Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime friend of Hillary Clinton gave her advice on issues ranging from British politics to Afghanistan and Iran while she was secretary of state even though he was not employed by the US government, according to emails released on Tuesday.

    The emails from 2009 show informal adviser Blumenthal, whose ties to the Clinton family date back to former President Bill Clinton's White House years, actively trying to shape the early months of Hillary Clinton's time as America's top diplomat.

    Clinton's close links to Blumenthal could rebound on her as she runs for the Democratic nomination for the 2016 presidential election.

    Republicans in Congress have sought to put a spotlight on his influence over Clinton on Libya as it descended into chaos in 2011. A former journalist, Blumenthal sent her lengthy memos about the north African country, many of them containing intelligence reports from a former Central Intelligence Agency officer.

    The emails released by the state department showed that the issues on which Blumenthal gave advice went far beyond Libya. He gave Clinton information on other sensitive issues as early as 2009.

    He seemed to be a middle-man between Clinton and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the Northern Ireland peace process, according to an email he sent on June 14 that year.

    "Gordon Brown called me today to convey his very best to you," Blumenthal wrote to Clinton. He mentioned her possible involvement in a meeting between Brown, Irish Republican leader Martin McGuinness and a man named Shaun, who appears to be Britain's former Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward.

    "I said that he and Gordon should let me know before Wednesday whether your involvement is essential and what they request. That is fine with them and Shaun will get back to me," Blumenthal wrote.

    Controversy over Clinton's emails has dogged the start of her campaign for the White House in November, 2016 after she acknowledged using a personal email account rather than a government one for State Department business.

    The emails released on Tuesday are among some 30,000 work emails that she handed over to the State Department in December that a judge has ordered to be released in batches.

    Blumenthal was barred from a job at the state department by aides to President Barack Obama because of lingering distrust over his role advising Clinton's run against Obama in the acrimonious 2008 Democratic primary, according to The New York Times.

    Blunt advice

    But in July 2009, he gave the former first lady blunt instructions ahead of a speech she gave at the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank in Washington.

    "For most policy speeches a generic tone and workmanlike prose are acceptable. But for this one it's not. This speech can't afford to be lackluster," he said in an email, offering her a possible draft copy of the speech.

    On June 23, Blumenthal emailed Clinton around 10pm with the subject line, "Hillary: if you're up, give me a call. Sid." In the preceding days, he had sent her detailed memos on Iran's 2009 election crisis with media clips.

    Later that year, Blumenthal wrote to Clinton that delay in announcing a strategy for US forces in Afghanistan was putting serious strains on Washington's relations with close ally Britain.

    "Consensus across the board in Britain - center, right, left- is that the Atlantic alliance - the special relationship -the historic bond since World War II - is shattered," he wrote.

No clarity over T&T players for CLT20

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • |
  • Updated: Oct 10, 2012 15:18 IST

The impasse over which team the three Trinidad and Tobago players - Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard - will play for in the Champions League T20 tournament continues even after the date for submitting the final list passed on September 10.

The trio has been named in the final lists submitted by both T&T and their respective Indian Premier League outfits.

Narine, Bravo and Pollard turn out for Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians respectively in the IPL and all the teams are confident of having their services in the CLT20. The CLT20 organisers will now speak to the trio to know their choice.

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"The three players are in our final list but that doesn't mean they will play for us. It will depend on what they inform the CLT20," T&T Board's CEO Suruj Raghoonath told the HT on Tuesday.

The CLT20 is expected to put out the team lists in the next 24 hours. From all indications the players will turn out for their IPL teams in the tournament to be played in South Africa in October.

The Caribbean nation's minister of sport, Anil Roberts, had said in July that he would try his best to get the trio to play for T & T. "We understand the difficulty of the situation the players are in, and the fact that they are contracted to the IPL teams and they have to see the financial aspect of the contract too," the CEO said.

 

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