Does someone have to die before a political officeholder gets held accountable for crimes? That’s the argument from Madeleine Albright this morning. By this calculation, Watergate should have been no big deal in terms of political accountability, either. The former Secretary of State during Bill Clinton’s tenure defended Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server by telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo that “nobody’s going to die as a result of anything that happened on e-mails.”
Er … doesn’t that assume facts not in evidence, especially given the highly sensitive nature of the information that passed through that server?
“She has said she made a mistake, and nobody is going to die as a result of anything that happened on emails,” Albright told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day,” after the host broached the multifaceted criticism and concerns about Clinton’s foreign policy from opponents and supporters alike.
Cuomo referenced Clinton’s use of private emails, along with the infamous failed reset with Russia and her role in orchestrating the nuclear deal with a hostile Iranian regime, a day after Albright’s Democratic successor at Foggy Bottom delivered a blistering speech ripping Trump’s foreign policy credentials.
How do we know no one lost their life over the e-mails? The laws in 18 USC 793, 1924, and other statutes protect sensitive national-security information for the explicit overall mission of national security. Specifically, the reason why nat-sec information gets classified at various levels is not just to protect Americans at home, but also to protect our sources outside of the US who work to keep us safe. The e-mail server had information classified at the highest levels stored on and transmitted through it, including at least one case that involved “HCS-O” material that exposed human intelligence sources in ongoing operations.
It might take years to assess the damage to those operations, and to determine whether anyone exposed in potential hacks might have had untimely demises tied to the exposure of this information. That’s precisely why these are criminal statutes, and should be enforced especially with information at this level. Otherwise, those sources will dry up fast if they realize that it will take their death before anyone gives a damn whether the highest ranking officials in the US get held accountable for putting them at risk.
Albright’s entire rant is incoherent, and not just on whether we should elect someone who corrupted the State Department in a years-long conspiracy to violate the Federal Records Act and thwart legitimate oversight by Congress and the judicial branch. At one point Albright excoriates Trump for saying nice things about Putin, even though Hillary’s the one who presented Sergei Lavrov the reset button:
“I am concerned about some of the statements that Donald Trump has made that are dangerous,” Albright said. “On the issue of Russia, the fact that Donald Trump admires Putin is one of the reasons that I can’t agree with a word he says because the reset takes two to reset.”
Er, wasn’t that also Hillary’s point in 2009 when she presented Lavrov with the button? She was blaming the rocky relations between the US and Russia on George W. Bush, as did Barack Obama, and insisted that they could do business with Putin once that benighted cowboy had left the White House. Four years later, Albright’s blaming Trump for the reset button and for suggesting what Hillary and Obama flat-out declared four years ago.
One final thought. What would actually make the US more secure – a president who thinks he can work with Putin, or one whose e-mails for four years as the nation’s top diplomat are potentially in Putin’s hands?
Update: Via a long-time reader, let’s also remind people of Barack Obama’s approach to Russia during the Hillary period:
Gee, where was Albright then?