Opinions about Hillary Clinton range from absolute hatred to unadulterated adoration. The one thing rarely heard about Ms. Clinton is that she’s not very bright; yet her email scandal tends to argue otherwise.
Ms. Clinton’s weak excuses started with a poorly crafted story of wanting to avoid carrying multiple devices in her worldwide travels. Within days it was revealed that Hillary carried multiple devices the entire time she had her own private server: a Blueberry and an iPad. Though it’s hard to imagine in this day and age where nearly everyone has multiple email accounts going to a single device that this story would do anything other than get heads shaking in pity across the country. Come on Hillary, you can do better than that.
Shortly after that first misstep, Hillary began claiming that other secretaries of state also had private email systems; however none used a private email server for government business. Targeting Colin Powel, a man steeped in the concrete rules of the military, is a horrible ploy; of course David Petraeus, a revered general allowed his love life to lead him to run astray of the laws, exposing classified data and for that he paid with a federal conviction.
Hillary’s story seems to change from day to day. Ms. Clinton kicked off her obfuscation tour by claiming that she had never sent or received classified material on her private email server; her only email source for her entire four years as secretary of state. Evolving further Ms. Clinton later argued that nothing in her emails was classified at the time it passed through her server. When faced with the charge by Obama appointed inspectors general that four of the first 40 emails that they sampled were in fact classified at the time they were on her server, she tried to assert that none were marked classified at the time (not a legal defense.) Now she’s trying to argue that the inspectors general are wrong.
The Wall Street Journal released an article this weekend by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who stated clearly that: “It is no answer to say, as Mrs. Clinton did at one time, that emails were not marked classified when sent or received. Of course they were not; there is no little creature sitting on the shoulders of public officials classifying words as they are uttered and sent. But the laws are concerned with the sensitivity of information, not the sensitivity of the markings on whatever may contain the information.” Mukasey went on to say that Ms. Clinton’s decision to delete all emails on her server may put her in further legal jeopardy for obstruction of justice.
Now before some of you jump on this article claiming that nothing of significance was included in these emails, so anyone might have sent this material without “knowing” it was classified, take note of the Inspectors General for the Intelligence Community who found the four classified emails, announced that two of those four were Top Secret, perhaps even special compartmented information that reaches the highest levels of classification. If anyone, including Ms. Clinton was handling Top Secret information without knowledge of its sensitivity they are at best incompetent and most likely facing criminal charges. Marking, in itself, of lack thereof, isn’t an excuse for exchanging classified data in an insecure manner; that is a felony. Does anyone believe the Secretary of State, someone who routinely handles classified information, wouldn’t recognize the sensitivity of information, including potentially devastating information on intelligence community sources and methods?
“Clinton’s argument ignores her actual misconduct,” wrote Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi member and former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Pete Hoekstra and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Victoria Toensing on August 13. “The reason the documents were not marked is because she never submitted them for clearance.”
“The reason government officials with security clearances are required to keep their correspondence on the appropriate government server is so the material can be vetted and classified prior to hitting ‘send’ to an uncleared recipient,” Hoekstra and Toensing wrote for The New York Post on August 11.
Last week the FBI took possession of Mrs. Clinton’s email server. While Clinton claims that she handed it over, implying voluntarily, it was, in fact seized from a third party that was holding the server. The Washington Post reported that it was stored at Platte River Network, the company hired by the Clintons to manage their server for security since mid-2013, in New Jersey. Platte River said it “was blank” and contained no usable data because everything on it was transferred during a 2013 upgrade.
Sadly for Ms. Clinton, the story doesn’t end there. ABC News reported this weekend that Platte River claims that “it is ‘highly likely’ a full backup of the device was made and that the thousands of emails Clinton deleted may still exist.”
Despite pleas from the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Ms. Clinton had refused to hand the server over to a neutral party since it was first requested in March of this year.
The Daily Beast, hardly a vast right-wing media outlet reported, “Hillary Clinton had little choice but to hand over her server to authorities since it now appears increasingly likely that someone on her staff violated federal laws regarding the handling of classified materials. On August 11, after extensive investigation, the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General reported to Congress that it had found several violations of security policy in Clinton’s personal emails. Most seriously, the Inspector General assessed that Clinton’s emails included information that was highly classified—yet mislabeled as unclassified. Worse, the information in question should have been classified up to the level of ‘TOP SECRET//SI//TK//NOFORN,’ according to the Inspector General’s report.”
In 2008 Hillary was the assumed Democratic nominee for the presidency; we all know how that turned out. As we head into 2016, Hillary has again been the odds-on favorite to represent the Democratic Party in the upcoming election. Once again it appears that Ms. Clinton is her own worst enemy.
While much of the network news coverage has treated the email story as largely a “distraction” for Ms. Clinton, and another vast right-wing conspiracy, the drip, drip, drip of information is beginning to get traction. Even Meet the Press host Chuck Todd declared Sunday how surprised he was to find so many Democrats at the Iowa State Fair expressing great concern about Hillary being their nominee, in light of these recent revelations.
All the turmoil has many in the Democratic Party looking elsewhere for a nominee, invigorating calls for Vice President Joe Biden to join the race and even igniting rumors of a possible Al Gore run. Aside from the jitters emanating from back rooms in Washington, socialist Bernie Sanders is being greeted by Obama-like crowds on the campaign trail.
Perhaps even Ms. Clinton will find she can no longer deny the danger she finds herself in, not from an elect-ability standpoint, but from the potential serious legal jeopardy she may face and depart the race; or perhaps she’s told the lies so many times she will sing and dance all the way to a federal criminal prosecution.
If somehow she cleared of all allegations she is surely the Democrats only hope for 2016; but if Vegas is taking odds you can bet she’s drifted from favorite to long-shot.