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Posts Tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’s email scandal’

Why Hillary’s Talking Points Don’t Add Up

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a press conference at the United Nations in New York
Using the United Nations as a backdrop to theatrically remind people of her foreign policy gravitas, Hillary Clinton held what the UN referred to as a press “encounter” outside of the UN Security Council chamber on March 10th. Hillary repeated over and over again her well-rehearsed talking points regarding the private e-mail account she used during her tenure as Secretary of State. Figuring that it is better to beg for forgiveness rather than refrain from doing something that could later be considered wrong-doing, Hillary said that “looking back” she now thinks it would have been better if she had used one device connected to the official government e-mail account and a separate device connected to her own personal e-mail system. The former Secretary of State just thought at the time it would be more convenient to use only one device for both her personal and work-related e-mails, connected to a server that had been previously set up for her husband’s New York office, rather than two separate devices and e-mail accounts.

Hillary’s defenses amounted to the following four talking points: (1) She obeyed all laws and regulations that were in effect at the time and no classified materials were communicated via her e-mails. Moreover, what she did was not unusual. Other former Secretaries of State did the same thing; (2) She made sure to send many of her work-related e-mails to State Department and other federal government employees, whom she assumed were on the official .gov e-mail account. Therefore, such e-mails would have been captured and automatically archived on the government system; (3) She bent over backwards to turn over all e-mails that were even “possibly” work-related to the State Department in response to its request for such e-mails from all prior Secretaries of State. Hillary only got rid of the e-mails she determined to be personal (which may have been as many as 30,000, although the precise number was not entirely clear from her remarks); and (4) it is the responsibility of each federal employee to determine which of his or her e-mails will be regarded as personal and which ones will be determined to be work-related, which is precisely what Hillary said she did in making the selection of the e-mails turned over to the State Department.

None of these defenses stand up to any objective scrutiny.

First of all, there were archive regulations in effect in 2009, which required federal employees — including Hillary while she was Secretary of State — to preserve her work-related e-mails. The “every-one did it” defense holds no water because Hillary’s use of her own private server, set up in her New York residence, was reportedly unprecedented. Hillary rejected the suggestion that an independent third party examine her server including its hard drive, which raises the inevitable question of whether she is trying to hide something. Her privacy rationale is bogus, considering her decision to blend personal and work-related e-mails on the same personal account hosted by the same home-installed server in the first place. All Hillary could say was that the server “will remain private.”

Moreover, even if Hillary’s contention that she sent many of her work-related e-mails to government employees, expecting them to be automatically archived, is true, such action alone would not address any e-mails she may have sent to foreign government officials or to prospective donors to the Clinton Foundation that were not also sent to federal government employees.

Hillary’s defense that it is up to each federal employee to decide individually which of his or her e-mails are personal and which are work-related does not mean that such decision cannot be examined by the government and remedied if necessary. In Hillary’s case, that is impossible due to her refusal to turn over the server sitting in her residence to an independent examiner. We have to take her word that she turned over all e-mails that were even “possibly” work-related which, given her track record, is not very reliable. One question has already arisen regarding Hillary’s trip to Libya in October 2011 when she was photographed with “her handheld device in her hand,” according to South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chief congressional Benghazi investigator. Congressman Gowdy said that “we have no e-mails from that day. In fact, we have no e-mails from that trip.”

While most of the questions asked during Hillary Clinton’s press encounter dealt with her e-mail situation, she was also asked how she could reconcile her long advocacy of women’s rights with her foundation’s acceptance of donations from countries with abysmal human rights records involving women and girls. Hillary ducked the question. Hillary said that her advocacy of women’s rights issues over the years is unquestionable. Hillary added that she had no doubt that “people who want to support the foundation know full well what it is we stand for and what we’re working on.” Apparently taking money from countries like Saudi Arabia, where women are still treated as chattel, does not in Hillary’s mind call into question how committed she and her foundation really are to “working on” ending violence and discrimination against women and girls in Saudi Arabia and other human rights abusing Middle Eastern countries that are sources of foundation donations.

