Final Thoughts on Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Email Scandal

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Last month I wrote a very long blog post about Secretary Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. I received good feedback on the piece, but was told that I had written too much for a single post. I therefore decided to break up what I wrote into three different segments and repost it. This last part represents my final thoughts on the issue.

The Operable Question

One month ago I wrote: “Despite her obvious misconduct, Clinton and her supporters have tried to defend her behavior with regard to email. For the longest time Clinton had been saying that she never sent or received any classified material on her personal account and personal home server. Just this month she revised her position and stated that she “never sent or received any material marked [italics mine] classified ….”

“The operable question is did Clinton send or receive on her personal email server emails containing any information that was not “releasable” and therefore restricted. Both career civil servants and the President Barack Obama appointee and Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles I. McCullough have already answered this question in the affirmative. Just four days ago it was reported that McCullough declared twenty-two of her emails were restricted at the highest level possible. In fact, they are of such a sensitive nature that not even a single word from them can be released to the public.

What Clinton Did and How She Characterized It

“Before I predict how things will ultimately shake out I want to back up a bit. Clinton stated that all of the emails on her personal email server were examined in order to determine which constituted federal government records and which were purely personal in nature. Clinton wants the voters to believe that it was up to her, or in this case her attorneys, to decide which met the criteria of a federal record. Both federal law and regulations make clear that it is not within the authority of any appointed government official, government employee, or government contactor to decide what is and what is not a record. The definition of a federal record is spelled out in federal law and regulation. It is the duty of every government official, employee and contactor to preserve all federal records because these records are the property of the government and the people of the nation and not the government official connected with them. The argument I am making is more than just semantical. I believe Clinton may have chosen to characterize things in the manner she has to cover herself just in case it is shown that she failed to print and thereafter attempted to delete any federal records from her personal email server.

Clinton’s Personal Attorneys

“Clinton assigned to her personal attorneys the task of reading through the emails on her personal email server. When I learned this it struck me as odd. I had not known that it was even permissible for a government official, employee or contractor to pass of their legal obligation to preserve federal records under federal law and federal regulations to other individuals. Did Clinton’s personal attorneys have security clearances? Where these clearances high enough for them to see the information on her email server? I do not know the answers to either of these questions.

Clinton and Other Government Employees and Contractors

“If you have read this far, you are probably revisiting the question of how Clinton allowed herself to get in this mess. She has stated that she used a personal email account on a personal email server to send and receive all of her government-related emails for convenience sake because she did not want to carry around more than one phone or handheld device. I think it is safe to assume that every government employee and contractor connected with the government agency with which I am associated maintains both a U.S. government email address and a personal email address. Accept for an occasional message to our significant others informing them when we are coming home late from work, we do not send nor receive personal emails through our government email accounts because we know that it would be both against policy and unprofessional to do so. Since none of us have any trouble keeping two simultaneous email accounts and keeping our personal email separate from our government email, regardless of whether we carry one or two phones or handheld devices, I have to conclude Clinton would have had no trouble doing the same if she desired to do so. Furthermore, one of the many people who surround the Secretary of State seemingly at all times could have relieved Clinton of the burden of carrying around those oh so heavy  phones and handheld devices.

Why Clinton Did What She Did

“The only conceivable reason why Clinton would have wanted to use a personal email account set up on a private server for all of her government-related emails was the desire to be able to control, and possibly restrict and or prevent, access to her communications in a manner that would not have been possible if she used her government email address and email account for all of her work-related communications. Keep in mind, those reading this, that as explained previously, all emails related to Clinton’s job are the property of the government and the American people.

Did Clinton Really Never Have a Government Email Address?

“The subject of government email addresses and accounts reminds me of how surprised I was to read of the claim that no government email address was ever created for Clinton. I believe that the way things have worked at my agency for as long as I have been associated with it has been that a government email address is automatically created for each and every new employee, contractor, and I would assume appointed official as well, as soon as a she or he comes on board. Could it be the truth is that Clinton had a government email address all along and just did not want to use it?

55,000 Pages of Emails

“Before I wrap up I want to make a few last points. Clinton stated that there were 55,000 pages of emails on her personal server and they were divided about equally between government emails and personal emails. Does anyone with a fulltime job send and receive the same amount of personal and work emails? I estimate that I send and receive ten times as many work emails as personal emails. Should we believe that Clinton’s situation was that different?

The “Everybody Does It” Defense

“On numerous occasions Clinton and her supporters  have attempted to defend her handling of email by comparing her to other government officials. I do not allow my six-year-old child to get away with the “everybody does it” defense. We should not allow Clinton to get off the hook by using the same excuse.

“The reader can now breathe easy knowing that I am going to finish with a prediction of what will happen next. It is without question then, that the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s email scandal will result in its recommendation to the Justice Department that she be indicted for her improper handling of restricted information found on her personal email server. What follows will be one of the most interesting chapters of American political history. I will blog about it very soon.”

In my original blog post on Clinton’s email scandal I asserted: “Journalists and commentators have done a poor job….Key details have been left out of the story. The true significance of certain facts has not been made clear. If you believe that I have proved my case, check back in with my blog again soon for I plan to write about what I think will be the ultimate resolution of Clinton’s email scandal.

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