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TEL AVIV — In a 2010 email released yesterday by Judicial Watch, Jake Sullivan, then-Deputy Chief of Staff to Hillary Clinton at the State Department, discusses how to “help” news media figures “’figure out’ how things work.”
Sullivan later served as chief foreign policy adviser to Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
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The February 9, 2010 email in question was sent to longtime Clinton confidantes Huma Abedin and Cheryl D. Mills, and to Philippe I. Reines, who served as Clinton’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategic Communications.
It was an exchange started by Sullivan, who asked why New York Times columnist David Brooks “took a shot at me in his column today.”
“Any ideas what prompted it?” asked Sullivan.
Brooks column that day, titled, “The House of Tranquillity” did not specifically mention Sullivan. It stated of Clinton and Iraq that, “Hillary Clinton’s influence on this and all issues is exceptionally hard to figure out.”
Brooks may have been referring to Sullivan and other top Clinton aides when he wrote:
Finally, Biden was asked to come up with a middle-class agenda. This is a surprisingly difficult job because many of these programs — credits for college affordability and child care — fairly reek of Clintonism. This is an administration that is staffed by Clintonites but does not want to appear Clintonian in any way.
In response to Sullivan’s email asking what may have prompted Brooks’ alleged criticism, Reines replied, “Not sure – but this is a good excuse to bring him in for an OTR with you. Lona mentioned you wanted to see Tom Friedman – with your ok, we could schedule both (separately) over the next month or so.”
OTR is an acronym for an off-the-record conversation, something fairly common in government circles. Reines was referring to Times’ columnist Thomas Friedman.
Sullivan responded with his comment about helping media personalities “’figure out’ how things work”:
Philippe and I had an offline conversation about this and I agree entirely. I think it makes sense for you to meet with influencers on a regular — though not intrusive — basis. An OTR conversation with you is the best way to help guys like Brooks “figure out” how things work.
The email was part of a batch of 1,184 pages released yesterday by Judicial Watch following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The correspondence included 29 previously undisclosed emails. The Sullivan email about Brooks was also previously released by WiliLeaks, but it received no news media attention.
Previous Clinton-related emails discussed methods of utilizing the news media for messaging.
Breitbart News previously reported a memo requested by Clinton recommended that the State Department utilize “Specialty Media” to get its foreign policy message across, a newly released State Department email reveals.
The 2009 memo urged Clinton to use her star power and singled out shows including Oprah, Ellen, The View, and others to be used to “amplify and deliver messages that advance policymaking.”
The section on The View stated that while the program lacks “international distribution, it makes up for it by creating a media echo chamber based on the intense discussions that take place every weekday during the Hot Topics segments.”
The reference to The View as “creating a media echo chamber” may be telling. Last May, a New York Times article quoted a senior Obama administration official who used similar phraseology in describing the alleged use of the news media to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the American public.
That plot was referenced in a New York Times Magazine profile of President Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes entitled, “The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru.”
Robert Malley, senior director at the National Security Council, was quoted saying “experts” were utilized to create an “echo chamber” that disseminated administration claims about Iran to “hundreds of often-clueless reporters” in the news media.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.
With research by Joshua Klein.