Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had a pretty good gig — she got to filter Top Secret e-mails, Clinton Foundation work, and personal correspondences through a single server in her home in Chappaqua, New York. For months she tried to downplay the implications of her decision, but after the inspector general (IG) for U.S. intelligence agencies found out that top-secret information went through that server, she turned it over to the FBI. Her campaign’s response: “this kind of nonsense comes with the territory of running for president.” Seriously.
The Washington Post reported Aug. 12:
The FBI transfer Wednesday occurred one day after a top intelligence official whose office has been reviewing some of Clinton’s e-mails informed congressional leaders that top-secret information had been contained in two e-mails that traveled across the server.
The e-mail issue has become problematic for Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president. On Wednesday, her campaign worked to reassure donors and supporters amid the rising controversy over the e-mail issue. In a blast e-mail, the campaign’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, said “this kind of nonsense comes with the territory of running for president.”
The controversy over Clinton’s e-mail dates to the summer of 2014, when, according to government officials, State Department lawyers realized they didn’t have access to some of her records as they prepared responses to congressional requests related to the 2012 attacks on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya.
Imagine you were General David Petraeus, who was indicted, prosecuted, and ultimately convicted of sharing confidential information (i.e., the lowest level of classified materials).
Imagine you were Sandy Berger, who was found guilty of stealing classified material out of the National Archives — he shoved them down his pants — to better protect Bill Clinton’s reputation after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Imagine you were Chelsea Manning, sitting in prison for the next three decades for leaking government files to WikiLeaks.
Now imagine how you would feel if you watched the former Secretary of State get away with housing Top Secret information on her own personal e-mail server — completely out of reach of the federal government during her tenure with the Obama administration. You would feel pretty angry, wouldn’t you?
This is not the “kind of nonsense” one must deal with when he or she runs for president. “Nonsense” would something along the lines of The New York Times reporting on Marco Rubio’s four speeding tickets — since 1997. “Nonsense” would be like The Times reporting that Marco Rubio might not make a good president because he acquired a lot of student loans on his way to becoming a Florida Senator.
It is not “nonsense” when the FBI essentially says “Give us your person e-mail server before we make you give it to us” after finding out that it contained Top Secret information.
Reason magazine reported Aug. 12 just how bad the situation really is for Mrs. Clinton:
Given that 10 percent of the emails in the small batch examined by the IG were classified, it’s more than likely that there are many, many more of the communications on that server are classified too. Clinton claimed that “there is no classified material,” but what we know is that there’s definitely some, and almost certainly quite a lot of it.
Since her initial statement in March, Clinton’s campaign has updated her story. Her claim is now that none of the emails were classified at the time they were sent. “She followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials,” campaign spokesperson Nick Merrill told Politico in July. “Any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.”
A joint statement in July from IGs at the State Department and the Director of National Intelligence indicates otherwise.
“[The four classified] emails were not retroactively classified by the State Department,” the statement says. “Rather these emails contained classified information when they were generated and, according to IC classification officials, that information remains classified today. This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system.”
Only the most pathetic kind of partisan hack can look at this story and call it a non-issue or “nonsense.” In a best-case scenario for Mrs. Clinton, it shows that she thinks that the rules others have to live by do not apply to her or close associates. Rules are for “the little people.” And sadly, if her friends in high places make all of this go away, it will send a message to millions of Americans that, indeed, the so-called masterminds in Washington, D.C. can do just about anything they want and get away with it — if they know how to pull the right combination of strings at their disposal.
If Americans want to know why Donald Trump’s campaign has traction, then they need to look no further than Mrs. Clinton’s email scandal. If Mrs. Clinton and her media allies convince enough Americans that the cloud of dishonesty over her head is really an angelic halo — and if her political allies in Washington, D.C., find a way to bury this controversy in a deep dark Memory Hole — then it will on many levels vindicate the Trump voter’s “Burning Down the House” mentality.