|Jesus, are we still talking about this?|
Have you read the entire FBI report on their investigation into Hillary Clinton's email practices? No? Well, I have, because that's the kind of professional I am. And I'm going to provide you with all the most interesting excerpts.
The report starts off with a whole bunch of technical detail about how the Clinton email server was set up and managed, and is basically uninteresting except to nerds.
The reporter, Kevin Drum then jumps into the report:
Page 8: [Huma] Abedin recalled that at the start of Clinton's tenure, State advised personal e-mail accounts could not be linked to State mobile devices and, as a result, Clinton decided to use a personal device in order to avoid carrying multiple devices.
In other words, Hillary could get a State-approved device, but couldn't receive her personal email on it. Likewise, she could use a personal device, but couldn't get State email on it. The only way to get both was to carry two physical devices. She considered this inconvenient, and decided to keep on using her personal BlackBerry for everything. This is exactly what she's been saying all along.
Page 8: FBI investigation identified 13 total mobile devices [...] which potentially were used to send e-mails [...] eight of which she used during her tenure as Secretary of State.
This has become a big talking point on the right for some reason. Hillary didn't have one device for convenience, she had 13! This is ridiculous. Over time, she had 13 devices, but the report makes it clear that she always had just one device at a time.
(What I got from this was that Blackberries are very poorly made devices since apparently they kept malfunctioning. I personally have had the same I-Phone since 2009 and though I cannot confirm that the Russians have not hacked it, it still works just fine.)
Page 11: On January 23, 2009, Clinton contacted former Secretary of State Colin Powell via e-mail to inquire about his use of a BlackBerry while he was Secretary of State (January 2001 to January 2005). In his e-mail reply, Powell warned Clinton that if it became "public" that Clinton had a BlackBerry, and she used it to "do business," her e-mails could become "official record[s] and subject to the law." Powell further advised Clinton, "Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data."
This is important. First, it makes clear that Hillary conversed with Colin Powell two days after becoming Secretary of State, not "a year later," as Powell has claimed. Second, Powell essentially told her that he had just gone ahead and broken the law by "not using systems that captured the data." Hillary, by contrast, chose instead to retain everything as the law required.
(Following the law will get you every time, serves Hillary right for being so honest and law abiding.)
Page 11: While State policy during Clinton's tenure required that "day-to-day operations [at State] be conducted on [an authorized information system]," according to the REDACTED the Bureau of Information Security Management, REDACTED there was no restriction on the use of personal e-mail accounts for official business. [...] In 2011, a notice to all State employees was sent on Clinton's behalf, which recommended employees avoid conducting State business from personal e-mail accounts due to information security concerns.
This makes it clear that although State "recommended" that employees not use personal accounts, there was no rule prohibiting it. And apparently personal accounts were very widely used.
(And that essentially destroys virtually ALL of the GOP talking points right there.)
Page 13: Thirteen individuals, consisting of State senior-level employees, work-related advisors, and State executive administrative staff, maintained direct e-mail contact with Clinton.
That's not very many. It's not as if potentially sensitive information was flying around to hundreds of people.
(So much for the allegation that Hillary carelessly put top secret information at risk of falling into the wrong hands.)
Page 20: When asked of her knowledge regarding TOP SECRET, SECRET, and CONFIDENTIAL classification levels of USG information, Clinton responded that she did not pay attention to the "level" of classification and took all classified information seriously.
For some reason there are people guffawing at this, but I don't know why. The plainest reading is not that Hillary had no idea what various classification levels meant, but that she treated all classified information seriously no matter what level it was at.
Page 23: During FBI interviews, State employees explained the context for why classified material REDACTED was sent and provided reasons to explain why they did not believe information in the e-mails was classified. [...] Authors of the e-mails stated that they used their best judgment in drafting the messages and that it was common practice at State to carefully word e-mails on UNCLASSIFIED networks so as to avoid sensitive details or "talk around" REDACTED classified information.
This whole section is a description of common practices at State. Basically, most people the FBI talked to used private email accounts all the time; did their best to keep classified information out of these channels; and didn't believe that any of the emails they sent included classified information. Other classification authorities have disagreed, as we all know by now, and the entire discussion gives you a taste of how subjective the classification process is. Basically, we have lots of experienced people who disagree about whether various things really ought to be classified.
Page 27: FBI investigation and forensic analysis did not find evidence confirming that Clinton e-mail server systems were compromised by cyber means.
(Okay and my argument at this point is would it even matter if it WAS hacked? After all almost EVERY government agency has now been hacked including the State Department and the NSA, so the argument that Hillary put information at greater risk by storing on her private server is superfluous.)
This section goes on for pages and pages, but this is really the only sentence you need. It could be that Hillary's email server was hacked. Anything is possible. But despite tons of forensic analysis, the FBI found no evidence of it. This doesn't mean that Hillary should have used a private server, and it doesn't mean her server used best security practices. She shouldn't have, and it didn't. Nonetheless, there's no reason to think her server was ever hacked other than "don't be an idiot, of course it was."
That said, this report is pretty much an almost complete exoneration of Hillary Clinton. She wasn't prohibited from using a personal device or a personal email account, and others at state did it routinely. She's told the truth all along about why she did it. Colin Powell did indeed advise her about using personal email shortly after she took office, but she chose to follow the rules rather than skirt them, as Powell did. She didn't take her BlackBerry into her office. She communicated with only a very select group of 13 people. She took no part in deciding which emails were personal before handing them over to State. She had nothing to do with erasing information on the PRN server. That was a screw-up on PRN's end. She and her staff all believed at the time that they were careful not to conduct sensitive conversations over unclassified email systems. And there's no evidence that her server was ever hacked.
I did not include every single portion by any means, as some were quite complex and I did not want this post to go on forever.
However the gist is that though there are certainly a few things about this server for which Hillary can be criticized, however she did NOT break the law, and she did NOT lie to the FBI or to the press about the server.
If you want to read the entire FBI report you can do so by clicking here.
But don't get depressed Hillary haters, apparently the new conspiracy theories center around the Clinton Foundation.
Yep, the fun just never ends.