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Clinton Email Scandal and The ‘Powell Did it Too’ Defense

colin-powell-hillary-clinton

Reading through the comments on Doug Mataconis’ two postings on the State Department Inspector General finding that Hillary Clinton repeatedly violated the law by using a private email server (“State Department Inspector General Faults Hillary Clinton, State Dept. In Email Probe” and “Release Of Inspector General’s Report Indicates Hillary’s Email Woes Likely To Continue“) makes it pretty clear that rational discussion of the topic is futile. Clinton supporters will simply ignore any evidence of wrongdoing as unimportant while her detractors damage their credibility by over-selling the national security damage. Regardless, I’m going to attempt to address some canards in the debate.

The most grating of these is the argument that, since Colin Powell also used a personal email account, this is an instance of “It’s okay if you’re a Republican.”  No. Here’s what the report says about the matter, starting on page 34 [emphases all mine]:

In his interview with OIG, Secretary Powell explained that, when he arrived at the Department, the email system in place only permitted communication among Department staff. He therefore requested that information technology staff install the private line so that he could use his personal account to communicate with people outside the Department.144 He described his email usage as “daily,” though OIG was unable to determine how many emails he actually sent and received during his tenure.

Various DS and IRM staff told OIG that, before Secretary Powell arrived at the Department, employees did not have Internet connectivity on their desktop computers. The Department’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Under Secretary for Management during Secretary Powell’s tenure reported to OIG that they were aware of Secretary Powell’s use of a personal email account and also noted the Secretary’s goal was to provide every Department employee with similar Internet and email capabilities at their desktops. The current CIO and Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, who were Department employees during Secretary Powell’s tenure, also were both aware of the Secretary’s use of a personal email account and recall numerous discussions with senior staff throughout the Department about how to implement the Secretary’s intent to provide all employees with Internet connectivity.

However, it is not clear whether staff explicitly addressed restrictions on the use of non-Departmental systems with Secretary Powell. For example, at the beginning of Secretary Powell’s tenure, the Department had an outright prohibition on both the installation of privately owned computers in Department facilities and the transmission of SBU information on the Internet. 145 By 2002, the Department had established the requirement to connect to the Internet only on OpenNet.146 The CIO and Under Secretary for Management during Secretary’s Powell’s tenure reported to OIG that they believe that these issues were addressed, either by installing a firewall to protect the Secretary’s Internet connection or providing the Secretary with a Department laptop. They also reported having multiple discussions with Secretary Powell about the Department’s implementation of FISMA requirements. In contrast, current DS and IRM officials who worked at the Department during Secretary Powell’s tenure are unsure about the exact configuration of Secretary Powell’s systems and whether staff addressed applicable restrictions with the Secretary. However, they reported to OIG that the Department’s technology and information security policies were very fluid during Secretary Powell’s tenure and that the Department was not aware at the time of the magnitude of the security risks associated with information technology.

So, Powell definitely violated existing policy and quite probably the law.  At the same time, he had an exceedingly good motivation for his transgression: State’s byzantine system made it impossible to do his job.  He told the people in charge of the Department’s IT system what he was doing, ordered them to fix the system to make the workaround unnecessary, and did it via a Department-installed laptop in his office.

By contrast:

By Secretary Clinton’s tenure, the Department’s guidance was considerably more detailed and more sophisticated. Beginning in late 2005 and continuing through 2011, the Department revised the FAM and issued various memoranda specifically discussing the obligation to use Department systems in most circumstances and identifying the risks of not doing so. Secretary Clinton’s cybersecurity practices accordingly must be evaluated in light of these more comprehensive directives. Secretary Clinton used mobile devices to conduct official business using the personal email account on her private server extensively, as illustrated by the 55,000 pages of material making up the approximately 30,000 emails she provided to the Department in December 2014. Throughout Secretary Clinton’s tenure, the FAM stated that normal day-to-day operations should be conducted on an authorized AIS,147 yet OIG found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server. According to the current CIO and Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, Secretary Clinton had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business with their offices, who in turn would have attempted to provide her with approved and secured means that met her business needs. However, according to these officials, DS and IRM did not—and would not—approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business, because of the restrictions in the FAM and the security risks in doing so. During Secretary Clinton’s tenure, the FAM also instructed employees that they were expected to use approved, secure methods to transmit SBU information and that, if they needed to transmit SBU information outside the Department’s OpenNet network on a regular basis to non-Departmental addresses, they should request a solution from IRM.148 However, OIG found no evidence that Secretary Clinton ever contacted IRM to request such a solution, despite the fact that emails exchanged on her personal account regularly contained information marked as SBU.

