The report released Wednesday by the State Department Inspector General on its email records management is being reported as heavy-duty criticism of former Secretary Hillary Clinton. However, the report has more in it that vindicates Clinton than nails her.
It does not add any new serious charges or adverse facts. And, it shows she was less out of line with her predecessors, notably Colin Powell, than has been charged. Powell’s handling of his email was so similar, in fact, that when House Republicans drag this issue through hearings up to Election Day, Powell should be called as a witness – a witness for Clinton. To put it differently, she is having a double standard applied to her.
The author then goes on to list five key takeaways from the report. I won't list all them all on this post, but here are a few highlights.
First, and foremost, it is simply not about classified email. It is about regular, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, unclassified email. Yet it is the classified email, not these messages, that are the focus of the FBI investigation of Clinton. In other words, the report does not, and cannot, talk about the most serious issues. It is about a sideshow.
It is, by the way, my opinion that the FBI investigation will not include anything substantial that damages Hillary either, and I join with others in hoping that they wrap up the investigation quickly.
However if the Right Wing hoped that his report contained a smoking gun, well it really doesn't.
I will skip through the next three takeaways and go directly to the last one, which I think is key.
Fifth, to the extent that she is criticized because “she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act,” the report is making a legal judgment that is not particularly strong. Note how she is not labeled as violating any statute, but rather, a real mouthful of mush – “the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.” So we are talking about obscure, dull, bureaucratic policies. Not a criminal statute. Not even a civil statute – just the bureaucratic policies.
A report that says so little new against Clinton, amounts to a vindication.
You may disagree with that very last sentence, but the paragraph before it is hard to refute.
In short she broke NO laws.
In fact other news outlets far less sympathetic to Hillary have come to essentially the same determination, like the Washington Post for instance:
The department’s email technology was archaic. Other staffers also used personal email, as did Secretary Colin Powell (2001-2005), without preserving the records. But there is no excuse for the way Ms. Clinton breezed through all the warnings and notifications. While not illegal behavior, it was disturbingly unmindful of the rules.
Okay but WAS it "disturbingly unmindful of the rules?" Or is there in fact an epidemic of individuals in the State Department flouting the rules and Clinton is simply being held to a higher standard than the rest of them.
Because it appears very much as if it is the latter.
I think now might be a good time to once again remind everybody that the State Department's e-mail system suffered one of the "worst hacks" ever.