State Department Inspector General Faults Hillary Clinton, State Dept. In Email Probe

A bad day for the Clinton campaign.

Hillary Clinton Blackberry

The State Department’s Inspector General has issued their long awaited report on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while in office, a report that is highly critical of both Clinton and of how the State Department handled the decision and likely to revive the email issue just as Clinton is on the verge of clinching the Democratic nomination for President:

WASHINGTON — The State Department’s inspector general has sharply criticized Hillary Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, saying she had not sought permission to use it and would not have received it if she had.

In a report delivered to members of Congress on Wednesday, the inspector general said that Mrs. Clinton “had an obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business” with officials responsible for handling records and security but that inspectors found “no evidence” that she had.

The review “found no evidence” that Mrs. Clinton had requested or received approval from anyone at the department to conduct her state business on a personal email.

It said that she “had an obligation” to do so, given the well-known security risks involved in using a personal account. And it also said that department officials “did not — and would not — approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business.”

It also added new detail about Mrs. Clinton’s motivation for using the private server, which she has said was set up for convenience. In November 2010, her deputy chief of staff for operations prodded her about “putting you on state email or releasing your email address to the department so you are not going to spam.” Mrs. Clinton, however, replied that she would consider a separate address or device “but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

The report, as well as an F.B.I. investigation and other legal challenges seeking information about her use of the server, is certain to keep alive a controversy that has shadowed Mrs. Clinton’s campaign for the presidency. The events have all come to a climax just as she is close to defeating Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Mrs. Clinton and her aides have played down the inquiries, saying that she would cooperate with investigators to put the email issue behind her. Even so, through her lawyers, she declined to be interviewed by the State Department’s inspector general as part of his review. So did several of her senior aides.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign spokesman, Brian Fallon, issued a statement emphasizing the findings that the problems with record keeping extended beyond Mrs. Clinton’s tenure.

“Contrary to the false theories advanced for some time now, the report notes that her use of personal email was known to officials within the Department during her tenure, and that there is no evidence of any successful breach of the Secretary’s server,” Mr. Fallon said in the statement.

The report broadly criticized the State Department as well, saying that officials had been “slow to recognize and to manage effectively the legal requirements and cybersecurity risks” that emerged in the era of emails, particularly those of senior officials like Mrs. Clinton.

It said that “longstanding systemic weaknesses” in handling electronic records went “well beyond the tenure of any one secretary of state” but the body of the report focused on the 30,000 emails that Mrs. Clinton sent and received on her private server.

The State Department issued numerous warnings dating back a decade about the cyber-security risks of using personal emails accounts for government business, the report said, and Mrs. Clinton was personally sent a memo in 2011 warnings of hackers trying to target unclassified, personal email accounts. She was also given a classified, in-person briefing on the dangers, the report said.

The report found that while dozens of State Department employees used personal email accounts periodically over the years, only three officials were found to have used it “exclusively” for day-to-day operations: Mrs. Clinton; Colin Powell, the secretary of state under President George W. Bush; and Scott Gration, the ambassador to Kenya from 2011 to 2012.

The review “found no evidence” that Mrs. Clinton had requested or received approval from anyone at the department to conduct her State Department business on a personal email. But it said that she “had an obligation” to do so, given the well-known security risks involved in using a personal account. And it also said that department officials “did not — and would not — approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct Department business.”

But while State Department officials never directly told Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Powell that they needed to end their use of personal email, the report found, they did do so with Mr. Gration, a lower-level diplomat who did not have their political clout.

The response to Mr. Gration’s situation “demonstrates how such usage is normally handed when Department cybersecurity officials become aware of it,” the report said.

(…)

The report did not delve deeply into the issue that has become the focus of the F.B.I.’s investigation — the references in dozens of emails to classified information, including 22 emails that the Central Intelligence Agency considered “top secret.”

But it called into question the security risk of using a private server for what were clearly sensitive discussions of the nation’s foreign policy. It noted that Mrs. Clinton sent or received most of the emails that traversed her server from a mobile device, her BlackBerry.

Security and records management officials told the inspector general’s office that “Secretary Clinton never demonstrated to them that her private server or mobile device met minimum information security requirements,” the report said.

The report also disclosed an attempt to hack into Mrs. Clinton’s server in January 2011.

It said a “nondepartmental adviser” to Bill Clinton, apparently Bryan Pagliano, informed the department that he had shut down the server because “someone was trying to hack us and while they did not get in, I didn’t want to let them have a chance.”

The attack continued later that day, prompting another official to write to two of Mrs. Clinton’s top aides, Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan, to warn them not to send Mrs. Clinton “anything sensitive.” She explained that she would “explain more in person.”

The report also criticized Mrs. Clinton for not adhering to the department’s rules for handling records under the Federal Records Act once she stepped down in January 2013.

“Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” the report said.

The inspector general also said that while Mrs. Clinton had turned over her email, she had not included those she sent and received in her first months as secretary from January to April 2009. In 2015, the Department of Defense also turned over 19 emails between Mrs. Clinton and David H. Petraeus that had been sent from his official email account to her private account but had not been included among those turned over.

It’s important to note that this report is not related to the ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice and F.B.I. regarding the private email server and the issue of whether or not Clinton or anyone associated with her may have mishandled classified information by sharing it on her non-government, private, unsecured email server. That investigation has been ongoing for the better part of a year now and while there is no real indication of how much longer it might continue, the fact that it has been reported that the investigation has moved on to interviews of people close to Clinton and that immunity has been granted to the person who maintained the server for Clinton and to a Romanian hacker known as “Guccifer” who claims to have hacked into Clinton’s server on more than one occasion while she was Secretary of State would seem to indicate that the DoJ investigation is nearing its end, and it has been reported that investigators are likely to request an interview with Clinton herself. After that, the general course of action would be to decide whether or not anyone should be charged criminally based on what the investigation uncovered. This could include anyone from one of Clinton’s aides to Clinton herself, which would obviously be an event that would constitute something of a political earthquake. There have been plenty of rumors on that point from both sides, but anyone who tells you they know what will happen and how the investigation will end is, without question, making things up.

Notwithstanding that, the report is hardly good news for Clinton at this point in her campaign, especially given the fact that it contradicts many of the assertions she has made about her use of a private server since the story first broke more than a year ago. For one thing, the report concludes that, contrary to the claim Clinton has made from the beginning, Clinton did not have permission from the State Department to use not only a private email account but also a private network outside the control of the proper network security personnel for official State Department business. Instead, it appears that what happened is that Clinton had the network set up and began using it without anyone outside her inner circle really knowing about it, meaning that by the time it was discovered it was a fait accompli which both the powers that be in the State Department and the White House decided to acquiesce in rather than fighting her over it.  The report also found that Clinton failed to comply with the relevant record keeping laws in that she should have turned over all of her work-related email after leaving office. Instead, she initially had a review of the email on the server conducted by people working for her who turned over some, but not all, of the work-related email that was on the server. It wasn’t until the story about the server became public in the spring of last year that Clinton finally turned over the last of the email, and eventually the server itself.

Given the fact that we’re in the middle of a campaign for President, the inevitable question is going to be what impact this report will have on Clinton’s political fortunes. Obviously, someone who is a die hard Clinton loyalist is unlikely to have their mind changed even by this scathing report, and even Bernie Sanders supporters are unlikely to be influenced very much by it given that they seem to share their savior’s dismissive attitude toward the entire email story. Therefore, this report is unlikely to have any impact on the race for the Democratic nomination. It could be a very different matter beyond that, though, especially given the fact that polling has already indicated that General Election voters already have a high level of distrust when it comes to Clinton. Even with an opponent like Donald Trump, a report like this could do real damage to Clinton going forward, as Chris Cillizza points out:

The report, which you can read in its entirety here, badly complicates Clinton’s past explanations about the server and whether she complied fully with the laws in place governing electronic communication. And it virtually ensures that Clinton’s email practices will be front and center in Donald Trump’s fusillade of attacks against her credibility and honesty between now and Nov. 8.

(…)

Clinton used an inappropriate method of preserving her documents. Her approach would not have been approved if it had been requested by a more junior member of the State Department staff.  The report also suggests that despite a Clinton aide’s insistence that the method of preserving her emails had been submitted to a legal review back in 2010, there is no evidence that such a review took place. And, here’s the kicker: Clinton refused to sit for a formal interview.

Oomph. Double oomph. Heck, that might merit a triple oomph.

Cillizza also notes that the report blows a hole through one of the primary defenses that Clinton’s campaign has taken advantage of since this story broke, namely that she wasn’t the only recent Secretary of State to use private email to do official business:

There are two very important differences among Clinton, Secretary of State John F. Kerry, and former secretaries Powell and Condoleezza Rice when it comes to email practices.

The first is that Clinton is the first and, to date, only secretary of state to exclusively use a private email address and server to conduct her business as the nation’s top diplomat.  All of the other names above maintained both a private and a government-issued email address. That alone doesn’t make her guilty. But it does make her unique.

