Bernie Sanders is ready for a contested Democratic convention, especially with the 1,430 pledged delegates that nobody at FiveThirtyEight, The Washington Post, or The New York Times imagined he’d have at this point. The same people who predicted Sanders would be done by March, are also the same people telling you Vermont’s Senator can’t win on July 25, 2016. While Bernie has defeated Clinton in10 of the past 16 contests, and has the political momentum to force a contested convention, few progressive writers dare to address the biggest story of this election.
It’s the ongoing FBI investigation of Clinton’s emails, and not merely delegate count, that will hand Bernie Sanders the Democratic nomination.
The Titanic is sinking, and instead of asking relevant questions, many observers are commenting on the spaciousness of the lifeboats, and how wonderful half the ship looks above water. According to ABC News, four years of Bryan Pagliano’s emails during his tenure at the State Department have vanished:
The State Department said today it can’t find Bryan Pagliano’s emails from the time he served as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s senior information technology staffer during her tenure there.
Pagliano would have been required to turn over any official communications from his work account before he left the government. State Department officials say he had an official email account, but that they can’t find any of those records he would have turned over and continue to search for them.
“The Department has searched for Mr. Pagliano’s email pst file and has not located one that covers the time period of Secretary Clinton’s tenure,” State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau said today, referencing a file format that holds email...
It’s unclear why the State Department does not have his email records for the time her served as her IT director or whether or not he purposefully withheld them.
First, Clinton’s staff deleted 31,830 emails from her private server. No, they weren’t all about yoga. Second, Pagliano was granted immunity since he was the person who set up Clinton’s server. Third, Clinton didn’t own the server merely for convenience; to believe that would be to believe her Bosnian sniper story. Fourth, this is an FBI criminal investigation, not a security review.
Most importantly, former attorney general Michael Mukasey explains that “gross negligence,” not simply intent, is all that’s needed to prosecute Hillary Clinton under certain laws. Attorney general Mukasey’s argument is presented in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled "Clinton’s Emails: A Criminal Charge Is Justified":
The current news, reported in the Journal and elsewhere, is that her server contained information at the highest level of classification, known as SAP, or Special Access Program. This is a level so high that even the inspector general for the intelligence community who reported the discovery did not initially have clearance to examine it.
The server also contained messages showing her contempt for classification procedures. This was bred at least in part by obvious familiarity with exactly “how it works”—such as when, an email shows, she directed a staff member simply to erase the heading on a classified document, converting it into “unpaper,” and send it on a “nonsecure” device...
Whatever the findings from that part of the probe, intelligence-community investigators believe it is nearly certain that Mrs. Clinton’s server was hacked, possibly by the Chinese or the Russians. This raises the distinct possibility that she would be subject to blackmail in connection with those transactions and whatever else was on that server by people with hostile intent against this country...
The simple proposition that everyone is equal before the law suggests that Mrs. Clinton’s state of mind — whether mere knowledge of what she was doing as to mishandling classified information; or gross negligence in the case of the mishandling of information relating to national defense; or bad intent as to actual or attempted destruction of email messages; or corrupt intent as to State Department business—justifies a criminal charge of one sort or another.
Super delegates exist to ensure that people like Hillary Clinton don’t propel Donald Trump into the Oval Office. With Bernie Sanders, there’s no risk of DOJ indictments, and he defeats Trump by a wider margin than Clinton.
If Clinton is the nominee, Donald Trump will ask this very simple question, and a question that’s relevant during the ongoing “War on Terror.” If ISIS hacked into Clinton’s server, what are the ramifications to America’s national security?
The reality that terrorists represent a genuine cyber threat is addressed in a 2012 New York Times piece titled "F.B.I. Director Warns Congress About Terrorist Hacking":
“Terrorists have shown interest in pursuing hacking skills,” Mr. Mueller said Wednesday in written testimony to a House appropriations subcommittee reviewing the bureau’s budget. “And they may seek to train their own recruits or hire outsiders, with an eye toward pursuing cyberattacks. These adaptations of the terrorist threat make the F.B.I.’s counterterrorism mission that much more difficult and challenging.”
Mr. Mueller said that the federal government must act swiftly to prevent such attacks and economic espionage from other countries because they pose a “potentially devastating” threat to the country’s businesses and infrastructure.
“We tend to focus on protecting our databases, protecting our infrastructure, which is absolutely an appropriate focus,” he said. “But we should not forget that you want to identify these individuals who are responsible for these crimes, investigate them, prosecute them and put them in jail for a substantial period of time.”
If ISIS is also a cyber threat, then why aren’t Democratic super edelegates worried about this terrorist group potentially hacking into Clinton’s server?
This genuine concern is highlighted in a Fortune article titled "For 3 months Hillary Clinton’s Email Access Was Unencrypted, Vulnerable to Spies":
Security firm Venafi has found that Clinton’s email server may have been open to foreign intelligence snoops when traveling abroad...
Venafi, a Salt Lake City computer security firm, has conducted an analysis of clintonemail.com and determined that “for the first three months of Secretary Clinton’s term, access to the server was not encrypted or authenticated with a digital certificate.” In other words: For three months, Clinton’s server lay vulnerable to snooping, hacking, and spoofing...
“Longterm access is probably ultimately the worst consequence here,” Bocek said, raising the possibility that hackers could have obtained Clinton’s compromised credentials and used them to continue accessing her email archive even after a digital certificate was added in late March. The most likely threat though, Bocek added, is spying. “If the Department of State had been eavesdropped on while on diplomatic mission that could have jeopardized a whole variety of activities.”
In fact, during that three month window during which Clinton’s email server apparently lacked encryption, she had traveled abroad.
Hillary Clinton’s private server was vulnerable for three months. Thus, even after encryption, Clinton’s email server remained open to spies.
Again, Clinton’s server was open to hackers for three months.
Democratic super delegates should remember that three months is a long time to own an unguarded private server. If we know that foreign nations have already tried to compromise Clinton’s server, what happens if ISIS also tried to hack into her emails?
Bernie Sanders is an infinitely better candidate, and everything from matchups against Trump to national favorability ratings prove that Vermont’s Senator does better in a general election than Clinton. Furthermore, Hillary Clinton will be interviewed by the FBI very soon, signifying the last phase of a year-long investigation. Even without indictments, the media firestorm will tarnish her already dreadful image among independents and swing voters. Imagine what takes place after indictments. It’s this question, along with many other flaws pertaining to Clinton’s candidacy, that will enable Bernie Sanders to win the contested Democratic convention.
[This article first appeared on The Huffington Post]