Longtime Clinton family insider Sidney Blumenthal told the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Tuesday that he had virtually no special knowledge of the events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attack in Libya, and that he forwarded unverified intelligence to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton because he considered her a personal friend.
“My testimony has shed no light on the events at Benghazi — nor could it, because I have no firsthand knowledge of what happened there,” he told reporters after his nine-hour closed door deposition, according to The Hill.
Blumenthal told the committee that the reports he sent Clinton were provided to him by a former CIA officer who was working on a business venture in the area.
“I thought they might be informative for Secretary Clinton to use, or not, as she saw fit,” Blumenthal said, claiming he was not asked or paid to do so.
At the time Blumenthal was being paid $10,000 per month by the Clinton Foundation to act as an “adviser,” but he claimed that position had no connection to the information he sent her on Libya.
The panel’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said the assertions raised more questions about Clinton’s handling of Benghazi.
“We have a CIA, so why would you not rely on your own vetted source intelligence agency? In this case, there was no vetting, no analysis of credibility whatsoever,” Gowdy told reporters after the deposition.
Blumenthal also accused the committee of political bias, saying most of his testimony was already known after some of his personal emails to Clinton were hacked two years ago, according to the Hill.
“I am a longtime friend of Hillary Clinton,” he said. “It seems obvious that my appearance before this committee was for one reason and one reason only, and that reason is politics.”
Of course, the fact that he funneled unverified intelligence to the secretary of state ahead of a major terrorist attack on an American diplomatic outpost probably played a slightly bigger role in getting him put before the committee than “politics.”
That $10,000 a month had something to do with it, too.