Second, Clinton is the only one of that group who is currently (a) running for president and (b) the very likely nominee for one of the country’s two major parties.

Because of her elevated status in our political world, she is — and should be — subject to more scrutiny than, say, Powell, who hasn’t voiced an interest in running for president in 20 years. That’s particularly true because Clinton has put her time at State at the center of her argument for why she should be elected the 45th president of the United States. Look at what I have done and judge me by it, she says. That has to include the bad as well as the good.

This is a bad day for Clinton’s presidential campaign. Period. For a candidate already struggling to overcome a perception that she is neither honest nor trustworthy, the IG report makes that task significantly harder. No one will come out of this news cycle — with the exception of the hardest of the hard-core Clinton people — believing she is a better bet for the presidency on May 25 than she was on May 23.

This doesn’t mean that Clinton’s campaign is fatally wounded, of course, but it does mean that one of the primary arguments she makes in favor of her qualification for the job of President is being further undercut, this time by a decision she obviously made to protect her own privacy at the expense of complying with applicable law and State Department policy. How the voters will react to that is anybody’s guess, but you can bet Donald Trump and the Republicans are going to make sure they don’t forget about it.

Here’s the report:

State Dept. Inspector General Email Investigation Report by Doug Mataconis

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2016, Congress, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    Well, actually Hillary Clinton and her predecessors (acknowledging Doug’s mostly irrelevant caveats), but don’t let me get in the way of this freight train of HDS

  2. Hal_10000 says:

    don’t let me get in the way of this freight train of HDS

    And the freight train of Clinton Defense Derangement Syndrome that inevitably follows. As I said in the other thread, Republicans being crazy does not make the Clintons less unethical. (And, by extension, the Clintons being unethical does not make Trump less crazy).

  3. michael reynolds says:

    How exactly is this “unethical?”

    She obviously violated State Department protocols. OK. Everyone who has never violated one of their employer’s protocols, raise your hand. If your hand’s up, you’re almost certainly lying. Or you’ve never had a job.

    Has national security been harmed? There’s no evidence it has.

    Now, was it dumb? Yes. Paranoid? Yes. Did she try to bullshit her way out of it when caught? Yes. And that makes her different than everyone reading this how, exactly? No one here b.s.’s their way out of a stupid mistake? Really? So, none of you are married?

    This is much ado about nothing. It has nothing to do with how she’ll perform as president. We already knew she was a clumsy b.s. artist. And the alternative is who, exactly? Do we have 20 other candidates for the job? No? Just a psychopath with a bad combover?

    Then who gives a damn?

  4. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Just curious – which one of the officials at the State Department, who all reported to her, was she supposed to have requested permission from? Where is this regulation mandating the consent of these officials codified, so that I may read it and understand further?

    This is akin to asserting that Blankfein has to call someone down in Goldman’s IT department before he conducts meetings on his personal cell phone – which is to say that it’s ridiculous.

  5. steve s says:

    Reagan illegally sold military equipment to terrorists. GWB invaded the wrong country and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Hillary…used an unapproved email server because State IT was shit.

    At this point if someone tells me they vote republican, I assume that if they aren’t visibly intellectually disadvantaged they must have a personality disorder.

  6. Jc says:

    This report may be worth a read

    “For instance, OIG reviewed the Department
    email accounts (.pst files) of senior Department employees who served on the immediate staffs
    of Secretary Powell and Secretary Rice between 2001 and 2008. Within these accounts, OIG
    identified more than 90 Department employees who periodically used personal email accounts to conduct official business, though OIG could not quantify the frequency of this use. ”

    “OIG also reviewed an S/ES-IRM report prepared in 2010 showing that more than 9,200 emails
    were sent within one week from S/ES servers to 16 web-based email domains, including
    gmail.com, hotmail.com, and att.net.82 S/ES-IRM told OIG that it no longer has access to the tool used to generate this particular report. In another instance, in a June 3, 2011, email message to Secretary Clinton with the subject line “Google email hacking and woeful state of civilian technology,” a former Director of Policy Planning wrote: “State’s technology is so antiquated that NO ONE uses a State-issued laptop and even high officials routinely end up using their home email accounts to be able to get their work done quickly and effectively.””

    HRC made a poor decision for sure, but how rampant is personal email use to conduct fed work by fed employees nowadays? If anything hopefully her case cuts it back, but sounds rampant?

  7. Steve V says:

    @HarvardLaw92: That’s what I was wondering. Was this “obligation to discuss using her personal email account to conduct official business” an obligation under law, or something else (standards of professionalism? common decency?).

  8. edmondo says:

    I guess we could always move the White House to Leavenworth, KS for a few years.

  9. Jen says:

    The only thing that we’ve learned that is new here is how rampant using private email addresses was.

    I just don’t see any “there” there. I had roughly the same reaction Michael Reynolds did: so, she violated some department policy (which seems to be like not such a bad idea given the state of IT and online security within governmental agencies). Yawn.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @edmondo:

    Yeah, but we aren’t sure Trump will be elected.

  11. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    This is much ado about nothing. It has nothing to do with how she’ll perform as president. We already knew she was a clumsy b.s. artist.

    What a weird defense.

    If you had typed the third sentence first, it might not have been so easy to type the first and second one.

    My view: this will change no one’s mind. Defenders will continue to say it’s no big deal, and detractors will still be dreaming of hand cuffs and perp walks, and well…they’re both wrong.

    Will it hurt her chances? I don’t know. But it won’t help!

  12. Steve V says:

    @Hal_10000: That isn’t entirely fair. Some of us questioning this whole so-called scandal just want to understand what’s going on and want context that helps us understand how serious it really is. For example, if lots of government employees commonly do what she did (using personal email — putting aside the custom email address for now), then this would seem to indicate it isn’t that big of a deal. If it’s highly unusual, then maybe it is a big deal. If people are being charged and thrown in jail for what she did, we should be told about it. If everybody’s doing it and nobody’s even getting a small reprimand, that should tell us if this is important. For some reason the coverage of this (and more importantly the complaints about it by conservatives) have omitted all this context.

    Keep in mind while we talk about “derangement syndromes” that this report is the fruit of something like eight or nine GOP committee investigations undertaken for the sole purpose of wrecking Clinton’s political prospects. Is this an example of the kind of government overreach conservatives are supposed to be against?

    I would also say that this is the way it always has been with the Clintons. It really isn’t any surprise that after 20+ years of devoting enormous government resources to investigating everything about the Clintons, half the country (mostly Republicans) think they’re “unethical.” It’s now an accepted fact on the right that the Clinton Foundation is a sham and a money laundering scheme.

    I’m still waiting for the big shoe to drop about this whole thing and will be happy to condemn Hilary when that happens. This report strikes me as mostly “meh,” though.

  13. Hal_10000 says:

    How exactly is this “unethical?”

    She obviously violated State Department protocols. OK. Everyone who has never violated one of their employer’s protocols, raise your hand. If your hand’s up, you’re almost certainly lying. Or you’ve never had a job.

    This isn’t wearing your casual Friday outfit on Thursday. Protecting electronic communications is something our government takes very seriously.

    I work for a NASA contractor. I deal occasionally with both “Sensitive but Unclassified” information and export-controlled information. There are strict rules for governing that kind of information. People can and have lost jobs for breaking them (even by mistake). Nothing we deal with is anywhere close to secret, but there are still rules and you’re expected to know them and obey them.

    So yes, I think setting up your own e-mail server, not vetting it with the State Department and potentially exposing classified information because you’re worried about your privacy counts as unethical. Indictment-worthy? Probably not. Enough to keep her out of the White House? Probably not. But it’s not nothing.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Dude, government computers are under constant attack – thousands of times a day – by random individuals, but mostly by hostile powers. And as Mr. Snowden proved pretty conclusively, even NSA servers aren’t terribly secure.

    So for the sake of national security it would have been better if Hillary had used government channels? Really? I mean, yeah, that’s the correct thing to do, the protocol thing, but let’s not kid ourselves that this had any real effect on national security. The Russians and Chinese are building weapons based on blueprints they downloaded out of government and government contractor servers.

    If you want secure communications in this day and age, use a messenger service.

    Was national security harmed? The answer appears to be, no. So, lesson learned, and who gives a damn? It’s the moral equivalent of running a Stop sign when no one else is at the intersection. Sure, it’s wrong, but a big deal? No.

  15. al-Alameda says:

    There are two very important differences among Clinton, Secretary of State John F. Kerry, and former secretaries Powell and Condoleezza Rice when it comes to email practices.

    The first is that Clinton is the first and, to date, only secretary of state to exclusively use a private email address and server to conduct her business as the nation’s top diplomat. All of the other names above maintained both a private and a government-issued email address. That alone doesn’t make her guilty. But it does make her unique.

