The New State Department Report on Hillary’s Email, and Why it Matters

The State Department Inspector General’s (IG) investigation report leaked out a day early on May 25 makes a number of significant points. These matter, and need to be considered by anyone voting in November.

What’s in the IG Report

  • Neither Clinton nor any of her senior staff would participate in the IG’s investigation.
  • Clinton never sought approval, legal or technical, for her unprecedented private email system.
  • IT staffers and others at State warned her against it.
  • Had she sought approval, the State Department would not have granted it.
  • Clinton violated Federal Records laws.
  • Clinton did not turn over all of her work-related emails. Several (unclassified) were quoted in the IG report that had never been released.
  • Clinton violated State Department policies and guidelines in place at the time, even as the State Department enforced those on the rank-and-file.
  • IT staff at the State Department who raised concerns internally were falsely told the server was approved and ordered to not discuss it further.
  • Clinton’s use of a non-standard email account caused many of her emails to not reach their recipients inside State, and ended up instead in Spam.
  • State Department staffers not in Clinton’s inner circle aware of her private email address could not communicate with the head of their agency.
  • His State Department bosses did not know their employee, Bryan Pagliano, was simultaneously working directly for Clinton maintaining her private server.
  • The server came under severe enough hacker attacks that its administrator had to physically unplug it to prevent intrusions.

The question of classified material handling is, by agreement, being left by State to the FBI, and is thus not addressed in the IG report.

All of that is in the report. I’ve read the whole thing, and if you do not believe my summary, above, or wonder what specific laws and regulations are being cited, you can also read the whole thing and learn for yourself.

What Matters

  • For the first time, a set of actual facts of Clinton’s actions and decisions have been laid out by an independent, government entity. The IG was appointed by Obama and his report is dispassionate. No one can realistically claim this is a hit job. Sources are cited and laws footnoted.
  • Clinton did break Federal Records laws and violate State Department regulations that her organization held others to.
  • Despite repeated promises of transparency and cooperation, neither Hillary nor any of her senior staff would agree to participate in the IG’s investigation. Former Sectaries of State Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright did participate fully and voluntarily in the investigation. Clinton alone did not.
  • Clinton never sought approval, and ignored advice to stop what she was doing. She ran the server with no oversight. With no oversight, the only check on Clinton was Clinton herself.
  • That lack of oversights extended to potential destruction of evidence. It was Clinton alone who determined which emails to turn over to the State Department as “work related” and which to delete, some 30,000. It was Clinton who made the decision to then try and wipe the server clean. It is unclear whether or not the FBI can forensically retrieve and review those 30,000 deleted emails.

Simply put, what she did wasn’t supposed to be done.

Why It Matters

  • Hillary Clinton lied when she claimed her actions were approved. She lied when she said there were no regulations in place at the time of her server decisions. She lied when she said she broke no laws. She lied when she said this all was a Republican hit job. She lied when she said she would cooperate with any investigation.
  • Hillary Clinton covered up her actions for four years as Secretary, then another two years after she left office, and only admitted to anything after it hit the news last year.
  • Hillary Clinton asks voters to trust her with the most important job in America. She has not shown she is trustworthy.
  • Hillary Clinton asks to be America’s leader. She did not lead her State Department, and she showed contempt for its rules. She did not lead by example.
  • Hillary Clinton made clear by her actions that she believes rules that apply to others do not apply to her.
  • Hillary Clinton by her actions succeeded in hiding all of her official emails from the Freedom of Information Act for six years in open contempt for that process and the American people.
  • Hillary Clinton purposefully and willfully created a system that exempted her from the oversight applied to every other government employee.
  • Hillary Clinton alone in the entire U.S. government conducted 100% of her official business on a private email server.

Defense?

The other shoe has yet to drop. Though the Inspectors General from the intelligence community have stated unequivocally that Clinton did handle highly classified material on her unsecured server, the FBI report on the same matter has not yet been released.

For those who wish to defend Clinton with the “but everybody did it” argument, Condoleezza Rice did not send any emails on any unsecured system at all. Powell and Albright sent a handful in the early days of the web. All of them cooperated in the State IG investigation. None of them ran a fully private system for four years and most importantly, none of them are asking us to trust them now running for president.

If your support is whittle down to a sad Hillary is down to “well, she’s not Trump,” do be careful what you wish for. She’s not Trump, but she is all of the above.

For those who wish to defend Clinton by saying “she’s not indicted,” well, actual criminality is a pretty low bar to set for the most important job in America. Also, the FBI has yet to release its report which may point to actual national security violations.

And lastly, it is not about crime per se, but about trust and judgement.

BONUS: If Bernie Sanders will not discuss any of this publically, he does not want to be president.

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.

Read more by Peter Van Buren