Menendez, Blackmail Plots

 
Gwendolyn Beck and Bob Menendez via TwitterSomewhat similarly, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who was January his party's Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is a hawk also on U.S. intervention. He has made clear that he is far more aligned with Republicans on such policies than any go-slow voices among fellow Democrats.
 
Menendez is shown at right in a file photo portraying his attendance at a White House dinner. His date was the unsuccessful 2012 congressional candidate Gwendolyn Brooks, a financial consultant and author. For still-unclear reasons, her name appeared (as did that of former President Clinton and many other world-class celebrities) in an address book maintained by the late Florida housekeeper to billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein, who was the leading donor by far to the Brooks congressional campaign.
 
Menendez has recently been reported as likely to be indicted soon on corruption charges stemming from official favors to a businessman crony. 
 
With, that prelude, here is a summary of four matters missing from most commentary on the Clinton email scandal:
 
 
 
Resumption of Media War Against the Clintons

First, Clinton received at least some sensitive information from private political intelligence operative Sidney Blumenthal via her private email system. The relationship illustrated, among other tings, the Washington reality little known to the public: Even officials like Clinton supervising thousands of government employees sometimes believe they need maintain private information networks. The circumstances from about 60 pages of hacked and apparently authentic Blumenthal-Clinton emails suggested that he informed her that former CIA Director David Petraeus was forced out of office in November 2012 because he allegedly participated in an "October Surprise" plot against the Obama administration involving Benghazi. Blumenthal's intelligence memo for Clinton, which came a day after commentator Wayne Madsen reported the same thing to his readers, was contrary to the Obama administration's public statements that the director and former general's major transgression was a sex scandal with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and his release to her of classified documents. The mainstream media has relied exclusively up to now on the conventional wisdom about the Petraeus ouster, not the Madsen-Blumenthal version. The circumstances of Blumenthal's email indicate additionally that Clinton wanted to rely on him, a former White House aide during the 1990s whom the Obama administration had denied a government post.

Second, one email from Blumenthal to Clinton made public by the criminal hacker "Guccifer" seemingly quotes Blumenthal as arguing that President Obama sacked CIA Director David Petraeus because of suspected Petraeus disloyalty in an “October Surprise” plot by well-connected opponents of the president to use the Benghazi scandal to prevent his reelection in 2012. Such a basis for the Petraeus forced resignation shortly after the election conflicts with the Obama administration's official explanation: That they ousted the married Petraeus because of his affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell and leak to her of classified documents. Given the power of the CIA and the continued prominence of Petraeus and his supporters even within the Obama administration, the situation has grave and continuing implications for the notion that an elected president commands and controls the executive branch and its intelligence and war-making powers. Our ongoing coverage of the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy is partly to convey.

Third, the Clinton role in helping the Obama administration and a bipartisan Congress support revolutions and undeclared wars and similarly dangerous and oft-ineffective policies poses a threat to the public far beyond the potential benefit to her fund-raising. The U.S.-initiated overthrow of Libya’s dictator, for example, represents a monumental human tragedy and ongoing threat to regional peace far beyond the deaths of the four Americans in Benghazi.

Finally, the major media have proven unwilling to explore these factors in any depth despite their extensive coverage of more trivial aspects voiced by partisans. 

Several of these themes were revealed by Madsen via his blog WMR, a subscription site excerpted here with his permission and in his 2012 book, L’Affaire Petraeus. Madsen, a former Navy intelligence officer and author of multiple books shown in a file photo, has published opeds well over a hundred times in mainstream U.S. newspapers during the past three years. He is also controversial for his commentaries via other channels, including on foreign media and in his books, alleging criminal conduct, sex scandals and other abuses by U.S. government officials. He is a target of sustained smear campaigns, as we (among others) have documented a series of columns, incuding this one from 2014 Investigative Reporter Implicates Wikipedia In Smear Campaign. His Wikipedia bio has had hundreds of edits by several anonymous critics who use their clout in Wikipedia's hierarchy to forbid corrections or balance to his unwanted listing.