    This practice, though not optimal or consonant with government policy, apparently resulted in no harm to the United States government. There is no doubt that she will be hammered by Republicans and on this because she is Hillary Clinton, and for no other reason. No minds will be changed, no one who plans to vote for Hillary will now change to vote for Donald Trump.

    Unless the House Committee Report shows that American security was compromised because of the private server-email status, this report will probably have a net-zero effect on the upcoming election.

  16. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Was national security harmed? The answer appears to be, no. So, lesson learned, and who gives a damn?

    Great parenting advice, but surely you can understand why institutions can’t really function this way.

    Hal uses a very strong word in his comment: unethical. When I first read it, I thought, “Unethical? C’mon….”

    But then I thought about it, and he’s absolutely right. Government employment is strange that way. Pass around a March Madness bracket in my office and it wouldn’t be “unethical.” But it would be if you were a fed.

    I mean, I’m certainly not going to be the idiot who votes for Trump over Clinton because she had an unauthorized e-mail server, but I’m also not going to be part of the “Nothing to see here, folks” brigade either.

  17. MBunge says:

    @michael reynolds: Now, was it dumb? Yes. Paranoid? Yes. Did she try to bullshit her way out of it when caught? Yes. And that makes her different than everyone reading this how, exactly?

    She’s running for President. Being dumb, paranoid and prone to bullshit your way out when caught in someone running for President is not the same as when it’s you or me.

    Of course, if being dumb and prone to bullshit disqualified you from being President that would have left us with…who? Obama, Bush the Elder and Jimmy Carter as the only people who could have served the last 40 years?

    Paranoid like Nixon is a bit more concerning but when the standard is “convicted criminal or it’s all good,” few will care about that.

    Mike

  18. Jenos Idanian says:

    1) Congress passed laws governing e-mail and classified information regarding federal employees.

    A) The State Department wrote rules that elaborated just how to act in such a way that employees would not violate those laws.

    B) Hillary Clinton broke those rules, willfully and deliberately.

    C) Hillary Clinton and her top people refused to even discuss the matter with the Inspector General.

    2) At every step of this whole story, when asked about it, Hillary has lied about her actions. And in each and every case, Hillary has lied in such a way as to minimize her lawbreaking and rulebreaking.

    I am fully prepared to present a list of where Hillary has lied on this matter, and how it was disproven. I do not promise that it will be a complete list, as I’m sure I will miss some, but it will be a very detailed list.

  19. Pch101 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Protecting electronic communications is something our government takes very seriously.

    Have you considered a career in comedy?

    Hacking of Government Computers Exposed 21.5 Million People

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/us/office-of-personnel-management-hackers-got-data-of-millions.html

    Cyber hack got access to over 700,000 IRS accounts

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/02/26/cyber-hack-gained-access-more-than-700000-irs-accounts/80992822/

    Funny, I was under the impression that conservatives were big believers in outsourcing. What’s so sacred about federal government email when said government obviously sucks at IT security?

  20. michael reynolds says:

    If we’re going to run everyone out of government who’s had an ethical lapse, there’s going to be a whole lot of real estate suddenly on the market in Georgetown and Fairfax County.

    There’s a revolving door of generals and defense contractors, regulators and the regulated, but we’re shocked, shocked at the ethical atrocity of failing to adhere to State Department email regulations? Really? Shocked are we?

    You know what I have in my hand? A Cuban cigar. I lied to Australian, New Zealand and American customs so I could smoke it. Oh my goodness! My ethics!

    Every lapse or failure is not Watergate. Good grief.

  21. Tyrell says:

    The day was not a total disaster for Hillary –
    Breaking News from CNN: “UAW endorses Clinton” . Evidently someone has finally invented a time machine or they dug up a time capsule from 1965, complete with a signed photo from local UAW, Edsel assembly plant. Next week I look for CNN to read an endorsement letter from Jimmy Hoffa !
    My goodness, how far CNN has fallen. Even worse than some of ol’ Ted’s Braves teams of the ’80’s !

  22. stonetools says:

    @James Pearce:

    It’s not nothing,but let’s put it in context. Hillary used her private server during the four years of her State Department tenure. During that time she no doubt emailed :
    1. The President
    2. Intelligence agency heads.
    3. Top military brass
    4. Cabinet members
    5. Members of Senate committees who oversee the State Department-including Republicans.
    6. Members of House committees who oversee the State Department-including Republicans.

    During all that time, none of these people cared. When did Republicans start to care about it? You guessed it-the day she announced that she was running for President. Funny, that. In an alternate universe where Clinton decided not to run for President, we might not have heard a word of this.

    Clinton realized it was a mistake and apologized for it. Maybe we should accept her apology and move on?

  23. Jenos Idanian says:

    @stonetools: Which apology? And for which lies has she apologized for?

    I’ve lost count of her stories. Which one did you believe?

  24. James Pearce says:

    @stonetools:

    When did Republicans start to care about it? You guessed it-the day she announced that she was running for President.

    Oh, absolutely. I have no doubt that this e-mail thing is being politicized. I have no doubt that if we were talking about Dick Cheney’s private e-mail server at his WY ranch, Jenos would be saying “Every lapse or failure is not Watergate,” and Michael would be talking about how Cheney broke the rules “willfully and deliberately.”

    It’s politics. That’s the way the game is played, and they’re playing it.

    But tear away the politics, live in that head-space for just a second where Hillary Clinton isn’t a candidate for president, but is instead the prototypical Sec of State. Do we want this person, this template of the ideal SecState, to flaunt her own department’s rules to set up private e-mail servers to conduct public business? Or do we want them NOT to do that?

    I mean, election aside, this is not something we want. I can’t really defend it on its merits, even if I understand the reasons people want to give her a pass. They’re worried that it could hurt her chances in the election. I totally get it.

    But if the Democrats wanted a candidate that didn’t have this baggage, this scandal-mongering*, they should have picked someone other than Clinton.

    * To be clear: I do not approve of Hillary’s server, but I only ask that the next SecState doesn’t have one. Water under the bridge. Not meat for the dogs.

  25. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: Let me recap what happened.

    Hillary set up her private server because she wanted to conceal her business from oversight by anyone. From the Obama administration, from Congress, from people in general. And what business was that?

    1) Her key aide, Sidney Blumenthal, had been blackballed by Obama. She wanted to keep him on hand, and by having their contact via e-mail would keep that quiet.

    2) She was freely intermingling official business with Clinton Foundation business, running a quid pro quo operation where donors to the Foundation could expect favors from the Department of State.

    That’s just what’s been established so far.

    And her chain of lies. Here are a few.

    1) She screened all the e-mails before turning them over, saying she was deleting only the purely personal ones. Lie. Other records have shown official exchanges that were deleted off her server.

    2) She set it up because she didn’t want to have to use more than one device. Lie. She’s been shown using her IPhone, IPad, and Blackberry.

    3) She has fully cooperated with the investigation. Lie. She refused to meet with the IG’s office.

    Oh, hell. Guy Benson’s summed it up far better than I can, and he even included a handy video of Hillary making lie after lie after lie, interspersed with clips that show that she was lying.

    I’m willing to entertain the notion of forgiving and forgetting with her, once she actually tells the truth about it. I’m not interested in us all agreeing to just accept her lies and let her have the umpteenth do-over.

    The only problem is, I dunno how we can tell when she is finally ready to stop lying to cover her ass and actually tell the truth.

    You got any ideas of how to tell?

  26. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    I mean, election aside, this is not something we want. I can’t really defend it on its merits, even if I understand the reasons people want to give her a pass

    I’m trying to give a shit, I really am, but I just…can’t. In the context of other government officials’ issues–I mean, we had a President who basically bullshitted us into a war that cost over 4,000 American lives and uncountable Iraqi lives–it’s just a big, fat nothing.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @steve s: Not to claim that bad acts by others excuse her bad actions, but let’s add to your list the million or so W Admin emails that went missing. Of course they weren’t on a personal server, they were on an RNC server!! for fwck sakes. As always, IOKIYAR.

  28. An Interested Party says:

    …but I’m also not going to be part of the “Nothing to see here, folks” brigade either.

    Surely if what she did is that serious, she should be disciplined in some kind of way, right? What would be an appropriate penalty…

  29. anjin-san says:

    @gVOR08:

    the million or so W Admin emails that went missing

    More like 20 million:

    http://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/web-video/missing-white-house-emails

  30. Buffalo Rude says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Hillary set up her private server because she wanted to conceal her business from oversight by anyone.

    When you beg the question in the opening sentence of your comment, it’s probably going down hill from there. (And it did, btw.)

  31. Todd says:

    Wow, most of you guys are as bad as Republicans with the 3rd grade sounding excuse of “well they did it too!”.

    Having worked for the Federal government for over 25 years (most of it active duty military), I’ve had to attend a couple of records management classes. The requirements are fairly explicitly laid out. And the penalties for not complying are often highlighted right there in the training.

