It feels as if the truth is finally breaking out of Hillary Clinton’s tightly guarded email scandal.
The State Department admits that Clinton turned over nothing voluntarily to the federal government, despite her legal duty to provide copies of her official emails once she left office.
The agency now says it got some emails back from her only after it sent a letter demanding her emails.
The letter was sent once the agency officials “discovered” she was using a private email system. (That sounds like a rather dubious proposition, but it is actually not hard to believe the department was collectively unaware of a detail everyone trading emails with Hillary Clinton knew about.)
Clinton dissolved into a hot mess when the Des Moines Register asked her about this discrepancy:
“I don’t know that. I can’t answer that. All I know is that they sent the same letter to everybody. That’s my understanding,” said Clinton.
“You’re telling me something I don’t know,” Clinton told reporters. “All I know is what I have said. What I have said is it was allowed. The State Department has confirmed that. The same letter went to, as far as I know, my predecessors, and I’m the one who said, ‘Hey, I’ll be glad to help.’ But we’ll give you additional information as we get it.”
What actually happened, according to a Washington Post report referenced by the Des Moines Register, is that State officials finally conceded their request to Clinton for copies of her emails was “not simply about general record-keeping but was prompted entirely by the discovery that Clinton had exclusively used a private e-mail system.”
They made this request for the first time in the summer of 2014 – i.e. just a few months ago, when the Clinton email scandal broke – and included three of her predecessors, in what sure looks like an embarrassing bit of bureaucratic butt-covering.
The only reason the State Department became officially, collectively aware of Clinton’s secret server and demanded her long-hidden correspondence was because the House Benghazi Committee – you remember, the committee Democrat clowns derided as a redundant waste of time – was breathing down their necks, demanding Benghazi-related message traffic State suddenly realized it didn’t have.
It was all part of a mad scramble to control political damage, not a carefully-designed long-standing policy to ensure the American people and their congressional representatives would have full access to the SecState’s correspondence. Clinton didn’t happily, pro-actively comply with any such policy – she relented and gave up half her emails under intense pressure, long after leaving office. And she deleted half of them to boot, which is where the FBI’s data-retrieval experts come in.
There is, quite simply, no way for Clinton to sustain her false narrative about cheerfully handing over all her emails the minute she left office.
It’s a documented fact that she handed nothing over voluntarily. Her correspondence wasn’t demanded by State until Congress came calling. The effort to loop previous Secretaries of State into the request for documents was a ridiculously transparent effort at spin control. An anonymous State Department official admitted to the WaPo on Tuesday that “we realized there was a problem” after the Clinton email story blew up in the news.
Clinton clearly expected her old friends at State to keep spinning for her, and was utterly flummoxed when they dropped all pretenses and began giving the “new account” described by the Washington Post. They pulled the rug out from under her, and she had no idea how to deal with it.
Amusingly, after cogitating on these developments for a few hours, her campaign decided to roll out the hoary old nonsense story about how Hillary thought most of her correspondence was being archived by some non-existent automated government system every time she mailed someone with a .gov adddress. This is not true and never was – the State Department sheepishly admitted that it only began archiving messages automatically after the Clinton scandal broke.
This story is actually about more than Clinton’s desire to shield her correspondence from oversight, no matter how it might put the smooth operation of her department, and national security, at risk. It’s an astonishing picture of sheer agency incompetence and mismanagement. The whole thing has been a circus act driven by embarrassing headlines and political spin.
The departing manager of the average pizza restaurant is handled more carefully than departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was. The Obama Administration was so utterly contemptuous of the public’s need to know, and the prerogatives of Congressional oversight committees, that it simply never gave any thought to securing emails the SecState wrote on behalf of the United States of America, until Congress and federal judges forced them to pay attention to the matter.
If the emails recovered by the FBI don’t include any “smoking guns,” we can expect the Clinton camp to loudly proclaim total vindication, even though such a development would say nothing about the discrepancies between her account of the emails and the official State Department line, or the presence of classified material on her server. And if the FBI does find emails that cover something other than yoga routines and wedding reception plans, expect Clinton to declare herself totally ignorant of how that stuff got deleted, and deeply disappointed in whichever fall-guy or fall-gal aide tried to destroy them.