Similarly, the FAM contained provisions requiring employees who process SBU information on their own devices to ensure that appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards are maintained to protect the confidentiality and integrity of records and to ensure encryption of SBU information with products certified by NIST.149 With regard to encryption, Secretary Clinton’s website states that “robust protections were put in place and additional upgrades and techniques employed over time as they became available, including consulting and employing third party experts.”150 Although this report does not address the safety or security of her system, DS and IRM reported to OIG that Secretary Clinton never demonstrated to them that her private server or mobile device met minimum information security requirements specified by FISMA and the FAM.

In addition to interviewing current and former officials in DS and IRM, OIG interviewed other senior Department officials with relevant knowledge who served under Secretary Clinton, including the Under Secretary for Management, who supervises both DS and IRM; current and former Executive Secretaries; and attorneys within the Office of the Legal Adviser. These officials all stated that they were not asked to approve or otherwise review the use of Secretary Clinton’s server and that they had no knowledge of approval or review by other Department staff. These officials also stated that they were unaware of the scope or extent of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email account, though many of them sent emails to the Secretary on this account. Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff also testified before the House Select Committee on Benghazi that she was unaware of anyone being consulted about the Secretary’s exclusive use of a personal email address.

Clinton’s explanations for why she set up a private server in her basement used her personal devices to do government business have been fluid. None of them have been as straightforward and reasonable as Powell’s. By the time she took office—eight years after Powell did so—the Department’s IT was considerably improved, based on Powell’s orders, thus obviating Powell’s rationale. Additionally, policies were much more stringent and clearly defined. Yet, whereas Powell went out of his way to be above board about failing to comply with policy, Clinton simply ignored it.

Beyond that, it’s important to understand just how much the law and the culture had changed.  People reading political blogs are obviously power users of the Internet and, presumably, of email, smart phones, and the like. But recall that the World Wide Web as we understand it didn’t appear until 1993 and most of us were accessing it via AOL discs that were sent to us via snail mail and connecting via 2400 baud modems that tied up our land lines until the late 1990s.

Even in government and education, which pioneered both email and the Internet, systems were generally lousy. When my co-blogger Steven Taylor and I arrived at what was then Troy State University in the fall of 1998, the computers and Internet service were awful. We spent an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to make them meet our needs, often resorting to bringing in our own equipment. Given the scale of the Federal Government, it’s really not that shocking that the State Department had lousy email systems in place in January of 2001.

The world was simply a different place eight years later. Broadband was ubiquitous. Desktops and laptops had become appliances; rather than upgrading equipment which had become obsolete every two years and constantly downloading “utilities” to eke out a bit more productivity, we just turned them on and went to work. By the time Clinton became Secretary, Steven and I had been blogging for six years.  Blackberries were becoming obsolete and we were awaiting the third generation iPhone.

So, like the PolitiFact report on this issue that preceded the IG report, I consider the notion that Clinton and Powell did essentially the same thing “mostly false.”

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Tillman says:

    But they had to keep the oppo researchers from twisting her words over nonsense instead of twisting her words over shady behavior to conceal nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. Gustopher says:

    Clinton supporters will simply ignore any evidence of wrongdoing as unimportant while her detractors damage their credibility by over-selling the national security damage

    On the national security front, I would sooner trust Clinton’s private email server where people are making some effort to not send classified data, as compared to security briefings of classified data going to Donald Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  3. An Interested Party says:

    Clinton supporters will simply ignore any evidence of wrongdoing as unimportant while her detractors damage their credibility by over-selling the national security damage.

    So what do you think her consequences, if any, should be…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  4. Gustopher says:

    Just as an aside, Gov. Palin used a private gmail account for government business, and I expect that it has been common in both parties with officials large and small to evade disclosure and retention laws. Powell solved that problem by just deleting everything.

    It’s not hard to maintain two separate email accounts, at least if you are willing to have your private bits wander across your employer’s network. Always carrying two devices would be a pain, but only becomes an issue when you expect your private email will be retained and searched to your detriment. Which might honestly be an issue with Clinton.