    Look, you have to really be pulling the partisan wool over your own eyes to think that this email server was setup merely for “convenience”. There is only one logical explanation for it, and that’s that it was an attempt to avoid FOIA disclosures. In that regard, it was really pretty boneheaded. By mixing work emails with “personal” emails on the same server, a case can be made that even the “personal” emails became official records … therefore intentionally deleting them (wiping the drive … and not “like with a cloth?”) was likely a crime.

    In the end, it probably won’t make a difference. Democrats will still nominate Hillary Clinton, and the anti-Trump vote this fall will probably still be enough to get her into the White House. But as she spends her entire Presidency under constant investigation of one kind or another (and yes, most will be Republican BS), she’ll have no “moral high ground” to stand on.

    America’s reputation is going to take a big well deserved hit, no matter which of these two clowns we elect in November. :-/

  32. Dazedandconfused says:

    Todd,

    If that was the motivation why didn’t she erase everything in it or set up a systematic erasure program?

    You seem to think that the same rules apply to the big wigs in government which apply to the peons. Unfair? Yes, but that’s the way it always has and always will be to a degree. A lot of us have a nasty case of butthurt over that, albeit a justifiable one, and it can affect our judgement.

  33. Todd says:

    @Dazedandconfused:

    Don’t try to tell me what I “seem to think” … I know what I think. 🙂

    I pretty clearly stated in my last paragraph that I suspect that nothing at all with come of this. What I take issue with is the idea pushed by some of her supporters that Clinton “did nothing wrong”; or if she did, that it was an “innocent mistake”.

    That is ludicrous.

  34. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Buffalo Rude:

    Hillary set up her private server because she wanted to conceal her business from oversight by anyone.

    When you beg the question in the opening sentence of your comment, it’s probably going down hill from there.

    She’s never offered an explanation why she did it in the first place that’s held up. Every single one has been proven to be a lie. The only thing that has withstood scrutiny so far is that “it was a mistake” and “I regret doing it.” But not once has she given an honest explanation as to why she thought it was a good idea in the first place. She hasn’t even thrown an IT guy under the bus, saying “he said it was the best solution, and it was allowed.”

    So I looked at what has come out so far and offered the simplest explanation.

    1) Blumenthal was blackballed, and she kept using him anyway, through her e-mails.

    2) Hillary’s right-hand woman, Huma Abedin, said she wanted to avoid FOIA and other laws. From the IG report:

    In November 2010, Secretary Clinton and her Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations discussed the fact that Secretary Clinton’s emails to Department employees were not being received. The Deputy Chief of Staff emailed the Secretary that “we should talk about putting you on state email or releasing your email address to the department so you are not going to spam.” In response, the Secretary wrote, “Let’s get separate address or device but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

    Hillary has yet to offer a plausible explanation for the most fundamental question here — why. You wanna offer one?

  35. Jen says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    “Let’s get separate address or device but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

    Maybe she didn’t want a deluge of hate mail from Republicans clogging up her email making it impossible to find the emails she needed to see?

  36. Jen says:

    I should have added: I’m not being snarky–I think it really is quite possible that she didn’t want an email address that had an easily identifiable naming convention because of the probability it would likely become public, and the junk she’d receive once it did.

    Sifting through 10,000 pieces of hate mail in your official account would make it hard to do your work effectively.

  37. Lit3Bolt says:

    So wait, after Bush and Co. lied us into wars of choice, destroyed that country for generations, misplaced billions of dollars that vanished into grifter and terrorist hands, mismanaged Katrina, let the CIA and NSA run wild with no oversight, and to top it off, helped send this country and the damn near entire world into a recession….

    …Republicans are upset about Clinton’s non-adherence to the Federal Records Act.

    I don’t think we’ll be seeing WaPo op-eds decrying Colin Powell’s or Condoleezza Rice’s “willful, wanton disregard for the rules” any time soon…

  38. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Jen:

    Not to mention that if you use the official email, it’s a matter of public record.

    Not that it matters, most of the emails have been sifted through, and it’s the most mundane crap ever.

    25 years of investigation and trash and panty sniffing. Not one smoking gun.

    In the meantime, Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump go through women like a conveyor belt, Dubya and Cheney dodge the draft and have DUI arrests, and a former Republican Speaker of the House is a god damn true to form pedo-bear and the Village yawns.

    “BOOOOOOORING! We already know that stuff! It’s been an open secret for years!”

    Funny how none of that stuff was disqualifying. Ever. Not once and not now.

    But then Clinton didn’t follow IT department protocol!? OH. MY. GOD. Will the Republic survive?! Why didn’t Clinton follow the non-legally binding rules buried in a State dept. memo?! Such blatant disregard must be met with the most stern disapproval (and political calculation!).

  39. Guarneri says:

    Jeez, people.

    She violated the Records Act. Period.

    She’s hardly a newbie, and she signed an NDA which acknowledges the Act. Period.

    The penalties are laid out in the code: fines or prison. Period.

    All the defenders are simply making one point: I don’t care, because she’s my Act violator. And by extension, “so the law be damned, she’s above it, because she’s my political fave.”

    Quite liberal of you.

    Now, about the irrelevancy of bribery by cattle……..

  40. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Jen: I should have added: I’m not being snarky–I think it really is quite possible that she didn’t want an email address that had an easily identifiable naming convention because of the probability it would likely become public, and the junk she’d receive once it did.

    They weren’t talking about making her email address public, but giving it to her own subordinates within the State Department, so they could whitelist it and stop having her emails going straight to the spam folders. As far as being “easily identifiable,” she was already using “hrc19” and “hdr22,” so why couldn’t they come up with something equally vague?

    She wanted to keep her business — official and personal — away from any kind of scrutiny or oversight. (Probably because there was tremendous overlap between the two, as we have seen already.) The objections offered have all been transparently false.

    Again, no one — especially Hillary — has provided a plausible answer to “why did she set up the email server in the first place?” The closest so far is that “she was justifiably paranoid,” and the people making that argument then follow up with “so we should make her president!”

    W. T. F.

  41. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Sure – the obvious one. She knew she was going to run again and understandably didn’t want congressional republicans sifting through her emails under the guise of oversight but actually doing opposition research on the taxpayers dime.

    Unethical? Probably, but not illegal and, given the political environment in which we find ourselves these days, understandable. She was presented with a Hobson’s choice – no matter what you do, they’re going to sift through your emails in an attempt to use them against you – so the logical thing to do is 1) to limit the time frame in which they’re able to do so and 2) to do so in such a way that you preserve some ability to limit what they’re eventually able to obtain in that pursuit.

  42. Ben Wolf says:

    @James Pearce: Yes, this will harm Clinton by reinforcing a trend she desperately needs to overcome; intense dislike by younger voters who consider her corrupt and untrustworthy.

    I expect in the general that Sanders voters in this demographic will split between Trump, Johnson and Stein leaving Trump to outperform Clinton by 15 – 20%. This is more than enough for him to win the presidency and he knows it. Clinton’s campaign continues to assume the young will be forced to vote for her while Trump is making a significant effort to win their votes.

    Liberals may now comment on how stupid young people are which will surely be an effective method of persuasion.

  43. Todd says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Liberals may now comment on how stupid young people are which will surely be an effective method of persuasion.

    This is the funniest thing (except that if it helps give us President Trump it’s not really funny) about this. Partisan Democrats are running around calling people who are ostensibly on their side of the political spectrum all kind of names and insults. Then come November they are going to act shocked that some of these people will still be reluctant to vote in a way that these Democrats think should be “obvious”.

  44. Ben Wolf says:

    @Todd: To be followed by myriad What’s wrong with America’s Young? thinkpieces from Vox and NYT. The one thing I’m absolutely certain about: at no point will Dem loyalists ask what they did wrong to lose this election. A “selfish” other will be roundly blamed for ruining everything.

  45. wr says:

    @Todd: And no doubt you will be carrying the Republicans’ water on every single one of those BS investigations.

  46. wr says:

    @Guarneri: If you expect anyone to take you seriously, please explain why you haven’t advocated prison for Bush and Cheney over the “disappearance” of millions of legally protected White House emails.

  47. Pch101 says:

    @Todd:

    Nobody is surprised that idiots behave like idiots. What is baffling is the pride that the idiots take in being stupid.

    I would caution the Democrats to limit their outreach to the whiners, lest they end up with their own Tea Party headaches or an election result ala 1972.

  48. Megan McArdle says:

    @HarvardLaw92: It’s in the report which officials she should have asked; both of them said that they would not have signed off on her arrangement had she gone through normal review procedures. The Secretary of State is not allowed to write themself a note to excuse them from having to comply with Federal records and security law.

  49. Megan McArdle says:

    @Steve V: Let’s put it this way: she is one of three people in the history of State to have tried to use personal email exclusively. The first, Colin Powell, started doing so when the State system couldn’t email outside the department. The second was Clinton. The third was her ambassador to Kenya, who was forced to resign over it. Under her tenure.

