Friday, May 27, 2016

State Department Inspector General’s report demolishes Hillary’s excuses about her private email server - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

Even the Washington Post editorial board is appalled, publishing a collective rebuke titled, “Clinton’s inexcusable, willful disregard for the rules.”

The 83 page State Department Inspector General’s report on Hillary Clinton’s private email server puts the lie to many of Hillary Clinton’s repeated claims about her unprecedented private email server. No, it was not permitted, and she never asked. And if she had asked, she would have been told it was not permitted. Even the Washington Post editorial board is appalled, publishing a collective rebuke titled, “Clinton’s inexcusable, willful disregard for the rules.”
The “rules” she disregarded were adopted to implement federal law, the Federal Records Act, so in effect she was violating the law, even thought the IG’s report deliberately avoids saying so. So Hillary’s repeated claims that her use of the private email system was permitted is a blatant lie.

So, too, is her claim that she has cooperated with investigators. She and her top aides all declined to be interviewed by the IG investigators. Andrew McCarthy, a formed Assistant US Attorney explains that this is in effect taking the Fifth:
When a government official or former government official refuses to answer questions in a formal government investigation into potential wrongdoing, this in effect is the assertion of a legal privilege not to speak — otherwise, there is no valid reason not to cooperate. So what conceivable legal privilege do Clinton, Mills, Sullivan, and Abedin have that would allow them to refuse to answer investigators’ questions? Only one: the Fifth Amendment privilege — i.e., the refusal to answer on the grounds that truthful responses might be incriminating.
Hillary has claimed no hacking took place, but that is also false. Steven Dinan of the Washington Times:
…the inspector general concluded in a report sent to Congress on Wednesday that says she failed to report hacking attempts and waved off warnings that she should switch to a more official email account. (snip)

In one instance in 2011, Mrs. Clinton’s tech guru thought the server was being hacked and shut it down for a few minutes. Months later, Mrs. Clinton feared yet another hack attack was underway — yet never reported the incident to the department, in another breach of department rules.
“Notification is required when a user suspects compromise of, among other things, a personally owned device containing personally identifiable information,” the investigators wrote. “However, OIG found no evidence that the Secretary or her staff reported these incidents to computer security personnel or anyone else within the Department.”
There are two highly suggestive – almost smoking gun --  snippets in the report, that speak to Hillary’s motives and sensitivities. When Huma Abedin was worried that Hillary’s emails were being directed to spam filters because they were not from an official account and suggested that she:
…release her secret address to the department so she could be designated as a verified account, keeping her messages out of spam folders.
Mrs. Clinton refused, saying she didn’t “want any risk of the personal being accessible.” The inspector general at that point in the report notes that Mrs. Clinton refused to cooperate, and Ms. Abedin did not respond to a request to be interviewed.
This clearly establishes that she set up the private email system in order to be able to conceal correspondence from the public, not as she claimed as a matter of convenience. Her claims that her personal emails were about Chelsea’s wedding plans and yoga routines becomes a bad joke in this light.

The other very telling incident noted in the report is:
…when lower-level staffers pressed the issue [of her private email server], saying she was skirting open-records laws, they were ordered “never to speak of the secretary’s personal email system again.”
We do not know who said this. But almost certainly the FBI does.

The Hillary campaign is responding in its customary fashion, with the big lie:
“The inspector general documents just how consistent her email practices were with those of other secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal email.”
The campaign is relying on the complexity of the matter to obscure the seriousness with half-truths and evasions. Talking heads dispatched to cable news shows are already intimating that the IG, appointed by President Obama, had partisan motives, as Jamu Green did this morning on Fox News. But that simply won’t fly. As Roger L. Simon notes this morning, the person who could realty move this issue forward is Bernie Sanders, who is on record as being sick and tired of the “damn emails.”
 Does he move now before that crucial California primary or wait for the FBI?  A candidate who really wants the nomination would do the former.  As the old saw goes, he who hesitates is lost.  In this case, that loss could come in a number of  forms -- the nomination of Joe Biden or John Kerry, a Hillary indictment that arrives after the Democratic convention (too late for Sanders),  a recommended Hillary indictment that is deferred by the attorney general until after the convention (again too late for Sanders) and on and on.
It's up to Bernie.
At least until it’s up to James Comey and Loretta Lynch.

Thomas Lifson


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