#ncga: EVEN MORE on The Granges, Blumenthal, Hillary, and Benghazi

ladiesNever before have I encountered a General Assembly matchup with a subplot that sounds so much like an episode of the Showtime series “Homeland.”

Republican businesswoman Holly Grange and conservative activist and school board member Tammy Covil are facing off in a Wilmington area GOP primary for a soon-to-be-vacant NC House seat.  Covil has raised several questions about the Grange family business and its connection to the Benghazi matter being probed by Congress.   We’ve done a little more digging into the matter and come up with some more relevant detail.

Now, we’re learning more about what Hillary Clinton confidante said and did in connection with the Granges’s business: 

[…] Blumenthal’s email warnings, of course, followed a year of Libyan hawkishness on the part of Clinton. In February of 2011, she told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that “it is time for Gaddafi to go.” The next month, after having described Russian reluctance over military intervention as “despicable,” Clinton met with rebel leaders in Paris and drummed up support for a no-fly zone while in Cairo. On March 17, 2011, the UN Security Council voted to back Libyan rebels against Gaddafi.

It’s this buildup, which Clinton still proudly recalled in her 2014 memoir, that Blumenthal appears to join in on 2011. In addition to the intel memos, his emails also disclose that he and his associates worked to help the Libyan opposition, and even plotted to insert operatives on the ground using a private contractor.

A May 14, 2011 email exchange between Blumenthal and Shearer shows that they were negotiating with Drumheller to contract with someone referred to as “Grange” and “the general” to place send four operatives on a week-long mission to Tunis, Tunisia, and “to the border and back.” Tunisia borders Libya and Algeria.

“Sid, you are doing great work on this,” Drumheller wrote to Blumenthal. “It is going to be around $60,000, covering r/t business class airfare to Tunis, travel in country to the border and back, and other expenses for 7–10 days for 4 guys.”

After Blumenthal forwarded that note to Shearer, he wrote back questioning the cost of the operation. “Sid, do you think the general has to send four guys. He told us three guys yesterday, a translator and two other guys. I understand the difficulty of the mission and realize that K will be repaid but I am going to need an itemized budget for these guys.”spy

“The general” and “Grange” appear to refer to David L. Grange, a major general in the Army who ran a secret Pentagon special operations unit before retiring in 1999. Grange subsequently founded Osprey Global Solutions, a consulting firm and government contractor that offers logistics, intelligence, security training, armament sales, and other services. The Osprey Foundation, which is a nonprofit arm of Osprey Global Solutions, is listed as one of the State Department’s “global partners” in a 2014 report from the Office of Global Partnerships.’

Among the documents in the cache released by Lazar is an August 24, 2011, memorandum of understanding between Osprey Global Solutions and the Libyan National Transition Council—the entity that took control in the wake of Qadaffi’s execution—agreeing that Osprey will contract with the NTC to “assist in the resumption of access to its assets and operations in country” and train Libyan forces in intelligence, weaponry, and “rule-of-land warfare.” The document refers to meetings held in Amman, Jordan between representatives of Osprey and a Mohammad Kikhia, who represented the National Transition Council.

Five months later, according to a document in the leak, Grange wrote on Osprey Global letterhead to Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro, introducing Osprey as a contractor eager to provide humanitarian and other assistance in Libya. “We are keen to support the people of Libya under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Finance and the Libyan Stock Exchange,” Grange wrote. Shapiro is a longtime Clinton loyalist; he served on her Senate staff as foreign policy advisor.

[…]Whatever Blumenthal, Shearer, Drumheller, and Grange were up to in 2011, 2012, and 2013 on Clinton’s behalf, it appears that she could have used the help: According to State Department personnel directories, in 2011 and 2012—the height of the Libya crisis—State didn’t have a Libyan desk officer, and the entire Near Eastern Magreb Bureau, which which covers Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya, had just two staffers. Today, State has three Libyan desk officers and 11 people in the Near Eastern Magreb Bureau. A State Department official wouldn’t say how many officers were on the desk in 2011, but said there was always “at least one” officer and “sometimes many more, working on Libya.”