  50. stonetools says:

    I completely understand why liberals are wringing their hands over this. It was stupid, indefensible on the merits, a self-inflicted wound-etc. But while people like Jenos are foaming at the mouth over this, it’s important to take a step back and take a look at what lying over consequential stuff is really like. So let’s revisit the Bush Administration, shall we?

    Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
    – Dick Cheney, speech to VFW National Convention, Aug. 26, 2002

    Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.
    – George W. Bush, speech to UN General Assembly, Sept. 12, 2002

    No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
    – Donald Rumsfeld, testimony to Congress, Sept. 19, 2002

    The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq.
    – George W. Bush, Nov. 23, 2002

    If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.
    – White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, press briefing, Dec. 2, 2002

    We know for a fact that there are weapons there.
    – White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, press briefing, Jan. 9, 2003

    What we know from UN inspectors over the course of the last decade is that Saddam Hussein possesses thousands of chemical warheads, that he possesses hundreds of liters of very dangerous toxins that can kill millions of people.
    – White House spokesman Dan Bartlett, CNN interview, Jan. 26, 2003

    Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard, and VX nerve agent…. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
    – George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, Jan. 28, 2003

    We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.
    – Colin Powell, remarks to UN Security Council, Feb. 5, 2003

    There are even more such statements at the link.

    I am outraged at those lies, and on the fact that there was no accountability for the liars.Where is Jenos’ outrage at those statements? Whatever Clinton’s mistakes about emails, they didn’t result in pictures like this. And those wounded warriors are the lucky ones. The unlucky are lying, row by row, under tombstones at Arlington.
    You can understand why I can’t get too outraged over Clinton’s missteps. If Obama can ( graciously or naively) “turn the page” on those lies, then it seems we can accept Clinton’s apology on her missteps.

  51. stonetools says:

    @Megan McArdle:

    I earnestly await Megan McArdle’s column on why members of the Bush Administration should be held accountable for their security lapses, including the ones that led to the deaths of 3,000 Americans on 9/11/2001.

  52. Todd says:

    @wr:

    And no doubt you will be carrying the Republicans’ water on every single one of those BS investigations.

    No. Unlike some of you partisans, I am able to distinguish between what’s real and what is just political BS. I’ve done plenty of mocking of conservatives about Benghazi!!!!! … because the way Republicans have approached the situation has been mock-worthy.

    This email server situation, and to a lesser extent the Wall Street speeches are not the same thing. For the most part, they are self-inflicted wounds that should have been easily avoidable by a person as experienced as Hillary Clinton … if she actually had good judgment.

    Democrats who continue to pretend that this email server issue is just much ado about nothing look nearly as ridiculous as the Republicans who are still convinced that there’s really some sort of actual scandal they might uncover about Benghazi.

  53. Pch101 says:

    @Megan McArdle:

    Federal law doesn’t ban the use of private email, even today. Agencies can set their own policies.

    Is there something or someone within the State Department who has more authority to establish policy that the Secretary of State? The OIG indicates that it would not have granted its consent if asked, but I am unaware of a law that gives the OIG more authority to set policy than the person who heads the agency.

  54. al-Alameda says:

    You know, that fact that other (Republican) Secretaries of State did much the same as Hillary did doesn’t seem to make much difference to anyone, particularly Republicans.

    Why is that?

  55. MBunge says:

    @stonetools: So let’s revisit the Bush Administration, shall we?

    And how exactly did George Bush get to be President? NOTHING that happened during the Clinton years had ANYTHING to do with it? We don’t even have to consider the deep disgust his personal behavior and cover up and the mindless support of most Democrats engendered.

    What about the bombing in Bosnia?

    Rendition?

    Deifying Wall Street?

    “The era of big government is over?”

    Mike

  56. MBunge says:

    @Pch101: Is there something or someone within the State Department who has more authority to establish policy that the Secretary of State?

    And if the President does it, it’s not illegal.

    Mike

  57. MBunge says:

    @al-Alameda:

    It might possibly have something to do with none of them running for President and none of them, to my knowledge, spending months and months saying they did absolutely NOTHING wrong, only they actually did. And not only did they do something wrong, they eventually had to know they did something wrong yet continued to deny it, indicating they were either lying to themselves or to everyone else.

    Would Hillary Clinton really have been any worse off if she’d admitted a mistake?

    Mike

  58. Tillman says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    I expect in the general that Sanders voters in this demographic will split between Trump, Johnson and Stein leaving Trump to outperform Clinton by 15 – 20%.

    There is no effin’ way the spread gets that bad. You are seriously overestimating the ideological rigidity of the average Sanders supporter. The deflection from party Democrats if she loses? That’s a certainty. That’s been on display in the comments here for months.

    @stonetools: Apology? She’s probably committed perjury at this point. As a reporter at the press conference said, “If a robber robs a bank and returns the money that’s mitigating too but it doesn’t mean they didn’t rob a bank.” If we’re making excuses for every Democratic politician because the Bush administration was uniquely evil, then why the hell did commenters here after every debate Sanders brought up Clinton’s aiding vote for Iraq spend time dismissing the criticism as irrelevant? There’s an astonishing lack of consistency on how appropriate it is to cite the events of the aughts around here.

    Every Clinton supporter here can claim she’s been subjected to constant attack before and made it through, but what they continuously fail to realize is how bad she is at dispelling the narratives that build in the wake. For God’s sake, she’s on record talking about the sanctity of protecting information. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for releasing info that wasn’t as classified as what could have been hacked (and probably was, the State Department has no idea if any attempts were successful) from her server. We can be cynical, acknowledge it’s one law for the rulers and another law for the rest, and that this happens all the time. What we can’t be is blasé about how other people should acknowledge our cynicism as truth and vote accordingly.

  59. Jen says:

    The more Republicans dig in their heels that this email issue is The Worst Thing Ever, the more inclined I am to ignore it.

    The FBI is still doing their investigation, and that could well lead to additional disclosures.

    Bottom line for me: I cannot fathom that there is anything that could be disclosed that would switch my vote from Clinton to Trump. Nothing. He is not fit to be leader of the free world. He has no diplomatic skills. He doesn’t appear to understand foreign policy, or America’s place in the world. His economic ideas are a disaster. His Supreme Court suggestions are horrible. His proposals on banning Muslims and building walls along the border are stupid and unworkable, not to mention xenophobic and racist. He has mob ties, and refuses to release his taxes–probably because they’d show he’s scamming the system (which is also probably why he gets audited every year).

    I know my vote won’t change based on her email problems, even if they amount to outright abuse of the policy. Because I think he’s worse–far, far, worse. The open question is how many undecided voters out there think that violating the State Department’s email policy is a disqualifying factor for being president vs. the litany of things that make Donald Trump unqualified?

  60. Mikey says:

    @Todd:

    Democrats who continue to pretend that this email server issue is just much ado about nothing look nearly as ridiculous as the Republicans who are still convinced that there’s really some sort of actual scandal they might uncover about Benghazi.

    I’m not saying it’s actually much ado about nothing…just that it reduces to that level when it goes up against all the stuff the Republicans let slide when their guy does it.

    I suppose that says nothing good about our government, does it? That a cabinet secretary failing to follow established procedures for record keeping is probably the lowest rung on the ladder of concern? We had an executive branch that f-ing TORTURED people. Why should I get all agitated about Hillary’s sloppy e-mail practices?

  61. Pch101 says:

    @MBunge:

    If you aren’t smart enough to figure out the difference between a statute that bans a practice altogether and a statute that provides agencies with the discretion to set their own internal policies, then I can’t really help you.

  62. JKB says:

    @Pch101:

    There is no double secret policy in government. You have the published policies of the agency. That apply from top to bottom with exceptions for high ranking spelled out.

    And yes, the political appointee to the Secretary position can change policy, but there are procedures to do that, not to mention records and security laws to follow.

    If a political appointee does not officially change the policies, then they are in violation of the policies if they don’t follow them. That they coulda doesn’t trump that they shoulda, but didn’t.

  63. Tillman says:

    @Mikey:

    We had an executive branch that f-ing TORTURED people. Why should I get all agitated about Hillary’s sloppy e-mail practices?

    We also had an executive branch that refused to prosecute anyone for torturing people, that fought at multiple steps to keep information about that torture from reaching the public, and has mostly succeeded in keeping a detailed report from the light of day. Hell, it mostly made it to us because some of the architects of that torture pissed off a sitting Senator, not because that Senator wanted to release the info for the right reasons. All moral failures that, added up, are on par with the torture itself. One is the committing of an evil act, the others are giving shelter to torturers and denying justice.

    But if one chooses to view these things in terms of which side lets the worst things slide, none of that matters because of a partisan affiliation. The standard of judgment, as Jen notes above you, is how much the other side bangs on about it, and that determines how irrelevant it becomes in a partisan understanding. This is bullshit.

    Her email server doesn’t rise to the level of torture. Her email server also has nothing to do with torture, so bringing up torture seems irrelevant as hell unless one’s pushing a partisan BS standard to evaluate anything a politician does.

