Longtime journalist and former Clinton White House advisor Sidney Blumenthal will become a special advisor without portfolio to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, The Cable has learned. Blumenthal refused to comment. But sources say he is filling out the paperwork and disentangling himself from other obligations as he moves to become a special advisor to the secretary whose presidential campaign he helped advise. The position would not require Senate confirmation.
Clinton, who is recovering from surgery to repair a broken elbow, has been building her team at the State Department, while establishing her credentials as a team player supporting and amplifying her former presidential rival's foreign-policy vision. Sources close to her say she will prove indispensable to Obama, a point several Obama aides also made to Politico's Ben Smith in a piece noting the relatively background role she has played in these early months. The planned addition of Blumenthal, a longtime confidant of the Clinton family and a fierce defender of Bill Clinton's presidential legacy, could indicate she plans to raise her profile. (Blumenthal is probably Clinton's best speechwriter, a friend notes.)
In the foreign-policy arena, Blumenthal advised former President Clinton on U.S.-British relations, and first introduced him to future British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He has also been active in the Third Way-Progressive Governance process. A former Washington Post reporter, Blumenthal has contributed commentary and editorial advice to Vanity Fair, Tina Brown's new online magazine The Daily Beast, the New Yorker, and Salon. Blumenthal has also been a fellow at New York University's Center on Law and Security.
John Hudson reports on national security and foreign policy from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom, the White House to Embassy Row, for The Cable.