Gowdy's Benghazi Committee Will Subpoena Hillary's Secret Emails

Posted: Mar 05, 2015 10:45 AM
Gowdy's Benghazi Committee Will Subpoena Hillary's Secret Emails

UPDATE - Hillary weighed in late last night, cynically feigning transparency:

That's what passes for "rapid response" in Clintonland these days, it seems. A near-midnight tweet, two days later. Here's what she doesn't mention -- from the original New York Times  story:

She's asked State to review and release the emails that her staff has already hand-selected for public consumption. Seems legit.


The House Select Committee on Benghazi, the creation of which liberals opposed as a partisan witch hunt and a waste of time -- even after the Obama administration was caught suppressing relevant evidence -- revealed this week that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a private email system to conduct public business throughout her time in government. She did so in a calculated, and likely illegal, attempt to suppress and frustrate future investigations into her conduct working on behalf of the American people. To that end, she never established or used an official government account, as required, which would have been subject to transparency mechanisms such as Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.  Unsurprisingly, Trey Gowdy's panel wants access to her secret emails, so subpoenas are about to fly:

A House investigative committee is preparing to send out subpoenas later Wednesday to gather a deeper look into former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton’s nearly exclusive use of personal e-mails to do her official business as the government’s top diplomat, according to people familiar with the probe. The House Select Committee on Benghazi, which first discovered Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail based on a home server in its inquiry into a fatal 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, is asking for all e-mails related to the attack from all Clintonemail.com accounts and any other staff members’ personal accounts. The subpoenas are expected to go out to the State Department later Wednesday. The move escalates the panel’s conflict with Clinton and could complicate her expected run for president. Numerous federal records and legal experts have questioned Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail for government business and whether it violated the Federal Records Act. Her practice was first reported by the New York Times on Monday.

Expect a legal fight from Team Clinton (or insulting head-fakes -- see update above). These types of nettlesome inquiries from watchdogs and investigators were precisely the reason her dodgy email scheme was hatched in the first place.  She doesn't want her emails on Benghazi to see the light of day, along with untold scores of additional documents on other subjects.  To be clear, these aren't her "private" emails.  These are official government correspondences that are mandated to be searchable and retrievable.  Hillary decided (in advance, she made this move just before taking over at State) that such rules didn't apply to her, and she's likely to fight like hell to protect her illegitimate opacity.  As we noted yesterday, experts are raising concerns that the presidential hopeful's secret email server may have served her political purposes, but it was probably vulnerable to foreign hackers.  And the State Department...can't say whether HRC had any highly sensitive information sitting in her private email trove, just waiting to be compromised:

National Journal's Ron Fournier, as is his wont, says he trusts Hillary on both the secret email and foreign money fronts, but demands that she come clean:

She can't spin her way out of this. Her henchmen can't bully everybody. When she tries to shift blame, the people's fingers all point back to her. I would suggest she try a new strategy, two simple actions that would speak louder than any words.

1. Return all foreign donations received by the Clinton Foundation, which can continue its good works without creating a perception that foreign countries are trying to buy influence.

2. Turn over all her emails—every last one of them—to a person or entity whose independence is beyond reproach. Truly private emails should be returned to Clinton, never disclosed. The rest— hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of pages—would be handled for what they are: the public's documents. Emails concerning government business don't belong to Clinton; they belong to us.

Personally, I don't think the Clintons are corrupt. I don't think she can be bought by a foreign country. I don't assume there's something nefarious in those emails. But you shouldn't have to take my word for it. Or even her word for it. If she wants to be president, Clinton needs to realize that transparency and accountability are not luxuries; they're the life's blood of modern public life.

Agreed, but even if she partially complies, I do wonder how anyone can ever be certain that she's turned over everything.  The whole point of doing what she did was to protect her political image.  She was willing to flagrantly break the rules to do so.  Why wouldn't she be willing to sue, delete and destroy to achieve the exact same end?  Incidentally, recently-uncovered State Department emails yet again confirm that the US government knew virtually immediately that the Benghazi raid was an organized terrorist attack, and who the perpetrators were.  One email sent on September 11 -- the day of the massacre -- bluntly stated, “Ansar al Sharia Claims Responsibility.”  Days later, Hillary Clinton and other Obama officials were still peddling tales about protests and YouTube videos for public consumption.  I'll leave you with White House spokesman Jay Carney assuring reporters in 2011 that all administration officials conduct their business on official government email accounts:

Except for when they invent false names to hide their correspondence from public records requests, or, in Hillary's case, decline to follow the rules at all.