  64. Pch101 says:

    @Tillman:

    The deflection from party Democrats if she loses? That’s a certainty. That’s been on display in the comments here for months.

    The comments sections of political blogs are poor representatives of the readership, let alone the electorate as a whole. Only a tiny fraction of the country reads this blog, and only a tiny fraction of those readers (perhaps fewer than 1%) will ever post a comment here. The diehard regulars are an even smaller subgroup than that.

  65. Pch101 says:

    @Tillman:

    Her email server also has nothing to do with torture

    The issue isn’t torture per se, but with the hypocrisy of the critics who bristle with righteous indignation over trivia while blowing off or ignoring things that actually matter.

  66. Ultimately, it’s not going to matter if she broke the law, anymore than it mattered for General Petraeus, Dick Cheney, General Clapper, etc. All did things that would have gotten a “little person” tossed in jail for decades. Any none will have anything happen to them because they’re not little people.

    The political class in this country is above the law; all that matters for them is pure political will. As soon as Clinton became the nominee, she became untouchable, because half the country will defend her actions no matter what they are.

  67. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Todd:

    Believing you’re above being manipulated and “have no partisan blinders” is a good admission that you’re fully in thrall of the Dunnig-Kruger effect.

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Mainly because they don’t have any choice.

  68. Megan McArdle says:

    @Pch101: Federal employees are forbidden from using private email as their main or sole vehicle for performing their day to day duties, and yes, there is a procedure for vetting security arrangements for the Secretary of State. This is all in the IG report.

  69. Megan McArdle says:

    @Jen: That’s a perfectly legit point of view. But there’s a difference between saying “It’s bad, but Trump is much worse” and “it’s not bad”. The latter legitimizes behavior that really should not be legitimized. Democrats have a near-unique opportunity here to actually strike a blow for good government by criticizing their own side while still plausibly saying “And you should still vote for the Democrat because the Republican is so much worse”. It would be great if they seized it.

  70. Todd says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Believing you’re above being manipulated and “have no partisan blinders” is a good admission that you’re fully in thrall of the Dunnig-Kruger effect.

    LOL, oh how I love Internet “experts”. 🙂

    Believe me, I am very much aware of my own capacity to be wrong … about plenty of things.

    It just doesn’t happen to be the case in this instance.

    By the way, I simply pointed out that when it comes to their view of Hillary Clinton’s email server, some people may be a little blinded by partisanship. I never even insinuated that I myself am in any way immune from biases. We all see the world, to at least some extent, through the lens of our own unique experiences.

  71. Todd says:

    @Megan McArdle:

    Democrats have a near-unique opportunity here to actually strike a blow for good government by criticizing their own side while still plausibly saying “And you should still vote for the Democrat because the Republican is so much worse”. It would be great if they seized it.

    THIS

  72. Pch101 says:

    @Megan McArdle:

    Nope.

    36 CFR 1236.22(b):

    Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.

    Not only is private email not illegal, but the CFR specifically provides this provision for its use.

  73. Tillman says:

    @Pch101: If you could read, you would’ve noticed I already mentioned this. The issue isn’t torture, it’s the partisan standard applied to any misbehavior that minimizes a preferred party’s errors while maximizing the other’s. You phrase it as trivia versus what’s important; I’m pointing out that your standard is BS because it reduces or inflates subjects to “trivia” or “what’s important” based on your political loyalty.

    This is unhealthy. One begins to ignore the serious faults of their own party. My example of this was the Obama administration’s conduct towards prosecuting torturers or investigating them. Ignoring serious faults in your own party is what caused the Republican elite to be caught unawares and taken in by Trump and his brand of pseudofascism. The Democratic elite was caught unawares by a surprising show of strength from a septuagenarian pseudosocialist from Vermont, to the point that if he doesn’t reconcile with the presumptive nominee the election could be lost. Thinking in terms of partisan loyalty above other considerations leads to these errors.

  74. Pch101 says:

    @Tillman:

    I’m pointing out that your standard is BS because it reduces or inflates subjects to “trivia” or “what’s important” based on your political loyalty.

    If you want to directly compare waterboarding to the use of a Blackberry without the blessing of the State Department’s IT staff, then you’re either pulling my leg or else you’re more nutty than I had thought.

  75. stonetools says:

    @Tillman:

    Yes, she apologized. That’s more than Bush and Cheney did, and people died as a result of their lies.
    What more do you want, really? Should she sit Shiva for a week? Rend her garments on national TV? Withdraw from the race because flouting State Department email policy disqualifies you from serving as President?
    Sure, she did a bad thing, and people can now decide to factor that into their choice for President. Now that I’ve done that, I still will vote for her over the unqualified racist demagogue who pledges to to deport 11 million people and take away health care for millions of people.I won’t be wringing hands over it and wondering why pure baby Jesus doesn’t run for President so I could vote for him, either.

  76. stonetools says:

    @Megan McArdle:

    Er, we have seized it. Editorials in the WAPO and NYT have thundered against Hillary, and most liberal bloggers I have read said She Did a Bad Thing. They just don’t agree she should be drawn and quartered in the public square, which apparently is the least we should be calling for.
    But thanks for the unneeded advice.

  77. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Megan McArdle:

    Um, yea, actually she is. FRA doesn’t really say what you think it says (it merely mandates that records – and that is a term with a very specific meaning – must be preserved. It does not mandate any time frame in which those records must be delivered.)

    By tendering all of her emails to the Department of State, she’s met the requirement, and at this point it becomes a battle between the Archives (who think they’re entitled to see everything in real time) and State. From a legal standpoint, she’s out of the fray.

    Security POLICY is a moving target and is delegated to each agency to implement as it believes desirable. Clinton, as SoS, was an OCA and the policy chief with respect to security at State. The security POLICY which was in place during her tenure, even if violated, would have resulted in a personnel action at worst. Given that her supervisor (aka the president) apparently knew about the server and did nothing about it, she’s in the clear. The worst that could have been done to her in this regard was removal from office and cancellation of her security clearance.

    She’s already left office, so no joy in that regard, and she’s probably about to be elected president, at which point the security clearance question becomes moot.

  78. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    I expect in the general that Sanders voters in this demographic will split between Trump, Johnson and Stein leaving Trump to outperform Clinton by 15 – 20%

    It’s polite to share your drugs with the rest of the class.

  79. Megan McArdle says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I don’t think she is going to jail over this. But she deliberately violated the law. Not okay.

  80. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Guarneri:

    She violated the Records Act. Period.

    Really? Interesting. Expand on this argument, please. Point out the specific part(s) of the FRA that were violated here, and be specific as to how they were violated.

  81. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Megan McArdle:

    Same question as Drew:

    Which section(s) of the FRA were violated, and how?

    And trust me here, you’ll want to be specific.

  82. Pch101 says:

    @Megan McArdle:

    I would think that a libertarian would appreciate Clinton’s efforts to outsource the IT work to those who could get it done, since the internal staff wasn’t capable of doing it.

    And as noted in the CFR, the outsourcing is not illegal.

  83. Tillman says:

    @Pch101:

    If you want to directly compare waterboarding to the use of a Blackberry without the blessing of the State Department’s IT staff, then you’re either pulling my leg or else you’re more nutty than I had thought.

    Like I said

    Her email server doesn’t rise to the level of torture. Her email server also has nothing to do with torture, so bringing up torture seems irrelevant as hell unless one’s pushing a partisan BS standard to evaluate anything a politician does.

    I don’t want to compare them, because there isn’t a comparison to make. The only people comparing them are people pushing a partisan point of view. The comment you originally responded to was attacking the effort to make that comparison as bullshit. You would know all of this, it would be clear as crystal to you, if you had learned how to read.

    @stonetools:

    What more do you want, really?

    For me to be comfortable with Clinton as the nominee? Probably nothing could satisfy that. I’m a pessimist at heart, I’m not even comfortable with Sanders.* But it would be nice if she could give a straight answer that didn’t require updating months later. It would be even nicer if people who had already decided to vote for her acknowledged this as problematic behavior for any future president instead of glossing over it. She’s doing this now over what is framed as a privacy issue. Imagine how she’ll act when it comes to something politically embarrassing, for Democrats or the nation.

    * For one, he’s way too old. For another, he’s definitely not that politically savvy or able to think on his feet. And while I discount its meaningfulness, he didn’t go through the motions of crafting an appealing message beyond trying to boost a few issues which hints at a mediocre ability to administer a multifaceted organization like a government or a political campaign.

  84. Mikey says:

    @Tillman:

    Her email server doesn’t rise to the level of torture. Her email server also has nothing to do with torture, so bringing up torture seems irrelevant as hell unless one’s pushing a partisan BS standard to evaluate anything a politician does.

    As far as partisanship goes, I’d have the same low level of give-a-shit if Hillary were a Republican or a Libertarian or a member of whatever party Vermin Supreme belongs to.