    Still, she shouldn’t have done it. But it is entirely commonplace and minor.

    As far as Clinton’s shifting explanations — I assume they are all true and that she had many reasons for her behavior, like any person does. People don’t have perfect logical consistency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  5. HarvardLaw92 says:

    So, Powell definitely violated existing policy and quite probably the law. At the same time, he had an exceedingly good motivation for his transgression: State’s byzantine system made it impossible to do his job.

    You’re responding to what you’re characterizing as rationalizations with a rationalization of your own.

    He either broke the law, or he didn’t. Just saying …

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 12

  6. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gustopher:

    The thing that really gets me here is that the really sensitive stuff – the “it’ll torpedo national security” level information that really doesn’t need to be in the wild – isn’t conveyed by email – “secure” governmental or otherwise – to begin with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 11

  7. Pch101 says:

    Prior to 2013, though, there was no standard way to secure a BlackBerry like Clinton’s with two email accounts, at least not without giving the IT person in charge complete control over all the data on the phone, work and personal. To fulfill the criteria that Clinton demanded — secure email that’s not sitting on a cloud service, plus a single-BlackBerry solution — she had just one option: Set up her own email server.

    http://mashable.com/2015/03/10/hillary-clinton-email-blackberry/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 11

  8. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Note: it’s also tangentially interesting, at least to me anyway, that several of the folks busily excoriating Clinton here in the present over relatively trivial emails actually defended Bradley Manning – who leaked information which was far more damaging to national security – originating from within that secure communications system.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 12

  9. stonetools says:

    Buried in the Politifact article:

    We should note that the State Department has flagged a handful of emails containing information now deemed classified that were received by Powell and aides to Rice at private email addresses. In the more than 50,000 pages of Clinton emails the State Department has reviewed, just over 100 sent by Clinton have been deemed classified, according to a Washington Post analysis.

    It’s unclear whether the information was classified at the time the emails were sent.

    So both had received classified emails. Question :for security purposes, is the difference between the Powell setup and Clinton setup a difference that makes no difference? . If so, what are we obsessing about?

    Clinton supporters will simply ignore any evidence of wrongdoing as unimportant

    Here’s the thing. All Clinton defenders I know admit she did a bad thing( Clinton herself says so). What Clinton defenders say is that such wrongdoing is relatively unimportant-which seems to be true, objectively speaking. Which leads to the question-what exactly, do you think Clinton should do or what should happen to her? I have yet to hear an answer to this, and my conclusion that the answer to this(which the Clinton detractors dislike) is “Nothing.” (Note that not a single Clinton detractor says that anything should happen to Powell-or even that Powell did anything wrong)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  10. Andy says:

    There’s one other thing that’s missing. A cabinet secretary is not a mere employee, they are the constitutionally appointed head of their department. One responsibility of the position is to set the rules and regulations for the organization (within the confines of, and in compliance with, federal law). They have the power, authority and expectation to change department policy. And that’s exactly what Powell did. He didn’t just have his IT people setup an email system at his desk for his own exclusive benefit, it was part of a push he made as the leader of State to expand internet access and email use at the department. He wasn’t violating policy, he was in the process of creating new policy for the department – policy based on feedback he’d received when he first became secretary. And it was all a public effort, described one edition of State’s official magazine from March 2001 (http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/191194.pdf):

    “It’s been busy these opening months—testifying before Congress, conducting bilaterals with visiting foreign ministers and presidents, traveling with President Bush on his first trip abroad as President and making my first trip overseas as Secretary, to Europe and the Middle East. But nowhere has more been happening than here in the Department. I’m glad to tell you that we are already under way with many of the issues that surfaced during the town hall meeting I held my first week here: giving everyone Internet access; getting a start on restoring dilapidated buildings and offices; working on quality of life issues like expanding child care to the Foreign Service Institute; and putting in place a spousal employment pilot program.”

    And

    “The Secretary also called for changes in electronic communication that would give all U.S. Embassies e-mail and all employees Internet access at their desks. Secretary Powell, who served on the board of America Online, said he might invite former associates
    from that company to advise the Department. The Secretary said the explosion of technology since the end of the Cold War gives the Department a tremendous edge in spreading American culture throughout the world. “Any place you can install a dish, you can download culture and knowledge,” he said. “I’m convinced that technology will change the world.”

