Sidney Blumenthal is an author and political consultant and has long been a controversial confidant and defender of both former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Blumenthal earned a reputation for being a ferociously partisan journalist. He was highly supportive of President Clinton and refused to cover the unfolding scandals surrounding the President. By 1997, he officially joined the Clinton White House as a special assistant to the President. During his time in the White House, Blumenthal gained the nickname “Sid Vicious,” due to accusations that Blumenthal would spread stories to discredit Clinton’s alleged mistresses to other journalists. Most notably, journalist Christopher Hitchens alleged in sworn testimony that Blumenthal spread the rumor that Monica Lewinsky stalked President Clinton. In 1998, Blumenthal was one of four individuals to provide testimony to the U.S. Senate in President Clinton’s impeachment trial. 
Blumenthal was later a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential campaign, but President Barack Obama’s administration explicitly prohibited him from taking a position in the U.S. State Department when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Instead, the Clinton Foundation paid him $120,000 per year as a consultant, and a number of political groups run by Clinton-aligned political operative David Brock paid him another $200,000 per year. Meanwhile, Blumenthal maintained regular contact with Secretary Clinton and his email correspondence with her ultimately became a focal point in a Congressional investigation into the events surrounding to the deaths of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in a terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.
Sidney S. Blumenthal was born in 1948 and grew up on Chicago’s northwest side. Blumenthal is a liberal political activist and author who first got involved in politics going door-to-door to get out the vote for a Democratic precinct captain at the age of 12.
Blumenthal graduated from Brandeis University in Boston in 1969. During college, Blumenthal protested the Vietnam War. 
After college, Blumenthal worked for a time as a guard at the Boston Public Library, then took a job as a reporter at a number of liberal alternative weekly publications including Boston After Dark, its successor the Boston Phoenix, and finally the Real Paper. After the Real Paper shut down in 1981, Blumenthal served as an adviser to Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis (D) as he plotted a comeback from a primary election defeat in 1978.
In 1983, Blumenthal was hired by the liberal magazine The New Republic to cover the 1984 presidential campaign. He became the magazine’s national political correspondent and, at the same time, a Today Show commentator. During the next decade, Blumenthal worked at The New Republic, the Washington Post, and the New Yorker. According to a 2016 profile in Vanity Fair, in each of these positions, Blumenthal proved to be a ferocious partisan who had no qualms about assisting Democratic political candidates. In 1984, Blumenthal assisted Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart with his speeches, while at the same time writing positive articles about the candidate for the Washington Post. 
Blumenthal’s wife Jacqueline Jordan-Blumenthal is the former director of the White House Fellows program under President Bill Clinton and is a direct-mail fund-raising consultant. The Blumenthals have two sons: Max Blumenthal, 38, a writer for AlterNet, a liberal online news outlet, and Paul Blumenthal, 34, a reporter for the liberal Huffington Post.
On multiple occasions, Blumenthal forwarded anti-Israel articles written by his son Max to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Blumenthal also defended Max’s anti-Israel book Goliath, which compared the policies of Israel to those of Nazi Germany.
Relationship with Bill Clinton
Blumenthal first met Bill and Hillary Clinton at the end of 1987 and subsequently wrote flattering articles in The Washington Post about then-Arkansas Governor Clinton. 
According to Vanity Fair, Blumenthal made his preference for Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential candidacy known. One of Blumenthal’s 1992 articles praised Clinton’s campaign for its potential to bring “epochal change.” Another article labeled Clinton’s ability to rebound from the Gennifer Flowers adultery scandal “the most electrifying political moment” that Blumenthal had witnessed since he was a child watching President John F. Kennedy.
After Clinton’s election, Blumenthal became the Washington correspondent for the New Yorker.  Colleagues criticized him for being too close to the President to write objectively and for urging the magazine to quash negative stories about President Clinton. Blumenthal refused to report on various controversies that emerged early on in the Clinton Administration, such as the White House Travel Office firings and the Whitewater investigation.
During the 1996 re-election campaign, the New Yorker replaced Blumenthal as its principal Washington correspondent due to concerns that he was too close to the Clinton campaign. Blumenthal remained on staff, but was prohibited from entering the magazine’s Washington office.
From August 1997 to January 2001, Blumenthal worked in the White House as special assistant to President Clinton  to help with speech writing and communications strategy. Upon learning that Blumenthal had formally joined the White House, The New Republic ran an article satirically asking if he would be collecting back pay from the Clintons for all his years as a journalist.
In 1998, Blumenthal was subpoenaed as part of the investigation into President Clinton’s alleged affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He testified to the grand jury twice that year and was one of four witnesses deposed by the U.S. Senate when it tried (and acquitted) Clinton on the impeachment charges related to Clinton’s conduct during the investigation early in 1999.
During his time in the White House, Blumenthal, nicknamed “Sid Vicious,” was widely accused of hatching “dirty tricks” to protect the president. Republicans accused Blumenthal of planting a story about an extramarital affair by then-House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Illinois). Blumenthal denied these allegations.
Similarly, Blumenthal denied his involvement in spreading rumors that Monica Lewinsky was a stalker. However, journalist Christopher Hitchens provided a sworn affidavit to the impeachment trial managers disputing his testimony and suggesting that Blumenthal had indeed spread the rumors about Lewinsky.
Relationship with Hillary Clinton
In his book, The Clinton Wars, Blumenthal writes that by the summer of 1994, he and Hillary Clinton had become “genuine friends.” Similarly, the Washington Post reported that while working in the White House, Blumenthal was a close confidant of both Bill and Hillary Clinton and had subscribed to Mrs. Clinton’s belief that independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr was part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” determined to bring down the President. 
