In 2009, when soon-to-be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton first broached the idea of running her work email through a private server at her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., the concept should have been dismissed as laughable.
But it wasn't, and for reasons more likely having to do with control than convenience, Clinton went ahead with the plan. Now that top secret information, intelligence agency inspectors general, the FBI and federal judges are involved, the matter is far from amusing.
Scandals surrounding Clinton and her husband have a habit of being stoked by both the Clintons' penchant for secrecy and their political enemies' overzealousness. Amid all the investigations and lawsuits, a resolution of the email affair will be long in coming. A couple of things, however, are already clear.
One is that Clinton and her team should have turned the server over to the State Department's inspector general, or perhaps the National Archives, for an independent, confidential sorting of the 62,000 messages. Instead, they took it on themselves to delete about half the messages as personal and scrub the server, raising inevitable suspicions about a coverup.
Another is that, contrary to the Clinton camp's assertion that the controversy is a lot of "nonsense," federal computer security is no joke. Regardless of whether Clinton broke any laws, her decisions about the server represented bad judgment bordering on recklessness.
Guy wrote about the shifting timeline of the Clinton email debacle, most notably touching upon her initial assertion that no classified emails were on her server. Moreover, you now have liberals telling the former first lady to quit digging her hole with this story (and stop making it worse), or hoping that she withdraws from the race altogether–citing her “baggage” as a major impediment to her becoming an effective president.
The “like a cloth” moment occurred during a rather testy exchange between the former first lady and Fox News’ Ed Henry at press conference following her first campaign event in Nevada last week.
Henry was asking the Clinton if she ever wiped her server, which the FBI said was attempted at least once. The former Secretary of State finally turned over the server to the Justice Department for review. Yet, the presser was a disaster. Her attempts to quell the story about her private email system have failed miserably thus far.
During the exchange with Henry, it didn’t help that Clinton declared herself the official in charge regarding the release of 55,000 pages of emails she turned over to the State Department earlier this year. If she was the official in charge, did she attempt to wipe her server clean? Evasive maneuvers were deployed, with Clinton leaving the presser saying that voters don’t care about her emails. And that “nobody talks to me about it other than you guys [the media]." So, I guess she still thinks it’s a joke.
The alleged removal of classified markers from those emails, of which over 300 have been flagged for further review, present another layer to this story. On August 18, The Washington Post’s David Ignatius mentioned on Morning Joe that the intelligence community is nervous about the power couple since “they seem to play by different rules.” A point that echoes Ignatius’ colleague, Chris Cillizza, and his March post about how the email scandal feeds into everything the American people hate about the Clintons.
Conservative commentator George Will has said previously that there are a bunch of benchmark questions for presidential candidates, one of them being: Do I trust this person with nuclear weapons? It seems classified material should be added to the list, as Mrs. Clinton has proven to exercised horrific judgment on this front. And that’s becoming more of a bipartisan consensus.