A key figure in the Clinton EmailGate scandal resurfaced this week after being away from the media spotlight for a while. Longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball” Monday evening and CNN’s “New Day” this morning to talk about the Clinton email saga. Blumenthal told CNN host Alisyn Camerota that he was confident no email “bombshells” were on the horizon that could scuttle Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He also threw cold water on the idea that the FBI’s “security review” of her personal email server would lead to an indictment.
“My understanding is that it is a security review — it’s certainly not a criminal investigation,” the Clinton insider said. “It is an inquiry into whether or not anyone intentionally put classified information where it shouldn’t be.”
Blumenthal went on to suggest that he had inside information, saying, “my understanding is that they [the FBI investigation] will conclude and the Department of Justice will issue a statement at the end that that was not the case. And then all those who were involved in this kind of political hysteria will have to unravel it.”
On Hardball Monday evening, Blumenthal dodged Chris Matthews’ questions about whether or not he had spoken to the FBI about Clinton’s private email server.
“I guess the first question is have you been interviewed by the FBI for those email investigation by the FBI, have you been interviewed?” the host of Hardball asked Blumenthal to begin the interview.
Blumenthal gave a long answer calling for transparency, but ignoring Matthews’ question. “But Sid, have you been interviewed by the FBI yet on this matter?” he tried again.
“I really don’t want to talk about an ongoing inquiry right now,” Blumenthal responded.
Former NSA analyst John Schindler reported at the NY Observer back in March that one of the “most controversial of Ms. Clinton’s emails released by the State Department” came from Sidney Blumenthal on June 8, 2011.
This email contains an amazingly detailed assessment of events in Sudan, specifically a coup being plotted by top generals in that war-torn country. Mr. Blumenthal’s information came from a top-ranking source with direct access to Sudan’s top military and intelligence officials, and recounted a high-level meeting that had taken place only 24 hours before.
To anybody familiar with intelligence reporting, this unmistakably signals intelligence, termed SIGINT in the trade. In other words, Mr. Blumenthal, a private citizen who had enjoyed no access to U.S. intelligence for over a decade when he sent that email, somehow got hold of SIGINT about the Sudanese leadership and managed to send it, via open, unclassified email, to his friend Ms. Clinton only one day later.
NSA officials were appalled by the State Department’s release of this email, since it bore all the hallmarks of Agency reporting. Back in early January when I reported this, I was confident that Mr. Blumenthal’s information came from highly classified NSA sources, based on my years of reading and writing such reports myself, and one veteran agency official told me it was NSA information with “at least 90 percent confidence.”
Now, over two months later, I can confirm that the contents of Sid Blumenthal’s June 8, 2011, email to Hillary Clinton, sent to her personal, unclassified account, were indeed based on highly sensitive NSA information. The agency investigated this compromise and determined that Mr. Blumenthal’s highly detailed account of Sudanese goings-on, including the retelling of high-level conversations in that country, was indeed derived from NSA intelligence.
While the email investigation appears to be winding down, FBI Director James Comey said last month that there is no rush to finish it before the Democratic National Convention in July. So now the Clinton machine appears to be kicking into high gear.
In addition to Sidney Blumenthal’s media blitz this week, a New York Times article Tuesday claimed that “use of unclassified systems was routine” throughout the government. In other words, Hillary’s email infractions were no big deal because everyone does it.