Nonetheless, fallout from the Clinton email scandal appears to sustain one of his more aggressive, source-based stories, which reported exclusively in November 2012 that the Obama administration had forced out Petraeus because his CIA team had proven disloyal on the Benghazi matter, not because of the Broadwell sex scandal. 

As described in his March 13 column this year headline: Hacked HRC e-mail shows that she was made aware of a Romney-Petraeus "October Surprise" the day after it was reported by WMR:

An e-mail sent by unofficial adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Sidney Blumenthal, which was revealed by the computer hacker known as "Guccifer," describes the belief by some higher-ups in the Obama administration that the resignation of Central Intelligence Agency director David Petreaus on November 8, 2012, the day after Barack Obama's re-election, was tied to a plot by Mitt Romney and Petraeus to engineer an "October Surprise" to engineer Obama's electoral defeat. As can be seen in the email, dated November 12, 2012, the idea of the Petreaus resignation being tied to an October Surprise gambit was reported by Blumenthal to Clinton the day after WMR reported: "Petraeus indiscretion may be linked to 'October Surprise' plot."

On March 18 this year, the conservative Washington Times published a column by its online digital editor Monica Crowley, Was Hillary Clinton running her own rogue intel operation? The truth may be found in her private emails, Crowley, a longtime Washington insider, in effect confirmed Madsen's thesis (albeit without credit) in her featured story that the Times print edition featured across the entire top half of its commentary section front page.

The media often downplay the brutal realities involved in physical and political protection of a president. Two recent examples:

The heavy recent coverage of Secret Service misconduct and security failure rarely mentions the mind-boggling lapses that enabled President Kennedy's assassination. Coverage is rare also of the failure of Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson, to discipline anyone in the Secret Service for the breakdowns.

Similarly, the media rarely cover disloyalty within the inner-circles of high officials. Yet back-stabbing and a perceived need for secrecy, even between colleagues, occurs even within the same administration on occasion with the stakes in Washington so high.

That kind of information gaps helps explain why Hillary Clinton wanted her own intelligence network and her own email system as Secretary of State, even if doing so may have violated law or public sensibilities.

According to commentator and former Navy intelligence officer Wayne Madsen, Clinton used Washington insider Sidney Blumenthal, a former journalist and 1990s White House aide, for political intelligence on sensitive topics even though she was one of the nation's highest ranking federal officials and had access to the work of vast numbers of Obama administration staffers.

As a sample of Blumenthal's private intelligence gathering for her, he sent her a confidential memo on Nov. 12, 2012 alleging disloyalty to the Obama administration by its just-fired CIA Director David Petraeus. In a report last week, Madsen cited a copy of this memo distributed by "Guccifer," a Romanian who had illegally hacked into Blumenthal's account.

Conventional wisdom has been that Obama fired the married Petraeus because of his affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, shown in the photo. But Blumenthal advised Clinton that the real reason was suspected disloyalty by Petraeus reflected in the Benghazi debacle and Republican efforts to exploit the deaths during the just-finished election. Blumenthal's high-level analysis mirrored what Madsen had published the previous day about Petraeus and the Benghazi scandals on his subscription site WMR and in his subsequent book, L'Affaire Petraeus

The public relations game over firing the well-connected Petraeus was complex, in part because he retained strong support on Wall Street, Capitol Hill and elsewhere in Washington for his aggressive interventionist policies. His DC connections include the Petraeus-founded  (CNAS), which funnels many neo-liberal and neo-conservative personnel into the Obama administration. The Wall Street firm KKR appointed Petraeus leader of KKR's Global Initiatives unit, and the Justice Department closed its investigation of his leaked classified documents to Broadwell with a misdemeanor charge regarded as a wrist-slap for an offense that sends those without political clout to prison.

Out of this, one implied lesson for all of us is that even someone at Hillary Clinton's level thinks she needs alternative information sources than the conventional media and the State Department bureaucracy.

 
 
 
 
 
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