Clinton Ally Lobbied Hillary to Meet Then-envoy Michael Oren, Email Reveals

Bill's old college roommate wrote Clinton in December 2009, asking if her staff were stopping her meeting the new Israeli ambassador to Washington.

Michael Oren speaks at an event.
Ofer Vaknin

An old ally of the Clintons tried to get Hillary Clinton to meet with Michael Oren a few months after Oren had been appointed Israel’s ambassador to the United States in 2009. The approach was revealed when thousands of private Hillary Clinton emails were released this week as part of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

On December 10, 2009, about six months after Oren took up his position in Washington, Brian Greenspun sent an email to the private account of then- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking her to check why her staff was not allowing the Israeli ambassador to meet her. It’s isn’t clear whether Oren was the one who asked Greenspun to intervene.

Greenspun is publisher of the Las Vegas Sun and was Bill Clinton’s old college roommate. He even raised money for him in Nevada when Clinton was president. According to various reports, in January 2001, a few weeks before the end of the president’s term, Greenspun also asked Clinton to grant a pardon to the founder of Israel Aerospace Industries, Al Schwimmer, for his role in smuggling U.S. planes to Israel in 1950.

“Hi Hillary,” writes Greenspun in the short message, parts of which were redacted before it was released for publication. Greenspun writes that rumor has it that the Israeli ambassador was unsuccessfully trying to arrange a meeting with the secretary of state. He says he can’t imagine why her staff would keep Oren away from her and offered his help if there was any problem.

In his new book, “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide” – which has caused a furor after Oren asserted that President Barack Obama had abandoned Israel – Oren wrote that during his first months in the job he received the cold shoulder from Clinton, who turned down his repeated requests to meet her privately.

Oren noted that Clinton’s staff told him she didn’t meet with foreign ambassadors. Oren wrote that his predecessor, Sallai Meridor, used to meet regularly with then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Oren also wrote that he bumped into Clinton one day at an event, and she jokingly told him she had left him messages but he didn’t get back to her.

The email sent by Brian Greenspun to Hillary Clinton on Michael Oren's behalf in December 2009. (Screenshot)

Hillary Clinton’s email messages, which were published several days ago, were from a private account she used during her term as secretary of state. Clinton used the private account with the address “hrod17@clintonemail.com” for government correspondence. In doing so, she apparently violated U.S. federal regulations, which mandate that the correspondence of senior officials must remain part of the office’s documentation.

Clinton didn’t have a government email address during her four years as secretary of state, and her aides didn’t save her correspondence in the office servers, as required by federal law. About two years after she retired from the job, her advisers were forced to transfer 55,000 pages from her private account to the State Department.

When the story was publicized and there were questions about whether Clinton had used her private email for classified and political correspondence, all the papers were examined and it was decided to publish them in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act. A few days ago, 3,000 pages of emails from Clinton’s private account were published.