In 2007, Blumenthal advised Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President. When Clinton became Secretary of State in the Obama administration, she reportedly wanted to offer a job to Blumenthal, but was blocked by the White House. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Senior Adviser David Axelrod both reportedly threatened to quit if Blumenthal was hired. They believed that he had been involved in spreading unsubstantiated allegations against the Obama family during the 2008 Democratic primaries. McClatchy’s former bureau chief James Asher accused Blumenthal of pushing the “birther” conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya, a claim that Blumenthal staunchly denies.
After Blumenthal was reportedly rebuffed by the Obama White House, the Clinton Foundation hired him. He worked there as both a paid employee and a consultant for several years, taking a reported $10,000 a month in compensation. In 2015, Politico reported that some officials at the charity questioned his value and complained that his hiring was a favor from the Clintons.
At the same time, Blumenthal was also reportedly paid about $200,000 a year as a consultant for three Democratic Party aligned pro-Hillary groups run by David Brock – namely, the Super PACs American Bridge 21st Century and Correct the Record and the 501(c)(3) group Media Matters for America. Online publication Slate reported that Blumenthal did not appear to have any involvement with any group on a day-to-day level and his only discernible role involved him forwarding the group’s work to other people.
In 2015, Politico wrote “Blumenthal’s concurrent work for the foundation, the Brock groups, and a pair of businesses seeking potentially lucrative contracts in Libya underscored the blurred lines between [Hillary Clinton’s] State Department work and that of her family’s charitable and political enterprises.”
Emails released in 2015 revealed that Blumenthal and then-Secretary Clinton corresponded 306 times via email and that Blumenthal provided Clinton with a wide range of information, including news articles, political gossip, election polls information, geopolitical advice, and speculation. Blumenthal’s emails touched on international issues and sought to keep Secretary Clinton up-to-date on political machinations in the White House and on the campaign trail. According to Vanity Fair, Blumenthal forwarded Clinton emails arguing that there might be grounds to impeach conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and deriding former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as “louche, alcoholic, lazy, and without any commitment to any principle.”
After Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for President in 2015, Blumenthal continued to work as a paid consultant to two Brock-associated groups supporting her campaign, American Bridge and Media Matters. He also reportedly maintained unmediated access to candidate Clinton and shared his insights with her on a variety of political topics.
Activities in Libya
In 2011 and 2012, Blumenthal sent 25 unsolicited emails written in the style of intelligence cables addressing topics relevant to U.S. policy in Libya and that country’s political and economic future to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Some of these memos were unreliable or contradicted the findings of U.S. intelligence available to the Obama administration.
The New York Times wrote, “Mrs. Clinton took Mr. Blumenthal’s advice seriously, forwarding his memos to senior diplomatic officials in Libya and Washington and at times asking them to respond. Mrs. Clinton continued to pass around his memos even after other senior diplomats concluded that Mr. Blumenthal’s assessments were often unreliable.”
The Times report also indicated, “Much of the Libya intelligence that Mr. Blumenthal passed on to Mrs. Clinton appears to have come from a group of business associates he was advising as they sought to win contracts from the Libyan transitional government.”
In June 2015, Blumenthal was called to testify before a U.S. House committee investigating the September 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that led to the death of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The committee was specifically concerned with any connection between Blumenthal’s recommendations to Secretary Clinton and the commercial activities of the two companies with which he was communicating that were seeking to do business in Libya, Osprey Global Solutions and Constellations Group.
When asked to summarize the House of Representatives’ Blumenthal-related findings, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said, “Secretary Clinton trusted Blumenthal even though the Obama White House did not. She thought enough of the ‘intelligence reports’ he sent her to forward them to others in the administration, but only after removing any reference to him.” The House cleared Blumenthal of any conflict of interest and determined that he had no independent knowledge of the attacks.
During the 2004 election, Blumenthal was the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for liberal web publication Salon. He also was a regular columnist for left-wing British newspaper The Guardian from August 2003 until November 2007.
Blumenthal has also written at least ten books and one play since 1980. His first book The Permanent Campaign argued that liberals needed to be mindful of how conservatives were creating permanent, well-funded, and collaborative alternative political entities.
In 1988 Blumenthal published Our Long National Daydream, a collection of his writings that attacked President Ronald Reagan and other Republicans. Similarly, in 2006, Blumenthal wrote How Bush Rules, which according to the New York Times sought to “cast the [President George W.] Bush administration in the grimmest possible light.” Then in 2008, he wrote a follow-up volume entitled The Strange Death of Republican America, in which he argued that the Republican Party was headed for political decline due to President George W. Bush’s and other Republicans’ scandals.
Conversely, in 2003 Blumenthal wrote The Clinton Wars. Joseph Lelyveld, for The New York Review of Books wrote that Blumenthal, out of an excess of either partisanship or loyalty, used the book to defend the Clintons while omitting obvious facts. Lelyveld continued, “when it comes to the Clintons, there is not a single line of comparable acuity or detachment in the whole of The Clinton Wars.”  Similarly, journalist Andrew Sullivan described Blumenthal as “the most pro-Clinton writer on the planet” and Salon’s Dwight Garner wrote that Blumenthal’s pieces as Washington correspondent of the New Yorker “were so unabashedly pro-Clinton that they quickly became the butt of countless jokes.”
Blumenthal also wrote the script for This Town, a political parody play that sought to downplay the litany of scandals plaguing the Clinton Administration in the 1990s.