  85. Pch101 says:

    @Tillman:

    I don’t want to compare them, because there isn’t a comparison to make.

    As I noted, the issue isn’t with torture per se, but with the hypocrisy of the critics who bristle with righteous indignation over trivia while blowing off or ignoring things that actually matter.

    In other words, the comment isn’t about the issue , but with the people who are selective with their complaints. Try to keep up.

  86. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Ben Wolf: Just last night, I heard Michael Medved exulting the reality that the Green Party was going to get 20% of the vote because Sanders will switch and run as the Green candidate (no, he didn’t have any explanation as to what Jill Stein was going to think about that). This is roughly 40 times their average since the founding of the party.

    What I wish is that you guys weren’t hogging that bong.

  87. Ben Wolf says:

    @Tillman: To the contrary I’m arguing younger voters are so set against Clinton they’ll sacrifice ideology and vote for someone they don’t agree with if it means keeping her out of the White House. I’ve been saying for over a year she needs to confront it and not expect this demographic to fall in her lap but from what I can see her campaign advisors are horridly incompetent.

  88. jukeboxgrad says:

    Not only is private email not illegal, but the CFR specifically provides this provision for its use

    The rule you cited did not exist at the time she took office. FactCheck:

    The campaign cites a rule issued by the National Archives and Records Administration in October 2009 — eight months after Clinton became secretary of state — that said federal agencies may allow the use of personal emails under certain circumstances

    As far as I know, the rule is not retroactive. FactCheck goes on to describe some other problems.

  89. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Todd: This 1000X. Its funny how people who otherwise seem smart in other subjects can come here and pontificate stupidly about things they know nothing about outside of reading partisan punditry. Everyone in Gov’t service with access to classified information understands how willfully stupid her decision was AND how different it was from other Secty’s of State who occasionally used email for non-sensitive and CERTAINLY non-classified info.

    I find it even funnier how people throw USG cyber security under the bus when people in the industry know that commercial sector security is EVEN WORSE! They just aren’t obligated to air their dirty laundry for breeches below a certain threshold and even then…the incentive to keep security incidents close hold in spite of notification laws is incredibly high because of impacts to the bottom line. Hell 75% of the time a commercial entity doesn’t even know they’ve been hacked! — So they can’t report it. The argument that Clinton’s server was somehow better protected by not being part of Gov’t infrastructure is asinine. What’s NOT in the news is equally as relevant as what’s in it…and there are many data security breeches that are not going to be put in the papers.

  90. al-Alameda says:

    @MBunge:

    Would Hillary Clinton really have been any worse off if she’d admitted a mistake?

    To answer your question, “no.” And that leads to the next question: Would that have precluded any one of the multiple investigations that Republicans have run and are running? That would be “no.”
    … and, as for the others?

    It might possibly have something to do with none of them running for President and none of them, to my knowledge, spending months and months saying they did absolutely NOTHING wrong, only they actually did.

    It has more to do with the fact that Republicans want to investigate Hillary Clinton in perpetuity than it does the presidential aspirations and/or ambitions of Rice or Powell.

  91. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Jen: Stop, just stop. That’s not how email works and any competent Outlook administrator can block outside spam at the mail gateway so the user never sees it. Go ahead, email any Cabinet head you want. Good luck finding their working email address. You can’t email a Cabinet head or the head of any large organization for the same reason you can’t call them on the phone. The number to the phone they actually answer is private. The number you get off the Internet goes to a call manager/screener.

    The reason she did it is the reason @Todd gave: FOIA avoidance to lessen the attack surface of opposition researchers

  92. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Megan McArdle: Comment here more….and often

  93. Moosebreath says:

    @MBunge:

    “Would Hillary Clinton really have been any worse off if she’d admitted a mistake?”

    Since she did, many months ago, I am not sure what your question is:

    “Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged on Tuesday [September 8, 2015] that her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state was a “mistake,” and apologized directly for it, uttering words that many of her allies have waited to hear from her in hopes that she can quell a controversy that has dogged her presidential candidacy for months.

    “That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility,” Mrs. Clinton said in an interview with David Muir of ABC News broadcast Tuesday night. “And I’m trying to be as transparent as I possibly can.”

  94. Pch101 says:

    The rule you cited did not exist at the time she took office.

    Prior to October 2009, private email wasn’t prohibited. Since October 2009, private email still isn’t prohibited.

  95. Jen says:

    @Pharoah Narim: My experience on that end is admittedly from the state legislative level. They get a ton of email that is legitimate (from constituents, not spam) and it does actually cause problems for them, particularly when there are controversial issues. Pretty sure it happens to members of congress too. Unless they have more than one email account (entirely possible–one for public contact and another for business), it can wreak havoc on their work. No need to get nasty.

  96. Jen says:

    @Pharoah Narim: It took me less than 5 minutes to find the Commerce Secretary’s email address. Now, admittedly, I have no idea where that email goes, but the email address does exist and it’s pretty easy to find.

  97. anjin-san says:

    I’ve asked quite a few people who used the “Hillary broke the law” meme to please specify exactly what law she broke. For my trouble, I’ve received one semi-intelligent, but factually wrong response. From the rest of them, crickets. I guess a lot of folks just feel like they are accomplishing something by repeating this zombie lie…

  98. jukeboxgrad says:

    Prior to October 2009, private email wasn’t prohibited

    I didn’t say that it was. I said that the rule you cited as relevant to her email practices did not exist at the time she established her email practices.

    If you want to cite rules to defend what she did, it would be better if you cited rules that existed at the time that she started doing what she did. Citing the rule that you cited without mentioning when that rule was established is a classically Clintonian move.

  99. Pch101 says:

    If you want to cite rules to defend what she did, it would be better if you cited rules that existed at the time that she started doing what she did.

    It wasn’t illegal before. It still isn’t. Kindly direct to your objections to Ms. McArdle, who apparently isn’t aware of this.

  100. jukeboxgrad says:

    Kindly direct to your objections to Ms. McArdle

    She said this:

    Federal employees are forbidden from using private email as their main or sole vehicle for performing their day to day duties

    I highlighted some important words. You said this:

    private email wasn’t prohibited

    Moving the goalposts and attacking straw men is another classically Clintonian move.

  101. Guarneri says:

    When you’ve lost those damned vast right wing conspiracists at MSNBC…

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-26/game-over-even-msnbc-turns-hillary-stop-lying-stop-digging

  102. al-Alameda says:

    @Guarneri:
    You do realize that Joe Scarbrough (“stop lying …”) is a Republican, right?
    That said, I do wonder if Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice will be investigated multiple times for this kind of thing?

  103. jukeboxgrad says:

    Looks like the person who said this:

    this assclown Jukeboxgrad pissed me off the other night, and I lost it. Not proud of it, not excusing it, but it is what it is. I genuinely hate the guy.

    Decided his intern needed something to do.

  104. Guarneri says:

    “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department issues before leaving government service”, the report found. “Because she did not do so, she did not comply with the [State] Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act”.

    The policies are not there for shits and giggles. They are there to undergird the law, the main concern being national security. Its bad enough this zoo is full of pedants, worse yet that its filled with people more concerned with Joe Scarborough’s party affiliation than the substance of the issue, and Hillary Clinton’s obvious (again) obfuscation.

    Anyone here believe she didn’t knowingly participate in bribery through cattle futures trading? Careful. Its somewhere between an IQ test question and self revealing character assessment.

  105. the Q says:

    Hey Harvard Law 92, up until a few years ago it was “legal” to take beaver shots with a camera attached to your foot. Just because there was no law clearly against this doesn’t mean you should do it, now does it?

    My God, you realize this lying corrupt c word is the only thing standing between the liberal Democrat’s wet dream of electing a democratic socialist don’t you? We will be lucky if this c word isn’t indicted by Nov. and even luckier if she manages to beat the worst GOP nominee EVER.

    And as far as the defense of “hey bush/cheney were psychotic madmen who got away with murder, whats the big deal with a few missing emails” insanity…….So, lets say your wife gets raped and you report it to a cop and his/her response is “hey, just be thankful she wasn’t murdered. Now move along.” I guess if you are a commenter here, you thank the cop and go home. “honey, I know you were raped, but lets just be glad he didn’t steal your wallet too”.

    And as far as the GOP “fishing”…if I remember correctly, there actually was a sitting President getting blown while discussing Middle East peace issues no?

    I say let Hillary go down in flames so we can re-constitute a New Deal, progressive Dem party to replace all the RINO DLC sell outs who have given the GOP 36 governorships, more GOP Congresspersons elected in history, more Senators in history and more state houses under GOP rule in history. Keep with the partisan BS as Tillman and Todd have pointed out…

    But, but, but….its all about Supreme Court nominees…come on, lets hear it. As if losing the Congress and most of the state’s governors and legislatures is not a big deal.

  106. Steve V says:

    @Guarneri: So what should the consequences be?