    This wasn’t Powell violating the rules, this was Powell rewriting the rules.

    Clinton, by contrast, didn’t do any of those things. She didn’t’ rewrite policy, she simply ignored it. While the rest of her department (outside her inner circle) had to contend with State Department rules on internet and email use, she simply exempted herself and she did it in the least transparent way possible. She didn’t simply use personal email – she used it exclusively (Powell still used his intra-departmental system). She didn’t have State’s IT department manage her personal email – she hired a political appointee who managed it (secretly it turns out) while also being paid as a State Department employee (another no-no in the civil service, but who’s counting at this point?). She certainly didn’t write about it State’s magazine, or talk about it in speeches to her employees (which is what Powell did). Meanwhile, under her leadership, her department admonished, reprimanded and fired people for inappropriately using email for things that were much less serious than what she was doing every single day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  11. Pch101 says:

    @stonetools:

    What Clinton defenders say is that such wrongdoing is relatively unimportant-which seems to be true, objectively speaking.

    Along those lines, I don’t think that reasonable people are expecting there to be any smoking guns in the email communications.

    You can judge Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state by her actions. This hope that emails will expose Clinton as some sort of Muslim lesbian spy for ISIS or that she was trading foreign policy favors for Clinton Foundation donations is ridiculous yet in line with wingnut standard operating procedure of the last two decades

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 11

  12. KM says:

    So, Powell definitely violated existing policy and quite probably the law. At the same time, he had an exceedingly good motivation for his transgression: State’s byzantine system made it impossible to do his job. He told the people in charge of the Department’s IT system what he was doing, ordered them to fix the system to make the workaround necessary, and did it via a Department-installed laptop in his office.

    As valid as his reasons may be, he still intentionally committed a violation that he was not held accountable for- no congressional hearings, no anything-gate…. just an tacit acknowledgement of possible lawbreaking and move on. Motive may be a mitigating factor but not an absolving one. Is this not ignoring evidence of wrongdoing as unimportant in the greater context of things? Surely there had to be a better way then that – couldn’t Congress have done something to help out by giving him a legal pass via special session till the mess was sorted out? At the very least, there should have been a public hearing to address it so he could speak to the country about this pressing issue.

    The reason this gets brought up in arguments is it reeks of hypocrisy. Sure, he broke the law but he had reasons. Not like judges and juries don’t hear that logic daily. Clinton supporters get accused of only caring if something is illegal, not just “wrongdoing” so seeing someone else be granted the benefit of that logic for essentially the same offense is irritating. No one is calling him sleazy, arrogant or questioning his moral character. He may have tried to be above board but Powell was still wrong to do what he did. He might even be an actual criminal. It should not be minimized in any way if the accusation of Clinton supporters being dismissive is to hold weight. I am a fan of Powell’s so I wish him no ill but he really should be up there with Clinton justifying himself in front of the committee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  13. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Andy:

    It’s worth noting that the security experts who are vilifying Clinton also made it clear that she requested a secure phone from CIA – and was denied.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 10

  14. Andy says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Actually, it was the NSA. She wanted something similar that they gave to the President – something that could be used in secure areas.

    Of course it’s also important to note that a secure blackberry wasn’t her only option to get secure communication.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  15. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Andy:

    Which completely sidesteps the broader point – she made every attempt to secure her communications, and her request was denied by the same folks who are now rending their garments.

    Every indication here is that the information involved was trivial at best with respect to national security. She didn’t violate the law as far as I can tell, and that opinion is formed on the basis of having spent several years as an AUSA. She may have violated policy, but there are no criminal consequences for that.

    At basis, it boils down to: Was it unethical? Probably, but it’s been done before, and on a much larger scale, by people who endured no consequences at all as a result of their actions.

    If she’d conveyed SIPRNet or JWICS level material via private email, I’d be on board the flambe her train, but she didn’t. She didn’t even come close to it.

    It’s political theater, and I suspect on some level that you would agree with that assessment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 12

  16. Pch101 says:

    @Andy:

    it’s also important to note that a secure blackberry wasn’t her only option to get secure communication.

