Okay, I’m joining the Hillary bashing brigade. I’ve watched in amazement the lack of outcry by members of the Democratic party (which is an enemy to democratic process) at the seriousness of the findings and conclusions of the State Department’s IG regarding Hillary’s use of the private email server.
Hillary has said on myriad occasions over the last year that her use of the server was “permitted” or “allowed.” While those terms have every day meanings, they also imply the legal conclusion that she had approval. The IG’s report says not only did she not have this approval, she never requested approval. Surprise, surprise. The queen of autocratic secrecy did not use any of the formal processes of the department with regard to her email set-up. When during the time she used the server issues arose, the rules of the Department required that she report such issues to the Department. On two occasions such issues arose, once when her tech shut down the server because of a series of attacks against it, and once when she believed her email had been breached when she received mail with suspect links in it. She reported neither.
We know from the released emails that she once instructed an aide to remove the security header from a document in order to be able to send it over unsecured lines. What we don’t know is whether the document was sent in that condition. If it was. that is a violation of the Espionage Act where intention is irrelevant. The mere act of doing is a crime.
What can we make of Hillary’s response to the IG’s report? First a statement from her campaign: “While political opponents of Hillary Clinton are sure to misrepresent this report for their own partisan purposes, in reality, the Inspector General documents [show] just how consistent her email practices were with those of other Secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal email. The report shows that problems with the State Department’s electronic record keeping systems were longstanding and that there was no precedent of someone in her position having a State Department email account until after the arrival of her successor. Contrary to the false theories advanced for some time now, the report notes that her use of personal email was known to officials within the Department during her tenure, and that there is no evidence of any successful breach of the Secretary’s server. We agree that steps ought to be taken to ensure the government can better maintain official records, and if she were still at the State Department, Secretary Clinton would embrace and implement any recommendations, including those in this report, to help do that. But as this report makes clear, Hillary’s use of personal email was not unique, and she took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her record.”
First she claims that her practices were consistent with prior secretaries’ practices. No, no prior secretary ever had a private server, according to the IG, and even Colin Powell tried to segregate his personal email from his official email. More than that, Powell was the first SoS to use email, and he was the one setting up the program in the State Department. As such, he was unlikely to be running afoul of any regulations and security procedures because there weren’t any. In early 2009, various changes were made in security procedures as a new, more tech savvy president made changes in the security systems government wide. But Hillary already had her server and ignored anything that came along.
Notice how her report says “there was no precedent of someone in her position having a State Department email account until after the arrival of her successor.” That’s certainly an odd way to say that she was the last person not to use a State Department account. I don’t know what this is meant to convey, but she is claiming that, even with advances in in technology and rules, she should be viewed the same as earlier secretaries who did not face the same rules and regulations.
The statement concludes with the disingenuous statement, “But as this report makes clear, Hillary’s use of personal email was not unique, and she took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her record.” The first statement is irrelevant, but the second is laughable. The Federal Records Act requires that persons leaving the government must give the government all records created during the person’s work for the government. This law was in effect at the time that Hillary left her position. Two years later, after the email controversy was in full stride, she finally gave some of her emails to the State Department, and later begrudgingly handed over the server. Neither transfer was made to comply with the Federal Records Act, but rather in response to the FBI investigation and the IG’s plan to investigate. Her “steps to preserve” were the server, and her “release” was the handing over of the server to investigators. Real impressive.
Hillary has said from the beginning that this was a permitted way to handle her email. It was not. She lied, folks, and she continues to do it. Now she says that “her use of personal email was known to officials within the Department” but it was not known to either the security people in the Department or the techs, other than the one who set it up. The IG found that lower level workers were advised by higher ups to not discuss the Clinton email subject any more after one began to question whether it was safe. That sounds suspiciously like an effort to keep the whole set-up under wraps. And that’s the point.
At least one commentator has said that this would be blowing up the Democratic party if it weren’t for Trump. In fact, the existence of evidence that the presumptive nominee is currently lying about a matter under FBI investigation would be enough to derail any candidate in any year other than this. But not this year, and we should ask why.
Does the Democratic party care? If it does, why doesn’t it do something? And if it doesn’t, why should we vote for a nominee who lies about something currently under investigation?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.