Posted by Curt on 9 September, 2019 at 10:06 am. 1 comment.


Records recently posted online by the FBI indicate that it did little to investigate allegations from private sources connected to Republicans about a scheme in which associates of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to exploit their connection to her to profit from the turmoil in Libya in 2011.

The FBI received the documents in June 2016, around the same time it launched an exhaustive, three-year investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia based, in part, on information from private sources connected to Democrats that in the main would prove to be false – the Steele dossier.

The bureau’s different responses to these documents also came during the same period when FBI Director James B. Comey controversially cleared Clinton, in his first of two exonerations, of criminal wrongdoing in the bureau’s probe of her unauthorized and insecure email setup.

The documents, quietly released as part of the FBI’s case files for the “Midyear Exam,” its code name for the Clinton email investigation, revive a lingering mystery from Clinton’s tenure as the nation’s chief diplomat: Why did Sidney Blumenthal, the former journalist and Bill Clinton White House aide, send her a series of detailed memos and reports about Libya beginning in 2011?

The documents offer an answer. They allege that Blumenthal sent the emails as a “quid pro quo” to free up classified State Department financial intelligence to help Libya recover as much as $66 billion spirited offshore by slain strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Out of that, Blumenthal and associates stood to gain a brokers’ cut of perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars.

The private Libya inquiry leaves important issues unsettled. The documents do not include emails or other original source material to support the allegations within. While claiming to possess evidence that Blumenthal and his associates had contracts and offshore accounts to repatriate the money, the documents say “no concrete evidence” was found suggesting Clinton acted to support the effort.

Yet if verified, the files might shed light on why Clinton kept her emails, tens of thousands of which have gone missing, out of normal government communication channels.

They do offer tantalizing connections between the Libya and Trump-Russia affairs. Previous reporting from multiple outlets has established Blumenthal worked on Libya with Cody Shearer, another longtime Clinton operative. Shearer would later join Blumenthal in passing anti-Trump claims similar to those in the Steele dossier on to the State Department and across the federal government. The FBI’s acquisition of the Libya files made it freshly aware of Blumenthal’s possible past motives – including personal financial gain – as he spurred an investigation meant to help defeat Donald Trump and elect Clinton.

In addition, one FBI agent played an especially pivotal role in the bureau’s response to both sets of allegations: Peter Strzok, who would eventually be fired by the bureau because of his anti-Trump bias.

The new material certainly adds twists to an already tangled web of intrigue.

Birth of an Inquiry

The heavily redacted files are part of a 428-page FBI document dump posted on in June, which can be downloaded here (relevant pages: 318-380). The documents are labeled by the FBI as having been received on June 6, 2016 – a month before the first of Comey’s two exonerations of Clinton and roughly seven weeks before the FBI opened its counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign, relying on the Steele dossier. They are watermarked as having been declassified in December 2016, after the presidential election.

Describing the genesis of the Libya inquiry, FBI notes say its methodology was conceived by private entities with data recovery expertise and that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich referred them to the watchdog group Judicial Watch for financial support. Gingrich, a Republican, did not reply to a request for comment from RealClearInvestigations.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, confirmed that his organization funded the freelance investigative project, including research on the encrypted “dark web,” after the work was already underway — “and then we found a key Libya-linked document suggesting Mrs. Clinton’s server was hacked by the Russians.”

He said his group passed the probe’s information on to the FBI team led by Strzok, the agent in charge of the Clinton email inquiry.

The FBI files do not indicate how, or if, the allegations in the documents were pursued. The only hint is a few handwritten notes of an FBI interview with someone apparently involved in the private probe, with the names redacted.

Fitton said he does not know why the alleged Libyan asset-repatriation plan had not been publicized earlier. He would not identify the private investigator or elaborate further on the investigation.

The FBI and Justice and State departments declined to comment for this article. Spokesmen for Clinton did not respond to requests for comment. Blumenthal did not respond to a request for comment and Shearer could not be reached.

‘We Came, We Saw, He Died’

The turmoil in the oil-rich North African nation of Libya and its troubled aftermath created a fraught period in Obama-era foreign policy, marked by the phrase “leading from behind” to describe the administration’s backstage role in the allied-backed ouster of Gadhafi, and Secretary Clinton’s awkwardly triumphal comment afterward, “We came, we saw, he died.”

During that period, Clinton heard often from Blumenthal – a controversial infighter, dubbed “Sid Vicious” by detractors, whom the Obama administration prevented from joining her at State. He emailed the secretary on a range of foreign policy issues, some of which he had financial interests in. He began regularly emailing Clinton about Libyan affairs at the start of that country’s civil war in 2011, the year before the infamous attack on the American consulate in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Reporting by ProPublica and Gawker in 2015 established that Blumenthal was working with Shearer and former CIA officer Tyler Drumheller, who died in 2015, as part of what the publications called a “secret spy ring” to funnel information to Clinton.

Over the next few years, Blumenthal sent her intelligence reports prepared by Drumheller, a former chief of the CIA’s clandestine service in Europe who left the agency in 2005. Emails between Blumenthal and Drumheller suggest that Shearer may have been in contact with the Libyan authorities.

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