Context is important, but being objective is more important and should always come first.
In the 1990’s, the internet began its rise of being a ubiquitous item in in our daily lives. By 1996, the White House had a website, and I remember at the age of 11 writing the long URL on a piece of paper in excitement of one day seeing it online once we got the internet at home. Its also when email began to be used by the federal government, and with all new technologies, the laws were slow the catch up.
In 2001 we saw the appointment of Collin Powell as Secretary of State, to be followed shortly by Condoleca Rice. Both Secretaries of State would go on to use non-official email accounts because there were no laws stating otherwise. By 2004, cyber security began to become a bigger issue, but its safe to say that the overall concept of email was still young and, while there were threats, they were nothing compared to what we know them to be now.
In 2009, Hillary Clinton was appointed as Secretary of State. The President of the United States , who had used a BlackBerry device (a precursor to the nearly ubiquitous smartphone of today) constantly on the campaign, was able to use it once in office, albeit after some delay and making sure that the proper encryption was used. At this point, cyber security was a bigger issue than ever and making sure state secrets were not able to get into the hands of China and its army of hackers was a priority. There were also still no laws regarding email use, although rules had been in place.
At this point, we’re going to switch to the objective view of what happened next.
A Secretary of State set up private servers in their home. These were multiple machines set up and maintained by various administrators. This allowed the Secretary of State to use multiple mobile devices to check, receive, and send emails at any time and place. This email address and servers were used in conjunction with an official federal account that was used to send official and top secret emails. While their own personal email servers were used for their own personal use, such as making wedding plans and seeing how the family was doing, there were various work-related emails, including classified documents and top-secret emails that were marked at such at that time.
Various people inside the State Department were aware of the email server and the classified emails being sent from it. Despite this, no one makes a mention of this and the use continues.
Despite the lack of a law stating this is illegal, there are rules on the books regarding the use of personal email accounts and personal servers. The Secretary of State decides that, despite these rules, they will use their own email account. If the rule break is permitted, at this point, we can’t say who authorized it as it has not been revealed.
Once the FBI is alerted of the issue, the Secretary of State then begins a process of handing over emails and, over the course of months and years, it is revealed that not all the emails requested were sent and that other emails are needed. Additionally, it is found that multiple emails were deleted, some at the point where no data could be recovered.
In the light of these actions, the Secretary of State makes the following statements:
- That no classified emails were sent or received on the server
- That they only used one server
- That they were authorized to do this
- That they broke no law
- That there is precedent for their actions
- That they did nothing wrong
Before the investigation concludes, a former President close to the Secretary of State who appointed the Attorney General handling the case, meets privately for 30 minutes on an airplane. That Attorney General than states that they have decided to take the recommendation of the FBI Directory, whatever that may be, and follow that as a sentencing guideline.
In the end, it is concluded by the FBI that the Secretary of State completely mishandled the data and that there was, in fact, gross negligence on their part. Classified documents at that time were sent and received, and it is revealed that, in fact, the multiple servers could have been hacked, though there is no evidence of it. Of the multiple emails that were deleted, it is discovered that some of these emails contained classified data that was never handed over to the FBI on their initial questioning.
The FBI then decides not to ask for any charges to be filed because these actions were not illegal at the time (laws demanding that an official government email account only were put into effect after the Secretary left office), and that no intentional malfeasance occurred on their part. They then state that anyone in any other office would, in turn, see a reprimand for their actions.
And that is the completely objective take on what Hillary Clinton did with her email servers.
Now here’s the context, albeit in short:
This happened during the time of 2009 and 2012, and in 2011 we saw the Bengazi embassy bombings. Because of that, we discovered what was going on with her email server. While the hearings on that tragedy may have been partisan, it brought to light this issue. Sadly, because it was brought up out of a partisan nature against a woman who has seen countless criticism leveled against her for over 20 years, both justly and unjustly, it was dismissed as just that, partisan.
In the could light of day, looking at this issue objectively, what she did was wrong. It isn’t even a question. Even if it wasn’t illegal, it should have been! We look at a guy like the head of AIG, all of these Wall Street guys who made millions and billions, and the ones who got away with it or only had to pay a fine got that sentence because there was no law stating their horrible actions weren’t illegal. When we look at countries that have similar issue where a top government official does something wrong and is given a slap on the wrist we scream about how corrupt they are, yet we seem more than happy to dismiss this as nothing more than a “partisan witch hunt!”
A sitting Secretary of State, intentionally or not, just mishandled top secret documents at the most kind interpenetration and intentionally deleted evidence in an FBI investigation at the worst. Yet at this point, they refuse to even apologize for the lying they did, they refuse to accept that they even made a mistake or an error in judgment, and I am willing to bet that it won’t be a week until after this happens that they will.
This is a problem, especially since they want to be our next President. Objectively, we’re looking at someone who mishandled classified documents at best and deleted evidence of wrongdoing at worst. Why aren’t we demanding more accountability?