    She also wanted portability, including the ability to use the device in the office where its use violated policy. She wanted a one-size-fits-all solution that the IT staff would not or could not provide.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  17. Jc says:

    “As I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts. That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility,” Clinton said.

    This was enough for me until after the FBI Investigation, but now we have full on Ebola in the U.S. level coverage and craziness over this entire thing. The State report just confirms how F’d up the feds communication protocols/IT policy etc… is – we have a Zika threat that congress is ignoring and this is what we hear about, as important as it is to address it, I think we have covered it enough considering its lack of severity – Meanwhile the character of a guy whose own ex wife stated he raped her is ho hum everyday retweet and move on, “That’s just Donald being Donald…” – As far as Clinton’s character and integrity is concerned, this private email server issue is really weak and boring, the OIG report really just solidified it for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  18. al-Alameda says:

    This is entirely a partisan political investigation.

    Not a report finding has shown us that the result of Hillary’s private email use was compromised American security. The facts of what actually resulted from the use of private email by Hillary Clinton is not a concern of any Republican. That’s the game here, I know it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  19. John D'Geek says:

    @HarvardLaw92: @KM:

    You two are apparently not familiar with the Military.

    As an Army General, he “came of age” knowing how to work with a bureaucracy that makes it literally impossible to do your job. What the report described are the tactics used by higher-ranking officers to deal with immovable and/or sluggish bureaucracy; lower ranking ones use tactics that are … decidedly different.

    But … that’s how the US Military works — you must break rules and regulations to get your job done. You only get in trouble for it if you break the rules improperly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  20. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @John D’Geek:

    I’m quite familiar with it. He was also not in the military at that time – he was serving as a civilian political appointee.

    That having been said, It remains a rationalization. He either broke the law, or he didn’t break the law. You can’t fire that torpedo without sinking two ships at the same time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

  21. MBunge says:

    These comments are definitely in the running for the “Proving the Original Post’s Point” award.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  22. Andy says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Except she did not make every effort to secure her communication. She could have used the State Department’s established email system but for whatever reason (and that reason keeps changing), she opted to avoid the official system and do everything on her private server, which was completely unsecured for several months. She had an entire IT department at her disposal she could have used – instead she went with a secret server very few knew anything about. She was SECSTATE for four years – in that time she could have had her IT staff build a solution that would work better for her, the department, and future secretaries. She didn’t for whatever reason.

    As far as classified information goes, there was SIPRNET and JWICS level information transmitted over her server. It remains to be seen whether those security violations are serious enough to rise to a level necessitating criminal prosecution of Clinton or her aides. Given the FBI provided immunity to one person involved, I think someone is probably in serious trouble – verbatim classified messages don’t just jump from a secure system to an unsecure one all by themselves – they either have to be transcribed or sneaker-netted over. I seriously doubt Clinton did any of that given her position and what we know the level of support provided by her aides for even mundane tasks, so I’m guessing at least one of her aides may be in serious trouble.

    Finally, I don’t think her private email server was even a violation of policy unless it can be shown it was used to circumvent federal laws like FOIA. She was a cabinet head, 4th in line of succession for the Presidency, and thus exercises broad authority over the affairs of her department. I think the position allows whoever is holding it to exempt themselves from department policy because they are not an employee and their boss is the President and Congress. Of course, carving out personal exemptions to policy (among other things) is not exactly leading by example, – it’s more in the Leona Helmsley school of leadership.

    So my prediction is that Clinton will come out of this “clean” but others will likely face prosecution. So it will only be a political headache for her in terms of how perceptions of her judgement and character impact her as a candidate for President.

    @al-Alameda:

    The State Department IG and FBI are entirely partisan? Benghazi was a partisan investigation, this is not since the investigations are being conducted by agencies of the federal government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  23. Jenos Idanian says:

    Powell inherited a system that was woefully outdated and incapable of serving the needs of the Department. So did Hillary.

    Powell publicly announced that the system was broken, and said he was going to violate the existing rules so he could do his job while the new system and rules were set up. So did Hillary.

    Powell violated the rules only long enough for the new rules and new systems to be put in place. So did Hillary.

    Powell fully cooperated with the OIG at all times, as did his top aides.So did Hillary.

    Yup, a perfect parallel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  24. the Q says:

    MBunge you hit the nail on the head.

