I’ve seen snowstorms take the blame for all sorts of things over the years, but this one may be a first. The State Department is due to release the last batch of roughly 55,000 of Hillary Clinton’s emails at the end of the month (before the voting begins) but they’re asking a judge for an extra month to complete their work. One of the reasons for the requested extension is apparently the snowstorm. (The Hill)
The State Department on Friday sought to delay its final release of emails from Hillary Clinton’s personal server, blaming a massive snowstorm hitting Washington as well as an internal “oversight.”
In a court filing, the department asked a federal court to delay by a month the Jan. 29 deadline for it to release the last batch of roughly 55,000 pages of Clinton’s emails believed to be work-related.
So there are actually two parts to the excuse being offered. The blaring headline of the story is catchy since everyone is watching the snowpocalypse or whatever we’re calling it this time. Fair enough. Let’s say that you were planning on working seven days a week from now until the release date and that the city is pretty much shut down until Monday, which is currently the expectation. Then you could ask to move the release date back by three days to February 1st. But they want a full month and the actual reason seems to be found in the administrative oversight mentioned in the article. Here’s where the plot thickens.
[L]ast week the State Department realized that more than 7,200 pages of Clinton’s emails had not yet been sent to other agencies, which are required to review them for potential redactions before they can be made public…
The department spokesman added that remaining undisclosed emails are “the most complex to process” because they contain “a large amount of material” that needs to be approved by other agencies.
For some reason I’d been under the impression that the trove of documents had been processed on a first come first served basis thus far. Apparently that’s not the case if the remaining emails largely require a sign off from other agencies in the federal government. Does that mean that they are more highly classified or simply that they include business items from other departments who may want to redact something which State wouldn’t automatically black out? Since we’re never going to see the material which is blocked out (at least for the next fifty years most likely) we likely won’t know the answer to that one.
The politics of this are more interesting than they might first appear. My initial reaction was to be suspicious as usual and find it awfully convenient for Hillary Clinton that some potentially bombshell material won’t come to light until after Iowa and New Hampshire have voted, but it may prove to be just the opposite. There will still be large data dump right before the Iowa caucus, doubtless producing more hits on the front page just as voters get ready to lock in their decisions. But Hillary’s already been tanking in Iowa and New Hampsire, so this might be overkill anyway. Her campaign has been relying for some time now on the idea that she could weather the storm for a couple of weeks and then make a big comeback as the primary swings south into areas where Bernie Sanders hasn’t spent much time or money. Now the “highly complex” emails will drop right on the eve of Super Tuesday and that’s the news that will hang over her efforts in eleven states like a dark cloud.
Surely the folks at Hillary HQ are already aware of this so it’s doubtful that they were influencing this decision and things may be just as the State Department portrayed them. Given a choice, I think Hillary would have wanted to see them all dumped last summer so it could be “old news” by now. That’s clearly not going to be the case.