• Clinton Personal Email Problem Deepens

    March 6, 2015

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Embassy/State


    Hillary Clinton announced in a Tweet that she wants her former employer, the Department of State, to review her emails with an eye toward releasing them. Here, she said it herself, on The Official Twitter:

    So accepting the fact that it took Clinton almost three full days’ worth of controversy to get around to saying even that, that’s it, right? Problem solved? Maybe not.

    Who Will End Up Holding the Bag?

    The key part of what Clinton no doubt feels is some pretty slick sleight of hand is that State only has in its possession some fraction of all of her emails sent while Secretary of State. The emails State does have were hand-picked by Clinton, curated by her staff, from the total.

    Clinton, alone in the entire U.S. government, has left herself in the unique position of being the only one to determine what records the American people are entitled to see. Her basis for her decisions? Trust me.

    Even at that, she now throws State under the bus, thinking anytime between now and inauguration day anybody asks about a missing email or ten, Clinton will just “refer them” back to State, who of course decided what to withhold from what Clinton personally chose not to withhold. Clinton no doubt thinks herself clever with this bit of political jujitsu, turning the State Department into her campaign spokesperson. But putting the burden on State is a red herring; this isn’t really the State Department’s dog.

    Her attempt to use the White House this week in the same capacity has only returned mediocre results. The Counsel’s office there claimed it had no knowledge of Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal email system, and quickly mentioned once it found out that it had directed the State Department to make sure all appropriate rules were followed (CYA.) They also made clear that the administration gave “very specific guidance” that employees should use official accounts when conducting government business.

    Obama’s spokesman was careful to note “There was not an Obama administration official that was responsible for reviewing those emails.”

    While trying to avoid doing political damage to Clinton, the White House has put the onus on her aides to explain exactly what happened. If there is gonna be a bag of sh*t to hold at some point, the White House does not want to get stuck with it.

    Slow-Walking FOIA

    State, ever the lap dog to the rich and famous, is ready to do its part in dragging its feet. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Riyadh Thursday that his department “will undertake this task as rapidly as possible in order to make sure that we are dealing with the sheer volume in a responsible way.” State spokeswoman Marie Harf warned that the review could “take some time to complete” while other officials indicated it could take months. And, surprise! State’s current review personnel are already overwhelmed with nearly 11,000 other pending requests, which for complex cases can take an average of more than 18 months to complete.

    Maybe first-come, first-serve will get the Clinton emails reviewed at least in time for her second term.

    Perhaps State will want to turn its attention to previous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. More than 75 separate requests for her emails were filed with the State Department between 2009 and 2013 by media organizations and other parties. Associated Press requests for Clinton emails and other documents have been delayed for more than a year — and in one case, four years — without any results. All “answered” FOIA requests were told that the State Department did not have any emails from Clinton to consider releasing, sort of true in that State had no Clinton emails on file; they were all held on her private server. The AP says it is considering legal action against the department to compel responses.

    And that all leads deep into another can of worms. FOIA requests are strictly limited to U.S. government documents. You cannot FOIA Michelle Obama’s personal NetFlix viewing list. A very tricky legal question arises about whose emails those are on Clinton’s private mail server. Google and other tech companies have regularly won legal challenges to say that the Gmail you send actually belongs to Google, not you. It resides on their server, after all. Much of the NSA’s quasi-legal ability to gobble up your emails rests on the same premise, as they request “your” email not from you but your internet service provider. Requests for Clinton emails not turned over to State could be refused based on the fact that they are her private property.

    The Trouble with Republicans

    Meanwhile, Clinton’s troubles with the Republicans are just starting.

    The Republican National Committee on Thursday asked the Inspector General of the State Department to investigate Clinton’s use of personal email to conduct government business. RNC Chief Counsel John Phillippe wrote in a letter that the investigation should focus on whether Clinton violated department policies or caused the department to violate the requirement to archive emails. Such inspections can take a long time, but in this case, those delays could easily help keep the email issue alive well into the 2016 campaign, and the Republicans know it.

    The Inspector General should also look into where State Department management and security were sleeping while all this email fun transpired. One can speculate that if a mid level employee proposed to do all his official work off a personal email server they would have had something to say about that. Oh wait, they already did, roundly criticizing one State Department ambassador for bypassing State’s email system.