In sum, Hillary Clinton tried to use the typical Clintonian evasive tactics, hoping the press and the American people will move on to other matters. The Clintons have gotten away with their “what difference does it make” attitude many times before. Hopefully, the truth will finally catch up with them this time, especially if Hillary, as expected, does run for president.

Hillary’s Missing Emails

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email scandal widened as the lead Republican investigator into the deadly Benghazi fiasco accused Clinton of failing to hand over months of emails from her tenure.

“There are gaps of months and months and months,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS.

“If you think [back] to that iconic picture of her on a C-17 flying to Libya — she has sunglasses on, and she has her hand-held device in her hand — we have no emails from that day. And we have no emails from that trip.”

Gowdy’s committee has repeatedly subpoenaed records related to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, so “it strains credibility to believe that if you’re on your way to Libya to discuss Libyan policy that there’s not a single document that’s been turned over to Congress,” he said.

The Benghazi bungler, Americans recently learned, created an email system worthy of a James Bond movie villain when she became top U.S. diplomat in 2009. Clinton used private instead of government email and even established her own private email server that has been traced back to her Chappaqua, N.Y., home address. It seems likely that Clinton’s fast and loose approach to email compromised U.S. national security.

Last week Gowdy issued subpoenas for Clinton’s communications dealing with Benghazi. He also directed Internet companies to preserve the emails.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said using the subpoena power to force the former first lady to hand over the missing emails is necessary because “voluntary cooperation does not guarantee that it’s a crime not to deliver all.”

“A subpoena, which Trey Gowdy issued, is so that in fact it will be a crime if she knowingly withholds documents pursuant to [the] subpoena,” Issa said. “He needed to do that because she wasn’t forthcoming 2 1/2 years ago. She in fact hid the very existence of this until she was caught.”

With the revelation that mountains of electronic correspondence have not been accounted for, the still-unfolding scandal is now becoming eerily reminiscent of President Nixon’s Watergate scandal in which 18 1/2 minutes of audio disappeared from secret recordings made in the White House. The recordings that were intelligible revealed that he attempted to cover up a break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate Hotel in the nation’s capital, along with other illegal activities that had taken place during his administration. Nixon resigned in 1974 after the Supreme Court ruled that he had to turn over the tapes to congressional investigators.

“Like Richard Nixon’s tapes, the issue of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails raises the issue of control of evidence, destruction of evidence — and deliberately lying about all of it. Will the media go after Hillary Clinton’s e-mails with the ferocity they went after the issue of Richard Nixon’s tapes? Don’t bet the ranch,” writes conservative commentator Jeffrey Lord. “Which is exactly why Congress has that subpoena power. And why Benghazi Committee chairman Trey Gowdy is using it.”

The barrage of adverse publicity is hurting Mrs. Clinton who is widely expected to seek the presidency in 2016.

Her unannounced candidacy is taking a beating in the polls. Just last year Clinton had a favorability rating of 60 percent or higher. No more. Now she’s even being mocked on “Saturday Night Live” for her self-authored email troubles.

“Hillary Clinton’s troubles are costing her politically, as potential Republican presidential rivals have inched closer to her in 2016 matchups,” according to a new poll from McClatchy-Marist poll.

“The former secretary of state fell below the crucial 50 percent level of support in one-on-one matchups against Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, and she was barely above that benchmark against Rand Paul, Rick Perry and Ted Cruz.”

Poll results “may tap into some concerns voters have about her,” said pollster Lee Miringoff. “It gets us back to stuff people find unpleasant about the Clintons.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who just days ago was brushing off the sordid email situation, now urges Clinton to stop ducking the press because “from this point on, the silence is going to hurt her.”

The Obama White House claims the president knew nothing about Clinton’s surreptitious email system even though Obama acknowledges he emailed her while she was a member of his cabinet. As is his habit when things go wrong, Obama claims to have learned about the email imbroglio from media reports.

Of course, it is hard to believe that the tech-savvy president whose enthusiasm for technology –and in particular electronic mail– is well known, didn’t know he was emailing Mrs. Clinton at a non-governmental email address. Surely he had to know such communications might be less than secure.

Then again, being concerned about U.S. national security has never been a priority for President Obama.

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