    Forget it James, these partisan hacks just can’t see this is a pattern of Clinton behavior over 30 years, lie, get caught, change the story, apologize, rinse and repeat.

    Harvard Law 92 probably argued, “hey, its just a little burglary of a psychiatrist’s office. Stop making it a federal issue. Its not important. There’s far worse things.”

    And just remember “I didn’t have relations with that server.”

    What don’t you Hillary slurpers don’t get? She has huge disapproval ratings for a reason.

    You “libs” side with plutocrats who made 30 million last year over a guy who earned 200k?

    And you fools actually think Hillary gives a schitt about anything but herself and her cronies like the totally corrupt McAuliffe? I knew this idiot from his Winnick Global Crossing days in LA.

    A bigger schmuck you will not find. Winnick btw was one of the Drexel – Milken gang of thugs.

    I am an old school FDR New Dealer who has seen the idiot boomers destroy the Dem party. Hill and Bill are the revolting face of the corruption which Bernie is fighting.

    You people by gainsaying her behavior as trivial are almost as big a problem as the moron Trump.

    Hill is our Nixon. You people twist in pretzel logic whether is was “illegal” or whether the rules were explicit enough. Come on, I expect that foolishness from the wingnuts.

    “But Kerry and Clinton voted for the Iraq war. Read what President Clinton said about Saddam in 1998.”

    Those idiot used the same Hillary excuse to excuse their stupidity. “If the Iraq War was so wrong, why did Clinton want him gone? Why did Biden, Kerry and Hillary all vote for the war bla bla bla”

    And thats what you hacks are defending “why Powell did it, so whats the big wow over Hillary doing it?”

    Only as James points out, its apples and oranges. Yet most commenters here reject the premise and whine on about a witch hunt.

    The Dems may lose to the worst GOP nom in history. Why? Just look at the comments defending the c word. She is the only thing standing in the way of a democratic socialist becoming President. A dream “true” liberals have had since FDR.

    And you idiots are BLOWING IT.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 8

  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Powell deleted ALL of his emails without submitting ANY of them to the Department of State. So did Hillary

    Ho hum …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  26. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @the Q:

    You are seriously beginning to lose it, man. Seek help

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  27. the Q says:

    Harvard, I bet you can give me a good referral putz.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  28. Jenos Idanian says:

    It occurs to me that the “they did it too” defense is actually a confession. It’s the person saying that they knew it was wrong, and did it anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @the Q:

    Seriously – you’re never going to get this socialist paradise / new New Deal fantasy you’re enveloped in. It’s just not going to happen.

    Raging against a world that didn’t turn out the way you wanted isn’t the mark of the revolutionary. It’s the mark of the disaffected & defeated. You lost. You’re going to continue to lose. Deal with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  30. Turgid Jacobian says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    No, it isn’t a confession, it’s a statement you should read as:”Idont think you really that because if you did you’d be vilifying your horse to slide your jockey, too.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  31. Pharaoh Narim says:

    @Andy: This. Seriously, Why would NSA or CIA provide a secure device to a Cabinet Head? They aren’t a friggin IT department. They couldn’t have provided her a device anyway …..because most of the security is in the backend infrastructure. Clinton would have had an NSA email address. What NSA WILL provide is the specifications and best practice…..Clinton could have authorized her IT people to build a mobile infrastructure to NSA specifications and issued a change to the existing policy. She went Nixon instead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  32. Mikey says:

    @Pharaoh Narim:

    Clinton could have authorized her IT people to build a mobile infrastructure to NSA specifications and issued a change to the existing policy.

    Yeah, because the money and people to do that just grow on f-ing trees, right?

    Don’t get me started. I’m a contractor working IT for a couple three-letter agencies and occasionally hanging out at State. What you’re asserting she could just have simply done would have been very difficult indeed, and likely not even close to completion at the time she handed the job over to Kerry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  33. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Turgid Jacobian: ”Idont think you really that because if you did you’d be vilifying your horse to slide your jockey, too.”

    What the hell language is that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  34. MarkedMan says:

    James, you couldn’t have reinforced my point more about your inability to see your double standard here. Colin Powell knowingly violated the rules because he wanted a more convenient way to communicate, which was a good reason. Clinton violated the rules because she wanted a more convenient way to communicate., but that’s proof that she is an unethical narcissist. Got it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0