    The House committee investigating Benghazi also just got a new lease on life. The committee announced Wednesday it has issued a subpoena to Clinton for all of her communications relating to Libya, including emails from her personal server, texts, attachments and pictures. New emails mean new hearings, new questions for Clinton, new demands for in-person testimony and new accusations of information being withheld or scrubbed. This clearly will keep the red-meat-to-the-base Benghazi issue alive well into the 2016 campaign, even if nothing substantive emerges. And if it does…


    Clinton, in her own sense of transparency, has issued only the Tweet (above) as her sole public response to all this. Her spokesperson disingenuously claimed Clinton had complied with both the letter and the spirit of the law, a tough one to swallow even for a group of supporters used to swallowing.

    Clinton has announced in advance that she will take no questions at her next scheduled public appearance, somewhat ironically the March 23 ceremony celebrating the winner of the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting.

    But here are a few very simple questions we’d like Clinton to answer:

    — Why did you alone in the State Department not use official email and only use private email run off a private server?

    — Why didn’t you turn over your full set of emails to State for review?

    — Why did you wait until your private server was disclosed publicly to turn over even the subset of emails you did? Why didn’t you turn them over during your tenure as Secretary?

    — As president of the United States, will you encourage or condone your Cabinet level officials employing personal email servers in lieu of U.S. government systems?

    — Is the way you handled your email at State and now in the aftermath indicative of your approach to public service?

    That’ll be a good start.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • John Poole said...


      Peter- Hillary doesn’t care about your questions.
      It seems that the time may be ripe for a third party. The Democrats may have to go with their starting pitcher Clinton They don’t seem to have any relief pitchers on the bench. That is strange. Warren is plain creepy to me.
      So will we see a third party movement? I’d support it.

      03/6/15 12:47 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      03/6/15 1:12 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck nasmith said...


      Warren will be brought in as Obama was, a first thing again, and then be found to be the “More Effective Evil” as Glen Ford said of the Hopey candidate. Has Warren defended Manning, Snowden and too many others who reveal truth?

      03/6/15 1:34 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      The UK’s Daily Mail has this interesting article – part of the reason it became “publicly known” an independent email server was being used to conduct official business resulted from a hack by a Romanian hacker, ‘Guccifer’, who accessed someone in the inner circle’s email, and the information was picked up by Russians:

      “Some of the messages Guccifer leaked online consisted of intelligence reports, sent in late 2012 to Clinton’s back-channel address, and covered matters in Libya – including the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 terror attack in Benghazi.

      RT, a Russian state-run television network, published those emails.

      Others were more personal, including a Valentine’s Day greeting…”


      03/6/15 3:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...


      You do have an eye for the non-Glamour shot, Peter (not that there may be one available.) Hill looks like an old Ukrainian babushka in this one, something like a developing “Baba Yaga”.

      Should be scintillating bedtime reading, when we get the redacted copies.

      03/6/15 3:32 PM | Comment Link

    • Sokollu said...


      Peter, I disagree that this is not State’s ‘dog’. While Hillary is responsible for her decision to disregard longstanding regulations to preserve “record message traffic,” which includes emails, senior State personnel are responsible as well.

      Diplomatic Security hassled you intensely over one highly dubious ‘infraction’ – where was DS when Hillary and her coterie were violating clear policy for years? Where were the senior IT staff? And why didn’t Undersecretary Kennedy counsel the Secretary on the need to obey the law and Department regulations? We can’t blame only Hillary while letting senior career employees off the hook.

      03/6/15 3:56 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Good points, and many people at State should (and won’t) hang. But by “not their dog” what I was aiming at is the idea that this is not State’s problem to solve FOR Hillary.

      03/6/15 8:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      Arrrgh! The OLD ‘Excess of Evil’ EYE! The Criminal ACCOUNTABILITY question remains, if US ‘fellow’ (albeit conscientious) federal public servants had instead exclusively hidden our communications from the law requiring their record and retention; would we not be sharing the adjacent federal penitentiary cell block to Chelsea Manning?! Therefore, Pillory must be prosecuted to the full “metric” (WWOD, What Would 0bama Do?) of the Federal Records Act.
      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kESisUzzWHA/TdBKUqCD75I/AAAAAAAAAJc/NciSoz5QqZM/s1600/scary-hillary-clinton.jpg : “The Fudge! You SAY!!”

      03/6/15 5:09 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Karma is a bitch, Hillary.

      Speaking of karma: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/12432471/ncaa-suspends-jim-boeheim-nine-games-cuts-syracuse-orange-scholarships

      “I am not Joe Paterno.” — Ratfink Boeheim

      He’s right. Joe got his wins back.

      People will say, ‘Those words might come back to haunt you,’” Boeheim admitted.”

