Late last night, Hillary Clinton posted a new defense on Facebook for the Saga of the Secret Server. Starting off, “I want you to hear this directly from me,” the former Secretary of State — or her campaign — declared her use of an unsecured and unauthorized e-mail server for official communications to be “aboveboard,” despite its use to keep communications from legitimate and constitutional oversight by Congress and the courts. Unbelievably, Hillary then pledges transparency:
It’s important for you to know a few key facts. My use of a personal email account was aboveboard and allowed under the State Department’s rules. Everyone I communicated with in government was aware of it. And nothing I ever sent or received was marked classified at the time.
As this process proceeds, I want to be as transparent as possible. That’s why I’ve provided all of my work emails to the government to be released to the public, and why I’ll be testifying in public in front of the Benghazi Committee later next month.
Political satire is dead, I tell you. At the end of this, Hillary then links to her campaign site to “read more,” but the “more” is a regurgitation of the same talking points from the past two months, titled “Hillary’s e-mails in 4 sentences.”
Er … with the FBI probe underway, is the use of “sentences” advisable? Anyway, here they are:
- Hillary takes responsibility for her decision to use a personal account, and the challenges it has created.
- Her use of a private email account was allowed under State Department rules.
- Nothing she sent or received was marked classified.
- She provided all of her work-related emails to the State Department.
Let’s take these one at a time.
- It wasn’t just a “personal account” — it was a secret server in her house, unsecured, unauthorized, which served to defeat the Federal Records Act and any FOIA demands for her official correspondence until the Benghazi select committee discovered its existence. To this date, she has not even acknowledged that, let alone accepted responsibility for it.
- Personal accounts are allowed under State rules, but not for official business and certainly not exclusively. Hillary fired Ambassador Scott Gration for trying to work around those rules — and for transmitting Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU) data through his private e-mail. Also, the White House made it clear from the start that official business communications had to go through official systems, in part because of the FRA and their commitment to — wait for it — transparency.
- None of it was “marked classified” because she and her team didn’t mark it. “Marked classified” is a red herring. The data is classified whether it’s marked or not, and intel on North Korea’s nukes from spy satellites should be pretty obviously classified; even a totally incompetent Secretary of State would know that much. In fact, two reviews by the CIA and NGA have confirmed it was Top Secret/Compartmented, as classified as it gets.
- Hillary only provided those e-mails after Congress found out about the server, long after she left office. Had the Benghazi select committee never met, they’d still be holed up in Chappaqua or in a commercial server farm in Denver, along with all of the classified material it contained. Furthermore, Hillary only provided those e-mails to the State Department after culling out 31,000 e-mails her team didn’t want seen. In an official system, that archiving decision is not left to the account owner — and that was the point of using a secret server in the first place.
These “four sentences” are the same nonsense Hillary has spouted for months about the e-mail scandal, adjusted only slightly to take into account the hundreds of instances in which classified information got transmitted and stored in her system. Legally, Hillary may need to maintain these points forever, but politically they’ve been failing, and for good reason. They’re obvious lies and parsed-out gobbledygook.
Ron Fournier answers Hillary’s four sentences with 19 questions of his own:
“I’m sorry about that,” Hillary Rodham Clinton said six years after seizing control of government email and after six months of denying wrongdoing. Just this week, it took three different interviews in four days for her to beg the puniest of pardons: “I do think I could have and should have done a better job answering questions earlier.”
You think? By any objective measure, the Democratic presidential front-runner has responded to her email scandal with deflection and deception, shredding her credibility while giving a skeptical public another reason not to trust the institutions of politics and government.
An apology doesn’t fix that. An apology also doesn’t answer the scandal’s most important questions.
Fournier asks a question about markings that seems interesting:
9. Ever hear of Thomas Drake? He’s the former senior National Security Agency official indicted under the Espionage Act for keeping an agency email printout at his home that was not marked as classified. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Why do you and your aides keep suggesting that it matters whether or not your emails were marked classified?
Drake was a whistleblower whose complaints about a costly and inefficient NSA SIGNT program were eventually vindicated, but not before he pled guilty to a misdemeanor rather than face more serious charges in leaking unmarked classified data to a reporter. Be sure to read all 19 questions, and then watch to see how many get answered in the coming weeks — or even asked by reporters not named Ed Henry (or Fournier). Don’t bother uncapping the Sharpie.