  107. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Todd:

    Don’t try to tell me what I “seem to think” … I know what I think. 🙂

    I pretty clearly stated in my last paragraph that I suspect that nothing at all with come of this. What I take issue with is the idea pushed by some of her supporters that Clinton “did nothing wrong”; or if she did, that it was an “innocent mistake”.

    That is ludicrous.

    You also clearly stated this was about hiding stuff (avoiding the FOIA) and not convenience. My butthurt detector chirped at that. Her actions aren’t consistent with that hypothesis, if the matter is open for discussion at all….that is….;)

  108. the Q says:

    dazedandconfused, Has someone sold you cheap Florida real estate yet? If not, they should have. You do know the word “gullible” is not in the dictionary.

    Hillary is our Nixon…a paranoid, secretive, uncomfortable in her own skin, freak. Surrounded by Ehrlichman and Haldeman…er Huma and Cheryl. This report proves it. As if anyone needed corroboration after watching the Clintons the past 4 decades.

    She probably thought “I won’t make the same mistake Dick made. I will burn the tapes er, the emails”

    For you to find her avoidance of FOIA unbelievable…..well, that’s unbelievable.

  109. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Guarneri:

    Anyone here believe she didn’t knowingly participate in bribery through cattle futures trading?

    Is there a difference in Guarneriville between what one “believes” and what one can prove in a court of law?

    Careful. Its somewhere between an IQ test question and self revealing character assessment.

    (Understand that I know that a IIRC 10000% ROI is outside the routine, but then again I also know other political figures who have made similar scores umm, returns who also didn’t violate any laws doing so. A former Representative and current Senator from a state in the Southwest comes to mind–and in the case of himself and his four associates, the banker in question acknowledged that he was attempting to buy influence. I believe that his statement was something along the lines of “you don’t seriously believe that I would give that kind of money to someone simply because I share his politics, do you?”)

  110. anjin-san says:

    @Guarneri:

    Anyone here believe she didn’t knowingly participate in bribery through cattle futures trading?

    Knowing your outrage over a deal that made her 100K and really harmed no one, how do you feel about Cheney’s pals making billions off a war started over false pretenses?

  111. HarvardLaw92 says:

    LOL, no, Wurlitzer. We’re not paying him 3 grand a week to screw off. Once, briefly, was fun, but you’re not worth taking him away from actual work for anything more than that.

    Have you considered the possibility that people just don’t like you that much? 🙂

  112. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @the Q:

    Not sure why you’re appealing to me. I’m mostly a moderate, which essentially means that I find far left wingers easily as objectionable as far righters. I don’t like your agenda much more than I like theirs, which is to say not at all.

  113. jukeboxgrad says:

    Once, briefly, was fun

    It’s nice to hear you admitting it, again. Since you have admitted, multiple times, that you’ve done it before no one is going to believe that you’re not doing it again.

    Have you considered the possibility that people just don’t like you that much?

    People here who aren’t liked don’t attract 50-100 downvotes in the course of an hour or two. Except if they aren’t liked by you (and your busy “intern”).

  114. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Whatever conspiracy theory gets you through the day, sunshine. I’m more amused that you actually count votes on Internet forums to begin with. I can’t imagine much of anything that’s less substantive, but if it’s all someone has to live for … That’s just sad.

    Smh … 🙄

  115. An Interested Party says:

    But, but, but….its all about Supreme Court nominees…come on, lets hear it. As if losing the Congress and most of the state’s governors and legislatures is not a big deal.

    Granted that losing the Congress and most of the state’s governors and legislatures is bad, but to have a conservative Supreme Court for another generation that could overturn ACA and SSM among other things, as well as making sure that Citizen’s United is the law of the land for the next few decades, is far worse…

    Meanwhile, for everyone who is offended by what shed did…what do you think her punishment should be…

  116. jukeboxgrad says:

    I’m more amused that you actually count votes on Internet forums

    There seems to be more than one HarvardLaw92 around here, since there is one who supposedly doesn’t pay attention to votes, and then there is another one who cares so much about votes that he admitted enlisting his “intern” to manipulate them.

  117. stonetools says:

    @Tillman:

    For me to be comfortable with Clinton as the nominee? Probably nothing could satisfy that.

    THAT’S the authentic voice of The Pure, right there. The plain truth is there is nothing Clinton can ever do to earn their vote, because she is Impure. Well, dude, there may be an universe where the choices for President are George Washington, Mother Teresa, Tinkerbell, and Aunt May. We Don’t Live There. Wake up and understand what our real choices are. You’re a grown-up. You know what you should do. You don’t have to like it. Heck, I don’t like it. I would like a different Democratic candidate too. But I’m not wringing my hands over not having Ye Perfect Candidate to vote for.
    As to why she is not giving a “straight answer”, well, frankly, it’s because people like you. HL 92, in true consigliere fashion, laid out exactly why Clinton used a private server. It’s because she didn’t want Judicial Watch and the rest of “vast right wing conspiracy” trawling through her emails looking for some phrase to twist into the Next Great Clinton Scandal. I completely understand that reason, but of course folks like you don’t admit that there is a VRWC, so she can’t say that, and she’s left with mealy mouthed excuses like “convenience.”I frankly would like her to be honest about why she did it. But again, we don’t live in n a universe where that kind of straight talk from the left is rewarded.

  118. stonetools says:

    @the Q:

    I say let Hillary go down in flames so we can re-constitute a New Deal, progressive Dem party

    This is the precise reasoning that led the election of Adolf Hitler in 1932 Germany. There the left was fine with Hitler being elected. it would “heighten the contradictions” so that in a year or two the whole rotten structure would come crashing down, taking the Leftists in Name Only with it. How did that work out, you ahistorical twit?
    Don’t like the Hitler comparison? That’s how we got GWB in 2000.

    Over the past 10 days, liberals have been voicing shock and dismay at the imminent prospect of their old hero, Ralph Nader, intentionally throwing the election to George W. Bush. A first, eloquent protest came 10 days ago from a group of a dozen former “Nader’s Raiders,” who asserted that their former mentor had broken a promise not to campaign in states where he could hurt Gore and begged him to reconsider doing so. Others, including Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, have expressed a similar sense of disappointment and betrayal.

    Nader’s response to all this heartfelt hand-wringing has been to scoff and sneer. On Good Morning America, he referred contemptuously to his old disciples as “frightened liberals.” The Green Party nominee is spending the final week of the campaign stumping in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Washington–the very states where a strong showing stands to hurt Gore the most. Nader has said he wants to maximize his vote in every state in hopes of attaining the 5 percent of the vote that will qualify the Green Party for $12 million in federal matching funds in 2004. Speaking to foreign journalists in Washington yesterday, he explicitly rejected Internet vote-swapping schemes that could help him reach this qualifying threshold without the side effect of electing Bush president. In various other TV appearances, Nader has stated bluntly that he couldn’t care less who wins.

    Man, the right wing must be laughing their a$$es off that they have these purist leftist idiots as their opposition. They never learn!

  119. stonetools says:

    Finally, for McArdle and others who are excoriating the Democrats over their alleged failure to hold Clinton responsible, I will point out that it was a Democratic Inspector General, under a Democratic President, that issued that critical report and that under that same Democratic President, the FBI is conducting an investigation into that issue, at a time when the Administration is feeling political pressure to soft pedal such investigations. The story here is one of the integrity of the Democratic Administration of Barack Obama.
    I can’t think of a similar act of integrity by a Republican administration and certainly not by the last Republican Administration. Maybe Ms. McArdle can ponder that, while she tries to come up with an explanation as to why she didn’t call for similar accountability against malfeasant Bush Administration officials.

  120. Todd says:

    @Mikey:

    Why should I get all agitated about Hillary’s sloppy e-mail practices?

    Because she is currently running for President. (period)

    John Heilemann raised an interesting point on yesterday’s morning Joe. If a person with the same set of circumstances (under FBI investigation, and rebuked for rules violations in an IG report) were being considered for a cabinet position, they probably wouldn’t be nominated, and if they were, they almost certainly wouldn’t be confirmed.

    The fact that someone in that situation is not only still considered a viable Presidential candidate, but is actually favored to win, is a sad indictment of the current state of our country’s politics.

  121. Tillman says:

    @stonetools: Yeah, ignore the part where I said I wouldn’t be comfortable with Sanders either and grand-stand about how it’s Clinton’s fault for being impure. You’re a real credit to the Democratic Party.

  122. Mikey says:

    @Todd:

    The fact that someone in that situation is not only still considered a viable Presidential candidate, but is actually favored to win, is a sad indictment of the current state of our country’s politics.

    Well, yeah. As I said above, in the form of a question: “I suppose that says nothing good about our government, does it? That a cabinet secretary failing to follow established procedures for record keeping is probably the lowest rung on the ladder of concern?”

    But she’s the nominee we’re going to have and the Republican alternative is abominable.

  123. Ben Wolf says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: That someone said something about the green party doesn’t begin to be an argument.

    I’m whelmed.