Hillary 'blurred the lines' between the business of government and the business of Clinton Foundation

Actually, there was nothing "blurred" about them.  That's just the New York Times's way of trying to downplay the incredible relationship between Mrs. Clinton and former presidential aide Sidney Blumenthal.

The Times has unearthed some documents that reveal that while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, her husband's former hatchet man was lobbying the State Department to grant the people Blumenthal represented to make deals with the nascent Libyan government following the fall of Gaddafi.

Many of the executives in the companies that wanted to do business with the new Libyan government were either Clinton cronies or board members of the Clinton Foundation.

In a series of memos and e-mails from Mr. Blumenthal that Mrs. Clinton forwarded to the State Department, the White House, and the Defense Department, Blumenthal purported to give a rendering of what was happening on the ground in Libya.  His sources were his business associates trying to scare up leads for business opportunities in Libya.

In fact, most of the memos were dismissed by State Department experts as useless intelligence.  But apparently, they weren't supposed to be helpful in that regard.  Instead, they were poorly disguised efforts by Blumenthal to lobby the State Department in order to get permission to negotiate with members of the transitional Libyan government.

Blumenthal's actions have caught the attention of the Select Committee on Benghazi and its chairman, Trey Gowdy.

Mr. Gowdy’s chief interest, according to people briefed on the inquiry, is a series of memos that Mr. Blumenthal — who was not an employee of the State Department — wrote to Mrs. Clinton about events unfolding in Libya before and after the death of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. According to emails obtained by The New York Times, Mrs. Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, took Mr. Blumenthal’s advice seriously, forwarding his memos to senior diplomatic officials in Libya and Washington and at times asking them to respond. Mrs. Clinton continued to pass around his memos even after other senior diplomats concluded that Mr. Blumenthal’s assessments were often unreliable.

But an examination by The Times suggests that Mr. Blumenthal’s involvement was more wide-ranging and more complicated than previously known, embodying the blurry lines between business, politics and philanthropy that have enriched and vexed the Clintons and their inner circle for years.

While advising Mrs. Clinton on Libya, Mr. Blumenthal, who had been barred from a State Department job by aides to President Obama, was also employed by her family’s philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation, to help with research, “message guidance” and the planning of commemorative events, according to foundation officials. During the same period, he also worked on and off as a paid consultant to Media Matters and American Bridge, organizations that helped lay the groundwork for Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government. The venture, which was ultimately unsuccessful, involved other Clinton friends, a private military contractor and one former C.I.A. spy seeking to get in on the ground floor of the new Libyan economy.

The projects — creating floating hospitals to treat Libya’s war wounded and temporary housing for displaced people, and building schools — would have required State Department permits, but foundered before the business partners could seek official approval.

It is not clear whether Mrs. Clinton or the State Department knew of Mr. Blumenthal’s interest in pursuing business in Libya; a State Department spokesman declined to say. Many aspects of Mr. Blumenthal’s involvement in the planned Libyan venture remain unclear. He declined repeated requests to discuss it.

You have to read the Times article to get the full flavor of the convoluted, intertwining business and personal relationships that Blumenthal sought to exploit and in which Mrs. Clinton became a central figure.  The network of Blumenthal's business associates gave him "leads" about moneymaking opportunities in Libya.  One such opportunity arose when Blumenthal tried to pass off local intelligence as authoritative from someone who could benefit Blumenthal's associates:

In January 2012, for example, Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a memo describing efforts by the new Libyan prime minister to stabilize his fragile government by bringing in advisers with experience dealing with Western companies and governments.

Among “the most influential of this group,” Mr. Blumenthal wrote, was a man named Najib Obeida, who worked at the fledgling Libyan stock exchange. Mrs. Clinton had the memo forwarded to her senior State Department staff.

What Mr. Blumenthal did not mention was that Mr. Obeida was one of the Libyan officials Mr. Grange and his partners hoped would finance the humanitarian projects. 

This is not "blurring" the lines between business and government, as the Times tries to show.  In fact, many of the executives in the companies seeking to do business in Libya were donors or potential donors to the Clinton Foundation.  Blumenthal's thinly disguised lobbying Secretary Clinton to grant their cronies permits to do business in Libya represents a base corruption of her office and raises additional questions about how Hillary Clinton may have used her high office to enrich herself and her family.

