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Where Is Sidney Blumenthal’s 16th “Missing” Email?

Friday, October 14, 2016 12:15
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(Before It's News)

In one of the more interesting threads to emerge from today’s latest, seventh Wikileaks dump of Podesta emails, we read a detailed exchange between Clinton press secretaries Brian Fallon and Nick Merrill, in which we learn how on June 24, 2015 the Clinton Campaign was preparing for the upcoming news release in which the State Department, and the mainstream press, would acknowledge for the first time that Hillary Clinton had deleted a certain number of Sid Blumenthal emails from the 55k pages of material produced by Hillary Clinton from her personal server.

By way of background, this is what Fallon wrote in preparation for the official and unofficial response the Clinton campaign would provide to the State Department:

Q: The State Department says that at least 16 of the emails that Sid Blumenthal turned over to the Benghazi Select Committee were not included in the 55,000 pages of materials produced by Hillary Clinton. Doesn’t this prove that Hillary Clinton deleted certain emails at some point before producing them to the Department?

ON-THE-RECORD RESPONSE FROM SPOKESMAN NICK MERRILL:

“Hillary Clinton has turned over 55,000 pages of materials to the State Department, including all emails in her possession from Mr. Blumenthal.”

ADDITIONAL POINTS ON BACKGROUND FROM CLINTON AIDE:

Not only did Clinton turn over all emails that she has from Blumenthal, she actually turned over more than a dozen emails that were not included in what Mr. Blumenthal handed over to the House committee.

We do not have a record of other correspondence between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Blumenthal beyond that which was turned over to the State Department. In terms of the documents provided by Mr. Blumenthal to the House committee, we do not recognize many of those materials and cannot speak to their origin. 

OFF RECORD, if pressed on whether we are essentially admitting the possibility that she deleted some emails:

Look, we do not know what these materials are, or where they came from. Just take a look at them: many of the documents are not even formatted as emails. 

For all we know, it could be that, in the course of reproducing his emails after his account was hacked, Sid misremembered which memos he actually forwarded to her and which he did not. 

And hey, even if Sid is right and some of these documents were at some point sent to Clinton, this is unremarkable anyway for two key reasons:

One, she would have been under no obligation to preserve them since Blumenthal wasn’t a government employee.

Two, there is nothing in any of these emails that is remotely new or interesting. Indeed, none of these 16 emails are qualtitatively different than the dozens of others that Hillary already produced to the State Department. So it is completely ridiculous to suggest that there might have been any nefarious basis for her to want to delete any of Sid’s correspondence.

After one turn of comments he revised his “Off the Record” statement to omit the “Sid misremembered” part to end up with the following:

OFF RECORD, if pressed on whether we are essentially admitting the possibility that she deleted some emails:

Look, we do not know what these materials are, or where they came from. Just take a look at them: many of the documents are not even formatted as emails.

But even if Sid is right and some of these documents were at some point sent to Clinton, there is nothing in any of these emails that is remotely new or interesting. Indeed, none of these 16 emails are qualitatively different than the dozens of others that Hillary already produced to the State Department. So it is completely ridiculous to suggest that there might have been any nefarious basis for her to want to delete any of Sid’s correspondence.

The revision took place after Nick Merrill confirmed – yet again – that there had been collusion between the State Department and the Clinton campaign when he said that “Just spoke to State a little more about this.” He then noted the following updates:

1. The plan at the moment is for them to do this tomorrow, first thing in the morning.

2. What that means specifically is that they are going to turn over all the Blumenthal emails to the Committee that they hav along with some other HRC emails that include a slightly broader set of search terms than the original batch.  That of course includes the emails Sid turned over that HRC didn’t, which will make clear to them that she didn’t have them in the first place, deleted them, or didn’t turn them over.  It also includes emails that HRC had that Sid didn’t, as Brian noted.

