Clinton's Private Server, Part 3: So Much Wrong and Nothing Right

(AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

For previous discussion, see part 1 here and part 2 here.

Both Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills were up to their eyeballs in the private server.  Apparently, they, along with four others- Phillipe Reines, Jake Sullivan, Capricia Marshall, and Maggie Williams- were behind setting up the private server back in 2009.  Yet Abedin told FBI investigators she did not know Clinton used a private server until after she had left the State Department.  That conflicts with the statements of Justin Cooper to the FBI who told them it was Abedin’s idea to set up the server in the first place.  What concerned some people with any level of computer competence is that Clinton Foundation members were sharing the clintonmail.com address.  Even if no one tried to hack into Clinton’s communications, they could still gain access by hacking into the Clinton Foundation emails.  We know that her server went down three times while she was Secretary of State including weeks after the Benghazi attack.  Yet, she never told the IT people at the State Department of her private server and her problems.

Hillary Clinton denied she ever received or sent classified information using the private server.  When it was revealed there was classified information, she changed her story that it was not classified “at the time.”  She also feigned ignorance of what “c” meant in paragraph headers.  One would suspect whether marked “Classified” or not, a Secretary of State would not notice the difference, but apparently not Hillary Clinton.  Yet, there was clearly secret information shared between Clinton and Jake Sullivan on the private server.  

Clinton, whether through ignorance, stupidity or ineptitude, that “nothing was classified” or marked “classified” says not much about her mental processes.  She may have been technologically inept and illiterate, but that is no excuse for a lack of commonsense.  

This is proven with the published emails as part of a lawsuit.  In some, the number of redactions exceeds the number of exposed words.  It was State Department legal bureaucrats doing the screening who knew that something was potentially secret or confidential before they took out their dark black pens, not the Secretary of State, the Nation’s highest ranking diplomat.  In 37 short passages alone, there are 64 redactions.  Further, the fact that Clinton refused to be interviewed by the State Department Inspector General adds to the mystery.

During her tenure, the IG report later discovered, were some startling revelations that do not reflect kindly upon Clinton:

  1. When Clinton aids directed Platte River Networks to change the configuration of the server to retain only 60 days of information, some IT experts in the State Department referred to the request as a “Clinton cover-up;”
  2. While visiting Croatia, thunderstorms interfered with the use of her personal email account and she used an insecure gmail account instead;
  3. State Department personnel who knew she was using a private email address were concerned about whether records were being properly maintained;
  4. Some FBI cyber experts were flabbergasted when they learned she used a private email address and server whether classified information was shared or not, and;
  5. Obama, despite denials, often used an undisclosed fake name when communicating with Clinton.

To underscore the importance of these emails, the ODNI Inspector General, Charles McCullough III, needed to be granted a special security clearance before he could review any emails.  His report is the one that referred the issue to the Department of Justice.  McCullough was highly respected on both sides of the political aisle and had received unanimous Senate confirmation to his post.  Upon a review of the emails, he sent Congress a preliminary letter that some of the Clinton emails contained information of the highest level secrecy.  A Clinton spokesman was quick to respond:

I think this was a very coordinated leak. Two months ago there was a…report that directly challenged the finding of this inspector general, and I don’t think he liked that very much. So I think that he put two Republican senators up to sending him a letter so that he would have an excuse to resurface the same allegations he made back in the summer that have been discredited.

Put another way, the vast right wing conspiracy swung into action; Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong.  The Washington Post jumped in stating that Hillary Clinton was more or less forced into using a private server because of “scar tissue built up over the years of politically motivated attacks and endless investigations…”

While it may be true that the intelligence community has a propensity for secrecy by its very nature and that they may be very apt to label something “confidential,” “classified,” “secret,” or “top secret,” one would suspect that a person holding the office of Secretary of State would be smart enough to distinguish between something public knowledge and something else.  Feigning technical ignorance is one thing; being inept another.  Her refusal to submit to an IG interview, her refusal to hand over the server to the State Department, her use of legal obfuscation, the apparent lies told by State Department aides, Presidents and Presidential advisers, her memory losses, and the shifting of the goalposts with explanations all point to one of two things: total stupidity, ignorance and ineptitude, or something illegal.

Next: In order from here- a look at Trump, Trump enters the race, the server investigation, the role of foreign intelligence, Adm. Mike Rogers (a hero) and the NSA access, Misfud and Halper, the DNC “hack,” the Steele dossier, the Trump Tower meeting, the Alfa Bank “controversy,” Crossfire Hurricane, targeting Carter Page, targeting Mike Flynn, the Mueller investigation, and conclusion.  Stay tuned…