Clearly, the timed release – just before Labor Day weekend – of the FBI’s investigative report into Hillary Clinton’s email snafu is but another administration effort to minimize fallout from her self-inflicted campaign wounds.
Revelations made in that report would provide great comedic fodder for Dana Carvey’s “the Church Lady” character of Saturday Night Live fame.
As FBI Director James Comey indicated after interviewing Clinton on July 2nd, she lacked intent in transmitting classified material over her private servers – which included 13 mobile devices the FBI determined also had been used (some destroyed by a Clinton aide with a hammer).
Intent also apparently hinged on whether Hillary recalled Department of State security briefings she received on handling classified material while transitioning out of office.
Clinton provided the FBI with a fail-safe response. Alas, the concussion she suffered in 2012 left her unable to recall such briefings. Upon hearing that response, one envisions the Church Lady looking directly into the camera, pursing her lips to one side of the mouth and uttering her famous catchphrase, “How con-VEEN-ient!”
During her interview, Clinton told the FBI after leaving office as Secretary of State in February 2013 that she “received no instructions or direction regarding the preservation of production of records.” But the report qualified her statement with, “However, in December of 2012, Clinton suffered a concussion and then around the New Year had a blood clot. Based on her doctor’s advice, she could only work at State for a few hours a day and could not recall every briefing she received.”
It is an interesting defense, since Clinton claimed in 2014 she had no lingering effects from the concussion.
Again, we envision the Church Lady going through her routine—this time uttering her catchphrase suggesting incredulity, “Well, isn’t that SPE-CIAL?!”
Hillary, apparently, could recall setting up her private email servers without any intention to sidestep her legal responsibility to maintain all business communications as a matter of public record.
Over a year ago, Clinton was repeatedly asked whether efforts were made to “wipe the server” clean. Faking naivete, she gave the dismissive response, “Like with a cloth or something?”
Having admitted last year she was in charge of her email server, Hillary clearly knew the answer. But she refused to answer it directly—and we now know why.
More than a cloth was used to destroy evidence of emails she failed to turn over to the government as required by law.
Just like murder suspects might use bleach at a crime scene in an effort to remove blood evidence, so too did Hillary willfully use the advanced software program “BleachBit” to erase certain evidence from her servers.
It is difficult to believe such an act would ever have been undertaken without Hillary’s knowledge or express permission.
It was assumed one person having knowledge of this was Clinton’s IT guru, Bryan Pagliano, to whom the Department of Justice granted immunity earlier this year. However, since the FBI failed to recommend Clinton’s prosecution for intentionally mishandling classified information, he apparently did not.
Whoever scrubbed Hillary’s servers should have known better. Just like forensics investigators use luminol to highlight blood evidence a criminal’s use of bleach attempted to erase, FBI computer forensics involve similar tools allowing recovery of emails intentionally destroyed.
Interestingly, among 30,000 emails Clinton sought to destroy, the FBI retrieved thirty related to the 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi—emails she was required by law to turn over to a congressional committee investigating the matter.
This strongly suggests intentional destruction of government documents contrary to federal record-keeping and disclosure laws—an act that is a felony.
Even more unbelievable for one who has served in government both as a senator and as Secretary of State, Clinton told investigators she did not know what the “C” classification markings on documents she handled meant.
Anyone serving in the U.S. government knows exactly what these markings mean.
The U.S. government has a classification system so simple a child contestant on the television quiz show “Are you smarter than a 5thgrader?” would understand it. If Clinton did not, it is worrisome she failed either to query her staff or refer to the Internet.
The Internet explains government documents are divided into two categories – classified and unclassified. The former includes markings of “C” for confidential, “S” for secret and “TS” for Top Secret. It is absurd for Hillary – someone seeking the highest office in government—to feign lack of knowledge about them.
Again trying to shift blame – telling the FBI she, amazingly, could recall former Secretary of State Colin Powell advising her to use a private email server – Clinton also claimed State Department employees had public knowledge she was doing so as they received her emails on that domain. Neither Powell nor employees the FBI interviewed acknowledged this assertion.
What possible influence could have caused Clinton to act with such blatant disregard for national security and U.S. law—wiping servers clean and pleading ignorance about the obvious? Is such poor judgment really linked to her concussion? Or, as the Church Lady might proffer with another famous catchphrase, “Could it be Satan?”
Despite suffering her concussion, Hillary seems to have remained clear-headed enough to recognize she should never admit she knowingly mishandled classified information.
But she cannot have it both ways.
Raising the concussion issue as a defense against intention now raises a mental impairment issue on her competency to serve as president. A concussion causing selective episodes of memory loss should sufficiently concern voters to demand Clinton release all her health records.
Lost in all of this is concern for the FBI man-hours wasted, due to Hillary’s own actions, investigating a presidential candidate President Barack Obama claimed is the most qualified in history.
Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking claims a new smart pill exists—a brain enhancer—that “will change humanity.” If elected, Hillary needs to take it. However, doing so is not the cure for what ails her; the truth serum—sodium pentothal—is.
Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of “Bare Feet, Iron Will–Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam’s Battlefields,” “Living the Juche Lie: North Korea’s Kim Dynasty” and “Doomsday: Iran–The Clock is Ticking.” He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.