Actually, there was nothing "blurred" about them.  That's just the New York Times's way of trying to downplay the incredible relationship between Mrs. Clinton and former presidential aide Sidney Blumenthal.

The Times has unearthed some documents that reveal that while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, her husband's former hatchet man was lobbying the State Department to grant the people Blumenthal represented to make deals with the nascent Libyan government following the fall of Gaddafi.

Many of the executives in the companies that wanted to do business with the new Libyan government were either Clinton cronies or board members of the Clinton Foundation.

In a series of memos and e-mails from Mr. Blumenthal that Mrs. Clinton forwarded to the State Department, the White House, and the Defense Department, Blumenthal purported to give a rendering of what was happening on the ground in Libya.  His sources were his business associates trying to scare up leads for business opportunities in Libya.

In fact, most of the memos were dismissed by State Department experts as useless intelligence.  But apparently, they weren't supposed to be helpful in that regard.  Instead, they were poorly disguised efforts by Blumenthal to lobby the State Department in order to get permission to negotiate with members of the transitional Libyan government.

Blumenthal's actions have caught the attention of the Select Committee on Benghazi and its chairman, Trey Gowdy.

Mr. Gowdy’s chief interest, according to people briefed on the inquiry, is a series of memos that Mr. Blumenthal — who was not an employee of the State Department — wrote to Mrs. Clinton about events unfolding in Libya before and after the death of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. According to emails obtained by The New York Times, Mrs. Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, took Mr. Blumenthal’s advice seriously, forwarding his memos to senior diplomatic officials in Libya and Washington and at times asking them to respond. Mrs. Clinton continued to pass around his memos even after other senior diplomats concluded that Mr. Blumenthal’s assessments were often unreliable.

But an examination by The Times suggests that Mr. Blumenthal’s involvement was more wide-ranging and more complicated than previously known, embodying the blurry lines between business, politics and philanthropy that have enriched and vexed the Clintons and their inner circle for years.

While advising Mrs. Clinton on Libya, Mr. Blumenthal, who had been barred from a State Department job by aides to President Obama, was also employed by her family’s philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation, to help with research, “message guidance” and the planning of commemorative events, according to foundation officials. During the same period, he also worked on and off as a paid consultant to Media Matters and American Bridge, organizations that helped lay the groundwork for Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government. The venture, which was ultimately unsuccessful, involved other Clinton friends, a private military contractor and one former C.I.A. spy seeking to get in on the ground floor of the new Libyan economy.

The projects — creating floating hospitals to treat Libya’s war wounded and temporary housing for displaced people, and building schools — would have required State Department permits, but foundered before the business partners could seek official approval.

It is not clear whether Mrs. Clinton or the State Department knew of Mr. Blumenthal’s interest in pursuing business in Libya; a State Department spokesman declined to say. Many aspects of Mr. Blumenthal’s involvement in the planned Libyan venture remain unclear. He declined repeated requests to discuss it.

You have to read the Times article to get the full flavor of the convoluted, intertwining business and personal relationships that Blumenthal sought to exploit and in which Mrs. Clinton became a central figure.  The network of Blumenthal's business associates gave him "leads" about moneymaking opportunities in Libya.  One such opportunity arose when Blumenthal tried to pass off local intelligence as authoritative from someone who could benefit Blumenthal's associates:

In January 2012, for example, Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a memo describing efforts by the new Libyan prime minister to stabilize his fragile government by bringing in advisers with experience dealing with Western companies and governments.

Among “the most influential of this group,” Mr. Blumenthal wrote, was a man named Najib Obeida, who worked at the fledgling Libyan stock exchange. Mrs. Clinton had the memo forwarded to her senior State Department staff.

What Mr. Blumenthal did not mention was that Mr. Obeida was one of the Libyan officials Mr. Grange and his partners hoped would finance the humanitarian projects. 

This is not "blurring" the lines between business and government, as the Times tries to show.  In fact, many of the executives in the companies seeking to do business in Libya were donors or potential donors to the Clinton Foundation.  Blumenthal's thinly disguised lobbying Secretary Clinton to grant their cronies permits to do business in Libya represents a base corruption of her office and raises additional questions about how Hillary Clinton may have used her high office to enrich herself and her family.