As we read that the FBI seems to be approaching some sort of decision point about Hillary Clinton's "EmailGate," whom are we to believe? Some say it wasn't a good thing to do, but it wasn't as bad as the Republicans make it out to be. Others say that the issues involved are serious, and Hillary needs to be indicted. Hillary Democrats and Hillary's minions in the major media say it's a trumped-up scandal. Fox News says it's not.
So whom are we to believe? Unfortunately for Hillary, once you get past the technical jargon, which reporters like to use to make themselves sound smart - (what the hell's a server?) - it really is pretty bad.
First a summary of the facts, in a way that makes sense to somebody who still checks books out of libraries and writes letters on hardcopy - er - paper.
1. Hillary Clinton decided, for whatever reasons, to conduct all of her official government business as US Secretary of State on an email account with no more security than Hotmail. Even less. The foreign policy deliberations, insider thinking, and in some cases secrets of the most powerful empire in the world could have been laying out in file folders on a car trunk in a Walmart parking lot, for all the security she used to conduct US business. And many people likely did see the emails. CIA Director Michael Hayden said "I would lose all respect for a whole bunch of foreign intelligence agencies if they weren't sitting back, paging through the emails." A noted cyber-security expert said hacking into Hillary's emails would have been "amateur hour."
2. Some of these emails were classified, because they were "born classified," in the words of J. William Leonard, a former director of the U.S. government's Information Security Oversight Office. Any correspondence with a foreign government is automatically, officially classified.
3. Clinton flat-out deleted about half the emails in her private email storage computer (that's all a server is in this case,) which is against the Federal Records Act. The FRA requires agency heads (like the Secretary of State) to collect and preserve “agency records” mandating that the agency head “make and preserve records..." An email about government business is an agency record, whether it is classified or not.
4. Clinton kept the private email computer in her house, on which you are not allowed to have classified emails.
5. The penalty for having classified stuff outside secure areas, including email areas, is a year in jail.
Hillary says that the emails she deleted were personal, but then that would have us believe that out of 62,000 emails, half were personal. If this is true, the American taxpayer can assume that their $204,000-a-year Secretary of State spent half her computer time goofing off, sending sweet nothings to Bill or whatever. Being the ambitious power player that Hillary is, many people don't believe this. They wonder mightily what was in those emails, that they had to be deleted at all costs. Hillary was smart enough to know that surely there would be trouble over it, but it didn't matter.
If all Hillary did was keep unclassified emails at her house without being backed up, catalogued, and classified by the State Department, that would be breaking the law. The Federal Records Act clearly mandates that a Secretary of State had to "preserve" records. Intent doesn't figure into it. "I didn't know the law so I didn't intend to break" it is not a defense. In this case, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and it is unlikely Hillary was ignorant of the law.
But Hillary did more, she left emails, many of which were classified or which were 100% certain to be sensitive enough to be classified later, just laying around. In cyberspace terms. Any kid could have hacked into Clinton's private email computer, and been eating popcorn while reading in real-time how many tons of anti-aircraft missiles were going to Libya the next day, and what plane they were on. COOL-O!
This chatter was what the world was treated to.
But there were other things Hillary really didn't want us to see, and she took the law-breaking step of deleting them, unless you believe they were all sweet nothings to Bill.
Here is where speculation begins, which is justified unless you believe half Hillary's email traffic was 'xxo cant wait to see u poopie,' or 'i saw u with that tramp knock it off.' And if it was, the taxpayers should get their money back for only half-days working.
See, the Clintons have been under scrutiny for other stuff, that hasn't made the news, and some Democrats are scared it will all come together like a perfect storm.
Specifically, the $2 billion Clinton Foundation, which, you see, has received multi-million dollar donations from such entities as the government of Saudi Arabia ($10 million,) the government of Kuwait ($5 million,) the governments of Omar, and the United Arab Emirates. Don't forget Monsanto, Goldman-Sachs, Pfizer, and Boeing. Some might even say it is inappropriate for an official to accept multi-million dollar gifts from governments with whom we negotiate foreign policy and business. What if you don't give? Do you get overthrown?
This is why these laws exist, and Hillary broke them both in letter and in spirit, contrary to news spinners who say it was one but not the other. It wasn't just in spirit. It was in letter too. One reason the laws exist is so that We the People can know if our public officials are setting up their own shop-within-a-shop. That's the whole point.
We don't know if Hillary did, because no one had Hillary's emails but Hillary, and she destroyed half of them. So now, if anyone says Hillary is hiding something, they can chalk it up to "Hillary Haters," because no one can prove anything. How convenient.
A more serious speculation is in order. Given that any foreign government could have seen Hillary's emails and probably did, even the ones Hillary deleted for one reason or another, is it possible that a contender for the presidency of the United States is now subject to blackmail by a foreign power? it is a perfectly logical question to ask.
The kicker is, for lesser things than Hillary did, people have gone to jail. Last year, a Navy reservist did go to jail for "mishandling" classified materials. He downloaded them to his smartphone, and walked around with them. But it's doubtful half the Chinese or North Korean government was drooling to see them, or did.
And of course, Hillary has been on the tough side of national security, just like she and Bill were "tough on crime." After Bradley Manning was sentenced in 2011, then-Secretary of State Clinton called a press conference and said:
"we all have to be aware of the fact that some information which is sensitive, which does affect the security of individuals and relationships, deserves to be protected and we will continue to take necessary steps to do so,"
These are just the most important laws that Hillary broke. Any good prosecutor could probably find another half-dozen charges, destruction of government property etc., and pile them on. The question is not whether Clinton broke the law. The question is whether she can do things that other people are sitting in jail for.
CJ Kelly from the PNW on May 11, 2016:
Ralph, great hub. You're right on all point. But what will come of the investigation? Nothing.
Petraeus gets booted (probably deserved at least some punishment), Scooter Libby went to Federal prison for scant charges and just recently a CIA agent was convicted for disclosing secrets (some say unintentionally).
I'm amazed at how many defend her in the media. Can you imagine a member of the Bush administration have their own server? I remember cries of "cover up" when Cheney met with some energy execs in the VP mansion. Double standard for one side of the political aisle.