      03/6/15 7:03 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...


      and speaking of emails, Andy Borowitz’s latest New Yorker shtick:

      Joe Biden Releases Both E-Mails Written While Vice-President

      . . . it might be nice to compare both of them to the one which I hear Justice Clarence Thomas has managed to type out over the span of his 9-year term on the bench.

      03/6/15 8:09 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      bartender..just give me a Bud Light and a shot of SERVERS 151. oh..and turn on the TehVeh..I hear they’re playing reruns of The Beaver and the Clinton Inauguration tonight. Cool. I need a laugh.

      03/6/15 11:31 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      goddammit people..too many links..too little time. After all..yer cuttin into my Drinkin To Solve The Worlds Problems time. fukit.

      oh..btw.. theres a great new craft beer out. Ya’ll oughta try it. Called.. MerrilyMerrilyMerrilyMerrilyLifeIsJustaDream.

      03/6/15 11:43 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Sorry for even bringing up the idea of a third party for 2016. Gotta stick with what works- right folks?

      03/7/15 12:13 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      John Poole said…”Sorry for even bringing up the idea of a third party for 2016.”

      And you are apologizing to who? Hahahahahaa! @Thirdparty #Goviral @2016

      C’mann..who do you think you are talking to here?

      sheeezus..sometimes I get the feeling I should visit the @Thirdparty bar down the street instead of my regular hangout.

      03/7/15 12:39 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Hillary seems to have the dirt on the entire democratic herd to keep them in check but surely there is someone who will bolt from the herd and switch to an independent. Why is that not happening? We’re all lamenting the pathetic choices our two party system offers each election cycle so where are the independent candidates and if they are out there why aren’t they being discussed at this forum?

      03/7/15 3:55 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      “We’re all lamenting the pathetic choices our two party system offers each election cycle so where are the independent candidates and if they are out there why aren’t they being discussed at this forum?”

      Dear John, here’s hoping more candidates abound. Jim Webb has formed some kind of campaign exploratory committee and hopefully in the next few months there will be more candidates. And hopefully the Clinton team will play hard and mean, which is what they do best and can’t resist

      03/7/15 5:47 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Dear Kyzi- actually I was only faking interest in political discourse. What I’m really focused on now is Bruce Jenner’s new gender possibilities. Should Bruce run as the first he/she president? He knows how to ram cars so that’s gotta count for keeping government motorcade costs down. Hell, there’s his platform in a nutshell right there.

      03/7/15 11:50 AM | Comment Link

    • State Department Official Confirms: Hillary Decides What Emails We Can See | pundit from another planet said...


      […] Clinton Personal Email Problem Deepens (wemeantwell.com) […]

      03/7/15 6:33 PM | Comment Link

    • Lisa said...



      Please, we must hold ourselves to accountability here: not “he/she” … “shemale”, acco. to porno grammarians.

      Yes, Bruce would be a political shoo-in:

      You have yer Reality audience watchers; your Olympian fans; your LBGTQ… fans; your usual knee-jerk liberals who love everyone; his name is/was “Bruce”, and on it goes.

      He’s from CA, and is the logical inheritor to Mr. Schwarzenegger’s vacuousness. Jesse Ventura and Ah-nold didn’t win them no gold medals.

      The Olympian for a New America.

      03/7/15 7:56 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      PVB 2016. I ain’t stopping. 🙂

      03/7/15 7:58 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Meanwhile, Clinton’s first email just got released by virtue of Alexa O’Brien’s FOIA suit.

      03/7/15 8:09 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Obama says he only found out Hillary was using her secret email account when he read it on the news.

      Either he’s lying (you think?) or the great surveillance state is as incompetent as the rest of the clown circus.


      03/8/15 1:18 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “Hundreds of others at the State Department, including the IT Department, its FOIA shop, and career civil servants had seen and known that the leader of their agency was improperly using a personal email,” said Jones, who this week published a lengthy analysis on the Clinton email controversy. “It’s upsetting to me that no State Department official — as far as I have seen — alerted the Archivist of the United States or their Inspector General, blew the whistle to congress, or leaked the fact that important State Department records were at risk.”

      Obviously, this clown is ignorant as to Hillary’s treatment of Peter Van Buren.

      03/8/15 1:21 PM | Comment Link

    • A Child's Treasury of Clinton Email Excuses | Ghosts of Tom Joad - Peter Van Buren said...


      […] Madame herself has said nothing out loud (she did send one Tweet) about the bubbling scandal that she used private email to conduct four years’ of official […]

      03/9/15 12:48 PM | Comment Link

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