Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hillary Takes "Responsibility" for Email Abuses

My article from the August 28, 2015 issue of FrontPageMag:

Hillary Takes "Responsibility" for Email Abuses

By Matthew Vadum

Now that her presidential campaign is taking on water, a disingenuous former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this week that she was accepting "responsibility" for illegally using an insecure private Internet server to transmit emails containing top-secret classified U.S. government documents.
Whatever that means in Clinton-speak.
Hillary claimed previously that she was taking responsibility for the Benghazi fiasco in 2012 that left four Americans dead. Nothing happened to her. We still don't even have an official cause of death for Ambassador Chris Stevens who was initially reported to have been ritualistically sodomized and murdered by Islamic terrorists.
Although Clinton has tried in recent months to treat her self-created email scandal as much ado about nothing, her admission that she actually did something wrong is new after the endless pious-sounding pronouncements about how carefully she followed applicable laws to ensure she safeguarded U.S. national security. Her new statement smells like a focus group-tested throwaway line, an empty gesture that might be accepted by people who haven't been following the email scandal closely.
What Hillary is doing is pretending to take responsibility for her behavior and piling on legalisms, while at the same time trying to deflect attention from her criminal behavior and wanton disregard for national security, misdeeds that ought to disqualify her from high office.
So don't give much credence to this phony mea culpa tendered by a devious political operator who has been playing the press like a fiddle for decades. Clinton's newfound seeming earnestness about her email predicament may appear refreshing to some, but there is no reason to believe the admission is offered in good faith. This is yet another attempt at misdirection aimed at keeping her floundering campaign for the White House alive. And she's good at lying and distracting, having managed to stay out of the hoosegow through a litany of scandals and improprieties including Whitewater and Travelgate.
Everything is always political with Hillary, the Saul Alinsky disciple, and she never tires of churning out excuses. She has an answer for everything and there are always journalists and other useful idiots willing to believe her.

