Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hillary Clinton Cheated Out of a 4th Pinocchio by Washington Post Fact Checker for her Bogus Claim That “everything I did on e-mails was permitted”

During a 7 July 2015 CNN interview Former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton made this ridiculously BOGUS and untruthful accretion that:

“Everything I did was permitted. There was no law. There was no regulation. There was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate. Previous secretaries of state have said they did the same thing…. Everything I did was permitted by law and regulation. I had one device. When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system.”

Hillary’s BS accretion was so outlandish that it prompted Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post Fact Checker, to “examine” the veracity of her claim about her “e-mail practices,” which led him to conclude that it reminded him of then-Vice President Al Gore’s statement in 1997 that there was “no controlling legal authority” concerning his phone calls from the White House seeking Democratic campaign contributions.  Hillary claimed that “everything I did was permitted” because “there was no law … there was no regulation.” but the WaPo Fact Checker doubted that.

When Hillary was secretary of state there were already in place State Department rules on how to handle e-mails and whether to use a personal e-mail account.  Hillary said that other secretaries “did the same thing” which was untrue because only Colin L. Powell sent e-mails from a personal account and NO previous secretary had gone so far to conceal their official communications as to set up an exclusive and private e-mail server in the basement of their personal residence to handle all of their departmental communications.

In 2009, eight months after Clinton became secretary of state the rules on handling electronic records were clarified in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) update which stated: “Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system… The responsibility for making and preserving the records is assigned to the head of each federal agency.”

As a result of this CFR update, Secretary Clinton sent out a personal cable under her own signature warning employees to “avoid conducting official Department business from your personal e-mail accounts.”  Too bad Hillary didn’t follow her own warning but was her actions were in keeping with her “do as I say, not as I do” and “rules don’t apply to me” philosophy.

What is indisputable is that Hillary flaunted the spirit of the laws and rules in place at the time she was in office.   Although she suggests that “when I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system” and so that signified compliance with the requirement to maintain federal records, is bogus in so many ways.  Not only did her practice make it difficult to locate records in response to specific requests as her e-mail would be in another official’s inbox and would not exist in the federal system as part of Clinton’s outbox, but because most of her close inner circle communicated exclusively on her private email system, those official communications never even entered the government system.  An official’s government outbox would be the first place that people seeking records would look and recall that the State Department contacted Clinton, seeking copies of her e-mails, precisely because officials were unable to locate e-mails in response to queries from a House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

One other important detail missed by the WaPo Fact Checker which might have persuaded him to award Hillary that coveted 4th Pinocchio was that when several of the emails Hillary eventually did turn over (under duress) were compared with ones obtained from other sources it was noticed that she had altered several of her emails to edit out passages that she probably felt would be unflattering to her. I suspect one the real reason she provided hard copies rather than the electronic files, in addition to the hard copies were much harder to review, was that experts would have been able to detect her edits from the electronic versions. I would add that altering "official records" is a federal offense but I’m confident that Obama's Dept of Justice would never pursue a Democrat for a violation of Federal Law.

Before Hillary even joined the Obama administration — the Foreign Affairs Manual made it clear that before a senior official (such as a Senate-confirmed presidential appointee) departed government service, he or she must prepare an inventory of personal papers that are proposed for removal. The manual states that “correspondence or e-mail received or sent in an employee’s capacity as a Department official is not personal.”  Hillary certainly failed to live up to that requirement, as she had retained those e-mail records for nearly two years after she left office before returning them to the State Department.

Hence, when Hillary’s campaign erroneously suggests she could determine what actually was a federal record, her State Department-related emails were obviously official records and it would be disingenuous for anyone to argue otherwise.

So how did the WaPo Fact Checker conclude Hillary’s whopper was only worthy of three Pinocchios?  He found that she had argued her case on narrow, technical grounds, but had not actually complied with existing rules as virtually everyone else understood them.  Her decision to use a private e-mail system for official business was highly unusual and flouted State Department procedures and while she claimed “everything I did was permitted,” she certainly DID NOT comply with the requirement to turn over her business-related e-mails before she left government service. That’s a major failure that she continues to lie about.  The Fact Checker concluded Hillary went too far in suggesting her actions were ordinary – -and she stretched the limits of existing laws and regulations.

Although the WaPo Fact Checker Awarded only 3 Pinocchios

Given he failed to recognize Hillary had gone so far as to edit and alter some of the emails she eventually did turn over thus falsifying them, this should have justified award of that coveted 4th Pinocchio.

One final observation concerning Hillary’s emails, the Intelligence Community professionals are confident that the Chinese and Russian government cyber professionals thoroughly compromised Hillary's home-grown server in the basement of her New York house. They are also confident that at least three other governments successfully hacker her. Not only was her domain name a little obvious but they were also tracking all her key subordinates that also exclusively used their accounts to communicated with her through her private server. I suspect one of the reasons she did not want to turn over her server was because US government cyber forensic professionals would have verified the compromise.

Maybe Congress should subpoena the Chinese and Russians for Hillary’s emails including the 30,000 missing ones? This might even reveal what the ones she turned over actually contained before her minions edited them!

For those of you interested in reading the WaPo Fact Checkers 9 July 2015 article, here it is:

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