president Bill Clinton and now apparently a retainer to the family dynasty. It was the compromise of Blumenthal’s emails by the Romanian hacker Guccifer that in part led to journalists to discover Hillary’s private email account. Publicly available sources describe Guccifer as a taxi driver who penetrated the email accounts of the Bush family, Colin Powell and of course Sidney Blumenthal by sheer persistence.
Returning to the subject of Hillary’s private apparatus, the Gawker story, based on a laborious reading of the emails, which were posted on the internet in 2013, says Blumenthal sent Hillary reports which “appear to have been gathered and prepared by Tyler Drumheller, a former chief of the CIA’s clandestine service in Europe who left the agency in 2005.”
There are references to “Cody”, “Cody is Cody Shearer, a longtime Clinton family operative—his brother was an ambassador under Bill Clinton and his sister is married to Clinton State Department official Strobe Talbott—who was in close contact with Blumenthal.”
There are references to “Moin”. “While it’s not entirely clear from the documents, “Moin” may refer to the nickname of Mohamed Mansour El Kikhia, a member of the Kikhia family, a prominent Libyan clan with ties to the Libyan National Transition Council.” The correspondence appears to show Hillary watching Libya fall apart. A private fact finding mission was apparently commissioned to ascertain facts on the ground.
A May 14, 2011, email exchange between Blumenthal and Shearer shows that they were negotiating with Drumheller to contract with someone referred to as “Grange” and “the general” to place send four operatives on a week-long mission to Tunis, Tunisia, and “to the border and back.” Tunisia borders Libya and Algeria.
“Sid, you are doing great work on this,” Drumheller wrote to Blumenthal. “It is going to be around $60,000, coverting r/t business class airfare to Tunis, travel in country to the border and back, and other expenses for 7-10 days for 4 guys.”
["The general" and "Grange" appear to refer to David L. Grange, a major general in the Army who ran a secret Pentagon special operations unit before retiring in 1999, according to the article.]
All in all the emails provide a glimpse into the world of a great political family, conducting what at times appears to be a private policy and rewarding loyal individuals with access to governments who were influenced or indeed installed in power by the actions of the United States. “At least 10 of the memos deal in whole or in part with internal Libyan politics and the government’s fight against militants, including the status of the Libyan oil industry and the prospects for Western companies to participate.” There is nothing overtly illegal described in the emails.
However there is clearly the question of whether enlisting private parties, both foreign and domestic to perform certain tasks in exchange for access or rules in successor governments is not in some ways like issuing letters of marque by executive order or private assignment. For those who don’t know what a letter of marque is, “in the days of fighting sail, a letter of marque and reprisal was a government license authorizing a person (known as a privateer) to attack and capture enemy vessels and bring them before admiralty courts for condemnation and sale. Cruising for prizes with a letter of marque was considered an honorable calling combining patriotism and profit, in contrast to unlicensed piracy, which was universally reviled.” Under US law only the US Congress can issue letters of marque.