The term of art for how the State Department handled information requests pertaining to Hillary Clinton’s email is “inaccurate and incomplete response,” but that means lying in plain old English.
As the Washington Post reports, the State Department Inspector General found at least four cases of “flawed responses” to public-records requests related to Clinton, including at least one that sure looks like a deliberate act of deception:
The State Department made its statement in response to a 2012 records request from the independent watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The response came even though Clinton’s chief of staff, who knew about the secretary’s private account, was aware of the inquiry, the report says. In addition, the IG review found that agency staffers had not searched Clinton’s office for emails.
Actually, as the Washington Times observes, “dozens of senior officials” knew about Clinton’s “unique email arrangement,” but they kept insisting they couldn’t find responsive emails.
Also, the IG found that the State Department actually reduced the number of staffers processing information requests as their volume increased, with the result that 177 requests are still pending three years after Clinton left office.
The CREW request referenced by the Washington Post above specifically asked if Clinton was using an email account other than her assigned State Department address. The State Department shrugged and spread its hands in feigned ignorance… even though Clinton was routing thousands of emails, many of them laced with classified information, through just such an off-the-books mail server, and a large number of senior State Department officials and staffers damn well knew it.
Another fun little detail from the IG report is that State staffers almost never bothered to check email in response to document requests prior to 2011… as if email was some newfangled contraption in 2011. Your trillion-dollar technocratic government at work!
This is an organized conspiracy against the American people, not a little whoopsie that happened one time because nobody knew all of Clinton’s email was piled up on an unsecure server in the basement of her fabulous mansion in Chappaqua.
Such problems are said to reach back through previous Administrations as well, which won’t fill Americans with confidence that their insanely expensive and powerful central government will reform itself and become more “transparent” any time soon.
However, the government loves talking about the depth of its commitment to transparency, as State Department spokesman and Clinton campaign flacks did upon release of the Inspector General’s report, per the Washington Post:
“The Department is committed to transparency, and the issues addressed in this report have the full attention of Secretary Kerry and the Department’s senior staff,” said spokesman John Kirby, referring to Clinton’s successor, John F. Kerry. “We know we must continue to improve our FOIA responsiveness and are taking additional steps to do so.”
Brian Fallon, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said, “The Department had a preexisting process in place to handle the tens of thousands of requests it received annually, and that established process was followed by the Secretary and her staff throughout her tenure.”
This is a bit like how the Department of Veterans Affairs ritually declares itself committed to honesty, privacy, and deep respect for our veterans as each new scandal breaks, or how the incantation “I take full responsibility” has come to mean “I accept no responsibility whatsoever, and I want this story to go away now” during the Obama years.
What we get is Accountability Theater, not actual transparency. It’s all about delaying inquiries until the news cycle rolls on, and scandals can be dismissed as “old news.” The Washington Times notes that the Associated Press has been asking for SecState Clinton’s schedules for years, and finally had to file a lawsuit to get them. Many other records requests have been stymied until the results become footnotes, rather than headline news items.
Naturally, Democrats claim it’s all a question of insufficient funding for the poor mega-government to handle a growing volume of information requests. It wouldn’t have cost an extra dime for Clinton’s chief of staff, or any of the many other officials who knew about her secret server, to accurately respond to direct questions about its existence.
Lies and secrecy are oppression; votes are stolen when the public doesn’t know what its lavishly compensated above-the-law officials are doing. Putting Hillary Clinton in the White House would guarantee a heavy shroud of obfuscation and duplicity over Washington for a generation to come. She, and the people in her orbit, know no other way to do business. They think accountability is a game they can win, not a sacred duty to the American people.