Then, providing further evidence of ongoing collusion not just between Hillary’s campaign and the State Department, but also the press, Merrill then adds the following note to explain how the State Department hoped to use the Associated Press to product a piece that “lays this out” before the “committee has a chance to realize what they have.”:

3. They do not plan to release anything publicly, so no posting online or anything public-facing, just to the committee.  That said, they are considering placing a story with a friendly at the AP (Matt Lee or Bradley Klapper), that would lay this out before the majority on the committee has a chance to realize what they have and distort it.

On that last piece, we think it would make sense to work with State and the AP to deploy the below.  So assuming everyone is in agreement we’ll proceed.  It would be good to frame this a little, and frankly to have it break tomorrow when we’ll likely be close to or in the midst of a SCOTUS decision taking over the news hyenas.

But what is the most interesing part of this exchange is not what is in the email, but what may have been discussed offline, for one reason: a curious discrepancy emerges just one day later, when the AP wrote an article, as expected by the “friendly” AP reporters Bradley Klapper and Matt Lee, which laid out the narrative precisely as the Clinton campaign wanted it. While we are confident many readers recall it from when it first appeared last June, from AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department cannot find in its records all or part of 15 work-related emails from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private server that were released this week by a House panel investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, officials said Thursday.

The emails all predate the Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. diplomatic facility and include scant words written by Clinton herself, the officials said. They consist of more in a series of would-be intelligence reports passed to her by longtime political confidant Sidney Blumenthal, the officials said.

Nevertheless, the fact that the State Department says it can’t find them among emails she provided surely will raise new questions about Clinton’s use of a personal email account and server while secretary of state and whether she has provided the agency all of her work-related correspondence, as she claims.

Here is CNN’s take on the same issue, in an article that came out virtually at the same time:

The State Department has not been able to find emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server in its archives, State Department officials said Thursday.

The officials said the State Department is missing all or part of 15 emails from longtime confidant Sidney Blumenthal released this week by a House panel investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya. Blumenthal provided the Select Committee on Benghazi with the emails.

Here is NBC:

The State Department cannot find in its records all or part of 15 work-related emails from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private server that were released this week by a House panel investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, officials said Thursday.

Here is NYT:

The State Department said on Thursday that 15 emails sent or received by Hillary Rodham Clinton were missing from records that she has turned over, raising new questions about whether she deleted work-related emails from the private account she used exclusively while in office.

And here is CBS:

The State Department cannot find in its records all or part of 15 work-related emails from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private server that were released this week by a House panel investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, officials said Thursday.

And so on, but notice something similar: every press reports note 15 emails from Blumenthal were missing.

Why is “15” strange? Because recall what the Clinton campaign was discussing just one day prior in the preparation of its talking points to the State Department:

… the State Department may acknowledge as soon as today that there were 16 Sid emails missing from the 55k pages of material produced by HRC…

… none of these 16 emails are qualitatively different than the dozens of others that Hillary already produced to the State Department…

… The State Department says that at least 16 of the emails that Sid Blumenthal turned over to the Benghazi Select Committee were not included in the 55,000 pages of materials produced by Hillary Clinton…

We have just one question: how – and why – in the span of 24 hours, did a confirmed sample of 16 deleted Sidney Blumenthal emails, as discussed off the record within the Clinton campaign, become 15 deleted emails overnight when the State Depratment unveiled its “official”, and massaged especially for the press, version of what Hillary had stated she had done with the Blumenthal’s emails.

Was the publicly announced “embarrassing” deletion of 15 Blumenthal emails merely a smokescreen to cover up the real malfeasance: the elimination of just one Blumenthal email which the State Department, in collusion with Hillary, deemed would be too damaging to even disclose had been produced?

And if so, who at the State Department lied and why?

Actually we have another question: what was in the missing, and (twice?) deleted 16th, email?

Alas, since one of the many pathways of undisputed coordinated, and collusion, exposed thanks to this latest Wikileaks release is that between the government, the mainstream press, and Hillary Clinton, we are confident we will never find out, and are even more confident this question will never emerge.

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