July 6, 2015

I can't even count how many Hillary Clinton stories like this are out there (if I had to debunk them all, I'd never have time to write about anything else), and it really pisses me off when Democrats believe them. Thank God Elijah Cummings, who's been around a long time, knows all these tricks. Via the Washington Post:

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, today ripped the committee and Politico for printing inaccurate portrayals of e-mail traffic between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others in fall 2012, as the administration was facing a backlash over its handling of the Benghazi attacks.

“[I]t now appears that someone who was given access to the Select Committee’s documents leaked doctored information to the press in order to make unsubstantiated allegations against Secretary Clinton,“ writes Cummings in a letter to Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the select committee’s chairman.

At issue is this June 17 Politico story by staff writers Kenneth Vogel and Rachael Bade, a scoop that detailed the interactions of Clinton helper Sidney Blumenthal, Clinton “enforcer” David Brock and the groups that he (Brock) had founded, including Media Matters for America.

Blumenthal, as Politico reported, received more than $10,000 per month from Brock’s groups.” The story relied on “sources” for detailed information on e-mail exchanges among the parties. The background for those exchanges is the political volatility of Benghazi, the Sept. 11, 2012, Libya attacks that claimed the lives of four U.S personnel. Obama administration officials were under scrutiny for not only leaving the U.S diplomatic installation in Benghazi vulnerable, but also for allegedly misleading the U.S. public about the nature of the attack.

Here’s how Politico initially reported an exchange between Blumenthal and Clinton:

“Got all this done. Complete refutation on Libya smear,” Blumenthal wrote to Clinton in an Oct. 10, 2012, email into which he had pasted links to four Media Matters posts criticizing Fox News and Republicans for politicizing the Benghazi attacks and challenging claims of lax security around the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, according to a source who has reviewed the email exchange. Blumenthal signed off the email to Clinton by suggesting that one of her top aides, Philippe Reines, “can circulate these links,” according to the source. Clinton responded: “Thanks. I’m pushing to WH,” according to the source.

But as Cummings notes in his letter, it didn’t go down like that. The “I’m pushing to WH” response actually attaches to a different e-mail correspondence between Clinton and Blumenthal, from a week before Blumenthal’s boast about those Benghazi links.

As documents released by the State Department last week show, Clinton was actually intent on sending to the White House a Salon article claiming that the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was planning a brand-new line of attack based on Benghazi.

Cummings rips away, “It appears that this source fed Politico an inaccurate characterization of these emails and that Politico accepted this mischaracterization without obtaining the emails themselves. The source apparently took an email that was produced to the Select Committee in February, isolated Secretary Clinton’s statement about the White House, removed it from the original email exchange about the presidential debates, and then added it to a different email exchange involving Media Matters.”

Another point: The Politico story cites a source as saying that the e-mail wasn’t among those turned over by the State Department. Cummings writes that State had passed it along in February.

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