With that said, Hillary is in a weaker position than before. It would be an understatement to say the ground is shifting under Mrs. Clinton's feet: it's more like a major earthquake. What was supposed to be The Summer of Hillary turned into The Summer of Bernie as the Democratic Party began desperately reaching out to its geriatric farm team in hopes of saving 2016.
Bernie Sanders will be 74 years old on Sept. 8. Al Gore (67) has been floated as a candidate. Vice President Joe Biden (72), the undisputed master of the malapropism, is being boosted by the Obama White House which has decided to stab the Clintons in the back. Elizabeth Warren (66) is mentioned as a presidential candidate or as a vice presidential candidate on the ticket with Biden. A theory gaining steam in the nation's capital is that there is a deal between Biden and Warren in which Joe serves one term, doesn't seek reelection, and Elizabeth runs and becomes the 46th president of the United States.
The timing of her new statement is also suspect. She happened to make this new admission late Wednesday as Americans were transfixed by the lurid details emerging about Obama-loving social justice warrior Vester Lee Flanagan II, a black, gay, former TV reporter, model and prostitute, who murdered two journalists in cold blood on live television earlier in the day in hopes of starting a "race war" and then killed himself after using social media to squeeze every last bit of publicity out of his murder spree. So who knows if a significant percentage of the electorate actually caught Clinton's statement.
Here is what she actually said.
“I know people have raised questions about my email use as secretary of state, and I understand why,” Clinton said Wednesday according to the New York Times First Draft blog.
“I get it. So here’s what I want the American people to know: My use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. It clearly wasn’t the best choice. I should’ve used two emails: one personal, one for work.”
Clinton added: “I take responsibility for that decision, and I want to be as transparent as possible, which is why I turned over 55,000 pages, why I’ve turned over my server, why I’ve agreed to — in fact, been asking to — and have finally gotten a date to testify before a congressional committee in October.”
“I’m confident that this process will prove that I never sent, nor received, any email that was marked classified,” she said.
There are so many problems with Hillary's statement that a good lawyer in a criminal prosecution might have to churn out tens of thousands of words in legal briefs explaining the half-truths, conspicuous omissions, and red herrings.
Hillary knew from her first days running Foggy Bottom what the rules regarding official email were. She knowingly conspired with others to evade them. Evidence strongly suggests that Obama administration officials at the highest levels were long aware of Clinton's cloak-and-dagger email infrastructure. The congenitally corrupt Clintons created the system to frustrate Freedom of Information Act requesters, shield Hillary's correspondence from congressional oversight, and steer money to the international cash-for-future-presidential-favors clearinghouse known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, which, amazingly enough, still enjoys tax-exempt status.
Whether Hillary "turned over" her Internet server or the FBI seized the machine is linguistic hair-splitting and likely irrelevant. Unless FBI technologists can retrieve the data that Clinton almost certainly had deleted by computer experts skilled in data destruction, the server will be useless to investigators. It may very well have no evidentiary value. Then there's Clinton's second server, reportedly stored insecurely in somebody's bathroom, to worry about.
Hillary didn't "ask" to appear before Rep. Trey Gowdy's (R-S.C.) Benghazi Select Committee. Gowdy had to force her attendance, which, for the record, hasn't happened yet. Clinton is an expert at stonewalling and stalling and no one should be surprised if she gets the October 22 hearing date put off into the future.
Clinton's assertion that she "never sent, nor received, any email that was marked classified,” is also problematic. If the emails contained classified documents that didn't display classification marks, Hillary isn't necessarily off the hook. She was the head of America's diplomatic service. If classified documents were mishandled or tampered with at the Department of State, it's still her fault, at least in a political sense, because she was in charge. Respondeat superior, as lawyers say.
To remove classification marks -- the cryptic intelligence classifications people have been talking about like SCI, TK, and NOFORN -- from classified documents is in itself a serious federal offense.
So if Clinton received the documents with classification marks intact, she knew the documents were classified. If she emailed them to any unauthorized person, she broke the law. If she received them with the marks stripped then someone, presumably a person or persons under her authority, committed a felony, and the crime was compounded when the documents were further emailed.
Keeping classified documents in an insecure place is also a felony and under federal law, a lawyer well-versed in intelligence-related law explained to me, the fact that a person didn't know with certainty the documents were classified is no excuse. When a person accepts a security clearance from the U.S. government, he or she gives up certain rights that ordinary citizens possess. In other words, certain responsibilities, including to protect the classified information, go with the clearance.
Hillary Clinton had the second-highest security clearance in the land, lower only than President Obama himself. She has no excuses and presumably no legal defenses available to her. Her only hope is to throw a wrench in the investigation, gamble that Republican lawmakers will continue to be spineless weaklings, or make sure that she or someone who wants to protect her becomes the next U.S. president.
The fact that Clinton allegedly gave a thumb drive of her emails to her lawyer, David Kendall, is also a problem. It is unclear if he had the security clearance needed to examine the documents which were reportedly kept insecurely at his law office. Muslim Brotherhood-linked Huma Abedin, Clinton's perennial aide who follows her from job to job, may have seen classified documents.
Remember that retired Gen. David Petraeus got into legal hot water for keeping classified files in his home office and for sharing them with his lover who apparently had a security clearance. You are not allowed to just share classified documents with another person who has clearance; you have to have a legally valid reason to do so.
And the fact that Mrs. Clinton destroyed email evidence -- evidence subject to a congressional subpoena, no less -- is already evidence in itself that she obstructed justice through spoliation of evidence. Spoliation means you can take as evidence the fact that evidence has been destroyed. Courts are entitled to draw spoliation inferences and convict an accused person on that basis alone.
Meanwhile, Clinton will continue campaigning as if she weren't the American Left's answer to Mata Hari.
Clinton said Wednesday that she was “going to keep talking about what the American people talk to me about, what’s on their minds, and to lay out my plans for what I would do as president to make the economy work for everybody, to make college affordable, to get the cost of drugs down, to get equal pay for equal work for women, and the whole suite of issues that I think are really at the core of this presidential campaign.”
Except that Hillary Clinton has made her own malfeasance a major issue in the 2016 presidential contest.
As damning evidence continues to accumulate, it is not going to be easy for her to explain it all away.

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