Friday, January 06, 2017

Sooner or Later We'll Find Something

The Ken Starr team worked for years to find dirt on the Clintons regarding Whitewater, Vince Foster, Travelgate et al, but after so much work and $30 million fruitlessly spend, they were ready to close up shop when luck fell right into their laps. Yes, Linda Tripp and the stained blue dress.

History repeated itself with the House Oversight Committee's investigation of the #Benghazi attack. Republicans outright admitted that the sole aim of the investigation was to bring Hillary Clinton down and hinder her presidential candidacy. They investigated and hinted and released partial cherry-picked testimony if efforts to make Clinton look bad. In my previous post I outlined the basics of the Benghazi "scandal" and why it was nonsense. And in a tour-de-force 11 hour grilling of Clinton by the Oversight Committee, the case was laid bare and spent by her effective if not humiliating debunking of the Republican narrative.

So what now? Shut down the investigation and move on to doing the people's business? Hell no! Clinton is still the most electable and qualified candidate for president. We shall not give up our war on Hillary Clinton. She must not be allowed to become president.

In the course of the Oversight Committee's investigation it was learned that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had used a private email server to do State Department business. She said that she did it as a matter of convenience. Like me when I was working, She had one cell phone for official use and for personal use and the emails on those phones were from a "secret" private server. "We've got her now!"

Like so many government systems, the email systems of most government agencies are not the most up-to-date and easiest to use. Many people had complained about how inconvenient they were to work with. It was not uncommon for people in government to work around the system. Condi Rice did not use email at all, but her staff used non-government email to conduct some of their business. Colin Powell used private, non-government email for State Department business. He used a dial-up system. AOL? Maybe. At Clinton's request he explained his methodology but later denied it. Ironically Clinton was able to produce the emails debunking his denial.

Using a private email system for government business is against the rules, but it is not illegal per se. Clinton was warned about it by her staff but apparently ignored those warnings. She shouldn't have done it, and she admitted later that she shouldn't have done it. That wasn't good enough. This was Hillary Clinton, for Christ's sake. She's hiding something. Why else would she be using a non-government email system? Furthermore, the fact that the server wasn't a government server supposedly made her emails uniquely susceptible to hacking, and therefore she had put the security of the United States of America at risk. So either Clinton is hiding something or she's allowed bad guys to access her emails or both. "Oh boy! We've really, really got her now!"

First the security part. The FBI said that there was no evidence that the Clinton server had been successfully hacked. Hacks might have been attempted, but no evidence of success. This is ironic in the context of known successful hackings of multiple government servers including the Office of Personnel Management. So was national security jeopardized? Not any more likely than with a other of a number of government systems.

On to the meat of the issue. Clinton must be hiding something. The Secretary was directed by the House Oversight Committee to turn over her emails for their investigation by the FBI. Clinton agreed to comply with the understanding that she would turn over all State Department-related emails but no emails that were purely personal in nature. She directed her lawyers to determine which emails were which, and handed over the work emails to the FBI. Having no use for the private emails, she said they could be deleted.

Work vs. Personal Email

What was work-related and what was private? A member of Clinton's legal team was assigned to make this determination. According to the FBI this was her process:

she automatically deemed any email sent from or to a .gov and .mil address as related to work; she searched the tens of thousands of emails for names of senior State Department officials, lawmakers, foreign leaders and other government officials; she conducted a keyword search for work-related terms; and she looked at the sender, recipient and "subject" of every email for other potentially work-related emails, but she did not read the contents of those emails. - Source:
This shows that Clinton was not the person who decided what was and wasn't personal. Furthermore, ANY email received or sent by Clinton to a government or military email address would be archived on that system. A perusal of those system archives searching for emails with Clinton's private server address would easily make such emails available, and in fact some Clinton emails were apparently reproduced by this means. She wasn't hiding anything.

Top Secret Information

The FBI found no emails containing "Top Secret" information. They did find some emails that contained content with a lower level of classification. That is, at one point in time or another some federal agency concluded that the content should have been classified even if it was not designated as such at the time Clinton sent, received, or possessed it. It is common for different federal agencies to have differing opinions on the sensitivity of information to the point of meaningful disagreement. All this is to say that almost all of the content deemed sensitive by someone somewhere down the line was not in any way marked or designated with any classification at any time Clinton was dealing with it.

The exceptions were three emails that included sections within them that actually did have a classification notation adjacent to those sections. The notation was a simple "C" for classified. However, the protocol for documents containing classified information is that any such documents should include headers and footers clearly denoting that the document contains classified information. The three subject emails DID NOT have any such header or footer. FBI Director Comey said it would not be unreasonable for a person reading such improperly formatted documents  to assume that they contained no classified information REGARDLESS of any notations within the body of the document. This is an important fact: There is no evidence that Hillary Clinton was aware that she had received, sent, or possessed classified information using her private email server.

The Criminal Investigation Conclusion

The anticipation of a criminal indictment of Hillary Clinton based on the FBI investigation of her emails was palpable in early Summer of 2016. This was especially true for Fox News viewers as various Fox "contributors", such as Monica Crowley, revealed that their sources said an indictment was imminent. The excitement built up until early July when something extraordinary happened. Normally an FBI investigation would would end with an indictment or a low key "no bill" or finding of no prosecutable case with little if any explanation. In an unusual step, FBI Director James Comey held a press conference in which he announced that the Clinton investigation was completed, and the FBI was not recommending an indictment. He said the investigation team was unanimous in its conclusion. This was an apparent attempt to stifle expected outrage from the "lock her up" crowd. But Comey went on to characterize the actions Clinton as extremely careless but stopped short of calling them grossly negligent. This was an apparent attempt to confirm Clinton opponents belief that she did something bad. But the crux of Comey's defense of the FBI's recommendation was that the relevant criminal statutes required intent by the Secretary to share, transmit, destroy, or hide classified information for the purpose of causing harm to the United States of America. [I have asked people in social media who believe Clinton to be a criminal to please cite the law that she broke. The law cited is 18 US Code 793.They cite the elements of criminal action but to a person they simply ignore the word "intent", "willingly", and "knowingly".] A careful reading of the Code reveals that Comey and team were absolutely correct in their decision that "no reasonable prosecutor" would try to prosecute this case.


Post a Comment

<< Home