“And I’m trying to be as transparent as I possibly can.”
-Hillary Clinton as quoted in the New York Times on 9/8/15
Does anyone actually believe that statement? Of course not. It’s a lie on its face. And we need truthful politicians, not those who lie.
I was astonished and seriously irritated the moment I heard that Hilary Clinton, as Secretary of State, chose to set up her own email system for her government work. As a former Naval Officer with an appreciation of classified information and the extensive systems and training around it, it was (and is) incomprehensible to me that a senior government official, a Cabinet head, was doing all government email business on a server in her home.
It’s now 6+ months since this matter came to light widely in a New York Times article dated March 2nd. During this period the public has endured professionally orchestrated PR efforts to minimize the matter and move it out of the limelight, but her decision looks as calculated and bad (for the public) as ever. And her shifting positions and terminology, her grudging explanations, and her double-talk about transparency should, for any objective voter, cause doubts about her fitness for our country’s highest position.
Let’s work through this.
First, she chose to install her own infrastructure for important government work. How was that decision made? On the advice of privately engaged lawyers and consultants of course, who no doubt collaborated with her to decide “let’s just do it and worry about it later.” (If they did it without thinking about it much, that’s even worse.) Was her decision cleared in advance by any responsible government staffers? Well, we haven’t heard anything on that, so we must conclude the answer is “No.” From the get-go, this decision was not only arrogant, but intentionally flaunted then existing government (including State Department) policy and (at least the spirit of) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as reported by numerous media outlets including Politico, the New York Times, and Slate.
Second, the PR output from Clinton’s camp about “nothing was classified at the time” is a complete red herring – it doesn’t matter! ALL government communications – especially with the Secretary of State for goodness sake – should be private, confined to those with a need to know. Try as I might, I cannot get my mind around how a Secretary of State can do the job without sending or receiving info that must be for government eyes only, and therefore on government systems only, regardless of its classification or non classification.
Sidebar: Can anyone imagine Goldman Sachs or General Electric tolerating individual employees creating and then doing all corporate business on their own independent email systems? Of course not. By definition, company business is assumed to be important and is discussed on company resources, not systems jury-rigged by employees operating willy-nilly.
Third, and overarching Clinton’s renegade behavior, there is the major subject of the Freedom of Information Act. The US Government obviously can’t respond to FOIA inquiries responsibly after the documentation – paper or email – has been destroyed, as over 30,000 emails formerly on her server have been. And who decided on what to delete? – Hilary’s staff did, blowing us a “Trust Us” kiss afterwards. Arrogant.
To summarize, Clinton intentionally flaunted government policy by using her own system exclusively and then, audaciously, arrogantly, and without any oversight (yes, secretly), deleted over 30,000 emails intermingled with government business, said to be personal but evidently the public will never know. Just awful behavior.
She initially explained “…I thought it would be easier to carry just one device…” Which is both lame and laughable. And arrogant. What isn’t laughable is that she has not been forthcoming and has, in fact and solely for selfish political ambitions, made many statements found to be inaccurate by independent experts. (For an accounting, see FactCheck.org, a project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.)
We don’t need public servants who choose to disregard this county’s laws and policy with impunity and then blatantly and repeatedly make misleading statements or lie. If the Democratic Party’s logic is that she’s not perfect but she’s the best we have, I really worry for this country.