Last week, the State Department IG released a scathing report on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private and unsecure email server during here tenure as secretary of state. Basically, it found that the server was run in direct violation of existing State Department regulations and was never approved for use by anyone with the authority to do so. The USA Today editorial board, ever the Clintonian mouthpiece, concluded she “broke the rules.” POLITICO reports that the email scandal is having a large and negative impact on Clinton’s campaign strategy:
…But after saying she would cooperate fully with investigations into her email use, Clinton declined to be interviewed, the 83-page report revealed.
The report also revealed that State Department officials who brought up concerns about the private email server were told “never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again,” and that Clinton never asked permission to set up her private email server. It all fed the worst caricatures painted by Clinton’s detractors — that she’s pathologically dishonest. So did the lack of a detailed explanation of why Bryan Pagliano, a State Department employee, was providing her with technical support when his supervisors were unaware of the arrangement.
Even White House spokesmunchkin, Josh Earnest, who has never met Democrat-inspired malfeasance or misfeasance he couldn’t excuse was stumped when it came to explaining Clinton’s behavior
Apparently the only person in Washington who doesn’t think the direction the email scandal is going isn’t alarming if you are Hillary Clinton is Lanny Davis.
For those of you who were kids in the 90s, Lanny Davis is a long-time Clinton butt-remora. He attached himself to the collective Clinton nether regions during the daily scandals that comprised the eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency. Case in point, via The Hill, Davis launches an op-ed titled Five undisputed facts about Clinton’s emails.
With all the hours of punditry and tens of thousands of words written about Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s emails by the political press corps, it is amazing that the whole episode can be boiled down to five undisputed facts.
First, the former secretary of State did nothing illegal by having a private email system. The department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) pointed to “policies” that were violated but cited no laws that were violated and said these policies were inconsistently applied and need to be further clarified in the future.
Ummm. Not quite. The IG report made it extraordinarily clear (see page 36 and following) that Clinton’s private email server was not approved and the use of private email for official business was against regulations. Davis’s harping on the word “illegal” is a distraction because the focus of the report was to evaluate cybersecurity issues presented by the use of email. The report did not address obvious violations of the Federal Records Act and Freedom of Information Act as well as, at the minimum, technical violations of the Espionage Act.
Second, Clinton was not trying to hide her use of her own private email address.
Has anyone ever made this claim? I don’t think so. What has been documented is that her use of private email was a violation of State Department regulations and possibly of federal law. And her email wasn’t hidden from hackers either.
Third, no email received or sent by Clinton was labeled at any level of classification.
That Clinton’s email contained material classified at the highest possible secrecy levels is beyond dispute. That issue has been settled by the Director of National Intelligence. The fact that it was stored in an unsecure server and was not encrypted are elements of a federal felony indictment. The absence of security markings are mitigating circumstances, rather it is evidence of either duplicity, in that the markings were deliberately removed to disguise the information, or a criminal level of stupidity. Or both.
Fourth, according to the OIG, there is no evidence that Clinton’s private server was ever successfully hacked. In other words, all the dire and dark warnings from partisan Republicans about the secretary of State risking the nation’s security by using a private server are, in fact, all speculation — based on no facts whatsoever.
The State Department IG did not investigate whether the server was hacked or not. And the evidence supplied to date, that is the assertion absent actual documents that the server logs show no hacks, isn’t proof that the server was not penetrated. What the IG did document was that there were several instances when Clinton’s server was the target of cyber attacks… we don’t know if they were successful… and those attacks were never reported to State in violation of regulations.
Fifth, as pointed out by the inspector general, there was ample precedent for the use of private emails for official and private business, from Colin Powell to senior aides for Condoleezza Rice.
Ummm, no. The report made if very clear that the regulatory regime in place when Powell and Rice were Secretary of State were very, very different than they were when Hillary Clinton took office. This is not surprising. It also made it clear that Hillary did not follow existing State Department regulations. What we know for a fact is that Clinton did not obey the requirement that she preserve and transfer to State emails relating to official business because some of those emails, particularly ones to Sid Blumenthal, have been deleted from the records Clinton forwarded and we only know of them because Blumenthal’s email was hacked and made public. And even if Powell and Rice were in violation of regulations that does not mitigate Hillary’s violations. If anything it is demonstrates a callous disrespect for the regulations because the shortcomings of Powell and Rice would have been known.
Lanny Davis personifies the joke about why lab researchers prefer to use lawyers rather than rats in experiments, Lanny Davis will do things that no self-respecting rat would ever consider doing.