As reported by an internal watchdog this Wednesday (and as we’ve been saying for months), Hillary Clinton failed to comply with State Department protocol when she set up her own personal email address and server at her home in New York.
Not only was the homebrew server unsecure, but the whole incident represents a serious breach of federal law. As reported by the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General last week, Clinton’s failure to adhere to federal policies may have jeopardized government secrets.
As we wrote in April 2015, “the Secretary of State of the United States of America is the number two intelligence target IN THE WORLD, behind only her boss, the President. To tap into her communications guarantees lavish rewards and promotions to the intelligence team who does it. All eyes are on her, like vultures, waiting. Yes, it really works this way.”
The Chinese, Russians, and others were almost certainly reading her emails – in real time.
If Romanian hacker Guccifer’s claims are true, third parties were also able to easily access the unsecure account.
This whole mess could have been avoided if Hillary had shecked with her security branch. But she didn’t. The private server “would not” have been approved due to “the security risks in doing so,” wrote the watchdog agency in the highly anticipated report.
Furthermore, Hillary “never demonstrated” to State Department officials that her homebrew server or smartphone, both of which she used to send and receive government emails, “met minimum information security requirements.”
The former Secretary of State’s decision to use a private email address “is not an appropriate method” of communication as outlined by the Federal Records Act. She “should have preserved any federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary,” reads the report. “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”
The 86-page report is damning for our presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. But as her campaign team was quick to point out, the report also admitted longstanding problems with the preservation of federal records that “go well beyond the tenure of any one secretary of state.” Turns out, dozens of State Department officials, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell, have been caught doing the same thing.
“While political opponents of Hillary Clinton are sure to misrepresent this report for their own partisan purposes, in reality, the inspector general documents show just how consistent her email practices were with those of other Secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal email,” argues Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon.
Still, Hillary’s “email scandal” has plagued her throughout her presidential campaign and promises to continue as she prepares to enter the final stretch.
The report also noted that the State Department’s recordkeeping procedures had evolved in recent years and that Hillary’s behavior “must be evaluated in light of these more comprehensive directives.”
The State Department has agreed to follow all recommendations made by the IG’s office and is using the ordeal as an opportunity to get everyone up-to-date. “The department is committed to completing these improvements, and these matters have the full attention of Secretary Kerry and the department’s senior staff,” says department spokesman Mark Toner.
Clinton continues to argue that her personal server was “allowed by the State Department,” even if it was irresponsible in retrospect. “There was no absolute prohibition on it during this or any other administration,” admits a State Department spokesman.
In addition to last week’s report, an intelligence agency watchdog and the FBI are hard at work completing their analyses regarding Hillary’s server.
Meanwhile, the State Department has its hands full battling numerous lawsuits claiming Hillary’s use of a private server broke federal rules. Current and former aides will soon be asked to provide depositions in a few of those lawsuits, and Hillary may soon find herself answering uncomfortable questions under oath.
Hillary and most of her aides have turned down all requests to be interviewed thus far, but they may not have that option as the lawsuits progress.
On the campaign trail, Clinton’s team continues to act like her mishandling of government information isn’t a big deal and has even blamed the “State Department’s electronic recordkeeping systems,” for the breach of protocol.
It scares me to death that this woman has a good chance of becoming America’s next president.
Editor’s Note: While this is a damning report, it has little in the way of impact on Clinton’s candidacy for President, since it can be cast as a partisan attack. We await the completion of the FBI’s investigation into this matter, which will likely result in an indictment. If and when this occurs, Clinton’s followers may actually realize the extent of her crimes.