An HRC Unforced Error

The scandal du jour is that, it has been revealed, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conducted official government business using a personal email account and not the government one, and on top of that did not archive her emails in the Department of State archive as required.

It’s entirely possible — and I would like to think true — that she never revealed sensitive information in emails and used email only for more informal communication. But we have no way to know that, and it looks bad.

It’s also absolutely true that Republicans Did It First.

But this story looks even worse if you transport yourself back to early 2009, when Clinton first became of Secretary of State and, according to this story, initially refused to use a governmental account. The Bush administration had just left office weeks earlier under the shadow of, among other things, a major ongoing scandal concerning officials who used personal email addresses to conduct business, and thus avoid scrutiny.

The scandal began in June 2007, as part of a Congressional oversight committee investigation into allegations that the White House had fired US Attorneys for political reasons. The oversight committee asked for Bush administration officials to turn over relevant emails, but it turned out the administration had conducted millions of emails’ worth of business on private email addresses, the archives of which had been deleted.

The effect was that investigators couldn’t access millions of internal messages that might have incriminated the White House. The practice, used by White House officials as senior as Karl Rove, certainly seemed designed to avoid federal oversight requirements and make investigation into any shady dealings more difficult. Oversight committee chairman Henry Waxman accused the Bush administration of “using nongovernmental accounts specifically to avoid creating a record of the communications.”

Also, too,

Three years ago we learned that Mitt Romney oversaw the purchase of 17 state-issued hard drives, and wiped clean computers and servers that contained electronic copies of emails from his gubernatorial office. Romney later admitted the move was intended to hide official correspondence from the public and keep potentially-embarrassing information under wraps in advance of his presidential campaign. During the 2012 race, Republicans said this didn’t matter, either.

But, y’know what? I don’t happen to think “Spanky (or whomever) did it first” is a valid excuse.

If she had had a publicly spelled-out policy that only the most routine and non-sensitive communication would be conducted by email I might be inclined to not care, or to write off the criticism as nit-picking, but I haven’t heard that she did.

I’m seeing a lot of people write this off as another faux scandal, but I agree with John Cole — this was a stupid unforced error. Could it be that she gets off on being investigated?

In other news: I realize this is Bibi Netanyahu Day in Congress. I’m waiting for the reviews.

18 thoughts on “An HRC Unforced Error

  1. Could it be that she gets off on being investigated? 🙂

    Trey Gowdy just hit the lottery. Benghazi was getting a little difficult to stretch all the way into November 2016.

    • SP — “You’ve been had- the “scandal” is that she violated regulations… that went into effect over a year after she left office.” Not the point. And do actually read the article next time before you comment on it.

  2. OY!

    I hoped she’d gotten the unforced errors out of her system back in ’08.
    WTF was she thinking?
    And whatever happened to “transparency” and “accountability?”

  3. WTF was she thinking?
    Well, she wasn’t thinking that Jeb Bush would create the current situation. Jeb intentionally released his emails of when he was governor just to create a transparency “scandal” for Hillary.
    The wingnuts have identified Hillary as the object of their affection and they want to take her out of action even before she joins the fray.

  4. I hear that Kerry is going to write a book exposing the intimate details of his public licking of Bibi’s boots. He made his public Israel- US relationship vows today…”Till death do us part!” Maybe I’m just a gnarled up crusty old patriot, but it sickens me to hear all these politicians sucking up to Israel with words reminiscent of 1960’s Motown love songs.

    Love means never having to say you’re sovereign.

  5. Swami, my old business partner used to say “when you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow”. Seems to me there are traps laid and money thrown around to ensnare all those low hanging huevos. By way of deception, thou shalt do war.

  6. Common dreams article states bibi got 26 standing ovations from our leaders. We have a huge problem with the people sent to represent us. They’re bought and owned by a foreign country.unreal.

  7. 26 standing ovations? Wow, that’s more strenuous that a Jane Fonda workout. I guess a lot of those conservative Congress critters will be applying a liberal dose of Ben-Gay to their gluts tonight.

  8. I think the Iranian press got it right. Bibi’s speech was boring and repetitious. What’s with the “enemy of my enemy is my enemy”? It doesn’t make sense. It’s a cheap attempt at a rhetorical flourish, but it doesn’t make sense in any context. It sounds like a garble that Archie Bunker might utter, less the humor.
    I’m glad Bibi fell on his face with his little ploy. According to my observations and the confirming comments of others, Bibi failed to get over with his Cheney-esque fear mongering.
    I hereby, by the powers invested in me by the cosmos, do hereby deem Bibi a big bag of shit. And the cosmos said, Amen!

  9. Shorter Bibi:
    “I want war but I don’t want to admit it; so let’s demand peace terms that they’ll never accept.”

    Meanwhile 200 Israeli generals call him a threat to Israel. And speaking of with-friends-like-these-who-needs-enemies, dig those Dominionist Republicans.

  10. Right, Paradoctor. Same with Palestine. Keep moving the goal post, then when one of the Palestinians snap, it’s terrorism, and the war planed hit the ruins again.
    In the real world, “unconditional” support does not exist.
    I had enough of this crap 20 years ago. I think the times are a changing.

  11. If I were a headline writer, here’s what my headline would be about Bibi’s visit to the US HoR:

    “Jew Flew Into the Cuckoo’s Nest.” *

    *I hope that’s not to offensive, is it?

  12. SP — “You’ve been had- the “scandal” is that she violated regulations… that went into effect over a year after she left office.” Not the point.

    Perhaps it would be helpful, then, to point out what other things she needs to do differently now because the regulation concerning them might change next year.

    • JDM — First, as a matter of principle, I’m not going to defend a Democrat for doing something that I thought was underhanded when a Republican did it. IOKIYAR doesn’t justify IOKIYAD. Second, in any job I’ve ever had it’s understood you use company email for company business and your own email for your own business; it’s not an outrageous thing to expect, especially when it’s important that there be some kind of record of all company business, electronic or otherwise. Third, while a lot of right-wing carping about HRC’s “secrecy” is a lot of smoke, her alleged lack of transparency has been a consistent part of the Right’s narrative against her for more than 20 years. Of all people she should be going out of her way to be as transparent as possible, not pulling unnecessary crap like this. It almost looks like the same kind of recklessness that was Bill’s near-undoing. Whether what she did was not illegal is not really the point to me.

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