Clinton Emails Show Sidney Blumenthal Told Her Benghazi Attack Sparked by Film

Sidney Blumenthal at a White House dinner in 1998. Susan Biddle/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Emails published on Thursday show that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was told by an informal adviser that the 2012 attack on an American diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, stemmed from outrage over an anti-Islam YouTube video.

New documents posted by the New York Times show that longtime Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal emailed Mrs. Clinton the day after the attacks to inform her that Libyan government officials deemed the attack prompted by a clip from the film “The Innocence of Muslims” that had been posted online.

The clip, made by an Egyptian-born U.S. resident, contains depictions of the founding prophet of Islam that many Muslims around the world found offensive. The film sparked protests around the Muslim world in 2012, including a riot outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Mr. Blumenthal, a former White House adviser who remains close to the Clinton family, wrote one day after the attack that “a senior security officer” had told the Libyan interim president “that the attacks on that day were inspired by what many devout Libyan[s] viewed as a sacrilegious internet video.”

But he also suggested that Islamic militants had taken advantage of anger about the film for a planned attack — an analysis that has been debated since 2012.

Citing sources with direct access to the Libyan transitional government, Mr. Blumenthal wrote that news of the video prompted militants from the group Ansar al Sharia to attack the diplomatic compound amid the confusion surrounding protests related to the film…