Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign have habitually derided and dismissed serious developments pertaining to her national security-compromising email scandal, preposterously seeking to cast the entire imbroglio as witch hunt-style machinations of partisan Republicans. Thus far, this "vast right-wing conspiracy" has entailed several left-leaning media outlets, the Obama-appointed intelligence community Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As Katie wrote earlier, Team Hillary must now add another highly unlikely source to its roster of ignominy: The Inspector General serving as a nonpartisan watchdog at...the very government agency she led for four years. The new, damning report directly refutes a number of insistent statements Mrs. Clinton and her allies have issued over the last 15 months. Many of her assertions at an initial press conference in March 2015 have been demonstrably proven to be inaccurate and deceitful. The list of falsehoods has now expanded:
(1) "Everything I did was permitted," Clinton has said on multiple occasions, averring that her email scheme did not violate any rules or laws. This statement has been swatted down by federal records-keeping experts, and by a federal judge who was elevated by Clinton's husband. Now her own State Department's IG drives the final nail into this mendacious talking point's coffin: "The report concluded that Clinton violated the agency’s email rules when she chose to exclusively use a private email server during her four years at State Department and did not promptly turn over records after she departed the agency," Politico writes. More:
State Dept. inspector general: Clinton didn't seek permission to use private email server, wouldn't have received it https://t.co/KWCyZOgU30— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 25, 2016
(2) "I've been more transparent than anybody I can think of in public life," she told CBS News in March, adding that she's 'fully cooperated' with probes into the email affair. Here's an important quote from Politico's story, based on the State Department IG's findings. Well then:
(3) I used one email [and one mobile device] "for convenience," not to avoid public records requests. The first half of that claim has been disproven many times over. The Clinton campaign's denials that she was trying to shield her correspondence from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) actions have never passed the smell test -- avoiding scrutiny seemed like the entire purpose of setting up a rogue, private email server in the first place -- but now we have an admission in Hillary's own words. Keep in mind that this passage also re-proves that she deliberately eschewed the creation of an official email account, which she was required to have. As you read this, don't forget that Hillary went on to withhold and attempt to delete "personal" emails that were unequivocally work-related. And kindly recall this New York Times headline:
DUDE. State IG report has Clinton telling Abedin she doesn't want an official email acct b/c she wants to avoid FOIA pic.twitter.com/apAbAS76Aa— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) May 25, 2016
Was the server ever hacked?
No, there is no evidence there was ever a breach.
Was there ever an unauthorized intrusion into her email or did anyone else have access to it?
From the IG report:
'We were hacked again,' IT person said in 2011 on Clinton's private email server. Clinton says she was never hacked. pic.twitter.com/rxQpbzX0AA— Ted Bridis (@tbridis) May 25, 2016
The highlighted quote actually reads "we were attacked again," which Clinton defenders will note could be different than admitting to a successful hack. Then again, a low-tech Romanian hacker nicknamed "Guccifer" who claims to have penetrated her emails multiple times (he successfully hacked the emails of her confidante Sidney Blumenthal, about whom she's also lied) has been extradited to the US by the feds and is reportedly in the process of striking a plea deal. An official at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the former acting director of the CIA, and the former Secretary of Defense have all said that it's a virtual certainty that hostile foreign governments were able to access Clinton's unsecure server. And here we have her server manager temporarily shutting the thing down after a flurry of known cyber attacks. I'll leave you with a few refreshers: Hillary Clinton claimed none of the emails on her bootleg server were classified, and that she personally didn't send any classified materials. There were, in fact, more than 2,000 classified emails on that server, including top secret and above top secret information -- with dozens that were classified at the time (she signed a sworn agreement to protect all secret data, regardless of whether it was marked as such). She personally sent more than 100 of them. Hillary Clinton was explicitly warned, and acknowledged the warning, that her improper and vulnerable email arrangement endangered sensitive material in 2011. Undeterred by the clear threat her behavior posed, she carried on with her reckless system through the end of her tenure. Hillary Clinton has lied about nearly every facet of this story, from start to finish. Soon, the Obama Justice Department will have to determine whether her conduct was grossly negligent, and therefore criminal. Today's Inspector General report appears to do significant damage to her on the 'intent' front.
UPDATE - The spin begins:
GOP will attack HRC because she is running for President, but IG report makes clear her personal email use was not unique at State Dept— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) May 25, 2016
Aside from "others did it, too" being legally irrelevant, it is also wrong. We've dealt with a variant of this excuse in the past, but let's make things very simple:
Setting up a private, improper, unsecure server to conduct *all* email business was, in fact, unique to one person. https://t.co/QB3QXhOFUu— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) May 25, 2016