In my opinion, this is a story with legs; one that I believe will linger on for months. The reason is that there is something that sets it apart from other political scandals: it’s about stolen emails, emails communicating secret and sensitive national information along with internal communications between the Secretary of State and her staff and advisors. These emails were high-jacked and sent to Hillary Clinton’s secret personal server instead of residing on the State Department’s computer as federal government practices dictate.
Everyone is familiar with emails so accusations of wrongdoing involving emails strikes a populist chord. This time it’s about emails and Hillary Clinton. People are also familiar with Hillary. She’s no stranger to scandals, she’s been involved in several and has developed a reputation for pushing the envelope when it comes to secrecy and hiding the truth. That’s why I believe that the story has legs. It’s got two familiar components: Hillary and emails – and the combination could be explosive.
Each day some new details erupt (none of which have helped Hillary’s case). For example, just today I read another article which identifies TEN email addresses associated with Hillary’s double secret email domain. TEN. And remember that since she used NO State Department emailing facilities, ALL of her electronic communications (including sensitive and secret internal State Department information) now resides on Hillary’s servers. And do we need to be reminded that ALL of her State Department communications belong to the United States government, NOT to Hillary Clinton.
That means that ALL of her email communications with her staff, advisors, friends, and relatives, along with foreign governments, etc. were stored on HER PERSONAL SERVERS, NOT on the State Department’s government maintained and secure system. And again, those government communications belong to the government, NOT to Mrs. Clinton.
If Mrs. Clinton has nothing to hide, why not just give the State Department access to her secret server? I’m sure that some State Department IT personnel could facilitate the copying ALL of her emails to State Department servers quite easily. How could she possibly object?
It would have been so simple for our Secretary of State to use a State Department-issued email account – even John Kerry (who served in Viet Nam) uses one extensively. Hillary would have had to do practically nothing to use a State Department email account. It would have been created, maintained, secured and archived for her with no special action on her part – and all in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations.
It begs the question, WHY did she feel the need to have her own personal and private email accounts running on secret dedicated offsite servers. It would have cost money to set up and maintain (and a highly qualified IT System Administrators don’t come cheap), and the security firewall would require constant updating (another ongoing expense), while the State Department email would cost her nothing, in either time or money. And she was circumventing her own directives, not to mention State Department regulations and National Archive requirements by using a personal account.
Occam’s razor comes to mind. To paraphrase, “the simplest answer is most often the correct one.” I believe that the simplest answer to WHY Hillary went to the trouble and expense of creating her own personal, private email system was so she could retain control over what information would be made available to investigative parties and via FOIA requests.
On Wednesday the 4th, she feinted – to throw off the low information public, when she tweeted that, “I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.” Those who haven’t been paying attention might think, “that’s good, she is proving that she values transparency in government.”
But not so fast, Sparkie. What cache of emails is she referring to? That’s easy; she’s referring to those “50,000” pages of emails that SHE sent to State. State didn’t go get them; they can’t access Hillary’s server. They had to ask her to send them her government emails. SHE handpicked them. SHE controlled what went to State. No one knows what’s left on her servers except Hillary – and she will fight to keep it that way.
If she always intended to send ALL of her governmental emails to State, why did she need a personal, private system to begin with? that’s easy, she never intended for the entirety of her cache of emails to be released to the State Department system. It’s obvious that Hillary alone decided what content was made available to the State Department and you can bet your bottom dollar that there is no incriminating content there.
There is evidence that she’s filtered out incriminating documents before – when the Accountability Review Board (ARB) asked for documents related to Benghazi.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell told the story of walking into the basement of the State Department Foggy Bottom headquarters on a Sunday night to find a document vetting session where staffers were “pulling out anything that might put anybody in the front office or the seventh floor in a bad light.”
He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers. “He asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ The staffer responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ” While he couldn’t say for certain what documents the ARB received, he believed that documents turned over to the ARB for the investigation had all been scrubbed in that basement office to protect Mrs. Clinton.
I find that account to be entirely plausible and I’d bet that a similar session was held to sift through the emails resident on Hillary’s server to identify which ones were “safe” to send to State. One thing is sure, if Hillary sent them to State, it’s a waste of time to bother sifting through them looking for any untoward activity – Hillary’s already done that, and they’re “clean.” The investigators need to be given unfettered access to Hillary’s secret server, that’s where they’ll find the elusive pot o’ gold.