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Hard Drives

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Hillary Clinton’s account of her State Department years is entitled Hard Choices. Now, it turns out she might more aptly called her memoir Hard Drives.

After Tuesday’s Lady Macbeth press conference, the choice for millions of Americans of whether to pull the lever for the entitled Mrs. Clinton in 2016 just got easier.


To be fair, she was never going to, as the cliché goes when embattled pols pull off miracles with dazzling rhetoric, hit it out of the ballpark. There is one explanation and one explanation only for what she did. Mrs. Clinton wanted to operate out of the public eye and to have the option to ensure that nothing unflattering from her Foggy Bottom tenure would ever come to light. Nothing else makes sense. That the record of her tenure at the State Department belongs to the public didn’t matter to her. Politico summed up the gist of what Mrs. Clinton said Tuesday as, “Go to hell.”

Other than Hillary's telling the truth--not likely because it's so damning--there is absolutely no explanation for what she did (and besides she doesn't have to--we already know). For example, a woman who is surrounded by aides claims she didn't use government emails because she didn’t want to carry a second email device—which, upon reflection, would not have been necessary. The whole presser was filled with baubles like this.

Mrs. Clinton says that all her emails were sent to government employees so these communications are preserved in their inboxes. But wait: We are now learning from the Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes that it is likely that Clinton’s two top aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, also used personal emails that allow them to hide from posterity (and more immediately 2016 voters) the record of their communications with the U.S.’s top diplomat.


Emailer Mills is a longtime Clinton consigliere, who was accused by former Assistant Deputy Secretary of State Raymond Maxwell of “separating” any damaging Benghazi documents before the cache was handed over to the House Select Committee on Benghazi in an after-hours, basement operation. Maxwell’s allegations have not been proven. We’ll never know if Ms. Mills and Mrs. Clinton shared their thoughts on the preparation of these documents.

Of course, Hillary didn’t know Benghazi would happen on her watch and that annoying people might consider it their business to find out what she did that night, but she did know that some bad things would happen that would test her diplomatic skills and would thus be better hidden from the public eye. After all, she was a relative novice in foreign policy.

Another intriguing aspect of Mrs. Clinton’s presser: Mrs. Clinton admitted that 30,000 emails had been destroyed but added that these were on personal matters such as planning daughter Chelsea’s wedding or making arrangements for her mother’s funeral and—famously—yoga and thus not of interest to the public. As Jonah Goldberg pointed out, these are the very emails a normal person would save as being of interest to themselves. But I am interested in how the Clinton team decided which emails were purely personal.


Let’s say for the sake of argument a sensitive government official in, say, Algeria, somebody Hillary has met, is devastated by news of the Haitian earthquake. He gets in touch with the secretary of state to commiserate. “I feel so helpless. I wish there were something I could do,” he avers. “Well, as a matter of fact…,” the secretary emails back. Clearly, under this scenario—purely imaginary, or we certainly hope it is—the $500,000 donation Algeria sent to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Foundation would not relate to the secretary’s job as a diplomat and thus should not be a part of the public record.

And of course, Hillary is a mom—and a grandmom!—and so she might have been especially worried about what to say just the right words of comfort to the grieving parents of the four Americans murdered in the Benghazi terrorist attacks. Who can forget Secretary Clinton, clad in black, standing by the coffins of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods at the ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base? Two parents of the slain said that Secretary Clinton vowed to them that the lowly the filmmaker—whose anti-Mohammad film was quickly shown to be absolutely irrelevant to the Benghazi attacks—would be arrested. Were there emails in which the secretary brainstormed these comforting words with Mills or Abedin? We are unlikely to know.


As I watched Clinton’s Tuesday press event (all twenty minutes of it!), I like many Americans couldn’t help recalling the Clinton era scandals of which this is just the latest (that was captured in a marvelous lead by—of all people—mainstream media reporter Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post: “The circus is back in town.”) But here’s what else occurred to me about the Clinton scandals: Bill is an old horn dog and the biggest scandal—the Lewinsky escape that led to impeachment proceedings—was his doing. Ditto the “bimbo eruptions,” so called. But you know what? By my count, most of the scandals that traumatized the nation in the Clinton years were Hers, not His. Cattle shares, the missing Rose Law firm billing papers, the missing Travel Gate records, Whitewater, just to name a few—these were Hillary scandals. Hillary has won a lot of credit for standing by her man. Perhaps we should instead praise Bill for standing by his scandal-engendering woman?

It was also gratifying that the furor over Mrs. Clinton’s emails drowned out what was supposed to be a virtuoso day—the unveiling of the Clinton Foundation’s “No More Ceilings: the Full Participation Project.” This does not refer to the sky is the limit rules for foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation, but to a Clinton Foundation project ostensibly about women around the world but clearly aimed at promoting one woman in the world. The introduction to the “No More Ceilings” recalls Hillary’s historic 1995 speech on women’s rights at a U.N. conference in Beijing. That is why she happened to be at the United Nations to present “No More Ceilings” and why the ill-fated presser was held there.


The Clinton’s have a big government approach for promoting women, and I don’t agree with them. So I am glad that the hubbub was drowned out. To really help women, we need to provide relief from the Barack Obama economy and, on the international front, have a U.S. that speaks for the rights of women in Islamic societies. Hillary is not my kind of woman. Or I assume she isn’t. After all, I don’t know what she said in thousands of emails we will never see.


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