Looks like we’ve got our answer to one of the lingering questions I listed after Hillary Clinton’s train-wreck press conference! It was Question Number 8, to be exact:
Clinton insists that the 30,000 emails she has deleted – purportedly about half of the correspondence stored on her server – was personal in nature. Who made that determination, and what criteria were used? Even if her claims are taken at face value, it seems unlikely Clinton herself reviewed the messages one at a time. Who assisted her in this task, and what security clearance did they possess?
The answer, courtesy of Time: nobody read the emails before deleting them.
For more than a year after she left office in 2013, she did not transfer work-related email from her private account to the State Department. She commissioned a review of the 62,320 messages in her account only after the department–spurred by the congressional investigation–asked her to do so.
And this review did not involve opening and reading each email; instead, Clinton’s lawyers created a list of names and keywords related to her work and searched for those. Slightly more than half the total cache–31,830 emails–did not contain any of the search terms, according to Clinton’s staff, so they were deemed to be “private, personal records.”
So Clinton’s legal team whipped up a list of words, her aides searched for messages containing those words, we have Hillary’s pinky-swear assurance all of those messages were printed out and handed over to the State Department… and everything else was deemed “personal” and deleted. Even though no actual people treat their personal email that way.
What was on the list of keywords? Trust the Clinton mob, it was a great list. Was every message discovered by those searches faithfully handed over? Trust the Clinton mob, they’re honest as the day is long.
The notion of the media accepting a delirious load of crap like this from any Republican official for longer than a single day is enough to give you giggle fits.
The feedback Time procured from a legal expert is understated enough to fetch another basket of giggles:
This strikes experts as a haphazard way of analyzing documents. Jason R. Baron, a former lawyer at the National Archives and Records Administration who is now an attorney in the Washington office of Drinker Biddle & Reath, says, “I would question why lawyers for Secretary Clinton would use keyword searching, a method known to be fraught with limitations, to determine which of the emails with a non-.gov address pertained to government business. Any and all State Department activities–not just communications involving the keywords Benghazi or Libya–would potentially make an email a federal record. Given the high stakes involved, I would have imagined staff could have simply conducted a manual review of every document. Using keywords as a shortcut unfortunately leaves the process open to being second-guessed.”
Yes, that does seem “haphazard” and “fraught with limitations,” doesn’t it? And we certainly did end up with a process open to second guesses. I think the more appropriate response would be to shriek “You did WHAT?” while swinging from the nearest ceiling-mounted light fixture, but maybe that’s just me.