The Democratic primary isn’t about delegate count. The Democratic primary is about defeating Donald Trump in 2016. Currently, Bernie Sanders defeats Trump by 10.8 points. Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump by 0.2 points the other day (in an average of polls), and is now only 1 point ahead according to Real Clear Politics. In addition to poll numbers, CNN disclosed the findings of a recent State Department report “slamming” Clinton’s use of a private server.
This report is highlighted in a CNN article titled State Department report slams Clinton email use:
(CNN)A State Department Inspector General report said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to follow the rules or inform key department staff regarding her use of a private email server, according to a copy of the report obtained by CNN on Wednesday.
The report, which was provided to lawmakers, states, “At a minimum, 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 notes that interviews with officials from the Under Secretary for Management and the Office of the Legal Adviser found “no knowledge of approval or review by other Department staff” of the server.
...the report says that the Inspector General’s office “found no evidence that the Secretary requested or obtained guidance or approval to conduct official business via a personal email account on her private server.”
Thus, every legal defense of Clinton’s emails has just been shattered.
First, Clinton’s “convenience” excuse, which rests upon the notion that the State Department allowed her to use a private server, is now obsolete. As explained in the State Department report, there’s “no evidence” Clinton asked for, or received, approval for a private server.
This undermines every defense for Clinton, since the narrative must go from “convenience” and naiveté, to intentionally breaking protocol. As stated in the report, State Department protocol and guidelines correlate to existing laws regarding record keeping and the handling of classified data. Now that Clinton can’t simply claim “convenience,” there’s the obvious intent to hide information.
Whether or not the over 30,000 emails she deleted were truly private (or about yoga) is now irrelevant; they should never have been combined with classified data, on an unguarded private server.
This isn’t Whitewater. It’s a huge story, and a controversy that will lead to the FBI recommending indictments. If you disagree, then store your Social Security number, bank account information, and address on a friend’s private server. After you’ve stored your most precious data on another person’s server, then try to sleep easy at night.
Nobody before Clinton, Republican or Democrat, has ever linked a private server to government networks used to store Top Secret intelligence.
Hillary Clinton broke State Department guidelines, which makes storing 22 Top Secret emails on the server even more egregious. As explained by CBS News in January, these files contained Special Access Program information:
The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that Hillary Clinton’s unsecured home server contained some of the U.S. government’s most closely guarded secrets, censoring 22 emails with material demanding one of the highest levels of classification.
...But seven email chains are being withheld in full because they contain information deemed to be “top secret.” The 37 pages include messages recently described by a key intelligence official as concerning so-called “special access programs” - a highly restricted subset of classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes or government eavesdropping.
It is a crime to store Top Secret intelligence anywhere other than government networks; regardless of whether or not Clinton believed her server to be more secure. Furthermore, SAP data is so secretive, the U.S. government often times denies the existence of these projects.
The “high bar” that defenders of Hillary Clinton cite was just lowered to a level indicating she intentionally used a private server. This intent correlates to legal consequences. Intent means a deliberate act, and this deliberate act can’t be explained as “convenience.”
The Espionage Act states that whoever is “entrusted” with state secrets must ensure this data isn’t “removed from its proper place of custody” and that “gross negligence” isn’t a defense:
Yes, Clinton’s 22 Top Secret emails were “illegally removed from its proper place.”
Also, how did Brian Pagliano transfer this intelligence from secure State Department networks, onto a private server, without authority or documentation from State?
Who helped Pagliano transfer this data?
The recent State Department report states there’s no documentation approving Clinton’s server.
This intentional need to circumvent U.S. government networks correlates to breaking State Department guidelines. As written in the Inspector General’s report, “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service.”
According to The Washington Post, “she ignored” everything from government record keeping to cyber security. Also, “Ms. Clinton had plenty of warnings to use official government communications methods.”
If The Washington Post is correct, and “Ms. Clinton had plenty of warnings to use official government communications methods,” and her email use actually broke State Department rules, then Espionage Act laws directly relate to the 22 Top Secret emails on a private server.
There goes the “convenience” excuse found in a CNN article from 2015 titled Hillary Clinton: I used one email ‘for convenience’:
“I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two,” she said.
After the recent State Department report, even this benign excuse would lead to repercussions. Now, we know that State never gave her permission to own the server, even for the sake of convenience.