Here is some background on the “Shearer” — Cody Shearer — mentioned in the above excerpt.   Here is some background on Tyler Drumheller, also mentioned in the above excerpt.  And, of course, there is the widely-publicized letter from Benghazi committee chairman Trey Gowdy to the committee’s lead Democrat:beng

[…] Beyond the pure politics that were occurring at this time, perhaps more disturbing is that at the same time Blumenthal was pushing Secretary Clinton to war in Libya, he was privately pushing a business interest of his own in Libya that stood to profit from contracts with the new Libyan government—a government that would exist only after a successful U.S. intervention in Libya that deposed Qaddafi. This business venture was one he shared with Tyler Drumheller and Cody Shearer, the authors of the information sent to Secretary Clinton. It is therefore unsurprising that somebody who knew so little about Libya would suddenly become so interested in Libya and push an old friend in a powerful place to action—for personal profit.

While Blumenthal and Drumheller have both acknowledged a personal stake in the business venture, known as Osprey Global Solutions, they have downplayed their involvement to the Committee. 34 New documents received by the Committee, however, indicate more extensive involvement than previously known. Shortly after the no-fly zone began, Blumenthal began emailing Secretary Clinton about business in Libya. On May 5, 2011, Blumenthal wrote of the “French economic grab,” noting:

Secretary Clinton, responding to Blumenthal the following day, wrote “Just met w TNC again, but signed no contracts! Thx.”36 It is unclear if she knew about Blumenthal’s business venture Osprey Global Solutions at this time.

However, she certainly knew shortly thereafter. On July 14, 2011, Blumenthal sent Clinton two emails. On the subject line of one email Blumenthal wrote “H: IMPORTANT FOR YOUR MEETING. Sid.”37 On the subject line of the other email Blumenthal wrote “Re: H: Pls call before you leave for Turkey. Important re your trip. Sid.”38 That email contained the note “read the memo I sent you. Here it is again.”

The contents of these memos were both identical. They read:

You should be aware that there is a good chance at the contact meeting in Turkey the TNC ambassador to the UAE, a man you have not yet met, whose name is Dr. Neydah, may tell you the TNC has reached an agreement with a US company. The company is a new one, Osprey, headed by former General David Grange, former head of Delta Force. Osprey will provide field medical help, military training, organize supplies, and logistics to the TNC. They are trainers and organizers, not fighters. Grange can train their forces and he has drawn up a plan for taking Tripoli similar to the plan he helped develop that was used by the first wave of Special Forces in the capture of Baghdad.sid

This is a private contract. It does not involve NATO. It puts Americans in a central role without being direct battle combatants. The TNC wants to demonstrate that they are pro-US. They see this as a significant way to do that. They are enthusiastic about this arrangement. They have held meetings with Grange in Geneva and Dubai this week, Tuesday and Wednesday, that concluded late last night (Wednesday). They have developed a good relationship. This is the group the TNC wants to work with. As I understand it, they are still working out funding, which is related to the overall TNC funding problems.

Grange is very low key, wishes to avoid publicity and work quietly, unlike other publicity hungry firms. Grange is under the radar.

Tyler, Cody and I acted as honest brokers, putting this arrangement together through a series of connections, linking the Libyans to Osprey and keeping it moving. The strategic imperative: Expecting Gaddafi to fall on his own or through a deus ex machina devolves the entire equation to wishful thinking. The TNC has been unable to train and organize its forces. The NATO air campaign cannot take ground. The TNC, whose leaders have been given to flights of fancy that Qaddafi will fall tomorrow or the day after, have come to the conclusion that they must organize their forces and that they must score a military victory of their own over Qaddafi that is not dependent solely on NATO in order to give them legitimacy.39  […]

Interestingly, in the first paragraph of the email Blumenthal notes that Osprey—the company in which he had a financial stake—did exactly as he suggested should have been done three months earlier. In an April 8, 2011 email to Secretary Clinton, Blumenthal wrote that “LNC military leaders are considering the possibility of hiring private security firms to help train and organize their forces.”43 Secretary Clinton forwarded this email to Jake Sullivan, noting that the “idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered.”44

Over the next seven months, Blumenthal continued to mention Osprey to Secretary Clinton in a series of memos and reports.45 Even in reports where Osprey is not specifically mentioned, Blumenthal discussed concerns regarding European countries and business interests in Libya,46 and Blumenthal specifically mentioned influential individuals in the Libyan government with whom Osprey had close relationships.47