The sheer absurdity of the Clinton email story is highlighted by Hillary Clinton continuing to insist she never handled classified material on her illicit personal mail server, even though we know for a fact that she did.
It’s the ultimate example of a politician repeating a lie over and over again, hoping that her media supporters will either echo the lie until it becomes accepted truth, or at least muddy the waters enough to make voters think the jury is still out. Clinton is hoping her friends, donors, party guests, and former employees in the mainstream media can turn this devastating story into one of those “Republicans Claim…” deals, with headlines that transform objective facts into political squabbles and debatable matters of opinion.
But no, it’s a matter of objective fact that Hillary Clinton lied, and is lying today, when she claims she didn’t pass any classified material through the insecure personal server she wasn’t supposed to be using. Those claims were never plausible, and now they’ve been demolished. It’s not something “Republicans” are saying, it’s something intelligence community Inspector Generals are saying.
In fact, as the Wall Street Journal points out, the material Clinton handled is so sensitive that the IGs are wary of describing it too thoroughly.
They won’t even say whether Clinton sent or received the classified information. “We carefully used ‘transmit’ to not indicate either sent or received,” explained a spokeswoman for the Inspector General’s office of the four known emails containing material that was classified when Clinton’s basement server handled them, and remain classified to this day.
What’s more, the IGs are worried that the next round of Clinton emails about to be made public could jeopardize national security by exposing classified material. “A third batch of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails is scheduled to be released this week despite warnings from internal government watchdogs that ‘hundreds of potentially classified emails’ could be among them and a conclusion that the State Department already had posted classified material publicly as part of previous email releases,” the Journal reports.
That’s something else, isn’t it? ClintonEmail.com (yes, that was the cunningly hidden domain name of her server) went from being Granny’s little mailbox for yoga tips and recipes to the digital equivalent of the Ark of the Covenant in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”: you can’t even look at what’s spewing out of that thing, or it could melt your face off.
Ron Fournier at National Journal had some fun picking away at all the little Clinton clauses scattered through Hillary’s most recent statement on the matter: “First, let me say that I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received. What I think you’re seeing here is a very typical kind of discussion, to some extent disagreement, among various parts of the government over what should or should not be publicly released.”
As Fournier notes, her “I am confident that I never…” opening is a passive-voice spectator shuffle designed to make it possible for Her Royal Highness to throw some hapless underling under the bus, when it’s no longer possible to even rhetorically deny that classified material passed through her server. I didn’t know about it! It was done without my knowledge! I’m as angry as anyone, and let me assure you, the staffers responsible will never again be invited to a star-studded Clinton Foundation gala to hobnob with oil sheiks and Russian uranium buyers!
The rest of Clinton’s swill was already stale before she ladled it out. The IG was explicitly clear that the material they found was classified when it passed through her server, and hasn’t been declassified since. The Clinton dodge about how she emailed some stuff that hadn’t been classified in 2010 has been destroyed. And, as mentioned, this is not just bellyaching from partisan Republicans out to derail Our Lady of the Cattle Futures before she ascends her rightful throne, and it’s not a “disagreement” between “parts of the government” seeking to formulate a policy for handling sensitive communications. They had that disagreement before Clinton became Secretary of State, and set policies she proceeded to violate, beginning the day after her confirmation hearings.
Presumably the final fallback for Clinton in the email scandal will be claims there is no conclusive proof any bad actors have acquired her emails and acted badly with them. That’s awfully unsteady ground to be holding national security debates on. Among other things, skillful foreign espionage agents will make it very difficult for us to learn where they obtained their intelligence – that’s basic tradecraft.
And even if our guys positively established that foreign powers compromised ClintonEmail.com, they wouldn’t inform the public, for the same reason. They don’t want to tip their hand about how they penetrated foreign cyber-espionage operations, or what they learned. We could be many years away from some tell-all book using declassified files to explain how China, Russia, Iran, or some other power used information harvested from Hillary’s leaky server to compromise American interests.
The reason firm policies are set for handling sensitive material is to avoid discussions like this. It’s severe dereliction of duty for Hillary Clinton to take actions that leave us crossing our fingers and hoping the same crew that hacked her henchman Sid Blumenthal didn’t follow the digital trail back to her, and go to town on the machine she wasn’t supposed to be using. We’re not supposed to trust her discretion in deciding which of her emails she could destroy as “personal correspondence,” in defiance of subpoenas. The duly elected majority in the House of Representatives shouldn’t have to trust a bitterly partisan, dishonest politician to deal squarely with them.
If Hillary Clinton was virtually any other State Department employee, and her private-email trickery was discovered, she would have been escorted from the office by armed security and told to remain available for questions from investigators. She probably wouldn’t be able to hold a security clearance for the rest of her life. There are very good reasons for that.